Fantasy Golf

2017 Masters Tournament DFS Golf Outlook

on

It’s finally here – the Masters! If you are a sucker for traditions, look no further than this tournament. Holes named after plants, cursed crystal bowls, and players skipping shots across a pond – what else do you want? The mystique and elegance of Augusta National is what really draws in golfers and viewers alike and makes it ‘a tradition unlike any other’.

Perhaps it could become a tradition in its own way in the DFS golf realm. There have been some huge tournaments going on between the daily fantasy sites out there and they are only getting bigger. FanDuel and DraftKings both have million dollar tournaments and plenty of mid-level entries to join. Whether it’s heavy or light exposure, there are many ways a DFS player can enjoy what these sites have to offer.

How can you enjoy playing even more? By winning some cash, of course! So, prepare yourself a Champions dinner, dust off that stylish Green Jacket, and grab an eraser-less pencil for notes. We are about to dive into the course information, player pool, and statistics that will make you a winner in a DFS major!

2017 Masters Tournament DFS Golf Outlook

Course Preview

Augusta National Golf Club 
Par72
Rating78.1
Slope137
Length7,435 yds
GreensBentgrass blend
WeatherMostly Sunny, 78°F
Purse$10MM

Key Statistics

  1. Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
  2. Strokes Gained: Putting
  3. Driving Distance
  4. Greens in Regulation Percentage
  5. Par 5 Scoring

The Strokes Gained statistics are going to be common in these rundowns. The importance of those two is obvious, so I won’t spend any time on that.

The big bombers succeed more frequently on this track than the accurate ones. That’s not to say that driving accuracy isn’t important, but using distance to convert on follow-up shots on attackable par 5’s and tricky par 4’s is vital to scoring low. Specifically, holes 7 thru 11 can haunt a player without length on the driver.

It was a toss up between ball striking and greens in regulation (GIR) for the last statistic. Considering that ball striking includes GIR along with the aforementioned driving distance and driving accuracy, I thought it wise to narrow the statistic down to the two that mattered most. GIR is an obvious way to predict which players can reach greens in the least amount of shots, which is a perfect match with driving distance at Augusta.

Recent History

The following table shows the top 10 over the last three years in this tournament. I calculated z-scores for each player based on their finishes each year and summed them up. I only included players who played in the tournament each of the past three years in this chart. The hope is that this chart displays the type of player that succeeds at this course.

Playerz-2014z-2015z-2016Total
Jordan Spieth1.762.441.555.74
Justin Rose1.122.001.234.35
Rory McIlroy1.221.791.234.24
Lee Westwood1.330.271.553.15
Bill Haas1.011.130.702.85
Louis Oosthuizen0.910.921.022.84
Jason Day1.010.591.232.84
Bubba Watson2.070.370.382.83
Henrik Stenson1.120.920.702.74
Ian Poulter1.011.460.062.54

Golfers to Own

Jordan Spieth, $10600

My pick to win it all this week, Spieth, should be getting more love. However, with the play of another golfer we will discuss later and a terrible showing at the Shell Houston Open, Spieth might actually get overlooked in DFS. Sounds crazy, right?

Look, I don’t need to go into grave detail here. He’s first place on that three-year history chart by a large margin. Dude just brings his A-game to the Masters, plain and simple. I’m confident in Spieth picking up his play here and having yet another top 10 finish at the least. That’s a nice floor to have, no?

Rickie Fowler, $9200

A wise man once said, “Fool me once, strike one. Fool me twice, strike three!” Michael Scott from The Office might not have derived this quote from his DFS play, but it totally applies.

I was burned by Fowler in last year’s Masters, as was anyone who decided to play him in DFS. He was horrendous with an 80 in the first round and couldn’t recover. Many people will be off of him this year because of that meltdown. However, I’m more than willing to go back to the well. He’s been a man on fire here in the last two months. Rickie’s my favorite player priced in the $9000 range and will be on most of my rosters.

Sergio Garcia, $8100

A very common mistake by fantasy players in any sport is to fall victim to stigmas. The overblown stigma here is that Sergio chokes in majors. Now, it’s true that he hasn’t won a major in his career. Let’s not discredit him from what he has been able to do at the Masters in years past though.

Garcia’s made seven of his last eight cuts at this tournament. He’s finished 17th or better in three of the last five years. All of a sudden, Sergio becomes a pretty safe play in cash games. He’s much more confident on and off the course. His 2017 season has been going very well. Don’t be lazy and read into the old ‘Serg can’t win the big one’ adage.

Bill Haas, $7100

This guy is as money as it gets when it comes to the Masters. He has made the cut in all seven of his Masters appearances. You will see his name in the top five in the recent history chart above. What isn’t there to like about this guy? Sure, the upside is limited, but the floor he gives you makes him an automatic play in cash games.

Golfers to Avoid

Matt Kuchar, $8700

It was difficult including Kuchar in this list given his personality and his decent performances at the Masters in years past. However, the salary is too high for him to produce value.

Kuch doesn’t do any one thing at an elite level, which has to make you question his upside. The floor is fine, but as mentioned you aren’t paying $8700 for a top 20 to 30 finish. If you are taking him over guys like Louis Oosthuizen ($8500) or Paul Casey ($8300), you aren’t doing it right.

Previous Masters Winners, $7400 – $8300 range

There are a few golfers in this price range who priced higher just because of their previous Green Jacket moments. Don’t fall for these guys, the DFS sites are just trying to pull one over on you!

