Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel - The Masters
DFSR is proud to bring you, Chris Durell. He'll be bringing weekly PGA picks, analysis, and breakdowns to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. As every week in DFS PGA changes with the course setup, field of players and weather, Chris will be providing a range of different picks for cash games as well as upside plays for tournaments. If you have any questions to lineup lock you can reach him a variety of ways. Leave your question/comment below in the comments section, find him in the DFSR Chat room or hit him up on Twitter(@Jager_Bombs9). Chris is also providing his DFS PGA Weekly cheatsheet where he provides stats, course history, current form, fantasy points, and much more. Grab your copy today and edge out the competition.
Masters week is finally here! Even the casual golf fan realizes the magnitude of this iconic tournament hosted at Augusta National Golf Club. It was Sergio Garcia who, after 73 previous Majors starts, finally broke through here at Augusta and became the Masters Champion last season. It was an epic battle on back nine with Justin Rose that eventually went to a sudden-death playoff where Garcia's two-putt par was enough to take home the hardware and his first ever Major Championship.
This year he will look to defend his title against a star-studded field that includes nine of the Top 10 and 49 of the World's Top 50 players. Four-time Masters Champion, Tiger Woods, is also back in the field here at Augusta and has been making the move up the Official World Golf Ranking list as he started outside of 650th before the Hero World Challenge in December and has made his way to #103 entering the week with back to back Top 5 finishes at the Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The Masters also marks the first DraftKings Milli Maker of the year and with that, we get some very soft pricing. From a strategy standpoint, this is a great week to construct your lineups and leave salary on the table to separate your lineups from the field. I am not just talking a couple hundred but rather $500-$1,000 in some spots, especially if running multiple lineups. Also, keep in mind that the cut this week is the Top 50 players and ties through two days along with any player that is within 10 strokes of the lead.
Let's now take a look at the course makeup and preview some of the top stats.
Par 72 - 7,435 Yards
Greens - Bentgrass Greens
**Click HERE or the pic above to see a hole by hole breakdown of the course over at PGATour.com**
Hole Composition(via FNGC)
Average Three-Putt Avoidance by Finish Position(via FNGC)
Hole by Hole Flyover
Previous Five Winners
- Sergio Garcia(-9)
- Danny Willett(-5)
- Jordan Spieth(-18)
- Bubba Watson(-8)
- Adam Scott(-9)
Top Stats in the Model
- Driving Distance
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Proximity from 175-200 & 200+ Yards
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green/Scrambling
- Three-Putt Avoidance
- Par 4 Scoring
Driving distance is a stat to always look for here at Augusta with its length and the combination of forgiving fairways and rough. The approach shots is where the money will be made as the greens are fast and multi-tiered making the large greens much smaller than they appear. This is why I am emphasizing long iron Proximity this week. Miss the correct portion of the green and golfers will be in for a likely three-putt and crooked number. With the fast greens and shaved banks there will be a ton of missed greens which will make Scrambling and Strokes Gained: Around the Green very important and the key to not dropping shots. Another key to not dropping shots you ask? Three-Putt Avoidance. If you read my articles from the last two years you may remember me mentioning Par 5 Scoring as a key stat but I have since changed my tune a bit as those four holes are the easiest scoring holes on the course meaning almost everyone should be scoring there. I think the key to separating yourself from the field to climb the leaderboard here at Augusta is the Par 4's and that is where I will be looking this week, both long form and short-term form.
One little note before jumping into the article. I use multiple sources for my research to help determine key stats starting with Fantasy National Golf Club and their elite set of tools from course history, hole composition, past performance and much, much more. I also combine it with some of the information on Future of Fantasy including correlated courses and most importantly the quotes from players section to help determine what it takes to win here(key stats). When breaking down ownership and trying to come up with popularity, I love the tools over at FanShareSports as they break down every piece of information on articles and social media mentions to provide us with Tag Counts, Sentiment Ratings, Subject Tags, Salary Differential week to week and much more.
