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Making the Cut

About the author:

My name is Joshua Slepkow. You can find me on Twitter at @crclngthdrn and crclngthdrn on DraftKings, FanDuel, FantasyDraft, and PlayDraft. I’m currently 26th in PGA RotoGrinders rankings and 1st in the Toughest $5 In Golf rankings. I play both GPP and Cash. I love discussing DFS golf, so if you have any questions about my thoughts, feel free to tweet me @crclngthdrn.  This is my very first article on DFS. I hope you enjoy.

About the Article

I’m new to this; I haven’t developed a style.  I am hoping a style will come. At the moment, I would prefer to take you into my thoughts and flesh them out.  I don’t want to simply give out picks. What is the fun in that? If you win, it’s because I gave you great picks. If you lose, it’s because I gave you bad picks. I would much prefer to help you analyze and think about players and lineup construction.

This article focuses primarily on DraftKings.  In the future, I hope to offer some insight into FanDuel and FantasyDraft. If you have any questions about my terminology or stats, feel free to scroll to the bottom.

Cash Game Review:  

In this section, I’m going to take a look back at the cash games from the previous week. Occasionally, I’ll breakdown my own lineup. We’ll also take a look at the cash line in several contests across DK:

$250 Double Up (1 max): Cashline 410.5

$9 Double Up (3 max): Cashline 404.0

$5 Toughest $5 In Golf (1 max): Cashline 394.5

$5 Giant Double Up (100 max): Cashline 382.5

You’ll see that as the entry fee increases, the cash line does as well. In the future, I will present the cash lines from a larger sample of the different cash games on DK.

Here is my lineup from last week:  

*Note Ownership % are from T$5IG

My lineup didn’t cash in on any of the contests above. I only decided to run out one cash line last week. I didn’t feel very comfortable with my cash line going into Wednesday and played less than my normal volume. In the future, I will give some insight into when I use multiple cash lines and when I decide to scale up or scale down my cash volume.

I’m not beating myself up over the lineup. Usually, a 5/6 lineup is going to cash. The weekends of Perez and Dufner really hurt.  The Haas MC was too tough to overcome as he was one of my most expensive plays.  With Stanley and Glover, I think I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. In my stat model, both looked great. Plus, they had positive Vegas odds v. salary differential, representing value.

Looking back at it, I don’t know why I didn’t pay more attention to their course history and see that there were much better golfers at similar salaries.The one thing I found the most surprising was the ownership of Rafael Cabrera-Bello.  He was owned about 8% in the big $5 and $25 double-up. He was even higher in the $250 1-max double up (13%). Immediately upon lineup lock, I was confused by his ownership. Other than price, why did people like him? The consensus Key Stats for last week did not line up for him; he had poor form and course history.  On top of that, he had negative salary versus Vegas odds plus negative line movement during the week.  He didn’t cross my mind for even a fleeting moment in cash. Either I’m missing something, or RCB just has the support that will always give him a floor in cash. If you played him last week in cash, send me a tweet and tell me what you liked about him. I’m curious.


Valero Open

This is going to be quite the interesting week in cash.  Recently, DraftKings has been offering soft pricing and/or mispriced individual players.  This pricing system has often made many cash plays jump off the page. The only difficult decision was deciding which of all the cash plays were the best. Last week was a great example. In scanning through lineups, I didn’t see many bad plays being made in 50/50s or H2Hs.  It was difficult to make a glaring mistake. This week is much different; the pricing is extremely tight, and there are no under-priced players. You can’t just scroll to the bottom and pick out a great, cheap $6,900 or $7,200 cash play and go on making your perfect lineup.  The only really safe plays are appropriately and expensively priced. For this reason, you’re going to have to play some guys in cash that you probably have never played in cash in your life.




Brendan Steele (DK $9,900  FD $8500)

Brendan Steele is a must play in cash. He comes in as #1 in the Stats I am using for this week. His course history alone would move him into strong cash consideration. He has made five of six cuts with three top 10’s and a 13th and posted 1.41 Strokes Gained against the field in those events.  Though his recent form won’t blow you away, he made the cut at The Masters, which is all that I need to make me feel comfortable about playing him. Plus, in a week with very tight pricing, starting your cash lineup with a player below $10,000 will open up the rest of your roster.


Daniel Summerhays  (DK $7000  FD $6600)

It made me feel very uneasy writing up Summerhays before the release of salaries.  Once salaries were released and there wasn’t much inexpensive value, he is probably as much of a cash play as he will ever be. Get in while the getting’s good.  He does not show up high in any key stats for this week.  He has enough recent form coming in that I won’t strike him from consideration. With an impressive Masters for him, he then a made cut at RBC. His awful Sunday at RBC should give up some pause, but I think we ultimately have to ignore it.   What really brings him into play is his incredible course history.  His results going back to 2012 are 13th, 4th, 2nd, 7th, and 29th.  There is something about this course that he loves.  I tend to put more weight in course history from a lesser quality player.  For example, take Luke Donald last week at RBC. Given his fantastic course history and decent recent form and price, he is a must play for cash.


