Having joined Rotoworld in 2006, Ned Brown is the most tenured contributor to our golf content. The former Market Maker on the Chicago Board Options Exchange has enjoyed success across the fantasy landscape, including finishing 16th overall in GolfChannel.com's game in 2012, but he's flashed his most best long-term form in Yahoo.com's Fantasy Golf game where he's placed in the 99th percentile in every season but one. Here he shares his simple but proven strategy at how to succeed at Yahoo! To paraphrase the famous mantra, keep it simple, silly!
The holidays are quickly approaching, and with it the resumption of the PGA TOUR in Maui.
I thought I would go over the way that I approach the Yahoo! game, which will begin at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Jan. 3-6.
Yahoo! divides golfers into three Groups labeled A, B and C. Each week you form a roster consisting of two players from Groups A and C from which you start one in each round, and four from Group B from which you start two.
All golfers are limited to 10 starts for the season. Starting a guy in at least one round (as opposed to benching him for the entire tournament) will count against his total starts available. So, there is some strategy as to when to start the elite on TOUR so that you're not sitting on zero during the FedExCup Playoffs.
Points are rewarded based on actual score. Bonus points are distributed to all golfers finishing inside the top three at the conclusion of the tournament.
You have to do some homework before you pick your players.
I like to print up the results from the last three events on TOUR. The knowledge of the short-term trends is important because it will indicate who is hot and who is rounding into form.
I also print up the recent history of that tournament so that I can see which players have success on the course(s). GolfStats.com is a subscription-based site, but its performance charts alone are worth the investment for the serious gamer.
I then print out the bookmaker's odds on the tournament. This helps you see trends through the opinion of the handicappers. If nothing else, the lines help determine the chalk on which casual gamers tend to rely, but I'll also find that there may be a guy that deserves more attention than my own research suggests.
I will look at the statistics on PGATOUR.com to see if there are other trends of which I should be aware. Looking at the numbers, you get a nice feel of who is strong in the different categories.
After sitting down with a cup of coffee, I will review all of those factors. Almost always, I find that certain players will just jump out at you, but if none do, I like to look at the birdie statistics and see who has been moving up and down. Much like the stock market, you are looking at the direction and strength of change.
Of course, the most important thing is to make sure that your players are still in the field. On occasion, Yahoo! does not reflect withdrawals fast enough, but we publish changes via player news blurbs as soon as possible, so it's incumbent upon you to stay informed.
Setting Your Lineup
On the evening before the tournament, I will go on Weather.com or AccuWeather.com to look at how the conditions are lining up for the next day.
I like to go into the hour-by-hour forecasts and see if the weather will be better in the morning group or the afternoon group. I then use players from the group that has the best conditions.
When weather isn't a factor in picking players, I will go with the morning group because the greens tend to be better. I follow this pattern for the first two days of the tournament.
After the 36-hole cut, I lean on the golfers in each group that are playing the best. I might change this pattern if there is a weather problem, but I find playing the best players that week as the best way to go.
Patience, Young Jedis
In summary, the trick to the Yahoo! game is to identify the players that are hot or that have a good course history and going with those players. Still, the game is a nine-month marathon, so even if you have a cold streak, you can finish very high in the rankings if you just keep plugging away at it each week.