Tuesday 27 March 2018

Houston Open - DraftKings DFS Analysis

The Course/Tournament

In an effort to attract stars the week before the Masters, the 7,441-yard, par-72 Golf Club of Houston is set up like Augusta as much as possible with firm, fast greens, closely mown grass and fairways cut from the green back to the tees. Winners since its inception in 1946 is a veritable who's who of post-war golfing greats, including Byron Nelson, Bobby Locke, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Phil Mickelson. One noticeable absentee from that list is Tiger Woods, who has never played the event, even before it was final tune-up event before the Masters.

The weather isn't expected to be much of a factor, with warm temperatures, lowish winds and no rain forecast during the four days of competition. However there is a possibility of rain on Wednesday, which would soften the course up and lead to easier putting and consequently lower scores for the first day or two.

Recent Winners

Despite its heritage of legendary winners, the Houston Open hasn't produced many big name winners in recent times. This is no doubt to the preference of the bigger names to not play the week before The Masters. The notable exception to this trend is Phil Mickelson, a recent winner in Mexico and a winner here in 2011.

2017     Russell Henley
2016     Jim Herman   
2015     J.B. Holmes   
2014     Matt Jones 
2013     D.A. Points
2012     Hunter Mahan  
2011     Phil Mickelson
2010     Anthony Kim 
2009     Paul Casey 

Horses for Courses

Many golfers like playing certain tracks and this is reflected in their usually good performances at the venue. The following golfers have good records at the Golf Club of Houston in recent years:

Russell Henley
Rickie Fowler
Phil Mickelson
Jordan Spieth
Matt Kuchar
Charles Howell III
Keegan Bradley
J.B. Holmes
Scott Piercy
Cameron Tringale

Region Specialists

Some golfers play well in certain regions, perhaps because of the climate, affinity with the local area, grasses used on the golf courses or time of year the tournaments are played there. The following golfers have good records playing in Texas in recent years:

Russell Henley
Rickie Fowler
Phil Mickelson
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Jordan Spieth
Matt Kuchar
Daniel Berger
Sean O'Hair
Charles Howell III
Bill Haas
J.B. Holmes
Scott Piercy
Sung-Hoon Kang
Bud Cauley
Danny Lee
Kevin Tway

Form Golfers

When a golfer is playing well, you have to make hay in your DraftKings contests! The following golfers have been playing well lately:

Justin Rose
Phil Mickelson
Henrik Stenson
Luke List
Seung-su Han
Shubhanker Sharma
Kelly Kraft

Coming Into Form Golfers

Identifying golfers who are starting to play well and jumping on them before everyone else can you an edge in your DraftKings DFS contests. The following golfers are showing signs of coming into form:

Rickie Fowler
Matt Kuchar
Charles Howell III
Harris English
Paul Dunne
Ian Poulter
Abraham Ancer
Corey Conners

Similar Strength Events

Certain golfers only play well in events with weaker fields, while others shine when the opposition is more severe. The following golfers have played well at events with similar strength fields to the Houston Open in recent years:

Justin Rose
Brandon Harkins
Matt Kuchar
Jordan Spieth
Phil Mickelson
Rickie Fowler
Jason Dufner
Shane Lowry
Bill Haas
Henrik Stenson

Long Cut Streaks

It's vital to get as many of your line-up into the weekend if you want to succeed in your DraftKings DFS contests. The following golfers with the longest cut streaks in the field may be solid choices to maximise your points scored this week:

Matt Kuchar (24)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (14)
Emiliano Grillo (14)
Justin Rose (13)
Dylan Frittelli (12)
Thomas Pieters (12)
James Hahn (12)
Rory Sabbatini (8)
Martin Kaymer (7) 
Luke List (6)  
Seung-Su Han (6)
Patrick Rodgers (6)
Tyrone Van Aswegen (6)
Nick Watney (6)

