What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! WELCOME TO MASTERS WEEK!
This is easily the best time to be a golf fan, not only do we have the best golf tournament in the world just days away, but we have the best field that has ever been assembled set to compete. We are spoiled with the amount of talent we get to pick from – so enjoy the research, the lineup construction and the sweat – it should be a wild ride.
For golf fans, it is heaven on earth and are sacred grounds we all hope to witness one day. Augusta National is a 7,435 yard Par 72 that will challenge every aspect of a golfer’s game. The elevation changes, rolling fairways and undulating greens make this course a test year in and year out. Experience is critical in order to succeed at this event, and it has been proven time after time, that first timers (debutants) struggle to figure out this unique venue. The rough at Augusta is virtually non-existent, so accuracy off the tee isn’t everything, but you better be missing in the right places. Approach game is very important, but the event bigger difference maker is scoring on the Par 5s. Birdies are tough to come by at Augusta, and if you can score on these Par 5s and stay afloat around the rest of the course, you will be in good shape. With tricky greens and tight lies around them, short game and putting will play a factor as well. But as mentioned before, Augusta is a track where course history plays a huge factor in predicting a golfer’s success.
Stats for the Week
SG: Ball Striking – SG:Approach + SG:Off the Tee
SG: Par 5s
Birdie or Better Gained
3 Putt Avoidance
SG:Around the Green
2017 – Sergio Garcia (-9)
2016 – Danny Willett (-5)
2015 – Jordan Spieth (-18)
2014 – Bubba Watson (-8)
2013 – Adam Scott (-9)
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Jordan Spieth – $10,400
The entire 2018 season has been a collection of incredible events all leading up to The Masters. Tiger’s comeback, Mickelson’s win, Rory’s win and JT’s continued hot streak. All we needed was for Jordan Spieth to poke his head in and say “I’m here too.” That is exactly what happened last week at the Houston Open, where Spieth finished 3rd despite losing 3.2 strokes on the greens. Spieth is built for The Masters and built to win at Augusta. In his short career, he has a win and two runner up finishes in four tries. He leads the field in strokes SG:BS over the past 24 rounds. If Spieth can just figure out how to knock in a few 3-footers for par, he will have a late tee time on Sunday.
Justin Rose – $9,200
Justin Rose will be the chalk of all chalk, and I am willing to go overweight, and over 50% ownership on him. There is no one who has played Augusta better over the past 10 years without a win, and his time is now to collect his first green jacket. Rose has never missed a cut here, has seven top-15s in his last 10 appearances and has two runner-ups in the last three years. He came so close last year, losing to Sergio in a playoff. His form in 2018 is remarkable and his stats are impressive. He is my pick to win the 2018 Masters.
Paul Casey – $8,800
Let’s continue to eat the chalk with Paul Casey. Casey has been one of, if not the most, consistent golfer in the world over the past couple of seasons. He seems to always find a way to sneak into the top-10 and finally found his first win in years at the Valspar a couple of weeks ago. His history at Augusta is incredible, with three straight top-6 finishes and has five top-10s in eleven attempts. His game fits this course perfectly, with the ideal blend of distance and precision. Just like Rose, he has been knocking at the door for way too long to not break into the winner’s circle. I have little doubt he won’t be in the mix again on Sunday.
Alex Noren – $8,100
Alex Noren is playing on a different level than most guys right now, cranking out top finishes all over the place. He has three top-3s in his past seven events, and showed some serious stones at the WGC-Matchplay. People are worried about his inability to close, specifically in his high finishes this season and because he shanked at putt at the matchplay. But Noren is a proven winner worldwide, collecting six wins in the past three years. Noren ranks 2nd in my model over the past 24 rounds, 2nd in GIRs Gained, 7th in SG:Par 5s, 13th in SG:BS and 7th in 3-Putt Avoidance. $8,100 is an great price tag and he is still somewhat of an unfamiliar name to the casual fan, so his ownership could very well come in lower than projections are suggesting.
Adam Hadwin – $7,200
Hadwin has strung together some solid golf leading up to Augusta, a course that fits his game if all aspects are on. He has three straight top-15s, including a T6 at the Riviera, a course that over time, has produced similar winners as Augusta. Over his past 24 rounds, Hadwin is 5th in GIR Gained, 10th is SG:APP and 2nd in SG:ARG. In his first Masters appearance last year, Hadwin came a respectable T36. I expect him to crack the top-20 this week and flirt with a top-10 finish.
