PGA DFS Primer Series: Embracing Golf as a Lucrative Fringe Sport

Golf is the fastest growing DFS Sport, now with three sites (FantasyDraft, DraftKings and FanDuel) offering four different versions of the game (DraftKings also offers “weekend golf” with the player pool consisting of anyone moving beyond the cut) and the best part is that prize pools that continue to grow with PGA Tour events offered almost year round.

Two years ago, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as DFS Golf.  Don’t be afraid of “what you do not know” about the PGA, or “real” golf.  Familiarity, obsession, hatred or complete ambivalence of a golfer can be a bad thing for new players.

Some of the best DFS Golf players did not know squat about the current state of the game, Shot Link Data or any golfer not named Phil, Tiger or Rory when they first started playing.

This primer series, coupled with the unparalleled accessibility to FanVice Golf Squad, will expedite the development of your process. As they have with other sports, FanVice has assembled a group of top notch analysts available to discuss strategy, roster construction, weather, etc. Each of the contributors approach the game from an entirely different angle, have different strengths, strategies and play at various stakes.

Andrew Barron aka hotmajik and Ben Rasa aka JazzRaz are two of the most humble and chill guys around.  But don’t let the smooth taste fool you, they are bad ass mofos when it comes to fantasy golf (Can you be a badass and play fantasy golf: you bet you can).  Quick to learn the new FanDuel format and Weekend Golf on DraftKings, they were among the first people to find great success with the new DFS products.

Also, they co-host the PGA PROS podcast at www.fanvice.com with fantasy golf savant/provocateur Pat Mayo @thePme.  Both are great writers, and the backbone of the incredibly sharp PGA SLACK channel (the home of the FV PGA SQUAD) that has become an invaluable part of my process.

DFS golf has become one of my passions/obsessions and I have studied it intently for the past two years. Having found my “DFS spiritual home” at FanVice, I have put together this article series as a way to gather all of my learning together in one place in the hopes of helping to bring more and more of the FanVice community up to speed in what has become a nicely lucrative, yet still niche sport.  There may be some gaps that I’ll continually fill as time and experience allow.

 

It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but utilizing the strategies and process I have developed, my goal is to shave two years off the PGA DFS learning curve for you.

When approaching DFS golf, I am guided by two assumptions when approaching:

  1. Getting 6/6 through the cut is paramount.
  2. Player pool selection determines your ability to win, in cash games or GPP’s and therefore must be guided by the first assumption.***

*** Let me be clear about something; I am not proposing that I have solved DFS golf and I’m not interested in trying to prove anything here. However, I have taught Research Methods and Logic at the collegiate level. I am a Sociologist that despises positivism and believe that there is no such thing as objective science. However, I am not a relativist. The truth can be discussed and inter-subjectively is attainable. I weight utility over all else.

Why You Should Play

There is really no subtle way to say this but; DFS Golf is fun as a $*&#^@!.  What other sport lasts four days with two equally significant sweats? The research process is the best part of it; you can make it as simple or as complex as you choose.

Most of us have lives to live outside of sports, juggling a host of familial, professional and personal obligations.  Unlike many other “daily fantasy sports,” with golf, there is no need to grind every day.  Like football, you only put your lineups in once a week. After that, you get to watch your team brush in Birdies, ease in Eagles, and drop it in the drink for four days.  So, even if you have the traditional nine-to-five gig, DFS Golf keeps your interest, but the research process won’t cramp your lifestyle.

The method proposed here is simple, effective, and efficient.  Therefore, even if you grind other sports, the research process is not prohibitively time-consuming.  This “primer” demonstrates a method for creating winning player pools in DFS golf and is intended for new and intermediate level players.  If I had read something like this, it would have reduced my learning curve—my primary goal is to level the playing field for less experienced players.

 

The Ideology behind Occam’s razor

“Occam’s Razor” (Latin; lex parsimonae or the law of briefness) also known as the Law of Parsimony is the epistemological proposition that the project of “Science” is the practical and parsimonious resolution of problems. The principle is sometimes rephrased to words that mean; “plurality should not be used without necessity.” Occam’s razor is a principle; it doesn’t depict an actual blade, but a metaphorical one. It gets rid of unnecessarily complex explanations. So, we’re going to keep our goals and methods simple here (Editor’s note: some of you may be having flashbacks to your first philosophy class, but stick with the next couple paragraphs).

Occam’s Razor is our heuristic tool for trimming the fat off the #pgadfs bone, making cuts by eliminating spurious noise surrounding the research and data of DFS GOLF, leaving only the essentials.  We have one goal and only three factors we will consider each week.

At its heart, Occam’s razor is a fundamentally good old-fashioned American pragmatism.  Rather than “why” something works, the pragmatic approaches care about “how it works.”  That is “truth is utility.”  Furthermore, the methods used to ascertain actionable knowledge should be as simple and as clear as possible.

Wield Occam’s razor because the information that you carefully and actively dismiss in DFS is just as important as the information used. The questions you ask will determine the direction of your research. My current favorite version of this idea comes from the unnecessarily complex and abstract world of computer programming:

I’m generally pragmatic, that which works works…and theory can screw itself. However, my pragmatism also extends to maintainability, which is why I also want it done well. ~ Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux…the backbone of Android and Chrome

With the amount of data and debates about said data, parsimony is the name of the game when creating cash, single-entry, and three-entry max GPP player pools. Your initial goal each week is to build a “player pool” of “cut makers.”

This technique provides a process for finding these players.  It’s not a strategy on how to win GPP’s or “lineup construction” per se. Golf tournaments usually begin with 140 entrants, but by Friday night only 70 remain. Half the field gets cut.  Making DFS golf the only sport with two distinctsweats (DEGENS UNITE!) .

According to @cutsweats, less than ten percent of Draft Kings PGA entrants get six of six through the cut.  You still probably don’t think it is that hard; you will soon learn that it is challenging.  Therefore, the game theory employed in fantasy golf is completely different than any other sport:    The only way to win at DFS Golf is to get 6/6 golfers through “the cut.”

I’ve noticed that most winners have mantras, here’s yours for DFS GOLF:  I NEED SIX CUT MAKERS. IT’S NOT ESSENTIAL TO HAVE THE WINNER IN MY PLAYER POOL.

Okay, that was a pretty dense bit of text, but the last two sentences above nicely consolidate our weekly objective.

See you in the Slack Chat! ~ CarlMarks

Next week we’ll pick up the conversation with a discussion about “Ownership Assesment” and lay out the how to prioritize the characteristics you’re looking for in golfers each week.