The Basics of (Fantasy) Disc Golf
The sport of disc golf is as simple as throwing a plastic disc into a metal basket with chains attached to a pole.
If only it were that simple.
Like all athletic sports that benefit from focus and confidence, there’s the way professionals play the sport and what casual players, like founder of AF (been playing since 1986) are doing on similar courses. One version is compelling, rewarding, fun, and quite addictive. And then there’s what professional disc golfers do – all the above, but done significantly better.
All disc golfers play the game of golf. 18 holes are played in a round. Each hole has basket as target, and tee as starting point. And then counting strokes (or shots thrown) from tee to target. Lowest score wins the round.
Scoring for fantasy is fortunately as basic as picking among set of pros, for who will have best finishes at elite events.
The sport of disc golf, when played as an event, includes rules, and etiquette, and plenty of nuances, impacted by weather, strength of field, course design and how one’s overall health and confidence feels, in the moment.
Fortunately for fantasy participants, the PDGA handles tracking players for events / tournaments that come up in fantasy leagues. And fantasy platforms, like SkipAce, utilize the data to allow fan gaming. PDGA also rates hundreds of thousands of member players, actively playing pro and am events, throughout the world. Fantasy disc golf is concerned with the elite pros. Best of the best. And those with the highest ratings. For MPO, that’s generally around 1050 to 1060 top rating, and for FPO, 980 to 1000 is top rated. The elite pros make the magic of disc golf shine.
And us super fans get to live vicariously through their achievements, or what fantasy sports are fundamentally about.
Basics of re-draft fantasy leagues
Also referred to as ‘weekly leagues.’ Each week, fantasy participants create a roster of 6 players, 4 MPO and 2 FPO. Custom leagues can be arranged to change settings, but for now, this is how standard leagues work.
A salary cap is in place for each participant. At SkipAce weekly league, the standard cap has been 6000 points for last few years, and into 2023 season. Picking 4 MPO and 2 FPO players who’s combined ratings add up to, or less than 6000 is how one enters their picks into the league’s tracking.
A fantasy participant’s objective is to pick players who have best finishes (collectively) at the pro tournament. So ideally, MPO picks you make finishes 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and your FPO picks are 1st and 2nd.
Even if salary were unlimited, it would be super challenging to pick the top 6 pick combined. And adding in salary cap, especially at 6000, makes it more challenging. So you make due and hope players you pick are in top 10, or top 25 for MPO. Or sometimes you’re praying for top 100. FPO fields are smaller, so top 35 there is similar to top 100 for MPO.
Each place a pro finishes corresponds to point value. First place equals 250 points in fantasy scoring and outside of top 100 for MPO or top 35 for FPO means players you picked are subtracting 250 points from your score.
To win a week of fantasy disc golf, your roster would score more points than anyone else in your league. Generally speaking, 1000 to 1200 will win or be among the top. A season plays out covering a standard or custom schedule. Most weekly fantasy points at end of season wins the league. Generally leagues allow 2 weekly scores to drop, to make it more fair.
How you choose to strategize and build your own roster, is up to you. Art’s Fudge seeks to inform and entertain when making such picks.
Basics of Season fantasy leagues
This type of league sets a roster of players at starting point of season, and then you are only person in league that holds the players you do on your roster. Like other fantasy sports (MLB, NBA, NFL), your pro players can be traded, or put on waivers (dropped) and you can pick up free agents (add). Obvious goal is to select best roster you can for the events on the schedule.
Season drafting began in 2022 on SkipAce, and initially just for MPO. 2023 is when FPO was added as option for season drafting. Art’s Fudge created 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit with idea that participants would be drafting from both divisions.
Fantasy season leagues can still be set in custom fashion for say MPO only or FPO only. Plus season leagues can play schedule options not previously available in weekly re-draft leagues without customizing. Because of this the ‘basics’ of fantasy disc golf are starting to expand in ways that aren’t quite so basic.
Fundamentally the 2 leagues are the same, in that you are picking a roster of players who will have best finish in upcoming elite events. Season leagues are not concerned with player ratings or salary cap. Scoring for season leagues is either one of two ways. One way is trying to get lowest score possible by having place your pro players finish be the lowest collective total each event. If your rostered players of say 3 MPO and 2 FPO finish 3rd, 8th and 30th, along with 1st and 12th – then you score 54 points. And that score is up against all other participants in the league at time of that event. The 2nd way is using weekly re-draft scoring and instead trying to get highest score possible. This rewards picking higher placed pros more, for season fantasy leagues. Same way of playing the game as going for lowest score, but different strategizing involved.
Abbreviations explained alphabetically
|A (events)||A tier events are tournaments for Pros and Ams, sanctioned by PDGA. A is truly mid tier. Higher than B & C events, but lower than ES, M, and SS events. Standard fantasy league rarely if ever include A events. AF tracks all such events, relevant to fantasy players, in consideration for rankings. As in who has best A tier avg.|
|AF||Art's Fudge -- currently ranked #2 on Abbreviations List|
|AFR||AF Ranking or how Art generally prefers own rankings designated as column heading.|
|Avg||Average - comes up often in ranking lists|
|DGPT||Disc Golf Pro Tour|
|DNF||refers to when pro player "did not finish" tournament. Typically results in or near last place, and hurts averages. If player registers but isn't recorded throwing more than 1 hole, AF does not count this DNF against players. Judgment call, gives benefit to players, and their season stats.|
|EM||this abbreviation is combining 2 abbreviations for ES and M events. This stat used to be a super guide for standard fantasy leagues, which previously only played these type of events. As of 2023 season, SS events and Euro A tier events are additional options for standard season leagues. EM still tends to attract strongest fields in elite pro disc golf.|
|ES||Elite Series. DGPT manages about 15 ES events each season leading to the DGPT Championship in the fall. This is likely covering 75% of events each season in standard fantasy leagues.|
|FPO||Female Pro Division - or the division for women pro players. AF actively tracks both FPO fantasy relevant players as well as MPO.|
|M||Major - these PDGA events traditionally have the strongest fields of elite pros, and the most coveted championships. They score the same as ES events in standard and season leagues. As Worlds is a major event, with by far the largest MPO field, and strongest field, it has added challenge over most fantasy relevant events.|
|MPO||Mixed Pro Open - anyone can play in this division. Typically elite male players.|
|PDGA||Professional Disc Golf Association - player organization governing pro and amateur tournaments and leagues, worldwide.|
|UR||Unranked. Or previously not ranked.|
|SS||Silver Series - DGPT next tier after Elite Series, that still contribute points toward Championship seeding, and that can attract strong, long fields. Until 2023, these type of events were irrelevant to standard fantasy leagues. Not anymore.|
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