PGA Tour Inc.

06/01/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/01/2020 12:15

DraftKings: How adjustments impact strategy

With the PGA TOUR resuming its schedule next week at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, here are some things you might consider when creating your DraftKings lineup.

Game theory is most important

We should use this strategy in every tournament, but more so now and weigh it heavier in our methodology over the next few weeks. Charles Schwab went from a 122-player field to 144, and we could see the same type of increase in future tournaments. More golfers means more to chose from -- and mathematically, a more extensive range of potential outcomes and subsequent winners.

More golfers in the field also equate to more players missing the cut. We should see an influx of casual players building DraftKings lineups with the PGA TOUR being one of the first live professional sporting events we've had since March, along with the popularity of the two recent charity matches. The concentration of ownership for notable or familiar players such as Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka, for instance, might be positions to fade or pivot off of and go with someone like Justin Thomas, Sungjae Im or Patrick Cantlay at a lower price or lower ownership. It also works well if the popular player(s) miss the cut and you didn't roster them.

The same strategy applies when there's an increase of notable golfers in the field, and ownership is dispersed among good players with similar salaries where you don't have to fade them based on their ownership number necessarily.

Lean on the putters

In most cases, rostering the ball strikers who have difficulty putting can reap success. For instance, over the last 50 rounds, Hideki Matsuyama ranks fourth in DraftKings Points gained on the field, but 199th in Strokes Gained Putting. The same goes for Justin Thomas, who's third in DraftKings Scoring, but 184th in putting.

The logic behind this is pure ball strikers will, on more occasions than not, put themselves in better scoring positions, and have a couple of solid putting days resulting in more points. On the other hand, really good putters might have their best putting day(s), but not be in scoring opportunities. A good example is Matt Kuchar, who is 10th in Strokes Gained Putting, but 138th in DraftKings scoring over his last 50 rounds.

With an extended time away from competition, we might have to look closer at players who have historically been stable putters over time. One of the toughest parts of golf to regain after a long time off, especially in competition, is the short game. Weighing putting a little more over the next few tournaments may be the prudent play until we see how things play out as the regular season continues.

Everyone's facing the same conditions

This strategy isn't a quantitative adjustment, but more dealing with player sentiment. We should always sift through prior transcripts and quotes from previous years to see if we can get an idea of how the course or tournament has played in years past. Over the next few weeks, we should also be listening to how the guys are handling the new situations they'll be playing in. So much of golf, at every level, is routine, and it's no different at the very top. We shouldn't entirely be fading a player at a reasonable salary and ownership just because they're out of their routine.

Still, if individual players start to mention it's going to take a while to get into the 'new normal' on more than one occasion, it's something to take into consideration. While it's good to keep a skeptical approach when athletes talk to the media, if there's any information we can extract from what they're saying and it could affect their play, we should listen and react.

Note: Reid Fowler is a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (username is reidtfowler) and may sometimes play on his personal account in the games that he offers advice on. Although he have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and he may also deploy different players and strategies than what he recommended above. He is not an employee of DraftKings and does not have access to any non-public information.