PGA DFS is in full swing! Sports betting pro @realfrankbrank uses his model to identify top plays in each price range for your GPP lineups!!
The Course: Augusta National
Despite playing the Masters at Augusta National every year, we do not have shotlink data for the course. That being said, it’s unique characteristics make it somewhat obvious as to what is needed to get around here.
Almost every style of golfer can win here and we’ve seen that play out over recent years. As is the case for most golf major setups, the ball strikers tend to get around the best. The fairways are generally pretty open and we’re going to see guys like Bryson, DJ, and Rory try to open up the course with some crazy lines off the tee.
Approach play, and hitting the right tiers on these massively sloped greens, becomes very important once you get your ball in play off the tee. At times, we’ll have truly diabolical pins, but many can be accessed by hitting the appropriate slopes and distances.
Chipping is fairly important around Augusta. The slopes on the greens makes players use their imagination around the green when they miss the putting surface. There will be a number of chips for elite players with elite short games where getting inside of ten feet will be an accomplishment.
Putting, on the flip side, is likely the least important aspect to gaining strokes around Augusta. Granted, anyone could putt lights out, as Patrick Reed did on his way to victory here, and win. However, despite the slopes of the greens, the pure roll these guys will get promotes making a lot of shorter putts. Percentage of putts made inside of five feet around Augusta is among the highest on tour.
Hence, I’m not particularly favoring any single type of golfer this week, especially since the Masters is usually played in April. The course could play entirely different from a speed standpoint. If the speed on and around the greens isn’t turned up, we could see some low scores. When/if the speed is up at Augusta, the traditional pin locations combined with the slopes on the greens can turn up a lot of bogeys.
Dustin Johnson: $10,000 (+$977)
Last Ownership: 2.9%
SG Ranking: 6th OTT | 2nd APP | 21st ATG | 28th PTT
Dustin Johnson is currently the best player in the world, is priced as the favorite or co-favorite this week, and is somehow only priced at the bottom of this range in a 90-man field.
It’s not difficult to see why DJ is not only the best player in the world, but a great candidate to win at Augusta. He’s one of the longest hitters off the tee, is second on approach in this field, and is plenty good enough on and around the green to hold his own.
Johnson’s worst finish in his last six events is T6. He’s gained at least six strokes total in all but two events since the restart (11 events). In a 90-man field, it would be a disappointing week for DJ if he didn’t finish inside the top-15.
Xander Schauffele: $9,800 (+$937)
Last Ownership: 12.4%
SG Ranking: 9th OTT | 30th APP | 3rd ATG | 2nd PTT
No matter how you slice it, long term or short term, Xander Schauffele has been one of the best and most consistent players on tour. He hasn’t missed a cut since January, has finished T25 or better in sixteen of his last seventeen events, and comes in here under the $10k mark.
More recently, Xander has been getting it done a bit differently than most of the elite players on this board. He has a unique combination of length and accuracy off the tee, but struggles a bit on approach compared to the other top players, although he’s still gaining strokes on the field average.
Whatever he lacks in approach, Xander certainly makes up in his short game. With the single best short game in the field, Schauffele is expected to gain about a stroke per round in my model on chipping plus putting.
Elite driving and elite short game is a great way to get around Augusta National.
Tony Finau: $8,800 (+$390)
Last Ownership: 7.4%
SG Ranking: 13th OTT | 8th APP | 26th ATG | 32nd PTT
Tony Finau is peaking at the right time coming into the Masters. Holding just one PGA Tour victory that came at a Puerto Rico small field event, Finau looks to gain his first real tour win this week.
Finau is one of the longer hitters off the tee despite having a shorter swing. That being said, he’s shown the ability to reach 200+ mph ball speeds while slowly working towards lengthening his swing when he wants or needs to in recent weeks. That bodes well for Augusta as he can really let it go on the more open holes.