Pat Perez – $6,900
Pat Perez at first glance seems under priced, and at second and third glances, he is still under priced! Patty P is not a $6,900 golfer and hasn’t been playing like on either for a long time. His 150/1 odds to win are way longer than they should be. Perez consistently gains strokes in all categories, has the arrogance and attitude to contend with the best and not let the moment overwhelm him. Perez finished T18 at The Masters in 2017, and made the cut here as a first timer wayyy back in 2003. Hopefully Bryson DeChambeau can continue to be talked up and take some of the Perez ownership away. He is a lock for me in cash and makes lineup construction so easy.
The Masters Interactive Data
Note these tools are FREE each week for Pro Members. If you are not a Pro Member, use code “ERIC” for 15% off:
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Dustin Johnson – $11,400 / Justin Thomas – $10,800
Had to jam both of these guys in this article somewhere, because I am getting the feeling that their ownership is going to be a lot lower than we expect. Both guys have an incredible chance to win this event, have the game to do it and the experience that is necessary. DJ and JT should never be less than 20% owned in any event, let alone a major, and I really think the come in under that number. If you are building multiple lineups, you have to have each of these guys on a few.
Jon Rahm – $9,300
Jon Rahm is being completely overlooked, and it’s obviously because of his recent form after his win at the CareerBuilder. That’s correct, he is a winner already this season and is being ignored because of recent form. Rahm has the off the tee and approach game to excel at Augusta, and can dominate these oh-so important Par 5s. He finished T27 here last year in his Masters debut and the time off he has taken since WGC-Mexico makes me think all his effort and preparation has been focused on this week. His ownership will be low, and his price tag is a great discount off the other elite options. Rahm is going to jump back into the picture in a big way.
Marc Leishman – $8,200
Leishman finds himself in the most crowded price range on the board, wedged in between Garcia, Fleetwood, Noren and Scott to name a few. And it shows. Leishman only has 13 tags on FanShare Sports at the moment, with his ownership likely hanging around the 5% range. Leish is coming off of a T7 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he gained 4.7 strokes on approach shots. He also has a T4 finish at The Masters back in 2013, so he has proven he can contend. His low ownership and ability to contend in big events makes him a very intriguing Milly Maker option.
Louis Oosthuizen – $7,900
If you look back at the leaderboards of the past, you will notice there are a lot more South African flags than one would expect. Louis is one of the guys who has popped at Augusta in the coming 2nd in 2012 and has mixed in three top-25s since. Louis only has 12 tags on FanShare Sports, and is in the same range as Leishman where there are just so many other options people are targeting. A sub 5% Louis would could easily win someone seven figures on Sunday.
Webb Simpson – $7,300
Webb Simpson is not the Webb Simpson of old. He can actually putt. Webb has gained strokes putting in all but one event in 2018, just a shocking turnaround from what we have come to know him for. Webb has played at The Masters six times, making three cuts but doesn’t have any top-25s. However, like I said, this is a different version. He only six tags on FanShare Sports, has two top-10s in his past three events and has been crushing Par 5s over his past 24 rounds.
Cam Smith – $6,900
Cam Smith was just added to the field on Monday, so people will be late to the party for that reason alone. He hasn’t been mentioned in an preview articles or on podcasts until today, so the buzz just won’t be there. His price is dirt cheap for a golfer who posses a game that could translate well here. He has an amazing short game which will help him around the Augusta greens. He also got his debutant status removed after his T55 in 2016 – not a great result but at least he made the cut. Smith played very well at the match play and came T6 at the Genesis, an event that translates well the The Masters.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Tiger Woods – $10,000
Tiger will be one of the highest owned golfers this week – don’t be shocked if he eclipses 30% in the Milly Maker. Casual fans will all want to be in on the Tiger action, especially if he is in the mix on Sunday. What scares me is the number of drivers he will be forced to hit at Augusta. He has struggled big time with the big stick so far this season, missing both left and right. Sure he knows the spots to miss off the tee here, but if he can’t even control where his misses are going, it is going to be a short week for Tiger. As much as I don’t want to see him struggle, the high risk and high ownership he will carry makes for an easy fade. At $10,000 and 30%, he needs to come inside to the top-5 to reach value, as result I have a hard time envisioning.
Rickie Fowler – $9,000
At the Houston Open, Rickie did what Rickie is becoming all too well known for. He came out of the gates hot fire, but crumbled on Saturday and completely fell off the pace on the weekend once again. It is becoming a worrying trend, and definitely did not give him any additional confidence heading into the Masters. His name and price tag will draw people in regardless of his current form. Even if he is 15% owned in the Milly Maker, I don’t see this as a bounce back spot for him. A trunk slam from Fowler on Friday won’t be shocking at all.
