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PGA DFS: Balanced Lineups vs. Stars and Scrubs

May 24, 2020

The PGA DFS industry has continued to gain momentum over the past couple of years. Last July, PGA Tour and DraftKings Inc. announced a multi-year partnership. This was huge news for the DFS industry, as it will provide the Tour with another opportunity to engage fans and grow the game. We can expect bigger cash prizes and even various PGA Tour prizes down the road in DraftKings contests.

Before you begin constructing your DFS rosters, it’s very important to analyze the strength of the field. Identifying golfers that are mispriced is crucial to gaining the edge on the competition. Because there are 46 PGA Tour events each season, the strength of each field varies considerably from week to week. Fields can either be very top-heavy or well-balanced depending on the tournament.

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Balanced Lineups

The best spot to build balanced lineups is in strong fields with plenty of highly ranked golfers in the mix. For example, almost all of the world’s highest-ranked golfers compete in the four majors each PGA season. You will be able to fit many elite golfers into your roster builds in a major tournament. Getting as many high-level golfers into your lineup as possible greatly improves your chances of all six golfers making the cut and putting up points over the course of four days.

One thing to always remember is that birdies and eagles are what matter the most in PGA DFS. There is a very strong correlation between birdie-or-better leaders and the highest-ranked golfer in the world. Here is a list of the top-10 golfers in birdie-or-better for the 2019 PGA Tour season:

  1. Justin Thomas
  2. Rory McIlroy
  3. Gary Woodland
  4. Brooks Koepka
  5. Jon Rahm
  6. Patrick Cantlay
  7. Aaron Wise
  8. Adam Scott
  9. Hideki Matsuyama
  10. Troy Merritt

Seven of the 10 golfers on this list are top-20 in the official world golf ranking. Building balanced lineups in strong field events make plenty of sense. The more exposure you can get to elite level golfers, the higher your chance of racking up DraftKing points.

Stars and Scrubs Lineups

The best spot to make “Stars and Scrubs” lineups are usually in weaker field events. Many of the world’s highest-ranked golfers will choose to skip certain events during the season. That leaves some events with very weak fields and with only a few of the world’s best teeing it up. For example, Rory McIlroy was the heavy favorite to win the Canadian Open last season. With only a few of the world’s best in the field that week, including Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, and Shane Lowry, McIlroy was a must-play in DFS lineups.

McIlroy ended up winning the tournament by seven strokes. He was in a class of his own heading into the event. It was the perfect week to make a Stars and Scrubs lineup. Pairing McIlory with other stars like Webb Simpson (who finished T2) and Shane Lowry (T2) would have been the perfect core to your lineup. The next challenge is finding those “scrubs” who can outperform their value and score well for your DraftKings lineups.

Finding golfers who can outperform their salary is the tricky part of PGA DFS. If you are playing a “Stars and Scrubs” lineup, you must find players in the low $7,000 range and $6,000 range. One of the ways to narrow down your search in this range is to look at course history. More often than not, you find golfers down the board that have performed well at that specific event. If their recent form looks decent, it is another green light to get them in your lineup.

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Nic Turner is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nic, check out his archive and follow him @sportzbandit.

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