Most Strokes Gained Putting

As the greens will be set up like those at Augusta, putting prowess will be very important this week (assuming the course isn't softened up by pre-tournament rain). The following golfers  have the best strokes gained putting (per round) in the field on the US Tour:

Phil Mickelson (1.082)
Greg Chalmers (1.034)
Justin Rose (1.022)
Meen-Whee Kim (0.825)
Chris Stroud (0.794)
Nicholas Lindheim (0.742)
Ben Crane (0.664)
Brandt Snedeker (0.655)
Peter Malnati (0.652)
Patrick Rodgers  (0.586)
Seamus Power (0.572)
Daniel Berger (0.531)
Emiliano Grillo (0.498)
Matt Kuchar (0.474)
Johnson Wagner (0.470)

Most DraftKings Average Points Per Game

This important metric shows the average points scored by each player in DraftKings contests this season. High values indicate golfers who have consistently delivered in contests and therefore could be good choices. The following golfers have the best DraftKings average points per game in the field:

Justin Rose (96.250)
Phil Mickelson(91.875)
Seung-Su Han (87.375)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (82.875
Dylan Frittelli(82.750)
Shubhankar Sharma(81.150)
Rickie Fowler (79.750)
Henrik Stenson (77.188)
Chez Reavie (75.042)
James Hahn (73.950)

High Salary DraftKings Picks (above $7.7k)

Normally, the golfers in this category are in the top echelon and therefore have the best stats. Based on the above lists and/or their average points per game, the following players stand out:

Justin Rose
Phil Mickelson
Rickie Fowler
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Shubhankar Sharma
Matt Kuchar
Russell Henley

Mid Salary DraftKings Picks ($7k-$7.7k)

It is usually possible to find some good mid-range picks for a tournament, as some golfers tend to be undervalued relative to their stats (of course, the opposite is also true!). Based on the above lists and /or their average points per game, the following players stand out in this category:

Scott Piercy
Seung-su Han
Kelly Kraft
Harris English
Chez Reavie
Corey Conners
Brandon Harkins
James Hahn

Low Salary DraftKings Picks (Under $7k)

It's tougher to find picks in this category, as it usually contains the lowest tier golfers with the worst stats. Based on the above lists and /or their average points per game, the following players are worth considering in this category:

Tyrone van Aswegen
Nick Watney
Cameron Tringale
Seamus Power
Lanto Griffin
Nate Lashley
Johnson Wagner


Hopefully, you can identify some good picks for your DraftKings contest using this post. Check out Golf Predictor for more great data and analytical tools for the Houston Open. In addition to many useful stats and charts, you can filter the field by over fifty metrics, including Draftkings salary and average points scored, and create your dream DraftKings line-up!

Monday 26 March 2018

2018 - Week 12 Winners

Bubba Watson (ranked 19th by Golf Predictor) won the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play on the European/US PGA Tour. The 39 year old American left hander won his second WGC title with an easy win over Kevin Kisner in the final. After both players played well to get to the decider, Kisner seemed to run out of the steam and was lucky to be only six down after seven holes! It was plain sailing after that for Watson, who won 7&6 in the end. Like previous years, a surprising number of the bigger names exited after the round robin stage, including defending champion Dustin Johnson. The world number who unexpectedly had a shocker and finished tied last (T59th). That gave Justin Thomas a chance to overtake him in the world rankings, but he came up just short, losing in the semi-final.

Brice Garnett (ranked 21st by Golf Predictor) won the inaugural Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on the US PGA Tour. The 35 year old Australian won his first tour title with a wire to wire victory in the Dominican Republic. Garnett opened up with 63 (-9) and held the field off quite comfortably, winning by four shots in the end. Our top ranked player, Emiliano Grillo, finished in tied 50th and in this new second string event, we had only six of the top nineteen plus ties (6/21).

