Yahoo DFS Golf: The Masters

Yahoo DFS Golf: The Masters

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.

The Masters

Augusta, Georgia
Augusta National Golf Club - Par 72 - 7,510 yards
Field - 91 entrants
Purse - $11.5M

The Preview

It would've been funny to get through this entire introduction to a DFS article without once mentioning Tiger Woods in true contrarian fashion, but it's simply impossible not to open with one of the biggest storylines in golf since the big cat himself won a fifth green jacket in 2019. Less than a month ago, Woods publicly reflected on his legendary career and expressed gratitude for those who've stood by him as he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame with question marks surrounding his future as a competitive professional golfer. Fast forward to this week, and the buzz around Augusta National Golf Club has never been more intense in the days leading up to an opening round. The game face is back on for Tiger as he returns from a 17-month absence, hopeful that his leg has healed enough to handle the hilly terrain for 72 holes.

Transitioning to the course layout, Augusta National has been lengthened to 7,510 yards and precipitation is expected to soften conditions early in the tournament, placing even more of an emphasis on the advantages of driving distance. The bentgrass greens shouldn't have an issue reverting to their typical lightning-quick speeds, however, as putting remains half the battle when it comes to scrambling and converting par-breaker opportunities. Speaking of which, a quartet of scorable par-5s present eagle chances and invite back-nine drama, while nine of Augusta's 10 par-4s measure between 440 and 520 yards. Per usual, SG: Approach reigns supreme, but the heightened difficulty level at the year's first major championship allows the grinders to flash their short-game skills as well.

Recent Champions

2021 - Hideki Matsuyama
2020 - Dustin Johnson
2019 - Tiger Woods
2018 - Patrick Reed
2017 - Sergio Garcia
2016 - Danny Willett
2015 - Jordan Spieth
2014 - Bubba Watson
2013 - Adam Scott
2012 - Bubba Watson

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach
Scrambling
Driving distance
Par-4: 450-500 and Par-5 efficiency

Yahoo Value Picks 

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Jon Rahm - $47

Fresh off a frustrating demotion to the No. 2 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, a motivated Rahm is looking to extend his top-10 streak to five at the Masters where he's placed T5-T7-T9-4 the past four years. The Spaniard paces this week's field in SG: Off-the-Tee and P4: 450-500 efficiency over his last 24 rounds, but the short game has been a concern since late January. During this six-event span of lousy play on and around the greens, he's still managed to record five finishes of T21 or better.

Justin Thomas - $43

It feels super lame to tout a popular selection near the very top of the odds board but Thomas is my pick to win this week, so it was encouraging to see him appear in the No. 1 position of my custom model when looking at both a 12-round and 24-round sample size of metrics. Thomas has notched only one top-10 in six career outings at Augusta National, but he's a collective 24-under-par here since 2018. Over his last 12 rounds, Thomas ranks third in par-5 scoring, fourth in eagle rate, fifth in scrambling and sixth in proximity from 175-200 yards. He's also gained an incredible average of 8.6 strokes from tee to green per event throughout his last four measured starts with a standard deviation of 2.9 and a coefficient of variation of just 0.34, despite the volatile PLAYERS Championship being included in my calculation. In simpler terms, JT's stats aren't inflated by just one good showing, his game is in great shape. If he misses the cut, I might never perform arithmetic again.

Rory McIlroy - $41

The career Grand Slam pressure continues to mount for McIlroy at Augusta, missing the cut by three shots last year when he posted a 36-hole total of six-over-par with eight bogeys and a double to just four total birdies. The Masters spotlight is back on Tiger, however, while McIlroy sits third in SG: Around-the-Green, fourth in driving distance, fourth in par-5 efficiency, fifth in scrambling, seventh in eagle rate and ninth in SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 24 rounds. McIlroy gained just north of eight strokes from tee to green at both THE PLAYERS Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational before MC'ing at the Valero Texas Open, which doesn't concern me as he'd been practicing in Georgia all week leading up to the tournament. 

Glue Guys

Brooks Koepka - $34

This is where we start to flirt with "Free Space" territory from a point-per-dollar ceiling perspective, as Koepka harnesses way too much talent and major win equity to be priced lower than names like Billy Horschel ($36), Abraham Ancer ($36) and Tony Finau ($35). Everyone knows that Koepka is a gamer when the lights are brightest, and he placed T7-T2-T11 in three straight trips to Augusta before missing the cut while playing through a nagging knee injury here last year. He's coming off a top-15 finish at the Valspar Championship where he gained 5.3 strokes from tee to green and another 2.7 with the flat stick, which marked his second-best putting performance of the season.

Will Zalatoris - $31

Zalatoris earned solo runner-up honors at the 2021 Masters as a 24-year-old rookie and Augusta National debutant, racking up 17 total birdies and an eagle in the process. The putter continues to give him fits more often than not, but Zalatoris has gained an average of 4.3 strokes per event with his irons through five measured starts in 2022. He's No. 1 in SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds, so it's a gift to find his first-class ball striking below the $33 average salary mark. Expect plenty of others to feel the same, especially in GPP formats where your competitors are probably more likely to tolerate short-game woes in exchange for upside.

Corey Conners - $28

Much like the aforementioned Zalatoris, Conners is too good of a ball striker to ignore at just $28, and he's even recorded back-to-back top-10s at the Masters since 2020. The Canadian ranks seventh in SG: T2G and ninth in P4: 450-500 efficiency over his last 12 rounds, but he's also gained strokes off the tee in 25 consecutive measured events dating all the way back to the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Bargain Bin

Russell Henley - $25

Eying his first Masters appearance since 2018, Henley heads back to Augusta National ranked second in eagle rate, third in SG: Approach, fifth in Birdie or Better percentage and fifth in par-5 efficiency over his past 24 rounds. Prior to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Henley posted a pair of top-15s along the Florida Swing, and he hasn't missed a cut since last summer's Open Championship. He recently gained 11.5 strokes with his irons at THE PLAYERS, surpassing his previous career best in a single event by 0.9 SG: APP. 

Shane Lowry - $24

Lowry played some awesome golf throughout the Florida Swing en route to finishes of 2-T13-T12 from the Honda Classic to the Valspar Championship, gaining a combined 22.6 strokes from tee to green during this stretch. He produced with the flat stick as well, picking up an additional seven strokes on the greens. Also, the Irishman's uninspiring course history at Augusta could help keep the casual DFS opponent from exaggerating his rostership percentage.

Si Woo Kim - $23

Kim has placed T34 or better in four consecutive outings at the Masters since 2018, and although he remains without a top-10 result through 10 events played to begin his 2022 campaign, Kim has quietly gained strokes off the tee and tee to green in seven straight starts dating to mid-January's Sony Open. He's fifth in SG: OTT and 26th in Birdie or Better percentage over his last 24 rounds, but he also tends to favor bentgrass greens like the ones at Augusta.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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