Ryan O'Sullivan

The 19th Hole

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Yahoo! -- A Midseason Dream

Friday, May 23, 2014

It could end at any moment, but for now I’m riding the wave. The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial marks my third consecutive week entering a tournament ranked inside the top 20 of the Spring Segment and the Overall Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game. With that, I’ve received more than a few questions over the last several weeks about Yahoo! strategy.


My Rotoworld counterpart, Ned Brown, penned a solid piece on the same topic as the year was kicking off. Ned’s success in the Yahoo! format over the years is well-documented and undeniable. I suppose the difference in his article and this one is that I’m writing this during the peak of a consistently hot run.


As with any game, there is a certain element of luck in the Yahoo! format. The goal then is to continually put yourself in a position to be lucky while side-stepping land mines.



Selecting the Team


Yahoo! essentially offers two games within a game. The first is selecting an eight-team lineup and the second is deciding which four players to play each round.


Step one in my process is conducting tournament research and formulating a power ranking. This is done completely independent of outside influences and I generally follow the same research format every week. I try and combine course history, current form and relevant statistical strengths as they relate to the course in play. I’ve found this to be the lengthiest but most important step in the process.


Understanding that most people probably don’t have the time to do this, at least every week, I’d recommend Rob Bolton’s Power Ranking at PGATOUR.com, Mike Glasscott’s weekly preview at Rotoworld and invite you to check mine out at thegolfaficionado.blogspot.com.


The second step is converting the power ranking into a Yahoo! lineup. With the NFL Draft having just concluded, think of your player rankings as your Big Board for the week. Just like NFL GMs typically don’t reach for players, don’t give up too much ground for a want or a gut feeling.


Usually on Monday night or Tuesday morning I’ll spend about two or three minutes setting my lineup before walking away. Essentially, I try and see how many of my top eight players can fit on the team given the restrictions of the Group A, B and C format. It generally works out to where I don’t have to reach outside of my top 10 or 12 to fill a lineup. The nightmare scenario is when three of the top four players are all in Group A or C and I have to leave a player ranked that high off my team.


I’ll do a second pass at the lineup after tee times are released on Tuesday afternoon, at the same time checking the weather forecasts for the first two rounds to try and determine if a specific wave of players will have a decided tee-time advantage. In a perfect world, it works out to where I have four players available for each wave of tee times on both days. The inexact science is understanding when to leave off a higher-ranked player to reach and make that tee time split a reality. The difference between the sixth- and ninth-ranked player on a list may be negligible, whereas the difference between the third and seventh player on the list could be enormous.



Other Items of Consideration


Each player is allowed only 10 starts per year. We are reaching the point of the season where a player probably needs to be on a roster, but it would be best if he is only used if he presents the opportunity for bonus points. Matt Kuchar is a popular example. When this happens, pair him with a safe player who stands a very high probability of at least making the cut. There’s nothing worse than having to burn a guy like Kuchar in this situation for a T46 because his counterpart missed the cut.


Bonus points can erase a multitude of sins. If you are trying to make a tough call on a final roster spot, ask yourself if one stands a better chance of winning than another. That’s precisely why we’ve reached the point in the season where guys like Kuchar and Jordan Spieth have to be hidden on the bench for events where there is little or no intention of playing them.



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Ryan O’Sullivan joined Rotoworld in 2012. The Clemson grad blogs as The Golf Aficionado.
Email :Ryan O'Sullivan

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