PGA Rookie - Lesson 04 - Using Player Cards to Build Lineups

Geoff Ulrich is one of the lead PGA contributors to the DraftKings Playbook. You may see him playing at DraftKings with the username ‘wavegoodbye’ where he’s made a name for himself specifically playing daily fantasy golf, hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @thefantasygrind

When you’re starting out with a new sport in daily fantasy it’s sometimes best to keep it simple.  This article is going to examine how a daily fantasy player can go about using the player cards on Draftkings to your advantage when building lineups for daily fantasy golf.  Specifically we are going to be looking at what pieces of information you should be focusing most of your attention on and how you can interpret the data to help you make decisions on certain players.

Where to Find the Information

The first step, obviously, is knowing where to look.  Every golfer on Draftkings has a link to data about their past play which daily fantasy players can see and use as they see fit.  Clicking on a golfer’s name— regardless of whether the player is already on your team or not—will pop up the window for you and allow you access to their player card and information.

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Once you have the player card in front of you there’s two tabs that you can click on to access different types of information pertaining to that golfer: “At A Glance” and “Game Log”.

At A Glance

Under the “At A Glance” tab, you get a broad spectrum of a player’s fantasy and real life performances.  There are many factors one can consider when looking at a player’s overall performance, but I would recommend focusing in on two important pieces of data.  First, and most important, is the player’s tendency to make or miss the cut.  Draftkings’ player cards allow you see exactly how many events a golfer has played in the current PGA season and how many times he has made or missed the cut.  This is very important since on Draftkings your golfers accumulate points every time they play a round in a tournament, and if a golfer on your team misses a cut, he only gets to play two rounds instead of four.  Since making the cut is so important for fantasy purposes, you can use the info under this section to find players who have a high rate of making the cut to help make decisions about similarly-priced players you are considering for your lineup.  A player who makes the cut at a higher rate than his similarly-priced peers will almost always be more valuable for fantasy purposes.

The second part of the card we can use to our advantage is the average fantasy point total for a particular golfer on the season.  You can use the average point total a golfer has scored over the course of a season to compare with other players who are priced in a comparable range to help make your decision.  Players who have played a high number of events and have higher average point totals than other players in their price range can be viewed as more reliable point producers under the Draftkings scoring system.  More events played with a high fantasy point average means more reliability, especially when the sample size is large (e.g. 5 tournaments or more).  Additionally, golfers who have played a large number of tournaments with a high number of top ten finishes on the year can also be considered for many of the same reasons.  These golfers will often have more potential than those who do not, since they have shown the ability to place highly on a more consistent basis—a feat which in the long run will translate to more fantasy points.

Game Logs

Under the “Game Logs” tab is where we can delve further into specifics about a player’s performance throughout the golfing season.  Detailed records of a player’s scores in past tournaments are available for us to use to help decide whether or not to roster a specific player.  The simplest way to use the data under game logs is to look for a player who has a positive trend in his past few tournaments.  For example, a player who has shown improved performances over the past 4-6 weeks is someone who we may be more inclined to use, especially over a player who has shown declining results or marked inconsistency over the same period.  Looking closely at one of the actual player cards below, we can see how these trends sometimes work:

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Using Graham DeLaet as our example, we can see that he started the season poorly with a missed cut at the Sony Open, but since that tournament, he rallied with three consecutive made cuts, including a top ten finish at the Phoenix Open.  DeLaet definitely fits our “player on the rise” criteria given his recent consistent play.  Additionally, looking further into DeLaet’s history, we can see that even though he did not have a great finish at his most recent event—Pebble Beach—the fact that he shot two extremely low rounds lets us know that his game is still in great shape.  Often times a players result in a tournament may be marred by one bad round and hide the fact he played very good golf for the rest of the tournament.  By looking at DeLaet’s scores from Pebble Beach, and not just his finishing position, we can see that he was still scoring very well and that his game remained in decent shape.

Thus, while finishing position is important to look at under game logs, I’d also recommended looking at a player’s in-game performance as well.  A grouping of low rounds (good scores) can often mean a player is ready to break out with a big performance.  Here we can see that DeLaet’s last 12 actual rounds of golf include scores of 70 or better in 10 of those rounds.  This means that outside of his pair of 76’s at Pebble Beach, DeLaet scored under par in his other 10 rounds during this period.  This shows that he is playing consistent, quality golf and might actually be primed for a big finish soon.

**Graham DeLaet went on to finish T8 in his next tournament: The Northern Trust Open

Conclusion

Player cards are only one tool in a player’s arsenal to help you make a decision about what golfers to use or avoid each week, but they can be very useful if the information is applied correctly.  When making a decision about certain players, I would recommend using the pieces of data from their cards mentioned in this article to help make decisions between similarly-priced players.  This should ensure you are not missing out on at least some of the best value plays at a certain price range and will hopefully improve your overall fantasy performance in a given week.


Continue Reading PGA Training Camp

PGA Rookie – Lesson 01 – Welcome to Daily Fantasy Golf
PGA Rookie – Lesson 02 – Stats to Start
PGA Rookie – Lesson 03 – Scoring Tips and Tricks
PGA Rookie – Lesson 04 – Using Player Cards to Build Lineups
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