The Audit: Looking back on Joe Book's 2017 Yahoo fantasy golf season

The Audit: Looking back on Joe Book’s 2017 Yahoo fantasy golf season



As the 2017-18 PGA Tour season commences, those of us who pour our lives into Yahoo! Fantasy Golf begin a torturous three-month crawl toward January. Yahoo! Fantasy Golf doesn’t use the erstwhile Fall Series in their format, so gamers will have to quench their fake golf thirst in other ways until the Sentry Tournament of Champions arrives on the first weekend of 2018.

This site gave me a forum to post my verbose (and often nonsensical) fantasy golf drivel, so I felt it worth the bandwidth to wrap the 2017 Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game into one neat little package. The overanalytical nerds like to pound numbers and assess the past season in order to learn from mistakes and carry successes along to the next year. Count me among them… so here goes nothing!

Despite the absence of Tour Championship winner Xander Schauffele, I managed to pile up 210 points from the season’s final dance, leaving me with 5,626 points for the year, good for exactly 500th place overall. Despite this falling inside the 99th percentile, the overall finish was just my third-best in the last four years. I posted a top-200 finish in 2014 and cracked the top-100 in 2015 before falling off the map (96th percentile) in 2016. Placing 500th out of more than 50,000 players is solid, but I was left with a feeling of unfinished business. (Sorry, readers… this entire paragraph comes off as arrogant and haughty, but I know no other way to continue positioning myself as a mildly-credible scribe!)



Throughout the season, I kept a spreadsheet of fantasy statistics, most of which had meaning only for my small-minded analysis. However, the end-of-year results for certain players might be useful for my 2018 strategy, so I’ll chuck some at the wall to see what sticks for you.

Yahoo! has a format that allows the gamer to use any golfer a maximum of 10 times during the season. This becomes important when building a season-long strategy, as burning through superstar starts early in the year can haunt owners who have no firepower left for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The other side to that coin is the notion that you always play a hot hand, no matter how many starts remain. Fortunately, a combination of both can work nicely. The Yahoo! game featured 35 tournaments last season, so using the right approach was critical.

Of the entire player pool, I exhausted all of my starts on only five golfers and used nine starts each for another five golfers. Through statistical compilation (screenshots and Excel) I managed to analyze what went right and what failed with these 10 professionals, and their relationship with the fantasy team know as Electric Mayhem. (This is where it gets nerdy.)

The Studs

The five players who started 10 times for me were Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Paul Casey. The first three names on that list racked up eight total wins for me and six other podium finishes, for a total of 205 bonus points. Remember, Yahoo! awards 20 bonus points for a win, 10 for a runner-up and five points to the third-place finisher. JT, DJ and JS played the role of superstar well, and even though Johnson and Thomas combined to miss five cuts for me, they still anchored my squad when I used them.

I took a major chance by using my final Spieth start at the WGC-Bridgestone, with six tournaments left in the season, of which I was positive he was playing five of them. He was the only one who I had burned out prior to the Tour Championship. Spieth had won his last two starts (Travelers and the Open) prior to the WGC event, and he had finished T10-T3 in his previous two runs at Firestone, so the converging trends were too strong to ignore. Jordan ended up finishing T13, and closed the season with 28-2-2-7-7. While I didn’t have the ability to pick up his bonus points down the stretch, the fact that he finished off the podium in three of the five events, and didn’t win any of them, helped keep my ranking strong.

Johnson had an average tournament finish of 5.75 in the eight weekends he played of my 10 starts, and his worst finish, other than the two MC, was 17th. Thomas was similar, in that he posted three MC and one MDF, but his other six starts for the Mayhem averaged a finish of 3.33. Spieth played the weekend in all 10 starts, and ended up with an average finish of 8.40, with only one tournament outside the top-13.

Justin Rose battled a mid-season injury, which sunk his overall performance. Notwithstanding, he played nine weekends from his 10 starts, and gave me an average finish of 25.00 with two silver medals. Paul Casey was a different story, as he made the cut every time I used him, but never hit the podium. Proving to be a microcosm of his PGA season, Casey gave me eight top-13 finishes, including four top-fives. His average round of 11.14 Yahoo! points was third-best of the group. Consistent, yet unspectacular.

The Next Wave

The five players who entered nine lineups for Electric Mayhem were Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Kuchar, Jon Rahm and Kevin Kisner. That seems like a strange group, but my plan worked out fairly well to have horses available for the final week. I had Fowler and Matsuyama on my roster for the Tour Championship but never started them as they both finished T26.

From this group, Rickie and Hideki were my stars, with both averaging more than 10 Yahoo! points per round, and both serving up one win and one third-place finish. Kuchar was very Casey-like, making all nine cuts but posting just two top-five finishes, and earning no bonus points. Unlike Casey, Kuchar’s 8.29 Yahoo! points per round was the lowest of the 10 players listed.

I misused Rahm often, as he was in the starting lineup for just 19 rounds in his nine starts. His five top-seven finishes on my roster should have yielded more than 9.79 Yahoo! points per round. Operator error. Other than his victory at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, Kisner was a bust, giving me only two other finishes in the top-40.

Summary

Looking back, it was a successful season. I hit a rut during the summer, but finished strong and secured my 99th percentile ranking for the third time in four years. Having used Justin Thomas for just 20 rounds and Jon Rahm for only 19, there is room for improvement. There were 35 tournaments on the Yahoo! slate, and I rostered the winner in 12 of them – the only winner that I had from outside the group of 10 players listed above was Russell Henley at the Shell Houston Open.

In total, Electric Mayhem earned 370 bonus points, which averages out to more than 10 per tournament, and cashed in bonus points in 21 of the 35 contests. Oddly enough, Spieth’s trophy from the Open Championship was my only winner in the majors, and I didn’t sniff the podium at The Players Championship… however, racking up 60 bonus points and 810 total points during the FedEx Cup left a winterfresh taste in my mouth.

Here are some final statistics to conclude with:

  • 280 – total rostered players; eight-man roster for 35 weeks
  • 160.74 – average Yahoo! points per week
  • 81 – rostered players with top-10 finishes
  • 43 – missed cuts from rostered players
  • 35 – tournaments in the Yahoo! season
  • 28 – rostered players with top-3 finishes
  • 12 – wins from rostered players
  • 5 – MDF from rostered players
  • 3 – WD or DQ from rostered players

Thanks to all my loyal readers and those who stopped in periodically. I thoroughly enjoyed bantering through email and Twitter, and I hope you continue visiting this site for the best golf coverage anywhere! Nobody knows what the future holds for Yahoo! Fantasy Golf, but if they open the game up for 2018, I will be all over it! Cheers!



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