Thomas Pieters – $8,300
Pieters was apart of the 2017 Milly Maker winning lineup, thanks to his T4 finish at sub 10% ownership. The thing about last year was that Pieters had two top-5 finishes in the five events leading up to The Masters, whereas this year, he only has one top-15 in his last five events. Pieters barely made the cut last week at the Houston Open, bogeying his last hole to fall outside of the cutline and it took two, late Friday three putts to get him playing on the weekend. He has lost strokes off the tee in back-to-back weeks, which will not transition well to Augusta.
Henrik Stenson – $7,800
Like Fowler, Stenson’s name and price tag will naturally draw people in, inflating his ownership without looking into his course history. For elite of a golfer as Stenson is, The Masters is definitely his least favorite major, having failed to finish inside the top 10 in 12 tries. His best finish was T14 in 2014 and has missed the cut four times as well. It would be nice of The Masters to release some strokes gained data from their event, so we could determine why he tends to struggle. Stenson has also entered The Masters with impressive form in the past, three times putting together back-to-back top 10s before this week and you guessed it, he has a 4th and T6 entering this week. You would think if he was destined to contend at The Masters, he would already have done it by now.
Tony Finau – $7,400
Tony Finau is one of the most popular plays in DFS, week in and week out, despite only on having on PGA Tour victory. I don’t expect that to change this week, even though he is making his first appearance at The Masters. It’s well documented that debutants struggle at Augusta, with the tricky greens, massive elevation changes and everything else it has to offer. Finau is not a good putter, and will likely be his downfall this week. At a higher than warranted ownership, I will pass on Finau and wait until 2019.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Tommy Fleetwood – $8,500
If you are asking where all the Tommy Fleetwood buzz went, you are not alone. It seemed as though Fleetwood was everyone’s pick to put on the green jacket just a few weeks ago, now he only has 25 tags on FanShare Sports, a considerable amount less than those priced around him. It has been a while since we saw Fleetwood near the top of a leaderboard, but his ball striking ability leads me to believe he will creep up there this weekend. His ownership will be reasonable, a drastic change than what projections would have said in February.
Hideki Matsuyama – $8,400
Hideki has been dealing with a wrist injury that has kept him out of action so far in the young season. The fact that he teed it up in the WGC Matchplay is a sign that he is feeling healthy and was committed to play a lot of golf a couple of weeks ago. Like Fleetwood, Hideki’s price tag is fantastic compared to the caliber of player he is – and probably can thank Tiger and Bubba’s recent results for lowering his price. Hideki has three straight top 11 finishes at Augusta, clearly showing he has an eye for the track.
Patrick Cantlay – $7,600
Expectations were so high for Cantlay when he entered 2018, it is no shock he can be considered a disappointment so far. One, he hasn’t been playing much, which we should have come to expect given his history with injuries. Two, he only has one top 10 on the season – and that just so happened to be at a corollary course, Riviera. Cantlay is not a first timer, despite his age and relative newness on tour. He made his only cut here back in 2012, finishing T47.
Ross Fisher – $7,000
Fisher is another guy who has fallen off in terms of buzz. Before showing up on American soil in March, Fisher had put some solid events together in the Middle East and gained a lot of attention at WGC-Mexico. He has yet to come inside the top 30 in his three events so far in the U.S. Perfect – Fisher has the makings to become a low owned, GPP flier who got his debutant status out of the way last year, finishing T41. Over his past 24 rounds, Fisher ranks 17th in the field in SG:BS, 12 in GIRs Gained and 30th in SG:Par 5. Not bad for a guy only priced $7,000.
Jason Dufner – $6,800
If you do find yourself scraping the bottom of the barrel this week, Jason Dufner is seems like a great option who will be overlooked because of his recent form. His last three times out he has come T55, MC and T64 last week at the Houston Open. Results that don’t scream good form. But he has the experience you want at Augusta, making five of seven cuts here. Now I don’t think Duf Daddy is going to win this week, but a top 15 is definitely a possibility.
Thanks for reading the The Masters preview article! Small, bittersweet announcement, but this will be my last article for DFSonDemand.com. Thank you so much for reading and following along – I hope my picks kept you entertained and maybe won you some money! I would love for you all to follow me on Twitter @EPatGolf to see what I have in store next – and I could not be more excited for what is to come. Also, don’t forget to check out FanShareSports.com to get a full look at who the DFS golf community is talking about this week!
Good luck this week everybody!!