Why You Struggle to Get 6/6

A variety of expletives have left my mouth when seeing 5/6 golfers make the cut.  It just so happens that every word, insult, and verbal abuse that I throw at the PGA Tour app (…it must be the worst app for any major professional sport.  I digress) causes me to go directly to my model and try to visually see what I missed.  Yet, the issue with most lineups not making the cut really comes down to the choices I made building such a monstrosity. 

Most daily fantasy players often talk themselves out of the safe plays, and venture onto the more dangerous ones.  The theory behind this is differentiation.  I am aware of the risks I take when I roster a 7300 HV3 or someone like a Doug Ghim.  Risk assessment plays a massive role in the concepts and theories behind anyone’s lineup.  Yet, this still does not directly answer the question at the end of the day as to why getting 6/6 golfers through the cut is sometimes such a difficult experience.  Why it can be such a painful moment to go 5/6 and have a golfer miss on the number.

The thought process is suspect at best when my lineups fail to get 6/6.  Or is it?  Elite lineups reside somewhere in truth, lies and randomness.

The Cutline has a segment called “Monsters and Guarantees” and it stems from former co-hosts Zach Manafort’s adoration for Martin Piller.  Yes, that Martin Piller.  Now after you wipe the beer off your chin, Zach’s thought process for that week did not go unrewarded.  Piller did make the cut, but he did not finish anywhere close to the top-25.  Hence, his 6/6 lineup was dead anyway once Piler took a crap into 55th place.  So, what went wrong?  Simplicity and consistency left the lineup build process?  It might have.  The thought of getting the right longshot, in the right spot, is where his build process came into play?  That could have occurred too.  Or it was just the fact that he took a shot on a 6K golfer and the random event of him finishing in the top-10 did not come to fruition. 

It only takes 6 of these guys to make the cut and give you a smokescreen of a chance to take down a GPP.  Yet, the 6/6 is such an elusive entry for many lineups in daily fantasy sports.  The problem is not in your golfers swing mechanics.  Your thought process is flawed.  Your brain is wired wrong.  Genetically speaking, you are fighting the fight or flight system, which evolution has been developing for millions of years, and believing that your analytical brain, which is not adapted for those abstract principles, can make these decisions rationally.  Truth, lies, and randomness and the understanding of all three of these concepts will lead you to better lineup building. 


Daily fantasy sports is not easy no matter how many times the top players in the world take down a guaranteed prize pool.  Even if you play with massive amounts of volume in entries, it does not guarantee that you are going to be more successful.  Yet, just like any wagering event there are some things you are going to have to understand moving forward.  The truth in PGA daily fantasy sports is simple.  If you allow it to be.  Taking these thoughts into consideration will get you closer to the goal in building a higher volume of 6/6 lineups moving forward and realizing that there are straightforward ideas that can go a very long way in potentially creating the optimal lineup.

  • There are no linear relationships in your lineups building process.  Just because you have studied the slate, listened to every podcast, and understand each tier of golfer does not create a reliable correlation to what will be your most successful weekend ever in daily fantasy sports.  The truth is that you must accept randomness into your equation in your review of the analytics.  Ask yourself questions as to how a player can miss his projection?  What flaws in a golfer’s game could lead to him being a sub-optimal play even if he makes the cut?  Belonging to any PGA subscription-based website is going to give you a plethora of information that will appear sound.  Yet how often do you think of the other side?  How often do you consider no matter how ideal a golfer is suited for a course based on his metrics could fail this weekend?  Is there a way to create a negative when considering all the positivity that could surround a golfer? 

  • You do not know everything, but you believe you do.  As much as you dissect a slate, you are not going to be able to use any PGA site, analytics or model and perfectly analyze a slate every time.

  • Playing a garbage, appropriate placed golfer in the 6K range is going to limit your upside.  They are priced at 6K for a reason, and when you highly invest in a player at that price, your weekend can easily end on Thursday.  Are players mis-priced?  All the time.  Regardless, risk comes into play when you are going 15-30% on a 6K range player.

  • It is not necessary to take such a risk on a player that is in the 6K range and is going to be double digit owned.  There is little leverage in rostering a golfer that is volatile and has the potential to be in 15-20% of lineups.  There is too much randomness at play.  I would not etch this in stone.  Sometimes a golfer’s price is just too good to pass up.  Take advantage when you can.

