Daily Fantasy PGA – Basic Strategy FAQ

PGA DFS For Beginners – FAQ


Why golf?

So the NFL season has ended and you’ve considered a new weekly sport to get into.  Why should you try out fantasy golf, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it?  Golf is the only daily fantasy sport that goes beyond daily and plays out on a 4 day span.  On most weeks you get double the sweat of any other sport- the sweat of the cut Thursday night (where the top half of the field gets to keep playing while the bottom half goes home for the weekend) and the final Sunday sweat.  Unlike team vs. team sports there are no blowouts, there are no random players getting benched, and there are very rarely any injuries.  If a player withdraws it’s usually well before tournaments tee off so there’s not much reason to sweat the news right before it begins.  You get a whole week to prepare and don’t have to keep up with it daily, and that what allows our analysis to get as in-depth as it is.

So are the tournaments the same every week?

Absolutely not!  Each course is different and we let you guys know which statistics are going to be important based on course factors.  There are also different types of tournaments.  Your standard tournament has a field of 120-150 golfers and only the top 70 and ties make it through to the weekend.  Sometimes the field size is different, for example the US Open has almost 200 golfers playing with the same cut line while the Dell Technologies Championship only has 100 in the field.  There are also events with no cuts that usually feature only 60-70 golfers in it.  Every golfer is guaranteed 4 rounds and that changes strategy dramatically.  I always talk about the tournament type in the weekly article so you can best prepare for the week ahead.

How does scoring work?

On Draftkings, you can reference the scoring rules here.  It’s important to know how fantasy scoring dictates how picks are made.  Birdies are worth 6 times as much as bogeys hurt when it comes to fantasy scoring so while 2 golfers may have the same score on the leaderboard, their scores may be drastically different.  If Golfer A gets 6 pars and shoots even par he’ll score 3 fantasy points.  Compare that to Golfer B who shoots 3 bogeys then 3 birdies.  Golfer B will score 10.5 fantasy points because of birdies being worth so much and 3 birdies in a row being worth a 3 pt bonus.  This means golfers who shoot more birdies are worth more in fantasy than safer “par-maker” golfers.  This is further reflected by the 8 pt eagle bonus.

One of my golfers missed the cut.  Am I screwed?

In tournaments, maybe.  In cash games certainly not.  As a rule of thumb you want to try and get all 6 through in tournaments and 5/6 in cash games.  You can still cash with 4/6 or sometimes even 3/6 through depending on how the “chalk” (highly owned) golfers fare.  In tournaments the total number of teams with 6/6 through the cut varies between 5% and 20% and since tournaments are usually paid out to the top 20% if only 10% of the field has 6/6 through you have a good chance to cash even with 5/6 especially if you have a few guys in the top 10.

Are the most expensive golfers always worth taking?

Depends.  Golf has pretty high variance compared to other sports in that the studs aren’t as guaranteed to score as well as in other sports.  It’s not a huge shocker if a guy is priced at $12,000 and misses the cut, because that kind of stuff just happens but those guys are also the most likely to win the tournament and become must-plays regardless of price.

So how do I go about picking golfers?

When going through the cheat sheet you’re looking for guys who hit on 4 different things:  1. Good recent form, especially at similar courses.  2. Good course history (not mandatory and depends from course to course but always a good thing)  3. Good Vegas odds for the salary (although it’s important to know when Vegas is biased- for example big names like Tiger or Phil or it could be inflated for guys who won recently) and 4. good statistical match for the course.  They don’t have to hit every mark but that’s what you’re aiming for when looking for guys to play.  I’ll often talk about roster construction and core plays during the podcast to help the process.

How should I adjust my strategy between cash games and GPP?

The main factor is going to be predicting ownership.  In cash games it’s a good idea to play the safe, chalky plays but in tournaments golf is as good a sport as any to fade the popular plays and pivot to similar, lower owned plays.  You’re probably going to also look at riskier plays in tournaments like guys with great driving distance or birdie making but shaky accuracy or bogey a lot and vice versa in cash.  In cash you may lean more to guys who are good putters and good at stats like ‘short game’ and ‘around the green.’  Those guys tend to avoid posting big numbers that could vault them down the leaderboard.

How safe is it to pick the ‘scrubs’ at the bottom of the player pool?

Depending on the field and the pricing there are usually a few gems at the bottom of the barrel.  If the pricing is ‘tight’ it’s going to be harder to afford the higher end players so you may want to consider rostering a scrub, but if the pricing is ‘loose’ you usually don’t need to go very low to find savings.  Often times guys with odds of 300/1, 400/1, and especially 500/1 or worse are pretty unrosterable and are sure to miss the cut.  You’ll also sometimes see guys at the bottom with very good course history but they can be just too old or injured and unable to play well anymore.

Is it okay to leave money on the table?

In tournaments, sure but unlike most other sports it’s very unlikely that someone will have the same lineup as you.  Unless you’re using all chalky guys in your lineup the chances of running into an identical lineup is slim just due to the mathematical improbability.  If you generated every lineup possible you’d be able to come up with hundreds of millions of permutations in a 140-man field so don’t leave money on the table just to try to be different in tournaments unless it’s a no-cut or small field event.  On the other hand, don’t feel forced to spend all of your salary every lineup.  There’s nothing wrong with leaving up to $500 on the table if you like the 6 guys in your roster.

I just want to light my money on fire, any advice?

Try making themed lineups, for example pick all guys wearing blue shirts or all guys from South Africa or all people whose names start with ‘K.’  You could also scroll to the very bottom and pick guys based on how funny their name sounds.  If all else fails you can just play me in a head to head. 😉

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