When I heard daily fantasy golf was a thing I wanted in. What could be more exciting than watching golf besides now having a reason to watch golf.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been playing daily fantasy golf since 2016 and I don’t know if its something I should be doing. I win sometimes (nothing big) and lose more of the times. The “its fun” justification might be costing me a fair amount of money which is not fun.
So this is what I am doing for the 2018 PGA Tour golf season. I am going to submit one entry each week on DraftKings and FanDuel to one of their featured tournaments under $10 and post the results here.
If I make more money (even $1 more) than my entry fees at the end of the 2018 PGA Tour season (Starting in Jan 2018 to the 2018 Tour Championship) than I will play in 2019. If I do not than I will quit playing daily fantasy golf every week. I will allow myself to play in the four Majors plus the Players Championship. But that’s it.
I will play my “Bro Bros” strategy on DraftKings and “Course Horses” strategy on FanDuel and keep track of them in reverse chronological order with the most recent tournament at top.
**Oct 1 Update** – 2018 PGA Tour Season is officially over. Check out my results and thoughts below. Everything above is from my original post in Jan 2018.
|Corales Puntacana||WGC Dell Match Play||$9.44||$0|
** Waste Management Phoenix Open started when I was on vacation in Cancun, Mexico where DraftKings and FanDuel are blocked. I was able to submit two weekend contests on DraftKings as I returned home on Friday.**
Results: $896.04 entry fees – $404.57 in winnings = $491.47 lost
Wow! I suck at playing daily fantasy golf.
Let’s side step the money that I lost and look at the amount of times I cashed in. Out of 107 entries I cashed in 16 times. Thats a winning percentage of 15%. No bueno.
Looking into it further I cashed in just 4 times at FanDuel with 12 wins at DraftKings. For some reason it was harder to win at FanDuel versus DraftKings. And that doesn’t count the number of times I finished a few points out of the money on DraftKings.
My Plan Went Bye Bye
For the most part I stuck to my plan of playing my “Bro Bros” on DraftKings and “Course Horses” on FanDuel. It wasn’t until the last month that I abandoned the “Course Horses” and went with the free lineup tool on RotoGrinders.
I still didn’t win with the tool but the Course Horses wasn’t working and I got tired of looking up all the stats. Figured the tool took all the stats and previous results into play anyways so why not.
And I started to submit more than one entry halfway through. Kind of got bored watching one entry.
Got Screwed Just Once
Out of all the lineups I submitted I had only one player withdraw during a tournament or prior to his tee time. And that was Louis Oosthuizen at the PGA Championship which “tee’d me off”.
I checked his status an hour before lineups were to lock and there was nothing saying he was “questionable” so I kept him in. At 2:00 pm he decides to withdraw from the tournament for a back injury that was not in his report.
Why this sucks is DraftKings has a rule where lineups lock when the first player tees off at 7:20 am. I could not replace him. Not even with any of the 40 or so guys who had not teed off yet. He was in one of the last groups to tee off so my choices would have been limited.
I contacted customer service at DraftKings and explained to them what happened. Let’s just say they said “sorry about your $20 entry” over three email exchanges. And they would not refund me because I had this happen a year prior and used my one time refund. Basically, I should have known Louis was going to withdraw.
The entry did not come close to cashing but it would have been nice to replace him with whomever I could have with the salary remaining that had not teed off.
Almost Cashed In
There was really only one tournament where I had a chance to win a big prize and that was at the U.S. Open.
After the 3rd Round I had an entry on DraftKings sitting in 35th Place out of 186,746 entries. On FanDuel I had an entry sitting at 15th Place out of 54,419 entries.
All I remember seeing is me being up collectively $3500 before heading to bed.
The difference between 1st and 35th is placing. “If my guys shoot par tomorrow I have a chance” is what I was thinking.
Turns out I would have been right.
Sadly, only 2 of 6 shot par or better on both entries the last day which pushed me back to 2392nd place on DraftKings winning $80 and to 212th place on FanDuel cashing in $50.
It definitely made watching the last day of the U.S Open way more entertaining.
You can spend all day researching strategies on how to win at daily fantasy golf. And I’ve tried a number of them with help from the PGA Tour stats.
- Average Salary – Draft guys around the average salary mark.
- Studs & Duds – Draft top two or three guys (studs) and then whomever (duds).
- Highest Points – Draft by points starting at top then with remaining salary.
- Bombs Away – An entire team of long hitters.
- Greens In Regulation – A team determined by the best GIR players.
- Best Putters – A team of the best putters.
- Birdie Makers – A team of guys who lead the PGA Tour in birdies made.
- Country – A team of guys all from the same country.
- Bombers & Putters – A combo of long hitters and the best putters.
- Bro Bros – Draft 8 bros who are good enough to win every week and that you don’t mind watching. And then have other bros on your bench to plug-in when your starters are not all playing in the tournament or because of salary cap reasons.
- Course Horses – Guys who play well on particular courses. Check the tournaments past results and see what guys finished in the top twenty-five the past two years. If you see their name twice then pick them.
Before starting my experiment I tried all of them but none worked. Yes, I have finished in the money a few times but it did not give me an advantage. Why?
Daily fantasy golf is different from other daily fantasy sports in that its the only sport that gives points for where you finish. And it’s because golfers play in tournaments, not games.
There are no matchup advantages. And most golfers don’t get injured during play.
Yes, some golfers withdraw because they put up an 80 in the first round leaving them no chance at making the cut. From time to time a golfer might withdraw during a round because of an injury. But those are rare. Its happened to me three times.
Typically a golfer will withdraw before the tournament or disclose an injury giving you time to pick someone else. Golfers do that sort of thing because golf is a gentlemen’s game.