Charley Hoffman (DK $10,700  FD $8,900)

“Put Hoffman in your cash lineup and move onto the next decision.” This is what I wrote prior to the release of salaries.  Now with the very tough pricing, it makes it more difficult to pay for him; although, I still think it is the right play. I don’t like paying $10,700 for him, and you may not have the salary to fit him into the lineup.  I can’t recall any course history I have seen as good as Hoffman’s here. In his last six events, he has a 1st, 11th, 11th, 3rd, 13th, 2nd, 13th.   I’m willing to ignore his MC at RBC as a result of fatigue from the Masters. I saw the fatigue coming and faded him last week, so I am more than willing to jump back into a rejuvenated Charley with unbelievable course history. Plus, the 54-hole leader of the Masters counts for something…. If you don’t have the salary, move on to the next guy.


Luke List (DK $7,600  FD $6,600)

Is there some concern about writing up Luke List in a cash game article?  In my very first article ever? Yes, there is tremendous concern.  I had him pegged a possible cash play prior to seeing salaries.  After seeing the pricing, I like him slightly more.  There are just not many other value plays. You’re going to be forced to take some players that make you feel very uncomfortable.  Here’s the case.  He’s made both cuts when he’s played here. (It should be noted that he only made the cut by one stroke each time.)  He has almost made his last six cuts. Why do I say almost?  He missed the cut by one last week and played very well on Friday.  Not all MCs are the same.  The reason that I’m willing to look the other way is that he is #3 in my Key Stats.

Sung Kang (DK $7,400 FD $5,900)

Sung Kang was one of my favorite cheap cash plays last season.  I haven’t used him yet this year (other than in GPPs), but that will likely change.  He has made four of his last five cuts, including 11th at RBC and 2nd at Shell.  He has made the cut in his only appearance here.  Plus, he is high in many of my Key Stats, which contributes to this #15 in my stat model. He ranks highly on SG:OTT, P4 scoring, and SG:T2G. Lastly, his DK salary rank is slightly lower than his Vegas Odds rank, which is always helpful when identifying value.  Without any other inexpensive plays below $7500, it may be time for me use Kang again.


In this section, I am focusing on a player that I expect with receive some love from the industry as a cash play.

Matt Kuchar  (DK $11,500  FD $10,200)

I expect that Matt Kuchar will be written up as a possible cash play. According to OWGR, he is one of the better golfers in the field, but he has two MC in his last three events.  Considering he was always one of the better golfers in this field, his course history (42nd, 15th, 4th, 22nd, and 13th) isn’t that great.  It’s just normal Matt Kuchar but not noteworthy performances.  Matt Kuchar is rarely a bad cash play (and I don’t think he is bad this week), but I won’t be using him.

After the release of salaries, I expect him to be less of a popular play.  It will be difficult to fit him into lineups. I do expect a floor of ownership because it’s Kuchar, and people generally play him in cash.  There are not enough value plays this week to easily fit him into the lineup.

Note: With softer pricing and less importance of cut makers in rounds one and two, I am much more likely to play him on FD than the other sites. Plus, it helps me hedge if I end up with a full fade on DK.


FantasyDraft Bonus  

For those of you that play on FantasyDraft, you know that the pricing is extremely tight. If you think DraftKings is tough this week, you’ll be quite frustrated with FantasyDraft. Personally, I love tighter pricing as it requires more thought and more strategy. To give you an idea of how tight the pricing is, consider that the average player on DK costs $8,333 (⅙ of the total salary).  Around that salary are guys like Finau, An, Schneiderjans, and Vegas. Well below that salary are List, Bradley, Cink, and Kang. You can build a healthy lineup just staying around the average player. Now, consider that the average player at FantasyDraft is $16,666. (⅙ of $100,000). The guys around it are Lovemark, Kirk, Watney, and DeChambeau. Other than Cink and Smith below that salary, there really are not any safe golfers below that threshold.   It is almost impossible to make a Kuchar or Hoffman lineup that doesn’t look like a stars and scrubs GPP lineup.

I am going to try a unique strategy in cash this week on FantasyDraft. I’m not recommending this strategy (yet!) as it probably takes on more risk than you want in cash games. I just cannot make a cash game that I like where I feel comfortable with all six golfers.  On FantasyDraft only, I’m going to completely punt one golfer for min salary (or just slightly above). This will allow me to get five golfers that I really like in cash games. In my opinion, I would rather have five really solid golfers with a good chance at making the cut with one true flyer, as opposed to six golfers than I don’t want to play in cash.  Can I recommend a complete punt? No. Your guess is as good as mine. Pick the cheapest guy you think has a chance to make the cut; take a deep breath, and put him in your lineup.

As the cash game expert at Tour Level, I cannot endorse this strategy yet. I am going to give it a test run. If you do employ it, please do so with a full understanding of the risk. We’ll check back in next week to see how it went for me.

Want a few more picks? Click here to view our signature article “The Winning Element”. Click here to view

Disclaimer:  My opinions will change throughout the week, as should yours.  Weather, draws, other Tour Level articles, and injury/personal updates add to the decision making process. It all must be incorporated into your decision making. I will definitely have some of these plays in my cash lineup but may not use all of them.

Definitions & Notes

Course History: I am looking at 2010 to present.

Key Stats: These change every week. I build a model for each specific course.

Recent Form: I am looking to the last eight weeks

MCs and MDF:  For purposes of cash game discussion, I consider a MDF as a cut made.

DK: DraftKings

FD: FanDuel

FDraft: FantasyDraft