  • It is hard to resist the temptation to look at your recent results and see where lineups went right or wrong.  How can you forget how a bad Sunday for Xander, in a major no less, ruined your chances at finishing in the top-10 in a 3-max? Three weeks ago, you rostered Shane Lowry, and he missed the cut on the number.  It left a bitter taste in your mouth, and so you refuse to roster him this weekend although he looks like a solid play.  Leave your bias aside on good players.  They are going to miss cuts from time to time.  It isn’t personal but mitigated by so many factors that literally have nothing to do with your lineups or bankroll.  Short memories are nice when you are playing every weekend.  Every course plays different than the last, and its important to think rationally in justifying why you should simply not play a golfer because he burned you last week.

  • Keep shit simple when you are constructing lineups.  Everyone believes they must get incredibly different because there are only 6 roster slots, but in truth a 7K player that is owned at 7% in a 25,000-entry tournament is going to have leverage on 23,250 lineups that did not roster that golfer.  That is significant.  Sometimes that play is the smart one and you can diversify elsewhere in your build process.  If you so happen to have a duplicated lineup than so, be it.  Yet, when is the last time you saw a duplicated lineup in first place?  It has been a while.

  • Trust Vegas.  They know more than you.

  • Our biases create lineups built on emotions.  Biases, whether self-evident or manifested (the latter is often true) somehow correlate to our build process. Our minds are not intended to handle random events as nature has constructed a cause-and-effect type structure in our minds.  The movie Backdraft can best describe this phenomenon.  If the door’s hot, don’t go in.  Yet, we want to see what is behind the fucking door.  Why is it so hot?  So, we open it and thus we get burned. 


The lies we tell ourselves when we submit our final lineups and have hope that our selections will lead to the top of a guaranteed prize pool.  Do not buy into the noise of what your process has come to recognize as just another weekend of 4/6 through the cut.

  • You know everything.  You have listened to everything.  So, this makes you have the best plays for the weekends slate.  Have you listened to Pat Mayo’s show?  So have plenty of others.  Peeking over at Roto Grinders?  So have the masses.  Think Twitter has the answer?  Those seeking the same information as you are more than likely going to be producing much similar lineups that you are constructing on a Wednesday night.  The point being is that very rarely are you seeking an answer to a question that does not already have an answer produced.  It is not allowing you to create a unique lineup.  Do not lie to yourself and believe you know something that someone else does not know.  Your questions have been asked thousands of times by everyone who has any interest in this weekend’s tournament.

  • Just because your gut says something different does not make it a great play.  Being bias, for whatever reason, does not quantify a rationale to roster someone.  Stop telling yourself the lie that gut feel is a rationale reason for playing someone in daily fantasy sports. If your feel play were so solid you would have quit your day job years ago to become a professional sports gambler.  Poker players study the analytics, but they also understand the random events.  Base your lineups on analysis, and not hope.  Do not kid yourself that your random feelings are more intuitive than anyone else.

  • “A professional golfer goes through the same mental and physical struggles I go through when handling injury.”  Are you joking?  He has 24-7 treatment on that stiff back, you are lying on the floor on a heating pad you just bought from Walgreens.  Do not kid yourself.  You are nowhere near the level of care, professionalism, and ability that these golfers are at.

  • You have gone through the common lineup builds that your opponent will utilize.  What I mean here is that you have thought the slate through and anticipated what are going to be common lineups builds and strategies.  By refusing to acknowledge this extremely easy practice you are avoiding a strong way to create diverse lineups without deviating from strong plays.  So why is this a lie?  Because you have convinced yourself that you alone have the answers.  Assume everyone thinks as you do, and you will create different lineups quickly.  This does not mean you have to play a different strategy.  Just look for ways to get distinct with golfers who have similar upside.

  • You must fade chalk.  No, you don’t.  Just get different.

  • You must get different.  This is true.  But realistically how different do you have to get?  Eating chalk here or there isn’t’ a bad strategy, but it doesn’t mean you have to take shots on three random players.  Usually, one is enough to create a unique lineup.

  • You are evaluating the quality of your decisions based on the outcome rather than the process.  Randomness comes into play, and you need to decipher what is noise and what is truth.  A sound process might not net you a profit in the short term, but it does not mean that how you build lineups is flawed for the long term.  Decide if your decisions were sound rather than comparing the outcome of your bankroll as the determining factor.


