Each sport has its own quirks in the world of daily fantasy, but golf is a game with more differences than most.
While other sports often play out over multiple days, such as the NFL’s Thursday-Sunday slate, those players only get to play in a single game each. Golfers, however, hit the links for four rounds in a tournament, so in a sense playing DFS golf is like picking players who will play four games over four days.
Making the Cut
The catch is that nearly half the field will only play two days in those events – and that’s most of them – that have a cut. So as you build your golf lineups your first goal should be to pick guys that are consistently finishing in the top half of the fields.
To stand a chance to win or finish highly-ranked in a large-field tournament on a site that has you draft six golfers you will need all six to make the cut. Some sites are more forgiving in this regard, with Fantasy Draft, for one, allowing you to select seven golfers with only the top six scores counting.
Due to the nature of the cut, you’re better off drafting a team filled with solid players, rather than what the pros call a “stars and scrubs” lineup you might pick in other sports. You may select a top-tier player like Brooks Koepka or Rory McIlroy, but probably not both since picking both of the two highest-salaried guys – as they are on most weeks – means you’ll be digging to the bottom of the salary chart for golfers to fill out your roster. Those lower-tier guys are much more likely to miss the cut.
You might take Koepka, with a dose of players like Vaughn Taylor, who rarely misses a cut. Taylor’s best finish in 2019 is fourth, but he is Mr. Consistent in making about 80 percent of cuts and is priced rather cheaply week-to-week. You’ll have to draft players like him and hope they make a Top 10 finish for you to be near the leaderboard of DFS tournaments.
Recent Form Matters
Golfers can get hot, just like players in other sports. And in a game where the mental game is so important, confidence matters. Conveniently, DFS sites tend to display news, statistics and game logs for players so it’s easy to research recent form directly on the app or website in which you play. If your proposed draftee has several recent high finishes, then his game is clicking.
This weekend, I am big on Shane Lowry, the British Open winner, in the BMW Championship. He is priced fairly cheaply ($7,600 on DraftKings, for example, compared to $11,800 for Koepka) after a 52nd-place finish at the Northern Trust tournament. But his previous six finishes were 1st, 34th, 28th, 2nd, 8th and 3rd. His game has been clicking during limited action this year.
Certain Courses Favor Certain Golfers
Everything from the width of the fairways to the size of the greens can affect golfers differently, depending on their strengths. A course with narrow fairways will most likely benefit Chez Reavie, Ryan Moore and Jim Furyk, the three golfers on the PGA Tour with the highest percentage of fairways hit in 2019. Golfers who can roll in the long putts, such as Denny McCarthy, Justin Rose and Jordan Speith, can take advantage of those larger greens.
You can take this a step farther and research each player’s course history. If a golfer has consistently fared well on a course in which an event is regularly held – an obvious example being Tiger Woods at Augusta National for The Masters – they are more likely to have future success.