A few months ago now, Rick sent me a text posing a very simple question, “Why doesn’t season long fantasy golf… exist?” To be honest, I had never put much thought into this, but the wheels started turning quickly.

I am an avid lover of fantasy football. I’ve had a way too serious home league going now for seven years, and I have two other leagues that I am also heavily invested in. Although I’ve had a ton of success, I will never claim to be a fantasy football sharp, or one who can articulate a decision making process and statistical model the way that I can with golf. For this reason, I actually consume a lot of fantasy football content. I rely on others more to help me make decisions, whereas in golf, I consume virtually zero content, and am borderline over reliant on my numbers and beliefs.

As someone who is heavily invested and consumes tons of content in fantasy football, I began to examine what makes this ecosystem so successful. When I really dove in, I could not believe how giant of an industry that fantasy football has become.

Within a decade, Matthew Berry went from writing a fantasy football column to being one of the pre-game hosts for primetime Sunday Night Football. Point being, fantasy football grew because there were a few people who strongly advocated for it. Matthew Berry is not solely responsible for the boom of fantasy football, but he did play a meaningful role in getting it to the point that it is at today. Fantasy football needed a few charismatic and thoughtful advocates with a big enough platform to get the public to believe in it. I really believe that the only reason season long fantasy golf hasn’t taken off yet is because we’ve never had a person with any form of platform advocate or care about the product.

When I posed this theory to Rick, I was unsurprised to find that he felt the exact same way. There are only a handful of people in our very niche industry of daily fantasy and golf betting that are in a position to actually reach enough people. Rick is certainly one of those people. To a lesser extent, I am too. So is Joe Idone, who has also been in our earliest discussions.

With that being said, it’s not like Rick or I could snap our fingers and expect any sizable number of people to start playing and loving fantasy golf. It was going to take some hard work, and Rick posed two very crucial barriers that season long fantasy golf will be forced to overcome. Barrier number one is that there is no agreed upon format, and barrier number two, as simple as it may sound, is that there is no place to play. I would even add that the third barrier is that season long fantasy golf content does not exist!

Diving into number one, the vast majority of fantasy football leagues are either in the standard or PPR format. Most leagues are also snake draft or re-draft leagues from one season to the next. Almost all leagues end on one of the last few weeks of the NFL regular season. The trade deadline and waiver claim process are very similar in most leagues. Ultimately, there is an agreed upon format that fantasy football plays within. As the industry matured, many new formats (dynasty, best ball, etc.) were spawned, but that is only because the first giant wave of players were introduced to a format that was fair, made logical sense, and featured content around it.

Barrier number two is going to be a lot harder to accomplish on our end, but is certainly worth the investment. The few options that exist for season long fantasy golf are generally under-developed with little live scoring and zero investment into the technology and content that has made fantasy football so successful. We do not have enough time to launch a fantasy football hosting platform on Rickrungood.com before the start of 2023, but we’ve already started to lay the breadcrumbs. Fantrax.com is a worthy placeholder for this year.

The solution to barrier number three is essentially covered in the original plan that Rick proposed. We need a league of eight to ten dedicated players who produce content. The idea is for us to build the gold standard league that is supported by our content. Our league will produce a livestream of the draft, answer start/sit questions, rank players, propose trades, and essentially mimic the content that has made fantasy football so popular.

Here is the general format that we believe is a great place to start:

  • 8-12 Teams
  • Head to Head Scoring
  • Re-draft at the start of every new season
  • Snake Draft, 12 rounds
  • Rosters
    • 12 players per team
    • 6 Starters, 6 Bench
    • Waivers open Monday at 12:01 AM and close on Monday 11:59 PM
    • Processed on Tuesday, free agency opens
    • Trade deadline is malleable, but U.S. Open week feels like a good a spot? The U.S. Open is the 21st event of the regular season, with seven weeks remaining.
  • Gameplay
    • DraftKings-ish scoring, excluding bonuses for birdie streaks, four rounds under 70, etc. Highest scoring wins the matchup
    • Four to six teams make the playoffs. Four in an eight man league makes sense, but so does 6 in a 12-team league.
  • Schedule
    • Regular season is the Sony Open to the Wyndham (28 events: Play each opponent four times)
    • Also an option to make it 21 events, play each opponent three times and remove some of the weaker events.
    • Both versions exclude Match Play, Zurich, and alternate field events
    • For 6 teams make the playoffs:
      • First round (top two in standings gets a bye:) Wyndham
      • Semi-Finals: FedEx St. Jude’s
      • Finals: BMW Championship
    • For 4 teams make the playoffs:
      • Semi-Finals: Fed-Ex St. Jude’s
      • Finals: BMW Championship
    • Also open to the finals being the Tour Championship, which adds a totally different element of strategy to the fold, as that event only has 30 players! This would place a much greater emphasis on keeping an eye on the FedEx Cup standings throughout the season.

 

None of this is set in stone. We will learn and adapt in season number one, and we welcome feedback to either Rick or I both in the comments section or through direct message on the RickRunGood.com slack channel.

Ultimately, the reason why we are so bullish on season long fantasy golf is because it hits many of the same checkpoints that make season long fantasy football so successful, and avoids many of the pitfalls of season long fantasy basketball and baseball. 

Each week is aligned with one tournament, which makes the waiver period cleaner and centers the action around Sunday. There is a great deal of strategy involved in season long NFL based upon matchups. In golf, that strategy is even more compelling, and focused upon course fit and who is playing each event. 

For example, it’s Wyndham Championship week, do you pick up Webb Simpson to be used primarily for this week, and risk dropping a player that is higher in the FedEx Cup standings? It’s Valero Texas Open week and Charley Hoffman is struggling and unlikely to make the FedEx Cup playoffs. Do you pick up Charley Hoffman and risk dropping a player that will be more valuable to you as the season progresses? Where are you in the standings? Do you need a win this week, or are you playing the long game?

Let’s also address the elephant in the room: LIV! At what point in the draft do you start to say, Dustin Johnson or Cam Smith, who will be both under 25/1 at all four majors, are more valuable than say… Nick Hardy? In Fantasy Football, those who drafted DeShaun Watson are sitting pretty right now, but what happens if your season goes south and you need bodies throughout the season? For reference, Hardy earned 820K last year. If DJ/Cam Smith had an average finishing position of 20th at all four majors, they would have earned 736K. Yet how many times would Hardy be in your starting lineup? DJ/Cam Smith are a must play at all four major championships.

I will attempt to answer these questions over the upcoming weeks on RickRunGood.com, where starting Wednesday, I will be breaking down my big board from 100 all the way down to one. You can also reach me in the RickRunGood.com slack channel at any time for questions, and throughout the season, I will be providing rankings for all 28 weeks, and answering start/sit questions. We hope you are as excited as bullish about season long fantasy golf as we are, and we welcome as many new ideas, critiques, and feedback as possible. Buckle up!