Saturday 24 March 2018

Cosmetic Changes to Data Panels on Golf Predictor

Old look for data panels

New look for data panels

Most of the data panels have been updated on Golf Predictor. Twitter Bootstrap labels have replaced bare numbers in the data panels where there is a text label and value. This is shown above for the strokes gained panel for Dustin Johnson ahead of the WGC - Dell Technologies Matchplay. The first screenshot shows a segment of the Other Tab on his Prediction Data page as it was before this update and the second screenshot shows the new look. Panels with round scores (i.e. best/worst/average rounds) have been left unchanged,as they didn't look as drab as the aforementioned data panels!

As you can also see above, the data values in the Performance panel have also been updated with labels. The contents of each cell have also been centred to further improve the aesthetics slightly. Some notes on this cosmetic update:
  1. Any data values in these updated panels that have pop up text (e.g. average dollars/point for the field in DFS panels on the Prediction Data page) have been updated to be a label with underlined text.
  2. After much experimentation, the label colour was chosen to fit best into the current colour scheme. The exact colour will depend on your monitor/screen, but I eventually settled on a lighter shade of green than the panel headers.
  3. For the most part, to maximise the aesthetics, the labels are the same width. The exceptions are predominately labels containing a number in brackets after the main value, e.g. round averages with the number of rounds in brackets after them.
  4. Numbers with a percentage after them in brackets only have the number itself in the new label. This is because the labels tended to be a little too wide. This can be seen in the Performance panel above and also on panels which contains the number and percentage of wins/missed cuts/top tens etc. for a golfer. However, on most devices, they appear to the right of the label on panels other than the Performance panel
  5. Some text labels describing these updated data values have been shortened for optimum display on smaller devices. For example, "Ave Position" is now "Ave Pos". The key on the bottom of the relevant pages have been updated correspondingly.
  6. You may have to reload the page and its associated files (Ctrl + F5 on Windows) to see these new labels correctly.

I trust you will agree that these new look panels are an improvement over the existing panels and will make reading many of the great stats on the site easier. Just another way to make Golf Predictor a little better! 

Monday 19 March 2018

2018 - Week 12 Predictions/Statistics Online

The predictions and statistics for this week, the WGC - Dell Technologies Matchplay (European/US PGA Tour) and the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship (US PGA Tour), are now available on Golf Predictor. There's an impressive forty six of top fifty in the world rankings playing in the WGC in Austin this week. Although Golf Predictor is not designed for matchplay events, as usual the WGC has been put through the ringer! Meanwhile, the US PGA Tour also heads to the Dominican Republic for a new tournament. With so many big names playing in Texas, the field is decidedly second tier in the Caribbean. There are only four members of the top one hundred in the world teeing it up in the Dominican Republic.

If you want to try a DFS contest for this week's events, check out DraftKings or the Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the European Tour, PlayON.

Sunday 18 March 2018

2018 - Week 11 Winners

Rory McIlroy (ranked 7th by Golf Predictor) won the Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by Mastercard on the US PGA Tour. The 28 year old Northern Irishman won his fourteenth tour title with an incredible finish at Bay Hill. Despite a slow start Sunday, McIlroy finished the front nine well with three birdies in the four holes just before the turn. However, he outdid himself on the back nine with five birdies in his last six holes to beat Justin Rose and long time front runners Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau in impressive fashion. Rose was our top ranked player and he finished third in the end. Overall, we had eight of the top fourteen plus ties (8/21) on the testing layout. 

There was no tournament on the European PGA Tour this week.

Saturday 17 March 2018

New Popover Style on Certain Golf Predictor Pages

New popover for DFS field average dollars per point

I have replaced some of the many popovers on Golf Predictor. The ones updated are those on the Subscribe page and those in the DFS panels on the Prediction Data page for each golfer. These new popovers are now created using Twitter Bootstrap, replacing those created using older AJAX technology. This new popover style is shown in the screenshot above, for Justin Rose's DraftKings DFS panel for the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational. As you can see, these new popovers can also have a title row and look better than the old style popovers. Note that you may have to reload the page and its associated files (Ctrl + F5 on Windows) to see these new popovers correctly.