Top Course History Targets
I talked about soft pricing on DraftKings above and the first name that stands out is Rory McIlroy who is the first player under $10K. He is still seeking his first Masters win and when that happens he will become the sixth player in history to complete the career Grand Slam joining Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus. McIlroy has been very successful here despite not winning having made seven straight cuts at Augusta with four straight Top 10 finishes. After back to back Top 5 finishes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Rory struggled to find his form on the PGA Tour in 2018 with two missed cuts in four starts with a T20 his best finish. He found his form in his most recent stroke play event, however, after coming away with the win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational a couple weeks ago. All things considered, Rory is my top fantasy pick of the week and safe in all formats.
Ranked even higher in my overall model(#1) is Paul Casey as he is the only player in the field who ranks Top 10 in all four categories on my sheet(stats, history, form & DK average last 5). It starts with the course history as Casey has now finished 6th or better in three straight Masters appearances and for his career has made eight of 11 cuts with five Top 10 finishes. Then comes the form which is spot on as he is coming off a huge win at the Valspar in his last stroke play event to extend his cuts made streak to 26 dating back to the Sony Open last year. Then there is the stats model that he fits very well ranking 8th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 5th in Proximity from 200+ yards, 7th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 5th in Three-Putt Avoidance, and 9th in Bogey Avoidance. Fire up Casey in all formats but expect to see heavy chalk.
Top Current Form Targets
World Golf Ranking (#14)
Vegas Odds (40/1)
Both of the players I mentioned above would be leading candidates for the form section as well with both coming off wins in their last stroke play event so instead, I will turn my attention to a phenomenal value on DraftKings this week. Stenson finished 8th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Champions followed by a T6 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic to kick off his 2018 schedule on the European Tour. He then came over to the PGA Tour and struggled in his first start missing the cut at the Valspar Championship but has since found some excellent form with a 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a T6 in last week's Houston Open. He doesn't have a Top 10 here at Augusta in 12 attempts and missed the cut last year and hopefully, that helps sway people in another direction as I feel he fits the course and can be a breakout candidate with winning upside.
World Golf Ranking (#1)
Vegas Odds (11/1)
The World #1 ranks right at the top of my form rank this week(looking at stroke play events only). He made an early exit at the Match Play Championship but in five stroke play events this season, DJ has a win(Tournament of Champions), two runner-ups and a T16 and T7. he should also be highly motivated after falling a year ago before the Masters started forcing him to miss the event. He had a ton of success in the two previous years with a T6 and T4 and not surprisingly he also fits the stats model. He ranks 2nd in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, 11th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 4th in Proximity form 175-200 yards, 3rd in Par 4 Scoring, 1st in Par 5 Scoring, 1st in Bogey Avoidance and 1st in Birdie or Better %. He is the most expensive golfer on both sites and will likely be lower owned than both Spieth and Thomas at the top making him an excellent GPP play this week.
Who the Stats Like
World Golf Ranking (#56)
Vegas Odds (125/1)
While I won't be paying $9,800 for ZJ on FanDuel this week, I think he is an excellent value on DraftKings at $7,000 and he stands out from a statistical standpoint as well. On my sheet, he ranks Top 25 in Stroke Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, Proximity from 200+ Yards, Par 4 Scoring, and Bogey Avoidance. He also ranks Top 30 in both Birdie or Better % and Par 5 Scoring. Looking at current stats form(via FNGC), he also stands out in a big way(see below) as he has played well this season making all nine cuts with a Top 10 and six Top 25 finishes. He has missed his last two cuts here at Augusta but he is a former winner(2007) and knows what it takes to win here.
World Golf Ranking (#18)
Vegas Odds (18/1)
Three-time Masters Champion, Phil Mickelson, pops in the model as well this week and for more than just course history. He ranks 3rd on my sheet in Strokes Gained: Approach, 19th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 23rd and 12th in Proximity from 175-200 and 200+ yards, 13th in Bogey Avoidance, and 4th in Birdie or Better %. Now those are combined stat rankings from last season and this season so I plugged my custom stat model in Fantasy National Golf Club looking at the last 24 rounds and guess who came out #1 overall? LEFTY!
Tournament Update Thread
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for five years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in college football, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NHL and of course PGA. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any PGA questions and how he copes with the winters up north.