The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – The Shriners Open

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte October 21, 2015 08:41

Week 1 is in the books for the fall portion of the 2015-2016 season and we were proven correct in our assertions that the fall season is a great time to play daily fantasy golf. While a big GPP win eluded me yet again, all three of my cash game teams were triumphant as the core players that I picked last week played so well that they were able to offset a couple of players (ROBERT STREB!!!) that missed the cut.

In looking back at last week, I discussed the potential for there to be a few overlays out there for us to take advantage of for the week. While we did get a small overlay in both the $3 and $27 GPP, neither ended up being particularly massive in size. Unfortunately, in addition to the fact that there were not large overlays for us to jump on, the fact that the contests did not fill up has since pushed DraftKings to downsize its contests this week. We no longer have the $3 GPP withe the $100k 1st place prize which is a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully, as the current contests pick up steam this week and in the weeks ahead, there will be enough players so that the contests go back to their normal size before the end of the fall season. My thought last week was that the contests did not fill due to salaries being released a little later than normal and the fact that many daily fantasy players do not realize that golf is actually back already after only a two week offseason.

Before I dive too far into the Shriners, I want to take a few minutes to talk about the happenings in the DFS world over the last couple of weeks. I wanted to take a couple of weeks to watch events unfold so that I could offer some ideas beyond my usual ravings on Facebook about my dislike of government in all of its forms. Most of you are by now familiar with the catalyst for the events of the last few weeks. An employee of DraftKings was accused of having access to ownership data from his own site that he then used to build a lineup in an NFL contest on FanDuel where he won $350,000. The media, in its infinite wisdom jumped on the story with much fanfare, but with little education on daily fantasy sports.

The major industry players, to their detriment, set themselves up for this current crisis. In choosing to pursue a goal of breakneck growth before establishing the regulatory parameters under which said effort could be sustainable, both DraftKings and Fanduel opened themselves up for the attacks that they will be forced to fend off in the months and years ahead.

As the football season kicked off, the avalanche of new ads rolled out for both sites and contests to open the season swelled to four to five times the size of a year ago. The repeated theme of the commercials was the ease at which players could make money of these sites. The combination of winning a ‘big check’ or making a small deposit which then turned into millions filled new players minds with the thoughts of winning life changing money the moment they put their skills to the test.

I spent an hour this afternoon with Alan Bastable of and Michael McCann, a senior legal expert with Sports Illustrated, discussing the repercussions of the latest events and some of the various aspects of what to expect moving forward. The podcast will be available tomorrow and I will tweet the link out on our Twitter page for all to check out. The crux of the conversation was that regulation is coming in some form to the industry. When and how that happens, is difficult to determine, but it is on its way. While the initial incident in and of itself may not be that large of a problem, the fact that any negative light has been shed on daily fantasy sports has led lawmakers to call for the usual inquiries/investigations/calls for action that come with any crisis.

The problem that we as players and business owners within the industry are going to encounter inevitably is that question of whether or not daily fantasy sports constitutes gambling. It is unavoidable. The carve out in the 2006 UIGEA law excluded fantasy sports from being included under the vast umbrella of gambling due to it being considered a ‘game of skill’. While this is certainly true, there is still the risk of loss. While it is not guaranteed in the same way that the law of large numbers guarantees a loss in games like craps, roulette or slot machines, there is still a risk of loss for those that do not take the time to learn and practice the discipline required to be successful. Where this becomes a struggle for DFS is that any sort of admission that it could be construed as gambling puts it in the same groupings as all of those other hopeless endeavors and each state has very specific rules which either limit or prohibit gambling, regardless of the skill involved.

As a site involved in the industry, we value openness and honesty about the game that we love and write about each week. Our goal, beyond simply picking winning players, has and always will be education on how to best prepare yourself for each week in terms of strategy, contest selection, bankroll management and of course, lineup selection. Winning at DFS Golf requires careful preparation and study each week. Our aim with Fantasy Golf Insider is to do as much of that research as possible to help you to cut down on the time intensive process that many of the best players take on each week when building lineups and to give you small edges each week by digging a little deeper than everyone else to provide you with the tools and information necessary to make a steady profit by implementing the process that we preach week in and week out.

You may be asking why I am rehashing all of this as it something that you have read about often over the last couple of weeks. My answer to you is that it is vital to get back to the basics when looking at your play each week. Are you practicing the discipline that we have talked about? Are you playing within your means? Are you scaling back the amount of your bankroll that you put in play when you suffer losses? Do you find yourself chasing your losses with larger and riskier plays in order to try to ‘catch up’? These temptations are going to be all around you throughout your time as a DFS player. Every once in a while, it is important to talk about the process that allows us to be successful, especially for some of the newer folks that have joined up with us in the last couple of months.

