DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks & Plays
Welcome back for another week of PGA DFS at DraftKings, FanDuel, and FantasyDraft. We’re here to give you the full report on picks at The Masters at Augusta National. Per usual, DraftKings is running a Millionaire Maker tournament this week and one lucky DFSer will walk away with $1,000,000 on just a $20 entry. They’re also running a $10,000 freeroll which you can enter by clicking here.
The field is set, the sacred grounds are prepped, and pimento cheese sandwiches are at the ready for The Masters to kick off this week. The star-studded field is wide open this year and should make for one of the most interesting Masters in years.
Augusta National, the brainchild of Bobby Jones, has been the foundation from which the city of Augusta was built and the town comes alive for this week of the year. It is the Super Bowl for Augusta and they play host like only they can, brimming with Southern Hospitality and a slow southern drawl.
The golf course and iconic clubhouse rest at the end of the equally iconic incoming drive. The trees forming the tunnel to the Masters logo on the grassy knoll is a serene and welcoming sight, almost a traditional right of passage for many who have spent their entire careers yearning for a chance to stroll the fairways just once. The tradition rules, unless you are Henrik Stenson…who rolled down Magnolia Drive, bumping ‘Ice Ice Baby’. Check out the video here.
As always, our goal is for DFS Report to be your first and last stop for an all-around PGA news source each week … and for free! Give me a follow @DFSJimmie if you haven’t already. And while you’re at it, go ahead and like PlayPicks on Facebook and follow PlayPicks on Twitter. Now, back to your regularly scheduled PGA breakdown.
Stretching out over 7,435 yards and playing as a traditional par 72, Augusta National annually gives players as much as they can handle. Augusta puts together a unique challenge to the players not only in its timeless design and original architecture, but through careful preparation that makes it a tournament like no other.
It starts with the fairways, which are mowed towards the tee boxes and cause the players to get less roll which is exacerbated if the course gets rain. This lack of roll contributes to the course playing longer than the listed yardage (that and the elevation change that seems ever present throughout the property at Augusta). The lack of roll subtly makes the approaches just a bit longer. This added bit of length on the approaches, coupled with incredibly complex greens and pin placements around Augusta, requires precision approach shots and increases the difficulty level.
To ratchet it up a notch more, Augusta has some of the fastest greens on tour and with the Sub-Air System, the grounds crew can dial in green speeds well above what most of these guys are used to each week. Hang on for a week of fireworks, as players battle one of golf’s true pressure cooker environments this week.
Over the years, people have gotten to know the holes at Augusta intimately since the tournament is held at the same place every year. The lore that surrounds Augusta and each of its holes is a unique perspective afforded to us this week. The Masters can be summed up in one reference to a religious intersection…Amen Corner. It has brought many a great to their knees with swirling winds creating uncertainty, and in the process the most dramatic stretch of golf. It will be on the minds of many this week, none more so than Jordan Spieth. The collective golfing world watched in horror as the “Collapse in the Corner” played out, and a Green Jacket unraveled right in front of a reeling Spieth a few years ago.
Amen Corner has come to define the Masters in a way and it certainly has defined the character of the past champions and those that fell just shy of history.
Let’s dig into the card and see where players will be scoring and where they will be swearing this week.
The initial cursory glance reveals what we know about most par 72’s at this point, which is that scoring will need to come from the par 5’s. There are only five holes that average under par at Augusta, and you guessed it, it’s all the par 5’s along with the third, which is a short par 4. Year in and year out, these are the only holes to consistently deliver scoring opportunities.
With such a narrow scoring window at Augusta, you can see why the cut line averages +3 or more. The other 13 holes are essentially bogeys waiting to happen. Specifically, there are 10 holes that have a bogey average over 20%. That only leaves three holes that aren’t ridiculously difficult, but they also don’t allow players to score.
Bobby Jones did deliver us the short and very score-able third hole, a 350-yard par 4 that has seen the least amount of change throughout the years. Players better find a way to get themselves inside the 19% that birdie this hole. If there is a hole to score on besides the par 5’s, it’s the third.
Holes 11 and 12 see more carnage than any other place on the course (Cough*Spieth*Cough) with double or worse rates of 5.1% and 6.4% respectively. The 11th on its own has racked up a bogey rate of 30%.
Golfer’s that get through Amen Corner unscathed are rewarded with the two easiest holes forthcoming at the 13th and 15th. These are both score-able par 5’s that anyone hoping to contend this week will need to conquer on their way to close out their round at the difficult uphill 18th. This hole routinely decides who gets fitted for the jacket.
