The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 7, 2018 07:55

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am

Is your heart beating a little faster than normal right now? Are you feeling a little anxious? Do you find yourself checking for your favorite fantasy football columns only to realize that they are on hiatus for the next seven months? I’ve been there before. We all have. In my earlier years February used to be the longest month of the year and in some ways it still is. Although my Vikings were unceremoniously dismantled by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game just over two weeks ago, I was not going to let that setback dull my high during Super Bowl Sunday when Minneapolis played host to Super Bowl LII. The game that used to be so anticlimactic most years throughout my childhood has evolved into one of the most intense and exciting championship events that I look forward to all year and this game lived up to the hype and then blew it away. And yet now, it’s over. And here we are, the first week of February and there is no more football on Sunday to look forward to for many months.

In our youth, Jeff and I nicknamed this time of year, The Doldrums for sports. We’re about six weeks away from March Madness, two months away from The Masters and three months away from playoff hockey and basketball. To add insult to injury, this has been a particularly aggressive winter so there are now fewer distractions to get us to April when winter’s spirit is finally broken and 40 degrees starts to feel like a sauna after many months of deep freeze. So what do we do? Are you content to listen to pundits discuss such exciting topics as the never very exciting race for MVP of the NBA? Are you willing to lose yourself into figure skating over the next two weeks of the winter Olympics? Maybe you can pretend to be excited about Spring Training and the endless chatter on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports about season long drafts that is so dull to listen to that I am not even convinced the hosts are entertained by it.

There is another alternative. You could dig into PGA right now, long before the masses come back in all the way at Augusta in two months. You could start studying the European Tour and all the big names that will cross the pond over the next two months in a steady trickle as they hone their game in preparation for The Masters. You can immerse yourself in everything that is going on with the PGA Tour and catch up on who is playing well, who is nursing an injury, who is making an equipment or caddie change and who is dealing with personal issues. You can lose yourself in some of the best events of the season which started two weeks ago and which will carry on all the way through the summer, right up until… guessed it, the NFL season returns. Or maybe you start watching bowling. Your choice.

As for me, these next few weeks are always a lot of fun. Did you notice that as we move to Pebble Beach this weekend that we have five of the top players in the world in the field. These past few weeks it just feels like it has been building up as the fields get stronger for this west coast swing. With Tiger returning again next week at Riviera, I do not see this trend slowing down anytime soon and early on this is already shaping up to be a very special year for the PGA Tour. We had a great weekend that was capped off with a big Gary Woodland victory on Sunday. I cannot recall how many times I have written and talked about Woodland being on the verge of winning over the last year, but I feel the need to take a little victory lap of my own after writing this last week:

Gary Woodland – He will make you crazy in the early rounds, but he will generally find a way to make it through the cut and once he does, he’s one of the best in terms of DK scoring that you are going to find. His tee to green game is in great shape, he’s actually putting well to start the season and he is always solid in Par 5 scoring. Although he’s had some missed cuts here in recent years, he’s really elevated his game of late and I think he wins at some point in 2018.

Woodland was a core cash game play last week as well as a core GPP play for me which helped me to clinch my cash games early, although some unexpected shenanigans from some notable players cut me down in my big GPP lineup for the week. In case you did not notice, not only did I lay out a blueprint to build around for cash games last week, but the six players that I wrote up just so happened to fit inside the $50k salary cap so good on those of you who picked up on it and ran with it like I did for my cash game team of the week. Webb Simpson was an obvious disappointment, but we did not need him at all as four of the remaining five golfers put on masterful performances that had the team near the top of the leaderboard once the tournament ended on Sunday.

I talked about scheduling your bankroll at the beginning of the year and I want to hammer home that point again right here. The Farmers and the Waste Management Open are two of my absolute favorite early season events for building my bankroll, especially in regards to cash games. We have really strong fields which creates great bargains in the middle salary tiers for players who would otherwise be much more expensive in weaker field events. When we get Matt Kuchar at the RBC Heritage, he’s probably $11k and close to unusable in cash games. Last week, we were able to pick him up at $8,400. When we can get golfers of his caliber at that price, it makes our lives so much easier in terms of finding consistent golfers who will make the cut. I think one of the biggest issues that we see in pricing on DK is that from around $8k and up, DK will rarely, if ever, have two golfers that share the same price. Just take a look at the pricing this week: 19 golfers between $8k-11.7k, 60 from $7k-$7.9k and 76 golfers between $6.5k-$6.9k. This is how they will spread the pricing out all year so get used to seeing it this way and be able to take advantage when players like Brendan Steele are at $7,800 and ZJ is $7,700 and Patrick Reed is a mere $7,600. These are guys who will see a serious price jump when the fields thin out at some of the filler events in the summer and fall, but who have essentially the SAME upside right now, even if the field is a little more top heavy.