Over his last five events, Finau’s worst finish is T24 with an improving short game. The big knock against Finau as he’s gotten so close to winning is his questionable putting down the stretch on Sunday. However, he’s made huge gains on the greens as he’s only lost strokes putting twice in any event since mid-July.
Not to mention, Finau has finished 5th and 10th in his two trips to the Masters and was in the final group last year with Tiger and Molinari. I don’t put a lot of stock, or any, in course history. That being said, I don’t mind having it on my side.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: $7,600 (+$892)
Last Ownership: 17.2%
SG Ranking: 28th OTT | 16th APP | 61st ATG | 8th PTT
Long term, Matt Fitzpatrick remains one of the more consistent players in the world as he continues to compete across both the PGA and European tours. However, more recently, he’s had more variant results. That gives us some opportunity to take advantage of some lower ownership this week.
Historically, Fitzpatrick’s upside was limited to how nuclear he could go with the flatstick. In more recent weeks, we’ve seen his ball striking really come around. Unfortunately, he has not paired it up with a great putting week, but this could be the one week it comes together.
In his total 70 events on the PGA Tour, Fitzpatrick has been an elite putter but barely above average in ball striking. In his last five events, though, Fitz has gained thirteen strokes on ball striking alone.
Since the restart, Fitz has missed four cuts, but he’s finished no worse than T32 in any event in which he made the cut. Thus, the goal is simple for Fitzpatrick. Make the cut and let the variance play out.
Abraham Ancer: $7,400 (+$322)
Last Ownership: 17.9%
SG Ranking: 14th OTT | 40th APP | 54th ATG | 19th PTT
Ancer provides the unique combination of being a shorter hitter that constantly gains strokes through his accuracy and lines off the tee. For example, Ancer has gained strokes off the tee in fifteen of his last seventeen events despite his lack of distance compared to the other elite drivers of the ball.
His off the tee play gives us a solid foundation to get around Augusta. The other desirable part of Ancer’s game is the putter. Over his last ten events, he’s gained sixteen strokes putting, including +8.3 strokes at the Shriners.
The key to Ancer’s game, though, is whether or not he can get hot with the irons. His best finishes tend to come with the iron play goes his way. In the first three events of the restart, Ancer gained +20.7 strokes on approach while finishing T14, T2, and T11.
His consistency in results is what makes him most lucrative in this price range. You simply won’t find golfers in the bottom half of the $7k range that have missed one cut in the last calendar year. He may not give us the big upside to win this week, but he should be solidly in the top half of the field.
Jason Kokrak: $7,000 (+$1,586)
Last Ownership: 3.9%
SG Ranking: 8th OTT | 36th APP | 60th ATG | 15th PTT
In the restart to the PGA Tour season, Jason Kokrak simply had a disappointing run. He missed four of the first six starts despite finishing third in the first event. Kokrak did eventually run into a win at the CJ Cup where he gained more than ten strokes putting. However, even in the run up to that win, Kokrak was playing great and went mostly unnoticed.
In the five events before his win, Kokrak missed one cut, but finished T17 or better in the four other events. Since his win, he only played at Zozo with another impressive T17 finish. Long term, Kokrak has been a great driver of the ball has he hits it plenty far and plenty accurate off the tee. He’s gained nearly forty strokes off the tee in his last twenty events.
The biggest boost as of late has come from his flatstick. It not only earned him a win, nearly single handedly, but remained hot. Over his last four events, Kokrak is +21.6 strokes gained putting. He did lose over four strokes on approach at Zozo, but had gained strokes on approach in the previous eight events.
As long as the putter remains a big plus for Kokrak, we should expect him to compete in the top-20 of this field given his great ball striking.
As usual, there’s a ton of golfers throughout this range to take some shots at in GPPs. However, I’ll list out my best-perceived options below.
Si Woo Kim: $6,800 (+$1,099) | Lanto Griffin: $6,600 (+$897) | Zach Johnson: $6,800 (+$771) | J.T. Poston: $6,800 (+$732) | Erik Van Rooyen: $6,900 (+$712)