Hello! It's been a while!
I hope you and your loved ones are settling in for a great holiday season.
Monday night, I had a loyal Twitter follower drop a bit of a bombshell on me. Commish Joe pointed my attention to the reality that the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game would not take place in 2016. Let me be clear that I have zero inside information on the inner working of the Yahoo! operation.
That said, I can only speculate that the fantasy golf traffic relative to the other major sports just didn't have the appeal to them to keep going. I don't know for sure how many people played the game in 2015, but I did notice I had to ascend to a higher number in the rankings to crack the 99th percentile this year than I did the year before, signifying a dwindling of play. My best guess is that there were around 80k-85k players last year, and I have no way of guessing how many of those kept with it for an entire season. I would further guess that the emergence of DFS, especially DraftKings, appealed more to serious gamers that enjoy a little wager than the free Yahoo! game.
Another thing to note is that, while many of you / us greatly enjoyed the Yahoo! game, there are plenty of players that hated the format. I tended to like it, in part because I felt like I figured out how to excel in it. It's like any game in that, once you get the strategy, it becomes much easier to produce relates.
So what now?
I have been peppered with questions on Twitter and email in regards to what I recommend for displaced Yahoo! gamers. The short answer is, "it depends." Why did you like Yahoo?
Before I get into recommending games, I've decided that I will only recommend games that I have personally played or games that I have a personal / professional relationship with those that run the games. I've heard of at least three different sites / games over the last 24 hours that I was previously unaware of, but I'm not promoting something of which I am unfamiliar.
Most people liked Yahoo! because it would host a game for free where a bunch of buddies could play without the leadership of a commissioner and without any fees. Some did it for money, others prizes, other bragging rights.
If the format of the game doesn't matter to you, and you want something that's free and will allow customized leagues, I'd recommend looking at the GolfChannel.com game when it goes live in January. It's easier to play in that you set a lineup on Wednesday night (or before) and watch the results play out over the next four days without lineup changes. I would also recommend checking out the new PGATOUR.com Avis game (I think that's what it's called). While I haven't played it, Rob Bolton is a friend and a PGATOUR.com guy, and I'm sure it's fairly run.
It goes without saying that DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) is an option in most states as of today. For this that like weekly games and want to wager a buck or two in a game of skill (or chance), DraftKings is a known commodity. There is also a lot of smoke around FanDuel coming out with a game very shortly.
Something I would highly recommend for established groups that used to play Yahoo! is the idea of a private game with a commissioner. It takes a big commitment from someone in the group, but you are no longer beholden to a site. If you are interested in doing one of these and want to beat up potential options, shoot me an email and I'm happy to share some formats I've seen in private games I play. Some are about as complex as 300 level calculus and others are easy as 4th grade math. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The final thing I would recommend is some sites that I have come to be quite familiar with that offer season long games that you can still enter.
PGFantasygolf.com offers a salary cap game that begins with the Tournament of Champions and runs through the TOUR Championship. I've played it two out of the last three years and will be in it this year as well.
FantasyGolfTeam.com is another well run site that offers season long games, as well as some weekly games for bigger tournaments. The guys behind this site had a run at DFS with a site called Buzzdraft a few years ago and run a really nice game. They offer a variety of games, so check out there site and see what you like.
Golfmanna.com is an excellent site that is run by a guy that I happen to play with in several leagues. He offers several different games, and I highly recommend checking out his site.
As I mentioned before, I've had excellent personal experience with the sites above, and the people that have run them. I'm quite sure there are others out there.
I hope this helps you fill some of the void left with the Yahoo! departure.
It's not long until Kapalua. Oh, and rumor has it that I'll have a Rotoworld feature coming out in about a week with my updated top 125.
See you soon!