Golf DFS: How to Use the Salary Comparison Charts and Tournament History Files
If you are reading this, you are playing DFS Golf. Hopefully you are enjoying the game and are finding my analysis and tools to be useful. A given tournament can have anywhere from 30 to 156 golfers, and I can't write about all of them. Conversely, you may do some research and come upon a golfer you like more than I do. I'm going to go through each of the two files that come with the subscription to MyFantasyFix and explain why I include them and how you should use them to make the best picks for your golf lineups. The first is the salary comparison chart, which shows the salary rankings of golfers on each of the three sites. Even if you only play one site, I think there are things you can learn and use to your advantage. The other file is the Tournament History file, which can be helpful to find out who does well and who some sleepers may be in tournaments.
Salary Comparison Chart
Playing Multiple Sites
On initial look, this would look like something that would benefit those who are playing on multiple sites.It certainly can help with that purpose since it allows you to find which site has the best value for a specific player. I'll discuss later how it can benefit you, even if you only play one site. I'm going to use the 2017 RBC Heritage for my example in this section. If playing multiple sites, the easiest thing to do is to find your player and see where the best value lies.: For example, if you were going to play Luke Donald, here is where his salary rank was on all 3 sites:
In this case, Donald's best value was on DraftKings. But, you will also notice that he was a decent value on FantasyDraft, as the 14th highest priced golfer. Since FantasyDraft tends to have tighter pricing than the other two sites, he becomes a value there, as well. Just because a player doesn't have the lowest salary rank on a site, doesn't mean that he isn't a good play. Knowing a site's salary cap tendencies (FanDuel the softest cap, FantasyDraft the tightest cap) can help find values.
This can also help you to predict ownership, to a degree, on a certain player. In Donald's case, he was viewed as a must play in cash games on DraftKings due to a low salary. Here, the price didn't match the talent. On FanDuel, however, he may have been a little higher priced than he should have been. There may be questions about whether Donald was the sixth most talented player in this field, but his amazing course history made Donald a top play. But, let's say you needed someone in this range, and this was the only tool you used.. Here are all of the 8k and higher guys on FanDuel that week:
Most people who follow golf would look at this and say that a lot of those below Donald would be better golfers. At the time, Hadwin had just won and had a bunch of Top 25 finishes. Hatton was a Top 25 ranked golfer in the world at the time and his only missed cut was at The Masters; everything else was a top 25 finish. If this is the consensus among the rest of the industry, this makes Donald now a great low-owned play. Whether it's golf or other DFS sports, one of the best ways to be contrarian is to "pay up" for a player that has talent, but seems to be priced higher than he should be.
In summary, this first sheet gives you a quick idea of where to play certain players and find the values needed for each site. But, the price can also dictate ownership, something that is huge in tournaments, if you're looking to differentiate your lineup from others.
Playing on One Site
Maybe you're just playing on one site. How can this help you? I think the best way is to make you aware of who may be overpriced and underpriced. I'm going to use the 2017 Valero Texas Open as my example here.
Let's say you play on FanDuel only. As you are looking at players, maybe you are interested in Hunter Mahan. He was $5,600 this week, which is not a bad price on FanDuel for a golfer. But, you notice that he is one of the lowest salaries on the other sites. This should prompt you into looking into him a little more (stats, course history, and recent form) to see what site(s) has the most accurate pricing. Similarly, Brandon Hagy is priced as a mid-tier option on the other two sites; however, FanDuel has him very low priced at $4,800. Just like before, this should have you look at Hagy more to see what site(s) has the correct value.
To summarize, even if you are playing on only one site, you can potentially find values and overpriced players, simply by comparing a golfer's salary rank on your site, and comparing it to the other sites. Ideally, you should do a little digging yourself to see why there is a mispricing and what site is most accurate. Additionally, if you are entering multiple lineups or just trying to fill in your last lineup spot, it's also a good way to spot values, if you don't have the time to research.