Zach Johnson (formerly known as ZJ2K) won the Masters 10 years ago – has had one top 20 finish at Augusta since then. Bubba Watson has had two sub-par finishes since his 2014 win and has missed the cut in 3 of his last six events. Charl Schwartzel has played poorly outside of one event this year. Danny Willett is still on his Masters championship tour from 2016 and hasn’t done anything good in the game this season.

Leave these golfers for the DFS players who want to say that they have ‘X’ amount of former winners in their lineup. You aren’t getting any points from their previous Masters performances in 2017. I foresee at least two of these guys missing the cut.

Jim Furyk, $7700

Another case of the name-brand golfer entering a course he’s played tons of times. Funky-swing Furyk is just not the same player that he was when he was regularly finishing in the top 15 at this event. He hasn’t finished better than 30th in his six 2017 events. His Tour-worst 269.7 yard average driving distance limits his scoring opportunity on Par 5’s. Count me out!

Sleeper of the Week

Brendan Steele, $6100

The first and only time Steele competed at the Masters back in 2012, he looked over-matched and overwhelmed. You get the feeling that he will be motivated to prove himself this go around. He plays a good fade, which fits the landscape of the track well.

His consistency over the last several months is evident given his 14.35% pot percentage, which is my nickname for how much money he won versus the amount of money he could have won. That’s 7th among golfers who have played in at least 10 events this season. Bang per buck, I say Steele provides top 10 value in DFS this week.

Bonus Sleeper – Hudson Swafford, $5000

Ignorance could be bliss for the first-time Masters competitor! The 22-year old will bring his ‘Silent Assassin’ game to Augusta National, but it won’t be his first rounds there. He has tons of experience playing this track in high school and college, giving him a quiet edge over similarly priced golfers on FanDuel. The key for him, like Sergio, will be the putting stroke.

My Friend JSK’s Lock of the Week

For each tournament, I will ask my friend known simply by his initials, JSK, which golfer he predicts to win. JSK follows golf much more closely than I do and I always appreciate his input. Let’s see who he’s got hoisting the trophy!

“Although my previous fantasy pick missed the cut undoubtedly, Tyler decided to invite me back. The pressure is on! Therefore, with my Masters pick, I have opted to kill two birds with one stone: redeem myself in the fantasy world and conclude a chapter of a highly anticipated golf saga.

Is it Dustin Johnson winning his fourth tournament in a row? Nope.

Is it Jordan Spieth bouncing back after last year’s c-word (we all know that golf no-no word that’s on par with the s-word)? No sir.

Rory McIlroy is going to complete his career grand slam. Everyone remembers his own back nine c-word in 2011, but who could forget his dominance at the U.S. Open two months later at Congressional? Also, over the past three years he has gone T8, 4, T10 at Augusta. Needless to say, this guy isn’t hindered by past failures.

He is the reigning FedEx Cup champion and coming off four top 9 finishes over his last five starts. The Ulsterman has battled a bulky putter over the past couple of seasons, but statistics show that his putter has started to cooperate as of late.

We all know how much he wants the Green Jacket. Grab Rory despite his elevated price!”

I was torn between McIlroy and Spieth this week as my champion so I decided to differ from JSK. A little friendly wager never hurt anyone! Regardless, we both like the duo more than Dustin Johnson this week from a DFS perspective. DJ should definitely be favored over those two given his recent, blazing-hot streak. However, that extra $400-$600 that you save by employing Spieth or McIlroy can go a long way when selecting other players to round out your lineup.

Proposed DFS Lineups

Tournament

RoundsPlayerSalary
Total$60,000
1-2Brendan Steele$6100
1-2Pat Perez$5500
1-2Hudson Swafford$5000
1-2Thomas Pieters$6600
3-4Jordan Spieth$10600
3-4Rory McIlroy$10400
3-4Rickie Fowler$9200
3-4Marc Leishman$6500

So, the answer to the question ‘Can you fit Fowler, McIlroy, and Spieth into one lineup?’ is certainly yes. Is it worth it though when you look at this ‘stars & scrubs’ roster?

Marc Leishman is definitely an under-priced option that will help my weekend score. I have already discussed my feelings on my two sleepers of the week, Steele and Swafford. Those pre-cut options of Pat Perez and Thomas Pieters will have me sweating. If my foursome on Thursday and Friday can keep me in the middle of the tournament pack, look out!

Cash

RoundsPlayerSalary
Total$60,000
1-2Adam Hadwin$6300
1-2Daniel Berger$6400
1-2Gary Woodland$6900
1-2Marc Leishman$6500
3-4Justin Rose$9500
3-4Sergio Garcia$8100
3-4Rickie Fowler$9200
3-4Bill Haas$7100

How many of these names got you to yawn? Five? Six?

Well, sometimes the safer lineups can lead you to glory, especially in 50/50 formats. Having six to eight stable golfers on the roster gives you the consistency needed to finish in that top half.

We already mentioned how often Garcia and Haas make the cut at this tournament and Justin Rose is just as consistent. Adam Hadwin hasn’t missed a cut since early October. Gary Woodland has only missed one cut in that time frame as well.

I was still able to get upside guys in here too. Fowler will be a regular in my lineups. Daniel Berger is inconsistent, but he’s coming off a strong showing at the Shell Houston Open. This lineup is the right amount of balance between floor and upside that I was looking for in my cash lineups.

About Tyler Thompson

Follow me on Twitter at @therealwody. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

Recommended for you