Who else is excited? It is finally Masters week – for my money the best week on the golf calendar. My dream is to attend the Masters at Augusta one year: eat the pimento sandwiches, take in the greenest grass in the world and sniff the azaleas. For now, I will settle for watching the Masters, playing copious amounts of DFS and writing this fun Masters article.
For those who don’t know, the Masters is played at the Augusta National, a beautiful 7,445 yard par 72 track. There are only 86 players (I believe) who are in the field this year, and the cut is top 50 plus ties and anyone within ten strokes of the lead. Prior Masters experience and good recent form are very correlative for good results here. Aside from looking at those angles, important stats that I used were, strokes gained approach, greens in regulation, strokes gained putting and strokes gained total.
Alright folks, last year Sergio Garcia made my list of golfers. I hope I find the winner in this space again this year. Without further ado, let’s strap in because here we go.
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Justin Thomas ($10,800 DraftKings/$11,800 FanDuel) – Justin Thomas has played the Masters twice and has had a modest amount of success, finishing 39th in 2016 and 22nd last year and has not shot in the 60s in any of his 8 rounds at Augusta. That having been said, JT has been a dynamo this year and has 4 top 10 finishes in his last 5 starts on Tour. Moreover, Thomas ranks 5th on Tour in Strokes Gained Approach and 3rd on Tour in Strokes Gained Total. While Thomas is the 2nd highest priced player on both sites, his price is not prohibitive. He will be the anchor of many of my lineups.
Jason Day ($9,800 DraftKings/$11,200 FanDuel) – This is my pick to win the Masters this year. Day owns a 2nd and 3rd place finish at Augusta and only finished outside the top 30 once in his 7 trips to Augusta, when he missed the cut in 2012. The erstwhile #1 player in the world has also been in pretty good recent form with a winner and a runner-up finish among his last four tournaments on Tour. Day leads the Tour in Strokes Gained Putting this year and is 9th in Strokes Gained Total. Best of all, I have not heard much chatter about Day coming in to this event, so maybe he could be had for 15% ownership or less. He will be in 60% of my lineups.
Upper Middle Class
Phil Mickelson ($9,500 DraftKings/$11,200 FanDuel) – As I have mentioned in this space before, my father-in-law is a huge golf fan, and I like to get his input, especially before majors. Phil Mickelson is our biggest disagreement this week as my father-in-law says that Mickelson is way overpriced, while I think that he is actually underpriced given his current form and his Masters history. Mickelson has played the Masters an astonishing 25 times and never missed the cut. Even more impressively, Mickelson owns 14 top 10 finishes among those 25 Masters starts including 3 wins. The 47 year-old has had a resurgent season with 4 top 10 finishes among his last 5 stroke play events and I think he will have an amazing week at Augusta this week.
Justin Rose ($9,200 DraftKings/$11,400 FanDuel) – Just a warning, this will be the chalkiest play on DraftKings, so if you are looking for a unique lineup for the Milly Maker or another big GPP, this might not be your play. With that caveat aside, I really do like Rose this week given his spectacular recent form of 3 top 10 finishes among his last 5 events. Additionally, Rose has just missed capturing the green jacket recently, with two runner-up finishes in his last three starts at the Masters. The Brit ranks 13th on Tour in strokes gained putting and 10th in Strokes Gained total and a place near the top of the leaderboard is likely in order. He is a great cash game play on all DFS sites.
Paul Casey ($8,800 DraftKings/$10,900 FanDuel) – Alright, I am cheating a bit here as Casey really should be “Upper Middle Class” and not “Middle Class”. Well… it’s my column. Sue me! Casey captured his first win on Tour in years recently and might be poised to grab his first major at an event that he really loves. The 40 year-old owns 3 consecutive top 6 finishes at the Masters and has shot in the 60s in 8 of his last 12 rounds at Augusta, which is no easy feat. Casey also stands out in some of my favorite stat categories as he ranks 8th on Tour in Strokes Gained Approach and 5th in Strokes Gained Total. I have plenty of lineup builds where I started with Casey.
Alex Noren ($8,100 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel) – Should I hedge a bit? I am going to hedge a bit. If Day does not win, my second pick to win this tournament is Noren. It is true that Noren only played Augusta once, last year, and did not make the cut, but I think he profiles well for Augusta. Noren is 11th on Tour in Strokes Approach, 17th in Strokes Gained Putting and 6th in Strokes Gained Total. His recent form has been good as well with top 10 finishes twice in his last five events. I am really digging this $8,100 price tag on DraftKings and will be filling my lineups with Noren.
Bang for your Buck
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($7,300 DraftKings/$7,400 FanDuel) – FanDuel made a big mistake in their pricing as they mistakenly swapped the prices for 48 year-old 2009 Masters Champion Angel Cabrera currently ranked 1,098th in the world and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, currently ranked 22nd in the world. As a result, Cabrera-Bello is priced only slightly more than 59 year-old 1987 Masters Champion Larry Mize and slightly less than 60 year-old 1985 and 1993 Masters Champion Bernhard Langer. On top of this egregious pricing error, Cabrera-Bello profiles well for this course as he is 7th on Tour in Strokes Gained Approach and 9th in Greens in Regulation. I will be playing plenty of Cabrera-Bello on DraftKings where he is properly priced (maybe a bit low) but playing him in 100% of my FanDuel lineups where we have to take advantage of this pricing mistake.
Matt Kuchar ($7,500 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) – I am loving this DraftKings price for Kuchar who is in pretty good form, having finished in the top 10 last week. Moreover, Koooooooch has 4 top 10 finishes in his last 6 appearances at Augusta. The 6″4 inch Georgia Tech grad ranks 22nd on Tour in Strokes Gained Putting and has shown even better aptitude putting on these lightning fast greens in Augusta, Georgia. I will have plenty of Kuchar this week.
Brendan Steele ($6,900 DraftKings/$8,900 FanDuel) – Steele is a birdie maker extraordinaire who has been extremely consistent on Tour this year, making the cut in every event that he has entered. Steele has played Augusta twice, with his best finish happening at last year’s Masters, where he shot a final round 69 to dart up the leaderboard to 27th position. I think that final round success will lead to some increased confidence this year and I like Steele for a rock solid top 20 finish.
Bryson DeChambeau ($6,900 DraftKings/$9,200 FanDuel) – DeChambeau has been a popular name among touts this week, but I am not going to shy away from him. The mad scientist is in the top 31 on Tour in three of my favorite stat categories this week – Strokes Gained Approach, Greens in Regulation and Strokes Gained Total. He has also played really well recently with a runner-up finish in his most recent event. DeChambeau has played Augusta National one time in 2016, where he impressively finished in 21st place and was the low amateur of the tournament. Now that he is back here as a pro, I think he can better that finish and find himself squarely in the top 20.
Good luck to all of you this week!
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