The first step each week is to determine how much of your bankroll you are going to put at risk. What factors go into this determination? For me, I am looking at the strength of the field, the predictability of being able to choose players that make the cut and the size of the contests, more specifically, the ratio of novices to regulars to sharks are in the field. When I look at the fall season each year, the field strength is a weaker with a lot of newer golfers. Predicting who will or will not make the cut is more difficult as we all saw last week with many surprise players missing the cut. The contests are also a little smaller, which means that there are less novices and regulars to offset the tougher players in the field. With this information, I tend to play a little lighter in the fall.

The above is not meant to deter you from playing, but to make you think a bit about your game plan for each week. With the type of research that we do here each week and throughout the year, we do have certain edges in the fall that we can exploit. If your read our article before the fall season on sleepers and took our advice to heart last week, you were ahead of even some of the professional DFS folks who are paying far more attention to football than to golf at this stage. The fact that you are here diligently doing your research each week is going to keep you ahead of most of your competitors, but do realize there is an added degree of variance in the fall so patience and discipline is the key to success.

The next step is to determine how you will allocate your funds in the various contests offered for the week. A great rule of thumb is 80% cash and 20% GPP. The temptation for most new players (and veterans) is to chase the big prizes offered in GPPs. While there are players that can execute this strategy successfully, they are in the minority. Those that focus on GPPs and refrain from cash games typically are going to see a much bigger fluctuations in their bankrolls. If you have not accumulated sufficient funds, this is usually the path towards going bust and having to make additional deposits to start over.

For each week, the above ratio of cash games to GPPs can change. If the upcoming event is one where predicting missed cuts is more difficult than normal, it makes more sense to play additional GPPs rather than cash games. The key to winning cash games is to maximize getting your team through the cut. In weeks where this is more difficult to predict, our advantage will be lower in cash games. On the flip side, in those weeks, getting six through the cut in a GPP will have additional value as fewer six of six lineups will get through to the weekend. If you can press a few extra unblemished teams through the cut, you will have fewer teams to overcome and potentially have a better shot at a bigger prize.

Often times, I am asked about the number of lineups that I build each week for cash games. I have settled on a couple of rules to help me out. Typically, I make three cash game teams. I focus on around 10-12 players to build these teams and typically will not use any individual player more than twice. I will not always get a clean sweep in my cash games, but I go undefeated more often than I get swept and win two of three more often than I lose two of three. This approach helps me to minimize the volatility in bankroll and keeps me moving in the right direction.

For GPPs, I typically will play a range of games between $3-300 depending on what my bankroll will allow at a given time. With the higher degree of variance in terms of predicting which players will play well this time of year, I tend to play less in the higher buy-in events and focus my energy on building more teams in the smaller contests to try to gain a few additional full lineups that play into the weekend. If I know that on average that only 5% or 6% of the entries will get six through the cut, it just does not make a lot of sense to build one $1000 team hoping that I just happen to hit that one lineup perfectly.

The most important part of the entire process is being able to re-evaluate your bankroll and strategy each week. Did you win over the weekend or did you struggle and lose ground. If you lost, you must have the discipline to stay within your bankroll limits the following week. If you go through a losing stretch, but limit your losses, you will protect your bankroll immeasurably. Working through losing streaks is never easy, but an essential skill to master if you plan to make your bankroll last for any amount of time.

Finally, if you are confused on any of this, use Jeff and myself as a resource to help you through it. We are here to help you to develop the right kinds of habits that will keep you winning over time. We are never going to tell you that winning at daily fantasy sports is an easy task the way it seems in the commercials on television. It is a learning process, but one that can be mastered. My first suggestion to you is to start keeping track of everything that you play and all of your results. Seeing the numbers in front of you puts things into perspective and forces you to confront how well (or poorly) you are playing. Writing it all down ahead of time will also help to keep you from simply being impulsive and building random groups of lineups with little regard to how you are distributing your bankroll for the week.

