Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Masters - DraftKings DFS Analysis

The Course/Tournament

It's the big one! The Masters is probably the most anticipated tournament of the year among golf fans, being the first major of the year and coming eight long months after the US PGA Championship. This major is uniquely played at the same venue every year, the hallowed turf of the par 72 Augusta National, 7435 perfectly manicured yards of Georgia countryside. Expect the usual firm, fast undulating greens, closely mown grass and fairways cut from the green back to the tees. As to be expected, winners since its inception in 1934 include practically every modern legend of the game, including Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Phil Mickelson and of course, Tiger Woods.

As usual, the Masters field is the smallest field of all the majors, and indeed is small this year even by its own standards. There are just 87 golfers teeing it up this week, the lowest in over twenty years. Of those, you can probably immediately discount sixteen or seventeen of the older former champions, invited amateurs and Danny Willett (sorry, Danny!!). Of the remainder, you have all the top players in the world, so there are many golfers with great stats in the field.
The weather isn't expected to be much of a factor, although along with the lowish winds, there may be cool temperatures and some rain, particularly on Saturday. In addition, similar to last week in Houston, there is a possibility of rain on Wednesday, which would soften the course up and lead to easier putting and consequently lower scores for the first day or two also.

Recent Winners

The Masters usually produces a big name winner and of course Sergio finally fulfilled a lifetime of promise by securing his first major title here last year. However, there is always the possibility of a lesser light surging through the field on the back nine Sunday, like Danny Willett or Charl Schwartzel.

2017     Sergio Garcia
2016     Danny Willett
2015     Jordan Spieth  
2014     Bubba Watson
2013     Adam Scott
2012     Bubba Watson  
2011     Charl Schwartzel
2010     Phil Mickelson
2009     Angel Cabrera

Horses for Courses

As the only one played on the same track every year, course form at the Masters is obviously more important than at the other majors. Experience at Augusta is said to be crucial, with Fuzzy Zoeller (1979) famously being the only winner of the event on his first try since the second staging in 1935. Knowing where to put your ball and more importantly, where not to put it are key. The following golfers have good records at Augusta in recent years:

Dustin Johnson
Rory McIlroy
Rickie Fowler
Justin Rose
Hideki Matsuyama
Phil Mickelson (mostly before 2013)
Jordan Spieth
Matt Kuchar
Sergio Garcia
Tiger Woods (before 2016)
Paul Casey
Adam Scott
Ian Poulter

Region Specialists

Some golfers play well in certain regions, perhaps because of the climate, affinity with the local area, grasses used on the golf courses or time of year the tournaments are played there. The following golfers have good records playing in that part of the South-Eastern US in recent years:

Dustin Johnson
Justin Thomas
Rory McIlroy
Jon Rahm
Rickie Fowler
Justin Rose
Hideki Matsuyama
Jordan Spieth
Matt Kuchar
Sergio Garcia
Jason Day
Henrik Stenson
Xander Schauffele
Tiger Woods (before 2016)
Paul Casey
Russell Henley
Ryan Moore
Kevin Kisner
Charl Schwartzel
Brian Harman

Form Golfers

When a golfer is playing well, you have to make hay in your DraftKings contests! Not so easy to isolate for the Masters, where the field is full of quality players peaking for the event. Even though it's a major with an aura, in-form golfers should bring more confidence with them up Magnolia Lane! The following golfers have been playing well lately:

Dustin Johnson (except for the Match Play!)
Justin Thomas
Bubba Watson
Jordan Spieth
Sergio Garcia
Jason Day
Phil Mickelson
Justin Rose
Paul Casey
Tommy Fleetwood
Henrik Stenson
Matt Kuchar
Alex Noren
Patrick Reed
Ian Poulter
Adam Hadwin
Brian Harman
Tiger Woods
Tyrrell Hatton
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Xander Schauffele

Coming Into Form Golfers

Identifying golfers who are starting to play well and jumping on them before everyone else can you an edge in your DraftKings DFS contests. Not so easy to spot for the Masters, where the field is full of quality players peaking for the event. The following golfers are showing signs of coming into form just in time to tackle Amen Corner:

Kyle Stanley
Russell Henley
Ryan Moore
Louis Oosthuizen
Bryson Dechambeau
Cameron Smith
Si-woo Kim

Similar Events

Majors are the four biggest events on the golf calendar and present a bigger challenge to every golfer in the field. Certain golfers thrive in the cauldron of major tournament play, while others wilt under the added pressure. The following golfers have played well at the most recent majors:

Justin Thomas
Hideki Matsuyama
Paul Casey
Rickie Fowler
Henrik Stenson
Matt Kuchar
Jordan Spieth
Jason Day
Rory McIlroy
Marc Leishman
Patrick Reed

