Daily Fantasy Golf 101: Learning the Ropes
What’s up Grinders, it’s been a while since I’ve stepped away from the daily content and offered up an article specifically on strategy and I thought it would be fun to do one on daily fantasy golf since the interest in it has grown tremendously. We also have the PGA Championship coming up next week and now is the perfect time to hone your daily fantasy golf skill.
Goal of Daily Fantasy Golf
With the exception of Fantasy Feud, the ultimate goal in daily fantasy golf is to have all of your golfers make the cut. Well, I suppose the goal is to score as many fantasy points as possible and to do that, you need to have as many of your golfers make the cut as you can. Unlike other daily fantasy sports, the cheap plays don’t necessarily help you unless they make the cut. They can outperform expectations, but still be a bad play if they don’t stay around for the weekend.
I’ve come to find that it’s typically better to have a solid all-around team instead of a stars/scrubs type of lineup. You may pick the winner of the tournament, but if you only have 2 or 3 of your golfers make the cut, you are not going to be in good shape in cash games or GPP’s. That’s not to say that I don’t ever use value plays, but I’ve had great success constructing my teams based on their potential to make the cut, rather than their potential to win the tournament.
Each week, I start my PGA research by looking at the Vegas Odds. There are typically a few different sets of odds that you can use, but I typically tend to focus on “Odds to Win” and “Odds for a Top 10 Finish.” You can find the odds on any sportsbook website, but you’ll quickly find that golf odds differ drastically across the different sportsbooks. For that reason, I like to use www.oddschecker.com. They list odds for each golfer from 10+ sites and using Table Capture in Google Chrome will easily allow you to paste them into excel to find a true average odds.
Once I have the average odds calculated, I use them to spot any inefficiencies in each site’s pricing that week. There are typically a couple of plays on each site that stand out. In addition to finding good value, the odds are also very helpful when comparing two different players. The oddsmakers take into account everything else that we are going to talk about in this article and they sum it up nicely into one little number.
This blog is meant to help you glean insight into my weekly PGA research. I’ve broken down my research into 5 main categories:
I like to compare event history in golf to ballpark factors in baseball. Certain courses favor certain types of golfers and knowing how well a golfer has done at a certain event or course can give you a good idea of their level of confidence heading into the week. If you are new to daily fantasy golf, you’d be surprised how many golfers routinely play well (or poorly) at certain events/courses. This can arise from a number of factors, but course fit tends to be the major one.
One thing to note though: you want to make sure to pay attention to where the event has been held in the past. If the event changes venues each year, it’s hard to rely on event history because the course may be a polar-opposite to the course where the event was held the year before. If the event is being played on a new course each season, throw out event history and focus on some of the other factors below.
A golfer’s current form is arguably just as important as their history on a certain course. I typically tend to weigh these two evenly. Golf is a sport that requires confidence in all areas of the game and if a player is struggling coming into the week, it’s going to be hard for them to turn things around. The opposite can be said as well, when a player is in good form, he’ll have a high level of confidence heading into the week.
Looking at a player’s current form is very easy. Every DFS site has the event logs in their player profiles. I tend to look at the past 10 events with the majority of the emphasis placed on the last 5 events. Look at their recent cut history as well as their average finish in the events leading up to the current week. Ideally, you want to target golfers that are in top form that also have past success at that week’s event.
Research the Course
Every course is different and researching where the event will be held each week can give up a leg up on the competition. You need to know the length of the course, the size of the greens, the potential hazards, how wide the fairways are, how deep the rough is, etc., etc. All of these factors are important because they will point you in the direction of which type of golfer you need to be targeting whether it’s golfers that are long off the tee, player that can hit accurate approaches, great putters, or great scramblers.
Researching the course will also help you weed out the players that you want to avoid. For instance, if the course features thin fairways that are lined with trees and thick rough, you are going to want to avoid the golfers that aren’t accurate off the tee. Even if they can bomb it a mile, they will have trouble scoring if they can’t keep it in the fairway.
The more I play daily fantasy golf, the more I use the stats to help build my lineups. Not only are stats another helpful tool in determining a golfer’s fit for the course, but they can also point out golfers that are about to have breakout performances. The stats to factor in each week really depends on the course, but my favorite stats to use overall are driving distance/accuracy, greens in regulation, ball striking (which is a combination of total driving and greens in regulation), strokes gained putting, scrambling, and adjusted scoring.
While stats can be a great tool to use for PGA Tour events, they can be difficult to use in events that feature a lot of European Tour players such as WGC events and a couple of the majors. The European Tour does have it’s own set of statistics, but it’s hard to compare those with that of the players on the PGA Tour, the WGC events, and most of the majors.
Read the Expert Plays
When it comes to daily fantasy golf, the more that you can read each week, the better. There are plenty of reputable sites that have PGA Experts provide their picks for each event. Understanding why experts make the picks that they do is more important that their actual picks. If you are new to daily fantasy golf, it can really help you understand what to look for each week. Reading the picks will also assure you that you haven’t missed any obvious picks that week.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment. I’m here to help!