And now we head to Las Vegas! Okay, so after last week, I am a little upset with Nevada, but it is a great place for golf and we finally have an event where weather is not looking to be much of a factor. TPC Summerlin is a Par 71, 7250 yard course that is a scoring paradise for players each year. Typically, the winning player will be around -22 by the end of the event so it is important to get off to take advantage of birdie and eagle opportunities. Three main statistics stood out this week in terms of importance: Birdie or Better Percentage, Strokes Gained Putting and Strokes Gained Tee to Green. There are others stats like GIR, Scrambling and Par 3 Scoring that play into the mix, but none are even close in terms of determining success compared to the other three so keep it simple this week and focus on the top three stats.

Good luck this week. Let us know throughout the weekend how your team are doing and touch base with me tomorrow with any questions on building your teams or strategy concerns. Also, be sure to check out our newest research tool, the ownership percentage prediction page. For the last year, Jeff and I have started our research by predicting ownership percentages for every player listed by DraftKings once salaries are released. Now you will have access to our predictions as well as a handy place to enter your own numbers. As a bonus, when you fill in your numbers, they are averaged with ours to give you a composite average for the three entries. It is a simple tool, but very useful and we think that if you commit to using it each week that it will have a very positive impact on your future results.

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Emiliano Grillo ($10,200) – One of our favorite sleepers coming into the season, he is no longer a secret to the fantasy world any longer. I started writing him up last season, most recently at the PGA Championship so I know that many of you are already familiar, but we are witnessing the rise here of another new young star. After three Top 10 finishes, including a win in the playoff championship event, Grillo was ready for a big performance at the Frys and did not disappoint. His price is even higher this week, but I think he continues his streak of solid performances and will own him again.

Brandt Snedeker ($10,100) – His tee to green game is a little up and down at times, but when he gets rolling, Snedeker can rack up a lot of birdies in a hurry as he is solid with the putter. His FedEX Cup performance was disappointing to say the least, but his season overall was largely positive with a win and a number of Top 10 finishes. Snedeker finished 10th here last year and comes in off of a 17th place finish last week at The Frys.

Birdie or Better %- 52nd
Strokes Gained Putting- 5th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 84th

Tony Finau ($9,800) – He did not have a dominant performance last week, but was still good enough for a T32. As one of the top scoring threats from last season, Finau is one of the best when it comes to birdie or better percentage. His putter is not quite as good as some of his peers, but has steadily improved since the middle of last season. He finished in 7th place here last year and will should be in line for another solid performance.

Birdie or Better %- 7th
Strokes Gained Putting- 109th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 34th

Jason Bohn ($9,500) – One of our favorite plays last season, Bohn is back this week coming off of another strong performance at The Frys where he finished T3 and would have made the playoffs had it not been for a disappointing bogey on the 17th hole on Sunday. He is not long off the tee, but he keeps the ball on the fairway, hits a high number of greens and putts well. He is 6/6 in making the cut at The Shriners with a high of a 2nd place finish just two years ago in 2013.

Birdie or Better %- 20th
Strokes Gained Putting- 46th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 40th

Webb Simpson ($9,400) – It is never fun at the beginning of the week for me when I find myself leaning towards including Webb Simpson in my writeup. He is notorious for his poor putting as I have discussed at length previously. However, Simpson is also known for his ability to dominate specific courses and TPC Summerlin has been one of those courses. He won the event two years ago and has two other 4th place finishes in recent events here. He was mediocre in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and missed the cut last week at The Frys, but knowing how he can turn it on for specific events, I will be including him on my teams this week.

Birdie or Better %- 68th
Strokes Gained Putting- 174th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 7th


Nick Watney ($8,600) – Nick Watney has never been a favorite of mine, as his play can get a bit erratic, but he has been making cuts and has one of the better tournament histories at TPC Summerlin with four Top 10 finishes as he is a Nevada native. His putter was lousy last year, but his tee to green game is reasonable and he is scoring threat so I am comfortable using Watney this week.

Birdie or Better %- 52nd
Strokes Gained Putting- 156th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 32th

Charles Howell III ($8,300) – CHIII was one of my favorite cut makers at the beginning of last season before struggling at around the midpoint and working his way through a rough patch. He is another player that does not shine with his putter, but plays well from tee to green and has a good tournament history with consecutive Top 20 finishes and four Top 20 finishes in his last six starts here. He is off to a good start this season after a 17th place finish last week at The Frys and should be able to continue his cut making ways this week.

Birdie or Better %- 150th
Strokes Gained Putting- 144th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 68th

Will Wilcox ($8,200) – The worst thing that I can say about Wilcox this week is that he will more than likely be the highest owned player in the field. I am really surprised that he did not get a bigger bump in price considering his 10th place finish at The Frys and his statistical numbers coming into The Shriners. Wilcox does it all well. He has a very good tee to green game and putts the ball well. He does have a tendency to make things interesting around the cut on Fridays, but his talent is undeniable and I expect him to have a breakout season.