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (can overweight Approach as it is the most important single Strokes Gained category)
2. Par 5 Scoring
3. Par 4 450+ Scoring
5. 3 Putt Avoidance
6. Experience and Pedigree matter at Augusta. This should definitely come into play during lineup construction.
PGA DFS Players:
NOTE: This article is being written prior to the close of the Houston Open, and it is possible to have an addition to the field that isn’t included in the article. Lots of updates and research will take place during the week leading up to the Thursday lineup lock. Make sure to tune into The Bogey Free Podcast on Monday night to get any of my updated picks.
Top Tier: $11.4K – $9K
Jordan Spieth ($10.4K)
Spieth seems to be losing popularity in wholesale fashion since his Open win. And with his recent putter struggles, it makes Spieth an easy target since his meteoric rise several years ago and less than likable on-course persona. What people might be overlooking with Spieth, is his elite T2G game this year and on point approaches, all of which has been overshadowed by his poor results brought on by countless missed putts inside 10ft. I almost forgot to mention that Spieth has never finished outside the top 15 at Augusta, he has it figured out. There’s tons of upside and potential ownership leverage at the top of the pricing tier since folks aren’t flocking to Spieth like previous years. His top five in Houston will likely lead to a little more ownership traction as the week progresses.
Phil Mickelson ($9.5K)
Mickelson seems to have sorted out his arthritis medication recently, as he is playing a ton of golf and playing really hot as of late too. A recent win after a significant drought under his belt, Phil is primed to pull a Nicklaus and post a huge major win despite being on the wrong side of 45. Lefty knows this place better than anyone in the field, ranks top five in ALL four of my custom models, possesses aggressive scoring potential, and tons of upside. Phil is having a resurgent year and you will likely be able to capitalize on some field leverage. I see Phil’s ownership sliding a bit throughout the week as the younger players around him get hyped up by the industry.
Justin Rose ($9.2K)
Team Rose is set up for a BIG week, both in results and ownership. Based on FanShareSports.com, Rose is the #1 tagged golfer by a LARGE margin. Rose is going to be the highest owned player of the entire field, and he also is a favorite of the DFS industry to hoist the trophy this year. He’s also fitting ALL the betting trends that correlate to winning the Masters. Long story short, Rose crushes at Augusta. He’s been second here twice, and is incredible tee to green. For those that don’t know the personal side for Rose, every year he sets out a goal to win a singular tournament. Two years ago it was Olympic gold and he made good on that. This year, he has set his sights on Augusta…and I’m not gonna doubt him. Rose is on a mission to get fitted for a Green Jacket this year. You will have to decide how much exposure you want to Rose given his ownership and predicted high finish if you are playing multiple lineups.
Rickie Fowler ($9K)
Rickie seems to have struggled a bit early on this season with his putter, but his Tee to Green has been red hot his past two starts. Rickie was near the final group last year and within striking distance on Sunday, but faulted, as has been the case for the most part with Rickie throughout his entire career. Rickie has been solid at Augusta throughout his career and has the game to get it done should he turn in another Sunday miracle to come from 2-3 (or 5-6) strokes back. Rickie fits almost the same number of winner trends as does Justin Rose. I expect Rickie to do his normal thing at Augusta and be all-around solid and like last year, it will come down to Sunday. Hang on for a ride Sunday if you roster Rickie.
Other to consider: Any of the guys up here are in play such as Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas
Mid Tier: $8.8K – $7.5K
Paul Casey ($8.8K)
Finally notching his second PGA victory at the Valspar, Casey is coming in at amazing value this week for his elite game and course history. Casey has been an absolute machine since last year and throughout the early season. He’s crushing it from tee to green and it all seems to be building to this week for Casey. He has been in the mix at several majors before and has gone 6th, 4th, 6th the past three years at Augusta. If this sounds a lot like Rose, it’s because Casey is a lot like Rose on paper and will likely come in just behind Rose in ownership as well. Casey is set up to repeat his previous solid results here, but what is different than previous years, is Casey is coming off a win and fits a lot of trends to win here as well.
