Welcome back to Golf News Net's weekly fantasy golf picks. Each week of the PGA Tour season, we'll present our top picks for that week's tournament and make recommendations for DraftKings' one-week fantasy leagues.
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The Masters 2016 is finally here!
After an outstanding first three months and change of 2016, the first men's major of the year is here, and it should be a classic. Jordan Spieth defends a major title for the first time and looks to follow on a T-2 in his debut and his record-tying win last year. Bubba Watson is looking for a third green jacket in even-numbered years. Jason Day is looking for a second major in a row. Adam Scott is playing like a man ready to win a second major. Rory McIlroy looks to complete the career Grand Slam. And those are just the obvious picks!
This week, we're extending our picks to the top 20 so you can use our list for DraftKings fantasy golf; Yahoo, GolfChannel.com and PGATour.com fantasy golf; and your Masters pools of all kinds.
For GNN Plus subscribers, you can access our NEW searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, our top-15 finish chart and season-long trends on DraftKings valuations. They'll be available at your disposal as part of a growing set of tools to help in your research. Going forward, GNN Plus subscribers will also get access to the last five years of leaderboards for an event, namely the top 15 and ties from 2011-2015, the data that we use to define our horses for courses each week.
Now, on to the picks!
1. Bubba Watson -- Watson has been brilliant through the season and finished in the top 15 in four of five stroke-play starts this year. He's a two-time champion, brimming with confidence after a win at Riviera (which he did in 2014 before winning a second green jacket) and a runner-up at Doral. (UPDATE: Bubba Watson didn't practice on Monday with a sinus infection and didn't practice.)
2. Jason Day -- Day has won his last two starts, including a hang-on win at Bay Hill and a dominant performance at the WGC-Dell Match Play. Runner-up in 2011 to Charl Schwartzel and on the medal stand in 2013. (UPDATE: Day has reportedly lost 11 lbs. thanks to an illness, so beware the sick golfer.)
3. Adam Scott -- Were it not for Day's double, Scott may well be the guy everyone is talking about for the Masters. He won back to back at Honda and Doral and he has been in the top 15 at the Masters in four of the last five years.
4. Jordan Spieth -- In his two professional Masters starts, Spieth has gone T-2 and WIN. That's good. However, Spieth has showed cracks in his game and mental approach. He has been inconsistent and makes some course management mistakes. He cannot make those at Augusta.
5. Rory McIlroy -- McIlroy is skipping the Par-3 Contest in hopes of remaining focused on a fifth major and completed the career Grand Slam. Confidence builder in getting to the semis of the Match Play, but he's been somewhat lousy in at least one round in his last three stroke-play events.
6. Phil Mickelson -- At 45, Mickelson is still playing great golf. He had chances at the old Hope and Pebble Beach. Was fifth at Doral. Three-time winner who knows how to close at Augusta National and almost a mortal lock to make the cut.
7. Henrik Stenson -- Alright, Henrik Stenson has a bad record at the Masters. And it doesn't make sense. He has one top-15 in the last five years. But, he went T-11 at Valspar and T-3 at Bay Hill. He had a chance in Houston. He's in the argument of being the best tee-to-green player on the planet.
8. Louis Oosthuizen -- Oosthuizen has played limited golf on the PGA Tour this year, but he had improved his finish in every start leading to a runner-up finish at the Match Play before a missed cut at Houston. He won in Australia before going to Doral. Downside? The playoff loss to Bubba in 2012 is his only top-15 in the last five years.
9. Justin Rose -- Rose could somehow manage to fly under the radar this week despite having four top-15 finishes in the last five years. After a zany MC at Torrey Pines, he's been in the top 17 in his last four PGA Tour starts.
10. Rickie Fowler -- Had they played this Masters in February, Rickie would have been No. 1 on our list. He won in Abu Dhabi against a strong field. He lost to Hideki Matsuyama in a playoff in Phoenix. He's been in the top 12 here in each of the last two years.
11. Dustin Johnson -- Dustin Johnson is getting better at Augusta National. Top-six finish last year. Top-15 twice in the last three years. He has top-15s in both WGC events this calendar year.
12. Charl Schwartzel -- Schwartzel is a former winner and has won three times around the world since November, including the Valspar in a playoff over Bill Haas. That 2011 Masters win is his only top-15 in the event in the last five years. Seems ripe for another.
13. Patrick Reed -- Reed has been a little hit-or-miss in 2016. He either finishes in the mid-50s or right around the top 10. He finally made a Masters cut last year to finish inside the top 25.
14. Branden Grace -- Grace has been kind of blah since successfully defending his Qatar title to start the year. However, he has the kind of game that can work in a major, including top-5 finishes in two of the final three majors last year.
15. Matt Kuchar -- Kuchar isn't the consistent player he once was -- in that, he's not a top-10 machine -- but he's still mighty likely to cash a good check each week. Before last year, he was in the top eight at the Masters in the prior three years.
16. Bill Haas -- Haas lost in the Valspar playoff to Schwartzel for his third top-10 finish of the season. He has made the last five Masters cuts, improving his finish each year.
17. Paul Casey -- Paul Casey is rounding into form. He has top-10 finishes in his last two stroke-play starts. He has three career top-10 finishes in the Masters, including a T-6 last year.
18. Kevin Na -- Kevin Na started the PGA Tour season hot, but that was six months ago now. Nonetheless, he's had a modest 2016 portion of the season. The thing to like is top-12 finishes in two of the last four Masters.
19. Ryan Moore -- Ryan Moore has been in the top 11 in four of his last six PGA Tour starts. He was tied for 12th here last year.
20. Rafael Cabrera-Bello -- Could be the ultimate sneaky pick this week. Top-11 finishes in the WGCs and a good close to Houston. Playing with house money. Downside? It's his Masters debut.
My DraftKings team for this week:
1. Bubba Watson - $11,400
2. Justin Rose - $9,900
3. Bill Haas - $7,500
4. Kevin Na - $6,900
5. Ryan Moore - $6,800
6. Chris Kirk - $6,700
If you want to win at DraftKings daily fantasy golf, you have to figure out a way to find six golfers that play all 72 holes and earn roughly 85 points each.
You likely have to identify a couple of players in the top five, at least the top seven, and you'd ideally not have a player finish outside the top 20.
Doing that takes research, looking at a variety of factors, including:
- Finish trends, both in recent weeks on the PGA Tour and at that week's event,
- Salary trends, deciphering which players are showing value based on their performance, and
- Statistical trends, identifying the common threads among winners in that week's event
That's what Golf News Net will deliver each week to GNN Plus members in this space, offering a complete research package which dives into these three areas to find the players that should be in your lineup for this week's Puerto Rico Open.
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