Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: The Masters
By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel now offering a revamped version of PGA golf.
Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of building a lineup on FanDuel, the scoring setup, and advanced stats to know about the PGA.
But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered.
Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.
|Key Stats for the Masters at Augusta National|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Par 5 Scoring|
|Greens in Regulation|
|Strokes Gained: Putting|
For more on why these are this week's key stats, check out our course primer.
Best of the Best
Dustin Johnson (FanDuel Price: $12,000 | bet365 Win Odds: 11/1) - Really, I could make the case for any of the top 18 golfers by FanDuel salary; that's how loaded this 82nd Masters is. Of course, you're rostering only 6 golfers -- out of 87 or so -- for your FanDuel lineups, but options matter if you're trying to differentiate. No matter how many golfers are in the field, we can't overlook Dustin Johnson. Still the world's number-one golfer, Johnson enters with consecutive top-six finishes at Augusta (6th in 2015 and 4th in 2016) before a spill down the stairs took him out of the running last year before the tournament's start. If you ignore the T59 at the WGC-Match Play, Johnson enters with seven consecutive top-17 finishes, including a win at the Tournament of Champions. Johnson checks all the boxes statistically, too, so don't overlook him at the top of the heap.
Justin Thomas ($11,800 | 10) - Just below DJ on the FanDuel pricing ladder is JT, who is looking to overtake Johnson as the world's top-ranked golfer. Thomas' history at Augusta isn't stellar (39th in 2016 and 22nd in 2017), and he's birdied just 12.5% of his holes in that span. That's not what you're used to from Thomas, but Thomas has six wins (including the PGA Championship) since the start of 2017. According to FantasyGolfMetrics, Thomas leads the field in strokes gained: approach in the past 50 rounds on tour. He's also third in driving distance and seventh in birdie or better rate.
Justin Rose ($11,400 | 14) - Rose, conversely, has dominated at Augusta in recent years. His past eight attempts at Augusta have all yielded a top-25, and the past three finishes were 2nd, 10th, and 2nd. Rose is a three-time winner since the start of 2017 (since late October, actually) and ranks eighth in birdie or better rate over and driving distance over the past 50 rounds. Sandwiched between Tiger Woods ($11,500 and 11/1 to win) and last year's Masters winner, Sergio Garcia ($11,300 and 25/1), Rose is still commanding a lot of buzz and could be one of the most popular plays of the week.
Jordan Spieth ($11,000 | 12) - The luster of Jordan Spieth has worn off. His putting game isn't what it used to be, and he has a lot of question marks surrounding him. That's crazy to think about. He's the defending Open champion and has finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd, and 11th in four tries at Augusta. Still, he's priced at the 10th-most expensive salary on FanDuel, and that makes him a bit of a value from the rest of the top options. Spieth was just two strokes off the lead after 54 holes a year ago, so don't give up on him at a course that he's dominated as well as anyone (including 17 birdies last year, tied for fifth-most).
Paul Casey ($10,900 | 22) - Casey's got an up-and-down history at Augusta if you look at his finishes from 2007 to 2012: 10th, 11th, 20th, cut, 38th, cut. Casey didn't play Augusta for two years but returned to notch a 6th, 4th, and 6th over the past three tries. He shook off some of the can't-win jitters with a victory at the Valspar two events ago. Casey, one of the best irons players in the world, ranks 4th in strokes gained: approach over the past 50 rounds on tour and is also 10th in strokes gained: around the green, 10th on par 5s, 11th in birdie or better rate, and 3rd in greens in regulation. Last year, Casey hit 77.8% of greens in regulation, most of anyone in the field, despite hitting just 62.5% of the fairways.
Alex Noren ($10,500 | 45) - Just below the top tier of golfers is a juicy range, starting with Alex Noren. (Well, really it starts with Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, and Tommy Fleetwood if we move down the list from Casey.) Noren enters ranked ninth in strokes gained: approach, fifth on par 5s, and sixth in greens in regulation over the past 50 rounds. He's also 15th in birdie or better rate to give us some fantasy scoring potential. He did miss the cut last year after shooting a 74 and 78 to debut at Augusta (he also averaged 3.10 putts per green in regulation, which would've ranked 48th among 53 golfers who made the cut, for context. A year of study could be enough for Noren to make a run at Augusta.
Adam Scott ($10,400 | 55) - Scott is a former winner (2013). After that win, he's returned to finish 14th, 38th, 42nd, and 9th last year. Scott ranked fourth in greens in regulation (GIR) and putts per GIR at Augusta in 2017. He also tied for eighth in birdies (16). Scott ranks 10th in strokes gained: approach the green and 2nd in greens in regulation over the past 50 rounds. He's not the only former winner in this range to keep an eye on though.
Bubba Watson ($10,200 | 16) - Bubba's win odds have skyrocketed of late, thanks to two wins in his past four events (Genesis Open and the WGC-Match Play). Watson won the Masters in 2012 and 2014 before the struggles hit his golf game. Clearly, he's back to doing Bubba Watson things. He ranks 11th in approach over the past 50 rounds and 1st in greens in regulation (plus 10th in driving distance). At 16/1 to win, Watson is the seventh-most likely golfer to win. He's 18th in FanDuel pricing. Expect him to be a popular play -- but expect him to be worth it.