Long Cut Streaks

It's vital to get as many of your line-up into the weekend if you want to succeed in your DraftKings DFS contests. The following golfers with the longest cut streaks in the field may be solid choices to maximise your points scored this week:
Paul Casey (27)
Matt Kuchar (25)
Patrick Cantlay (20)
Pat Perez (15)
Justin Rose (14)
Dustin Johnson (14)
Justin Thomas (14)
Branden Grace (14)
Tommy Fleetwood (13)
Thomas Pieters (13)
Adam Hadwin (13)
Jason Day (12)
Alex Noren (10)
Zach Johnson (10)
Brendan Steele (10)

Least Cuts Missed (Majors)

As stated above, majors are a different kettle of fish and its important to pick golfers who have proven to be consistent performers in them over recent years. The following participating golfers have missed the fewest cuts in majors in their past twelve majors (minimum 5 events played) and may be solid choices to maximise your points scored this week:
Jordan Spieth (0/12)
Jason Day (1/12)
Matt Kuchar (1/12)
Jon Rahm (1/6)
Fred Couples (1/5) - all Masters!
Dustin Johnson (2/12)
Justin Thomas (2/12)
Hideki Matsuyama (2/12)
Sergio Garcia (2/12)
Paul Casey (2/12)
Henrik Stenson (2/12)
Louis Oosthuizen (2/12)
Adam Scott (2/12)
Francesco Molinari (2/12)
Jason Dufner (2/12)
Charl Schwartzel (2/12)
Web Simpson (2/12)

Least Cuts Missed (Masters)

As stated above, Augusta knowledge is vital and its important to pick golfers who have proven to be consistent performers there in recent years. The following participating golfers have missed no cuts (minimum 3 events played) in the Masters in the past five seasons and may be solid choices to maximise your points scored this week:

Jason Day (0/5)
Adam Scott (0/5)
Matt Kuchar (0/5)
Rory McIlroy (0/5)
Justin Rose (0/5)
Jordan Spieth (0/4)
Jimmy Walker (0/4)
Paul Casey (0/3)
Bernd Wiesberger (0/3)
Charley Hoffman (0/3)

Note that Tiger has never missed the cut at Augusta, but he hasn't played since 2015.

Most Strokes Gained Tee to Green

Although putting is said to be important at Augusta, many recent winners have not been great with the flat stick. Instead, the premium is on approach shots to leave you close to the hole or in the right part of the lightening fast, undulating greens. Of course, to hit good approach shots, you must be in a good position off the tee (unless you're Phil Mickelson!). The following golfers have the best strokes gained tee to green (per round) in the field on the US Tour:

Sergio Garcia (2.034)
Paul Casey (1.840)
Jordan Spieth (1.829)
Dustin Johnson (1.828)
Tommy Fleetwood(1.680)
Justin Thomas (1.667)
Adam Scott (1.633)
Kevin Chappell (1.593)
Tony Finau (1.451)
Hideki Matsuyama (1.303)
Bryson Dechambeau (1.278)
Brendan Steele (1.254)

Most DraftKings Average Points Per Game

This important metric shows the average points scored by each player in DraftKings contests this season. High values indicate golfers who have consistently delivered in contests and therefore could be good choices. The following golfers have the best DraftKings average points per game in the field:

Dustin Johnson (101.286)
Justin Thomas (97.333)
Justin Rose (93.864)
Phil Mickelson (92.167)
Tyrrell Hatton (92.045)
Jon Rahm (90.400)
Tommy Fleetwood (89.321)
Jason Day (89.200)
Pat Perez (87.667)
Sergio Garcia (85.556)
Brendan Steele (84.875)
Paul Casey (83.375)
Branden Grace (82.808)

High Salary DraftKings Picks ($7.6k and Up)

Normally, the golfers in this category are in the top echelon and therefore have the best stats. For the Masters, you could make a good case for most of the golfers in this category! Based on the above lists and/or their average points per game, the following players stand out:

Dustin Johnson
Jason Day
Matt Kuchar
Jordan Spieth
Justin Rose
Paul Casey
Justin Tomas
Rory McIlroy

Mid Salary DraftKings Picks ($6.9k-$7.5k)

It is usually possible to find some good mid-range picks for a tournament, as some golfers tend to be undervalued relative to their stats (of course, the opposite is also true!). Based on the above lists and /or their average points per game, the following players stand out in this category:

Xander Schauffele
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Kevin Chappell
Adam Hadwin
Branden Grace
Brian Harman

Low Salary DraftKings Picks ($6.8k and Below)

It's tougher to find picks in this category, as it usually contains the lowest tier golfers with the worst stats. It is especially hard this week with almost all of the older former champions in this category. Based on the above lists and /or their average points per game, the following players are worth considering in this category:

Austin Cook
Si-woo Kim
Bernd Wiesberger
Kyle Stanley
Jimmy Walker
Fred Couples

Summary

Hopefully this analysis will help you identify some good picks for your Masters DraftKings contest. Check out Golf Predictor for more great data and analytical tools for the Masters. In addition to many useful stats and charts, you can filter the field by over fifty metrics, including DraftKings salary and average points scored, and create your dream DraftKings line-up!

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