This in truth lies the key to 6/6.  From a player having their ball land in every possible divot on a fairway happens.  There is just too much randomness involved on any weekend that can change your lineups from 5 figure winning entries to minimum cashing boring Sundays.  Acknowledging its importance is one thing.  Recognizing that it is so much more in play than you realize is another.

  • I have written about risk assessment.  When you go into a weekend with only 5 lineups and locked in Patrick Cantlay there is a lot of risk there.  Think of it this way.  If he misses the cut all 5 of your lineups are done for the weekend.  If he makes the cut and plays okay your lineups are still dead.  The randomness here is that great players do not always win.  They do not always play well.  Your belief in that golfer might be appropriate but understand that volatility in any golf tournament always can come into play.

  • Hindsight bias is real, but you must avoid buying into it at all costs.  All you are doing is looking back at things and believing that the events were less random than they were in reality.  All this creates is a comfortable concoction of explanation, when in truth the event was truly random.

  • The probability of picking the perfect lineup is extremely low.  Less than 1%.  The key is that you must accept is the lack of certainty in your knowledge of the slate.  What you have gained COULD be an advantage.  A player COULD be a low owned gem.  A golfer COULD find his elite form once again.  Yet, it is ignorant to think that the outcomes we have derived outside of arithmetic is more of an abstract problem than a linear equation.  Treat your lineup building process in the same manner.

  • Randomness is always a derivate of a problem.  Identify the issues and you are better to avoid coming to solutions or conclusions.  In creating these suppositions, you are landing on a golfer without absolute certainty that they are the best play.  This a decision based on ignorance.  I would rather make my decisions conceptually on the belief that there are still many aspects in which I am uninformed.

  • Do not attribute your success to anything more than luck.  You have not won a milly-maker, but for that particular slate you made more of an effort to understand each and every golfer.  Come Sunday you find that some guy in Wisconsin put one lineup in and simply picked his favorite golfers.  It does not mean that he is better at daily fantasy sports.  It means his success was sheer randomness.  This is a long-term game, and it is important to look beyond short-term solutions.  Just like the stock market, you are going to have ups and downs.  And just like the stock market, there are going to be winners and losers.

  • I am never one to argue that chance does not favor those that are prepared to build strong lineups.  Hard work and effort will help in the long run.  Yet, we also must understand that these concepts do not necessarily create success in PGA daily fantasy sports.  So, there are some simple conventional concepts that one needs to have randomness help them.  Persistence, perseverance and simply avoid being stubborn.  Skills still count in daily fantasy sports just like they do anywhere else.  Create your opportunities and hope you cash big.  There are no guarantees.

  • Remember, outrageous success if fueled by randomness.  For every Awesemo, even when he started playing daily fantasy sports at its onset, there were thousands who wanted to be like him.  Do not discount his ability, but do not refuse to acknowledge that luck has also allowed him to achieve his success.

  • You did not actually know what was going to happen.  Your mind works on rules, shortcuts, and the principles of practicality.  Why do more when less is so much easier?  It makes sense, right?  Yet, within in these shortcuts also creates irrational biases.  Randomness, chance, and luck are more apparent than we realize from Thursday to Sunday.  Within those successes we create patterns for victory rather than attributing any of it to a random event.  How many patterns have you created for the losers?  None I am assuming, but their losses were also a cause of random events taking place.  Example, fans following Bryson and talking during his backswing while no one had any interest in following Cam Smith.  It just so happens that Smith finished -3 that day.  Once again, a random even out of our control.

  • Take in the costs of your mistakes.  But do not discount everything as poor decision making when it does not go your way.

Lineup building is not fair, and it is non-linear.  The best do not always win guaranteed prize pools, and any theory of any build process is just that.  An idea.  There is so much change that happens on a weekend tournament, and any observation should be scrutinized, but done appropriately.  Be stoic in your evaluation.  Self-pity, blame and anger only create irrationality and the belief that the outcomes were not somehow contributed to random events.  Chance plays a massive role in our success.  So, make sure you take advantage whenever possible.  Just remember, that chance favors those that are prepared, but it is not correlated by hard work, your abilities to evaluate a PGA slate or even your own personal desires.  In the end the outcomes are truly determined by luck.  Still, we are constantly battling the result produced from our lineups.  How can we not?  We are trying to win cash at the end of the day.  Just remember that bad information is worse than no information, and if you do not know where you reside in your lineup building process it is going to be a pricy way to find out.  Understand the difference between truth, lies and randomness and you will get closer to building better lineups on a weekly basis.