Tournament/Course History File
One of the biggest debates that DFS Golf players get into is the value of a player's history at a certain course or tournament, since some tournaments change courses on a regular basis (U.S. Open, PGA Championship, etc...). I personally think there's a lot of value in it. However, I tend to treat it in a similar manner to batter vs pitcher in baseball. Small samples may mean something and can be used as tiebreakers between players. Larger samples are worth noticing and can either justify a pick, or give you a good chance to fade someone in tournaments. What is a significant sample for me in this? I would say three to four appearances at an event. My file shows the past five years of tournament history (will be six years in 2018, seven in 2019, etc...). I will designate when a different course has been used for an event. For this example, I'm going to use the 2017 WM Phoenix Open tournament history to point out things I look for when beginning my research (the Phoenix Open has been played at TPC Scottsdale for a long time).
You will notice that everything is color-coded.. As a rule of thumb, I will be looking for players with a lot of color that isn't red. I may also consider finishing position. The number in parentheses by each year is how many golfers made the cut. When I look at Jason Day's 57th place finish in 2013, I can assume that he probably had a bad day on the weekend, but probably wasn't terrible. It's a little higher than I like, but nothing that would deter me from playing him if he plays in Phoenix.
The obvious benefit of this file it to see if there is a player who plays well at a certain course or tournament. There could be many reasons: the player grew up in the area, the course favors a certain style of play (long-hitter, accurate hitter, great short game, etc...) or the player's strength is what's required to do well at a course. For example, Hideki Matsuyama loves TPC Scottsdale, as you can see with two wins, a 2nd, and a 4th place finish. While this would make him a great play at the event, you probably can believe that it will make him a very popular play, as well. Even the biggest opponents of course history will factor this in and play him. So in a lot of ways, this can predict ownership. This is useful for the tournament player, as you may want to fade him, since it's hard to expect a PGA Tour player to have five straight Top 5 finishes at an event.
Another thing this file can assist with is to help determine other cash and tournament plays. If you see someone who has made a lot of cuts at a course (Geoff Ogilvy or Jason Bohn), and they are cheaply priced, it makes for a decent punt play in cash games, assuming their form isn't terrible. In the case of this tournament, I also can look at players like Harris English, Hunter Mahan, and J.B. Holmes as solid options if the price is fair. English hasn't missed a cut at this course, recently, and has 3 Top 15 finishes. Mahan and Holmes have only missed one cut and have won here before. Since I only go back to 2012, I decided to also highlight previous winners and the year they won, as a guide to let you know who may play well. I would assume that in 2018, all three of these players will get a little bump due to tournament history, and would be viable plays with their success at this course.
In tournaments, I will look for players with some high finishes that I think may repeat. I'm looking for multiple Top 25 finishes or better. Graham DeLaet jumps out here. The past six trips, he has three Top 10s, a 55th, and two missed cuts. He's all over the board, and while maybe a tad too risky in cash games, has the upside you want for tournaments. This is also a good time to jump on a newer player who played well in their debut at the event. You see J.J. Spaun finished 4th in 2017. It's not enough of a sample size to say he likes this tournament (only played once). But, if you are deciding between him and a similarly priced golfer, and they both have similar stats and form, this success in one tournament could be a tie-breaker you can use to take Spaun over a similarly priced alternative.
To summarize, you can use course history as a good indicator of how a player may do in the upcoming tournament. You can find those who do very well, those who can be boom or bust, or those who struggle at this event. It can also help predict ownership and determine who is a cash game play, and who is a tournament only play. Since this is sports, there is always some variance that could happen. Example: John Senden at the Valspar Championship won in 2014. The next three years and 2013: missed cuts. Also, players who have performed exceptionally well at a course for many years have missed cuts.
Hopefully the files are helping you in your contests and that this article gives you some different ways to utilize the all the information included in your Golf Package here on MyFantasyFix.