- The Valspar Championship will be underway Thursday morning.
- Justin Bailey takes a data-driven approach on his favorite leverage plays.
- Strokes Gained data and the FantasyLabs Perfect% and SimLeverage in the PGA Models are the foundation of his analysis.
If you’ve ever read “Antifragile” by Taleb, then you’re familiar with how certain things gain from disorder in life. This notion certainly applies to DFS.
If there is one thing to take advantage of in PGA DFS (and DFS in general), it’s people’s overconfidence in their ability to predict what’s going to happen in the future.
Granted, you still need a lot to go your way in DFS. Even if you successfully fade highly-rostered players who end up failing, you still need to get your pivots correct to take full advantage.
The goal of this article is to help identify a few golfers we should consider using to help leverage our lineups against the field by using our brand new feature in our PGA Player Models.
If you missed it, we added two new metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
This analysis may reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
Strokes Gained is available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
When deciding on pivots to make, I keep things very simple.
I’ll look at ownership projections, discrepancies in betting odds, projected points, and I stick to more catch-all golf metrics like Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Total Strokes Gained, and Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score) instead of getting very granular.
I’m always interested in a minimal approach in an industry that tries to overcomplicate things.
Let’s dive in.
Note: Data Golf’s True Strokes Gained data is over the last 50 rounds unless otherwise specified.
Webb Simpson ($8,300 DraftKings)
Rostering Webb comes down to your risk tolerance. He’s been battling a neck injury and has played just twice in 2022, finishing T61 at the Sony Open and missing the cut at THE PLAYERS.
If there is one thing I’ve learned as a recently new (last few years) small-field GPP-only DFS player; it’s to be early rather than late on players.
So here we are with Webb, who is at one of the cheaper price tags we’ll see him at. When we ran our simulations, he ended up with a Perfect% of 15.6%, resulting in the fourth-best SimLeverage Score since his projected ownership is under 10%.
If Webb is healthy, which we could deduce since he’s in the field, then he’s a tremendous leverage play as someone who ranks 15th in True Total Strokes Gained in this field, including 13th in True Strokes Gained: Approach.
Xander Schauffele ($10,300 DraftKings)
Last week, Xander or Dustin Johnson was my last decision point. I ultimately landed on Xander (which actually cost me winning a qualifier to DraftKings’ Fantasy Golf World Championship, but I digress).
Anyway, I’m back in on Xander. He was -4 through 16 holes in Round 1 at Sawgrass. Then he had to finish off his round in the absurd winds, playing No. 17 and No. 18 at +5. He then proceeded to shoot +6 in Round 2.
He is shaping up to be the lowest rostered guy in this range, which makes this play even more appealing. He boasts the seventh-best Perfect% and has a positive SimLeverage Score in our models.
Additionally, Xander is tied with Justin Thomas for the best Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (68.7) in the field, yet Xander is projected for nearly half the ownership.
It’s possible his ownership reaches the high single-digits or low double-digits based on our ownership projections and Fanshare’s (available in our marketplace). He’s a strong play at those ownership numbers as someone who ranks 10th in True Total Strokes Gained and sixth in True Strokes Gained: Approach.
Last week, Cam Smith (woo!) was rated No. 1 in our SimLeverage metric so let’s dive into the guy who ranks first this week.