Bubba Watson ($8.7K)
Bubba arrives at Augusta in amazing form fresh off two wins and ready to put on a third green jacket. It seems like Bubba is finally sorted after some health issues (and a pink ball) last year and back to his winning ways with his flair for creativity on full display at the Match Play. Bubba is a streaky, feel player and when he is running hot he is all-world. Based on tags at FanShare, Bubba is shaping up to be second or third highest-owned this week. You will need to take a stand on Bubba, just like Rose and Casey, given their high ownership…or at least ensure you differentiate carefully this week when rostering them. Bubba could fizzle out if he struggles early at Augusta, but it seems more likely for the Baghdad Boy to make a run at #3 with a hot Saturday round. Bubba will likely be hanging around come Sunday.
Tommy Fleetwood ($8.5K)
The DFS community is a fickle one. And currently, Mr. Fleetwood is finding many a cold shoulder when it comes to the community support for him this week, after just previously being on the short list to compete this week just a month ago. I, for one, don’t believe that Tommy forgot how to play golf all of a sudden and will make a nice pivot play in this range. He’s extremely talented, is ready for the moment, and has gorgeous hair. Fleetwood has everything it takes to compete here, despite his missed cut here last year in his debut. It takes players a year to get sorted here, and Fleetwood isn’t any different. I expect his results to improve dramatically with an eye towards a top 15.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8.4K)
Matsuyama is sneaking up Magnolia Lane with a few question marks, but those same question marks offer a lot of GPP upside this week since people hate uncertainty. Deki has played extremely well at Augusta over the past three years, and has the tee to green game we look for. Specifically, his elite long iron approaches and par 5 scoring make him an attractive option. Granted we aren’t 100% sure about his current form, but given his history and the narrative that he is out for some “revenge” this week at Augusta, leads me to believe that he is ready to roll. While I’m not sure he can win, I am certain he can score well and provide great GPP leverage.
Marc Leishman ($8.2K)
Much like Deki above, Leishman isn’t playing his best golf at the moment. Actually, he hasn’t played exceptionally well at Augusta the past four tries either, with a couple of missed cuts bookended by a fourth in 2013 and a mediocre 43rd last year. What makes Leishman interesting is the TRENDS. He fits all the same winning trends as Rose does. Leishman has the ability to show up and post a really solid week here with his Par 5 scoring, and he doesn’t need to win to pay off at his DK price. Leish makes a great GPP play if you have the guts, as he has shown he can post good results here and is the least tagged golfer in this price range on FanShareSports. Leishman is the kind of golfer that could end up being in the winning Milly Maker lineup with his upside and low ownership.
Others to consider: Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Tyrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar
Value Tier: $7.4K and Lower
Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($7.1K)
Kiradech is having himself one heck of a season thus far. He’s got two wins and has great form leading into the Masters where he has posted a 15th in 2016. Barn Rat has the swagger and game to compete on the major stage and is clearly in form to do so. He also plays ultra aggressive both towards making a cut and closing a tournament. He makes a great low priced option with a lot of upside and will likely be low owned.
Bryson DeChambeau ($6.9K)
The whiz kid of the PGA, DeChambeau is starting to find his footing on the tour after rattling off a second at the API. He’s returning to Augusta where he played his final amateur round before going pro the following week back in 2016. He didn’t make it back last year but this year he has found a way. Bryson is in form and covets the Masters. He has studied the place extensively prior to his amateur debut and it paid off with a 21st place finish. Bryson has what it takes to compete on big stages and now that he has found a comfort level on tour, he could be very dangerous this week as a cheap guy with top 10-15 upside.
Jimmy Walker ($6.9K)
Walker finally seems to be over the Lyme disease once and for all after a solid showing at Valspar. Jimmy has historically done well at Augusta as he has the putter to contend and the course knowledge to maximize his approach game. He could be a very sneaky GPP play that is projected to be very low owned with only six tags on FanShare. If you can handle the risk and uncertainty, Jimmy has a lot of upside this week.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($7.3K)
Rafa has been playing extremely well this season and is annually a great ball striker. But this year, he is scoring better and making fewer mistakes which earns him a spot in this column. Of course, that bodes well for his chances of a great week at Augusta this year, having posted a 17th here in 2016 but missing the cut last year. According to trends, this means Rafa is a longshot to win the Masters, but a second would be more than fine at his price tag. I am hoping Rafa goes a bit under-owned because of his missed cut last year so I can load up on Rafa this week.
Others to consider: Charley Hoffman, Russel Henley, Pat Perez, Kevin Chappell (check the status on his back injury first though, great GPP play if you believe his back is fine), Hao Tong Li
That does it for The Masters breakdown. Good luck this week, and I’ll see you next for RBC Heritage at Harbour Town GL.