This week, the pricing is really strange. It feels like twenty golfers who should be in the $7-7500 range landed below $7k this week and were replaced by 20 others who should be in the middle $6k range. The names that stick out are wildly obvious and I could see them pop out at me like the circles on the old depth perception tests I used to take every year in the military. In case it is not already a regular part of your weekly research, take a moment to click the link here and sort from high to low and you’ll see some very good players popping up as values when tracking the odds vs their respective prices. There is certainly still some risk in these names, but plenty of upside as well. For the life of me, I have no idea how DK settled in on pricing for many of these golfers, particularly when FanDuel has its prices locked down tight this week and is very solid from top to bottom.

In situations like this, you are really going to be put to the test for GPP contests this week. In cash, there is just no question about locking in two particular players who I will mention below. They may each reach 70% ownership, but it does not matter. If one misses the cut, they will be owned by probably 70% of the field so it will not wipe your hopes out of winning. Even more important, we get huge salary cap savings at the top which will allow you to be aggressive to the point of potentially even owning some of the most expensive players this week. With this event having no cut until after the 3rd round, getting a little more aggressive than normal with your cash game lineups is a perfectly reasonable strategy.

For GPP events, you will need to be a little more careful in selecting your lineup. When there is an error of this magnitude in PGA, you need to do one of two things to adjust. First, you can dramatically overweight these mispriced players on your teams. If you wanted to own them at a 70-80% clip for a 20 max contest, I would not have an issue with that. When they do well, you gain leverage on the field by owning them at more than twice the number of the rest of the field. Second, you can fade them completely. Here, you are really hoping that one or both golfers miss the cut and over half of the teams in bigger contests get wiped out in one fell swoop. Those are the ways to be contrarian and will help you to avoid simple field chasing where you neither gain or lose from a player’s performance. For the smaller buy-ins, I will probably overweight these mispriced players in hoping that they play well and help me to create a cluster of lineups close together at the top where I rotate in other pieces around them. If you are only playing one lineup in a single entry or a more expensive GPP like the Club Pro, I think you have to absolutely fade the two players that will more than likely approach or exceed 30% ownership around the $7k range. As we saw last week, nobody is ever totally safe either by way of injury or poor play so fading value players in this range when firing a single bullet or two just makes a lot of sense. If they end up in the Top-10, it will certainly hurt you, but this just is not going to happen enough and so you really have to look at it through a game theory perspective and not allow yourself to be drawn in by their chalky appeal.

In taking a quick peak at this week, we have another three course split where the cut does not take place until after the third round on Saturday. The cut rules are also a little different in that only the Top-60 players and ties move on to play in the final round at Pebble Beach on Sunday. Opportunities abound again this week for profits in weekend golf contests just as they were a few weeks ago at the CareerBuilder. If you do not usually play weekend contests, this is a great time to jump in. Seasoned players will understand why, but even if you are new, it should not be too tough to figure out. As far as the course is concerned, with the three course split this week, we again need to see if there are any advantages based upon the weather. Monterrey Peninsula is the easiest of the three courses while if the winds are up, Pebble Beach will play the toughest. With calm conditions, Spyglass Hill can equal or exceed Pebble in terms of scoring so it’s never automatic to gravitate towards any one courses rotation without first knowing the winds. For Thursday and Friday, I see no real issues at all for winds. However, on Saturday, by around 1 pm, the winds are expected to pick up and gusts of up to around 20 mph could take place. Keep in mind, the last group tees off at around 10:30 am on Saturday so this is not something that will hit all groups on Pebble equally, but this is worth watching before lineup lock on Thursday morning. Be sure to check out the hour by hour chart and although I would not necessarily fade any late Saturday tee times for Pebble, if I am only building one team in a big money game, it’s definitely something that I will consider. Here’s a good link for your weather research this week. Here is a very easy to use link for the tee times as well.

As far as an actual preview for the three courses, I am going to direct your attention completely over to Adam Daly’s column this week. If you were unaware, last night, Adam was awarded the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Golf Writer of the Year for 2017. That makes it two of the last three years that a writer on our staff has won this award as Jeff brought it home for us in 2015. I guess that puts the pressure on me to get my work noticed this year! In any event, Adam has been an incredible addition to our team and his knowledge of the various courses on tour is second to none as he provides one of the best and most detailed breakdowns each week in one of the first columns that we post on Monday nights. If you have not checked out The First Tee yet, please do so this week and in the weeks to come as it is a great spot to begin your course research for each tournament.

Key Stats for the Week:

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 20%
Proximity: 20%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 15%
Par 4 Scoring: 10%
Strokes Gained Off the Tee: 5%
Scrambling: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 7, 2018 07:55

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