I will probably look to replace all of the other popovers on the site in due course, should that prove feasible. Just another way to make Golf Predictor a little better!

Monday 12 March 2018

2018 - Week 11 Predictions/Statistics Online

The predictions and statistics for this week, the Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by Mastercard (US PGA Tour), are now available on Golf Predictor. There's a strong at Arnie's event again this year, with ten of the top twenty in the world teeing it up in Orlando. Of course, eight time former champion, the resurgent Tiger Woods is also back at Bay Hill and is sure to generate massive interest again this week.

There is no tournament on the European PGA Tour this week.

If you want to try a DFS contest for this week's events, check out DraftKings or the Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the European Tour, PlayON.

Sunday 11 March 2018

2018 - Week 10 Winners

Matt Wallace (ranked 18th by Golf Predictor) won the Hero Indian Open on the European PGA Tour. The 27 year old Englishman won his second tour title with a play-off victory over his compatriot Andrew "Beef" Johnson in New Delhi. After both golfers finished on -11 on the very tough layout, Wallace hit a brilliant second shot on the par five eighteenth hole in the first play-off hole to set up a winning birdie. Our top ranked player, Joost Luiten, finished in tied 9th and we had eight of the top sixteen plus ties (8/21*) in an event with a poor field on a difficult course.

Paul Casey (ranked 7th by Golf Predictor) won the Valspar Championship on the US PGA Tour. The 40 year old Englishman finally won his second PGA Tour event in an exciting final day. Casey ended his long nine year wait by posting early and watching all the leaders fail to catch him. All eyes were on a resurgent Tiger Woods, who didn't hole anything Sunday until a monster putt on seventeen. However, Woods fail to reproduce the magic on the last and finished one back with Patrick Reed, who made a mess of the last to fall out of a possible play-off. Our top ranked player, Jordan Spieth, surprisingly missed the cut and in an event where many of the bigger names failed to perform, we only had nine of the top sixteen plus ties (9/27).

*Shaun Norris was one of the many withdrawals, promoting Green into the top twenty one of the GP rankings.

PlayON Analysis Added to Golf Predictor

Other panel on the Prediction Data page for DJ at the 2018 WGC - Mexico Championship, showing new PlayON DFS panel and renamed original DFS panel

New DFS sub-menu
PlayON Field Dollars per Point chart for the 2018 WGC - Mexico Championship