To win one of the big tournaments you need all of your guys to make the cut. Another reason why daily fantasy golf is awesome. Its like real golf. You suck, you’re out!
|Pick||2018 Bro Bros||Why?|
|1.||Rickie Fowler||He looks like he likes to party. I like to party. And he’s sponsored by Quicken Loans where a lot of cool people I know work at.|
|2.||Dustin Johnson||Sending Driver!|
|3.||Brian Harman||Reminds me of my brother. A short-ish lefty.|
|4.||Patrick Reed||Very good player who also appears to have a dick side of him. And every team needs a dick.|
|5.||Phil Mickelson||Reminds me of my Dad. A tall lefty. Similarities end there. Phil can still play.|
|6.||Brooks Koepka||Every team needs a do it all versatile athlete.|
|7.||Kevin Kisner||A gamer. Always seems like he has something to prove.|
|8.||Tony Finau||Every team needs a big man.|
|1.||Jonathan Vegas||Viva Las Vegas!|
|2.||Gary Woodland||Always seems to be lurking while tattooing the ball.|
|3.||Jason Dufner||He’d be that guy on the softball team batting .800 with every hit being a single. And after reaching 1st base he asks for a runner. There’s always space on the roster for an .800 hitter.|
|4.||Jason Kokrak||Touch the sky Phil Coke. I mean Kokrak.|
|5.||Steve Stricker||The adult. Been there done that. Gives zero fucks about your 350 yard drive.|
|6.||Brian Stuard||Is from Michigan. Went to Oakland University. Close enough to home.|
|7.||Ryan Brehm||From Mt. Pleasant, MI where my alma mater Central Michigan is. I don’t care that he went to Michigan State.|
|8.||Adam Hadwin||Since I live 30 minutes from Canada I figured why the hell not.|
|9.||Kiradech Aphibarnrat||The John Daly of Thailand.|
|10.||Tiger Woods||Because Tiger Woods.|
It’s quite an honor to be selected to the 2018 Bro Bros. Even if you’re riding the bench. On to greatness!
*After 7 tournaments I added one more bench player. Was running into issues where there were not enough guys playing where I could even submit a lineup.
*After 11 tournaments I added another bench player. Mostly because I can.
In most golf tournaments the difference between 1st place and 20th place is typically ten strokes. That’s two and a half strokes a day over four days. These guys are good. They all make birdies and eagles. It’s just who can consistently do it better over four days.
All five or six of your guys have to finish in the top 20 to get the points for where they finished. That’s where the difference is in finishing in the money with daily fantasy golf. To show how important this is take a look at the DraftKings daily fantasy golf scoring works.
Look at the difference between 1st Place (30 Points) and 20th Place (5 Points). All because of ten strokes over four days of golf. FanDuel golf scoring is basically the same. You need to pick winners.
We all want to pick that long shot to win like in horse racing but it rarely happens with golf. When I check the top ten entries on DraftKings and FanDuel at the end of the tournament I rarely see golfers names I do not know.
Almost all of the golfers picked were owned by 10% or more of all entires. And in those entries there were golfers owned by 20% or more of all entries. What this means is there really aren’t any “sleepers” with daily fantasy golf.
FanDuel vs DraftKings
I don’t feel one is better than the other and it’s because each site now runs their contests the same. Prior to 2018, FanDuel had you draft 8 guys but now they are like DraftKings which allows 6 guys.
DraftKings has more contests with larger cash prizes than FanDuel. DraftKings also has contests for the European Tour which I have entered twice but not again as that’s too many players to get to know.
I don’t prefer one to the other but after finishing my experiment I found to have better odds at DraftKings.
I prefer to play the tournaments. Theres something about the chance of winning a huge cash prize for $3. If you finish in the top 30% you should at least get your money back.
If you want to have a better chance of making money than play 50/50s or Double Ups. Basically, you enter with $10 and finish in the top 50% than you win $20.
These are not fun to me. What would suck is if you finish in first in one of those. If you entered with $10 and finished in first in a tournament you’d probably win $100,000.
Satellites and Qualifiers seem interesting but as I understand them you play these at a discounted price to win a ticket to one of the larger tournaments. The way I see it is if you have money than why not just enter the larger tournaments?
Refer A Friend
DraftKings – Create an account through my link, deposit more than $5, and get a 25% of the deposit back in DK Dollars which can be used on DraftKings to enter contests.
FanDuel – Create a new account through my link, play $20, and get $10 to play on FanDuel.
I’m kind of glad this experiment is over. It became kind of a drag as it went on.
My best guess is because I knew I was losing. And while losing $491 isn’t a devastating financial blow to me I could have spent it some where else. Like on actual golf. That’s about 15 rounds at the course I play every week. Which is a lot of golf.
And I hated it when my guys didn’t make the Friday cut. It kind of ruined watching golf on Sunday when the kids would take a nap.
I also hated it when all 6 of my guys would make the cut and I did not cash in.
Only eight entries on FanDuel had it where all six made the cut. Sadly, only three of those times did my entry make money. The other win had five make the cut with players winning the tournament and finishing in the top ten.
What’s odd with DraftKings is of the nine entries that had all six make the cut they all won money. And two entries made money with five players making the cut.
Just like in real golf I am a better feel player versus a stats or technical player. At some point the game is fairways and greens. Everything else is everything else.
And the results of my experiment say I’m better at picking players then a strategy based on stats or an algorithm is. Or at least an algorithm I know how to use.
Maybe the weekend tournaments where you choose from players who did make the cut but there are no points for placing would be better.
In the end, I should not be playing daily fantasy golf every week. The results say I’m not that good at it.
Fantastic article. Great analysis. I’m using the DRAFT app each week and loving it.
Brad Gibala says
I did not know about DRAFT. Maybe I’ll try it.