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Just as our Adam Levitan does each week during the NFL season, every Monday we’ll be using the week-long nature of DFS golf to take advantage of the extended feedback loop by analyzing what went right and what went wrong in the previous week’s slate, regardless of results.

Each week, we’ll review a variety of cash-game & GPP lineups in an effort to take you inside our thought process as we approached Thursday’s lock and how our projection- and ownership-based expectations stacked up against the field.

 

DraftKings Small-Field Tournament

 

Not even Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar could top the dynamic duo that is ETR Golf and Fall Swing events. Tom Kim fired a moving-day 9-under 62 to put himself in position to close out the Shriners Children’s Open with a 5-under 66, claiming back-to-back titles. Our top overall pre-tournament value, Kim propelled many ETR subscribers to screenshot-worthy victories. Let’s take a look at my Kim lineup stacked up against the small-field competition on DraftKings:

 

I won’t pretend I had the testicular fortitude displayed by our friend Jeremy King in his full fade of Ludvig Aberg ($11,000), but I didn’t think it was entirely crazy, given the projection confidence in Tom Kim ($10,900) who was $100 cheaper and projected for less large-field ownership. Instead, I opted for a more balanced small-field portfolio, splitting my exposure at the top right down the middle with 50% Aberg and 50% Kim, who made an appearance in this $250 buy-in, 4-max lineup that took home second place. Even after the small-field cards flipped and Kim (35.1%) came in higher than Aberg (22.9%), I was comfortable with the decision to split my exposure and considered Kim the ever-so-slightly better individual option after factoring in price, projection, and actual ownership. It serves as an important reminder that there isn’t a magic ownership number where a good play suddenly becomes bad or a bad play becomes good.

I never really considered a true stars-and-scrubs approach by double-tapping at the top, but it did seem like that type of construction would be underutilized even with Kim and Aberg standing head and shoulders above the field. I also briefly considered Cameron Davis ($10,300), who was the next-best option in the five-figure price range given the likelihood that his ownership would come in lower in small-field contests. That was ultimately right; Davis checked in at 9.0%, exactly 5.0% lower than his large-field projection, but I still considered him a tier below Kim and Aberg.

Willing to lean into what I thought was already consensus roster construction by attacking the loaded mid-tier, I knew I’d need to be extra cognizant of ownership to give myself paths to separate. Andrew Putnam ($8,300), Tom Hoge ($8,700), J.J. Spaun ($8,900), Vincent Norrman ($8,800), and Adam Svensson ($8,200) were all projecting for mid-teens ownership in large-field contests, and given the market-wide sentiment, all of them felt like possible steam candidates in small-field GPPs. Every single one of the aforementioned names came in higherowned in this 222-person field. It resulted in a perfect ownership runout for me, as I was able to snag Luke List ($8,400) in the same price range at an absurd 0.9% actual ownership. In fact, there was only one additional List lineup in this entire contest. Thinking about ownership on a spectrum allowed me to get comfortable with List and his 7.7% large-field projection, knowing it was very unlikely to come in higher than that here.

I did ultimately end up eating some chalk in this range anyway with ETR favorite Beau Hossler ($8,100) crossing the line as the slate’s second-highest-owned golfer (29.7%)! Yikes! I still think Beau was a +EV play in a vacuum and was still better than Spaun, Putnam, or Hubbard at similar price points, but if I had known the ownership would get outsized like this, I likely would have found my way to a different price point entirely.

There were a lot of strong options in the mid-$7,000 range this week, including but not limited to Seonhjyeon Kim ($7,600), Kyoung-Hoon Lee ($7,600), Ben Griffin ($7,500), Patrick Rodgers ($7,700) (ducks), and Garrick Higgo ($7,900). While I had exposure to this entire range in my large-field MME set, it was Davis Thompson ($7,800) who made the cut in a majority of my small-field lineups as the first click in this range. Matt Wallace ($7,500) fit the roster construction I was after and felt like an unlikely steam candidate, appearing in ETR optimal lineups at a much higher frequency than he was for other projection providers. Already confident his 6.8% projected ownership was closer to a ceiling than a floor, I thought it was possible he’d come in at or below 5% in this field size.

It feels like we’ve been chasing Davis Riley ($7,300) for the better part of a year — maybe longer — so it was extra rewarding to see him make the cut and fire a 4-under 67 on Sunday to give me a shot at a big score. There was plenty to like in the sub-$7,500 range this week, but Riley felt like a comfortable click where he was hitting 14.0% of our optimal lineups at just 6.0% projected ownership.