Further to this post from a few weeks ago, I am pleased to announce that PlayON DFS analysis has been added to Golf Predictor. The analysis is similar to the existing DraftKings features on the site and is comprised of the following:
  1. A new Predictions (PlayOn) page with seven new charts, similar to those on the existing Predictions (DFS) page. The latter page has been renamed - see note one below. These new charts include a great zoomable chart showing the value picks at a glance.
  2. A new PlayOn panel added to the Other tab on the Prediction Data page for each golfer (see first screenshot above). There are 4 new charts on this panel, again similar to those on the DFS panel (now renamed to DraftKings panel).
  3. A new PlayON DFS Builder page, where you can filter the field by over fifty metrics and build your PlayON line-up.
  4. PlayON Salary and points per game have been added to the Field rankings page with a new chart for each (same as two charts on the new Predictions (PlayOn) page).
  5. Two new PlayOn filters are now on the Filter Predictions page (bringing the total number of filters to 59), but not on the DraftKings DFS Builder page, where they are not relevant. Similarly, the DraftKings filters are not on the new PlayON DFS Builder page.  
Of course, this means that there will be even more data that I will have to import into the system on a weekly basis, but it should be of great benefit to PlayON DFS golf players. Some notes on this new PlayON functionality:
  1. I have renamed some existing pages now that there are two DFS companies catered for on the site. The existing DFS pages have been renamed to DraftKings, rather than the more generic DFS.
  2. You can not export your line-up on the PlayON DFS Builder page, as PlayOn doesn't have a line-up import feature.
  3. I've noticed that the salaries in PO contests sometimes are different to that in the exported CSV. I can only go by what PlayOn supply in their downloadable CSV file on a Monday.
  4. I've displayed the PlayON salaries in thousands, rather than millions for two reasons: it makes them less unwieldy to deal with and it makes them the same as DraftKings (and hence easier for me!). I tried using "21.3" and "21300000" for 21.3 million, but both caused problems either with salary and/or average dollar per point. This means that 21.3 million is shown as 21300 on the site, i.e. whatever the PlayOn value is in millions, it is in thousands on GP. It doesn't affect the functionality as all money values (dollars per point and salary cap) are scaled down by the same factor (1000).
  5. I have added a new "DFS Options" sub-menu to the Predictions menu with all the renamed DFS pages for DraftKings and the new PlayON pages. This can be seen in the second screenshot above. I decided to use sub menus due to the number of options now on the Predictions menu. I will probably add at least one to the longer Form menu also to allow for future additions.
  6. This new "DFS Options" sub-menu gave me (many) more problems than the new PlayOn functionality! After a long battle, I was finally able to get it to work on all types of device. On PC, phones and tablets where you can see the normal menu, you have to click on this option to expand it to the right. On small mobile devices with a collapsed menu, the "DFS Options" sub-menu will be permanently expanded. Originally, I had the new DFS sub-menu appearing on hover, which worked great on mouse based devices (i.e. non touchscreen PCs). However, this caused the menu to malfunction (in different ways!) on various touch devices and on PCs with a touchscreen and a mouse (these hybrid devices were the worst!). Note that the sub-menu will remain open (when the Predictions menu is open) with the "DFS Options" highlighted when clicked until you click it again, even if you navigate to a different menu and back again. Of course, navigating to a different page will also close the sub-menu.
  7. Further to the above point, I have tested the new sub-menu on a non touchscreen PC, a touchscreen PC, an Android phone, an iPad and an iPhone. It appears to work on all these devices.
  8. Judging by the zoomable field dollars per point charts (see third screenshot above, for the 2018 WGC - Mexico Championship), PlayON seems to overvalue the high salary golfers considerably and undervalue the low salary golfers to a lesser degree. This is reflected in very red colour coding for the dollars per point column for the top players and green colour coding for lower ranked golfers. I have noticed this for all tournaments in the system so far and leads to the steep average line in the charts. DraftKings tends to have more balanced salaries for the field. 
  9. You may have to refresh any page (Ctrl + F5 on Windows) you have viewed recently to see the new sub menu and PlayON DFS options.

The new charts added as part of this new PlayON functionality brings total number of charts on the site crashing through the 500 barrier to 510! I trust you will find these new features useful for your PlayON DFS endeavours. Just another way to make Golf Predictor even better!

Sunday 4 March 2018

2018 - Week 9 Winners

Phil Mickelson (ranked 12th by Golf Predictor) won the WGC - Mexico Championship on the European/US PGA Tour. The 47 year old American won his forty third tour title after an almost five year gap since his last. In doing so, Mickelson became the oldest ever WGC winner by some seven years in an exciting day's golf in Mexico. After the fast finishing Justin Thomas holed out for eagle on the last to set a challenging target, Mickelson rose to the occasion to catch him with two late birdies. On the first extra hole, Mickelson secured the title after Thomas hit a weak chip and missed his par putt. Defending champion, Dustin Johnson, was our top ranked player and he finished in tied 7th. Overall, we had eleven of the top eighteen plus ties (11/19).

George Coetzee (ranked 3rd by Golf Predictor) won the Tshwane Open on the European PGA Tour. The 31 year old local delighted the home support by winning the title for the second time. Coetzee overcame some Sunday weather delays and an early bogey-bogey wobble to beat Sam Horsfield by two strokes. Coetzee single putted many greens around the middle of his round to pull away from the field. Our top ranked player, Julian Suri, finished in tied 48th and we had eleven of the top twenty one plus ties (11/28).