Matt Kuchar ($9,500 | 55) - Kuchar's recent form has been pretty iffy, which is saying a lot because his last missed cut was at the 2017 Houston Open (the tournament before last year's Masters, where Kuchar finished T4). Kuchar has played Augusta eight years in a row, finishing worse than 27th just once (46th in 2015). That means he's made all eight cuts, and he also has four top-eight outings in his past six trips to Augusta.
Thomas Pieters ($9,400 | 66) - Pieters tied Kuchar for fourth last year, and he did so by putting well on these Augusta greens in his debut (he ranked fifth in putts per GIR). Pieters also recorded 18 birdies, tied for third, and had one of the few eagles there were to be had. The recent form isn't necessarily stellar, as his last five stroke play events were a 37th, 13th, 68th, 32nd, and 5th. There's some upside there, and his 2017 performance at Augusta looks good. It's also worth noting that his stroke play results leading into last year's Masters were cut, 23rd, 2nd, cut, 5th, cut. You just have to take the good with the bad if you roster Pieters.
Kevin Chappell ($9,400 | 125) - Chappell has missed only one of his past 17 cuts (since the Open), and even that came nine stroke play events ago. He checks the boxes in distance (5th), approach (13th), birdie rate (9th), and greens in regulation (22nd) over the past 50 rounds. Chappell first played Augusta in 2012 (44th) but returned in 2017 to a 7th-place showing, when he tied for sixth in GIR. With bigger-name golfers with better win odds in this range, Chappell could be a nice tournament play at lower ownership if his back, which caused him to withdraw from the WGC-Match Play, heals up.
Xander Schauffele ($9,300 | 80) - Xander is a debutant at Augusta, and a first-timer hasn't won the Masters since 1979, but you don't need a win to be fantasy relevant. Schauffele ranks 14th in approach and 18th in distance over the past 50 rounds. He's also 10th in strokes gained: putting on bentgrass in 22 career events. He's hung in tough fields before, winning the TOUR Championship, finishing 5th at the US Open, and 20th at the Open to name a few. He enters with three top-18 finishes in his past three stroke play events (WGC-Mexico, Genesis Open, and the Waste Management).
Bryson DeChambeau ($9,200 | 80) - DeChambeau's solo second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational jumped him from 95th to 64th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and he also recently finished T5 at the Waste Management. DeChambeau's driver cap debuted with a 21st at Augusta in 2016. He recorded just nine birdies (but did have an eagle) and hit just 51.4% of greens in regulation. DeChambeau enters 9th over the past 50 rounds in par 5 scoring and 20th in distance.
Pat Perez ($9,200 | 150) - Perez has two attempts at Augusta: a missed cut in 2009 and an 18th in 2017. He did so primarily by hitting 71.4% of fairways (11th). Perez has ripped off 15 straight cuts since a 69th at the WGC-Bridgestone (a no-cut event) and two missed cuts at the Open and the US Open. He's 5th in birdie or better rate, 11th in greens in regulation, and 13th on par 5s over the past 50 rounds.
Brendan Steele ($8,900 | 150) - Similar to Perez, Steele missed a cut years ago (2012) but returned in 2017 to better fortune: a 27th. Of course, not all finishes are created equally for fantasy purposes, and Steele led the 53 golfers who made the cut with 52 pars and just 10 birdies. But in this range, a made cut could do enough for your lineups, and he's made 10 straight, including a T3 at the Waste Management and a win at the Safeway Open.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($8,400 | 100) - Aphibarnrat has played Augusta just once in his career (15th in 2016). In that event, he racked up 19 birdies, tied for 2nd-most, and finished 9th in driving accuracy and 14th in putts per GIR. His bentgrass career on the PGA Tour is limited to 18 events, but he ranks ninth in strokes gained: putting in those events. His past five stroke play finishes include a missed cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a 5th at the WGC-Mexico, and a 68th at the Honda Classic, plus two wins in overseas events. He also finished T5 in the WGC-Match Play, so you could do a lot worse than Aphibarnrat if you're spending down.
Shubhankar Sharma ($8,000 | 150) - Sharma enters 68th overall in the OWGR rankings and has a pair of top-10 finishes in his past two stroke play events (a 7th at the Hero Indian Open and a 9th at the WGC-Mexico) and a win at the Maybank (with two missed cuts in between). Despite all the promise, the 21-year-old will have to overcome having never played Augusta before.
Rafael Cabrera Bello ($7,400 | 80) - Rafa Cabrera Bello has been here before. He missed the cut a year ago but led the field in GIR in 2016 when he finished T17. He also ranks 7th in strokes gained: approach, 11th on par 5s, and 13th in greens in regulation over the past 50 rounds. Cabrera Bello ranks 22nd in the OWGR but is priced as an afterthought on FanDuel. Expect him to be one of the most popular plays of the week -- if not the most popular. He really opens up value to load up on studs.