Birdie or Better %- 17th
Strokes Gained Putting- 32nd
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 20th

Kevin Streelman ($7,900) – Every week, I find a few names that do not quite fall into the sexy pick of the week category. Streelman fits that mold this week as his statistics do not exactly line up well for TPC Summerlin, but Streelman does not seem to know that as he has not missed a cut here in five starts and has four Top 25 finishes to his credit, including a 2nd place finish last year. He played reasonably well last week at The Frys finishing 41st and while I do not anticipate another performance like last year, I do think that Streelman represents a good value for his price this week given his strong play here over the years.

Birdie or Better %- 125th
Strokes Gained Putting- 146th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 22nd

Hudson Swafford ($7,400) – Swafford grew a lot over last season and slowly worked his way towards being a consistent cut maker by the end of his run at the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He statistics are surprisingly strong for a player who has not had a lot of big finishes to date. However, in two starts at The Shriners, he has finished 18th and 30th and he started the season strong with a 17th place finish at The Frys. Given the weaker fields and courses that allow for more scoring opportunities, I expect Swafford to excel in the fall season and be well positioned for 2016.

Birdie or Better %- 24th
Strokes Gained Putting- 26th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 71st

Patton Kizzire ($7,600) – Get ready to start hearing a lot about Patton Kizzire this fall. Coming off of a remarkable season on the Tour where he finished in the Top 10 in 12 of 25 starts, Kizzire will look to continue the momentum this fall. He hits the ball about 300 yards off the tee, 8th in GIR, 1st in putting and 1st in birdie or better percentage. I am really excited to see how he performs although he did have some struggles in the playoff events. This will be a good week to use him in GPPs while he is still relatively unknown.

Spencer Levin ($7,400) – The statistics do not seem to line up for Levin at this course, but he has enjoyed a fair amount of success here regardless of the numbers. He has made the cut in all five starts here with three Top 10 finishes. His price is bit higher than normal but given his history here and the fact that he started the season by making the cut at The Frys, he appears to be a good cut maker with upside this week.

Birdie or Better %- 161st
Strokes Gained Putting- 124th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 20th

Jamie Lovemark ($7,000) – Coming into the final day of The Frys, Lovemark was a contender at -10, but then finished with a poor final round, shooting +5 to finish well back of the pack. Overall, it was an encouraging performance and as a bonus, his price is even lower than last week. He was not all that highly owned last week and should only see a small bump this week. He is a big hitter who can score so this course fits his skill set well.


Ollie Schniederjans ($6,800) – Ollie put up an okay performance last week with a T48 finish, but for his price, he gave owners plenty of value. I think that fantasy players have very high expectations for Ollie this year so that a 48th place finish feels like a bit of a setback, but the reality is that he is going to go through the same growing pains as all the other young players on tour. He should do well this week as he is a very good tee to green player and putts well so I think he makes the cut this week and could compete for a Top 25 finish.

Adam Hadwin ($6,500) – Hadwin was not an amazing tee to green player last season, but as the year wore on, he did steadily improve. In his first start at TPC Summerlin, Hadwin finished in 10th place and started the year last week with a respectable 41st place finish at The Frys. Hadwin is priced in the scrub range, but could easily exceed his price which is reason enough to use him often when building your stars and scrubs GPP lineups.

Birdie or Better %- 112th
Strokes Gained Putting- 48th
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 62nd

Jonathan Byrd ($6,300) – Byrd actually won this event back in 2010 and made four straight cuts here. At his price range, we are not looking for a made cut, but if we can get some upside, that is a great bonus. His tee to green game is about average as is his putting, but he did finish the season by making four straight cuts and sets up well to extend his streak to five this week.

Birdie or Better %- 87th
Strokes Gained Putting- 82nd
Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green- 102nd

Smylie Kaufman ($6,200) – One of the players that I was most interested in watching last week, Kaufman came through in a big way finishing in 10th place as one of several players who made a successful leap up to the PGA Tour. A lot of folks in golf have been excited about Kaufman over the last year or two, but he is still a young player and is going to have a lot of ups and downs where he goes through streaks where he is in contention followed by weeks of missed cuts. He fits nicely as a GPP play this week, but I would still be a little bit cautious until he establishes himself a little more.

Good Luck!



Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte October 21, 2015 08:41

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