2018 Masters daily fantasy golf (DFS) preview
Fantasy Golf Masters PGA Tour RotoQL

2018 Masters daily fantasy golf (DFS) preview


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The long-anticipated wait is over and the 2018 Masters is finally is here. You don’t need me to tell you that this years Masters feels so even bigger than a typical Masters tournament with seemingly every elite player playing well, as well as the return of the GOAT Tiger Woods. I’ll save the storylines and up to date coverage for the actual journalists because we have more important things to get to; winning the $1,000,000 top prize on Draftkings in the biggest fantasy golf contest of the year.

The pricing this week is very loose, which I’m a huge fan of for a major event with a lot of new and/or inexperienced players deciding to throw in a lineup or two this week. You can really play anyone you want and there aren’t many limits on what stacking combinations you can utilize this week. With that being said I’m personally trying to narrow down my core to about 20-25 golfers spread out around my 40 or so lineups. Keep in mind that the players listed below are my favorite plays in each price tier but guys who are not listed such as Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson are not bad plays, they just aren’t making my personal cut for this article.

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When looking at what key stats to focus in on, there has been a lot of talk about strokes gained: off-the-tee being the most important statistic at Augusta National, but I disagree strongly. While Augusta National is a long course at over 7,400 yards, which plays even longer due to the elevation changes, the fairways are wide and the rough is basically nonexistent. If a player gets really loose off the tee, the pine straw is by no means an auto-bogey position, as long as the miss is on the proper side of the fairway. I would much rather target strokes gained: approach as my most important statistic. The combination of the speed of the greens and the massive undulations make not only hitting the green (GIR) important but also hitting the right spot of the putting surface with your approach. If anything I’ll take a more pure driving distance angle off the tee rather than a strokes gained angle. However short knockers can still play well and contend this week if they are solid in every other aspect.

The four par 5s are the key scoring holes at Augusta National and is also something you should be looking heavily at. Historically, the winner of the Masters has a par-5 scoring average sitting around -0.50, while their par-3 and 4 scoring average sits just a shade under even par at -0.04 on par 4s and -0.01 on par 3s. Trying to project eagle rate on the par 5s is so variable that focusing solely on recent and long-term par-5 scoring is both a simpler and more predictive thing to focus on.

Getting into roster construction, the guys at the top I’m going to be leaning heavily on are Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods. JT is playing the best golf in the world right now and his game is a great fit for Augusta National on paper, despite two mediocre showings in his two appearances in this event. As for Tiger, he will be extremely high owned but I don’t care. While ownership very is important, I have no problem shoving my chips to the middle of the table with Tiger who I strongly believe can win this event. I’ve heard some talk about his driver issues, but the forgiveness of Augusta National off the tee should ease some of those problems.

Another guy who I’ll be playing heavily is Jordan Spieth who is the Augusta National course horse. Spieth has been in contention at some point on Sunday in all four of his Masters showings and his approach game is still in the top 10 in almost every metric. He also showed some life in his struggling putter on the bent grass in Houston.

The upper-middle tier is really where there are a ton of difficult decisions to be made. It feels like anyone from $9,900 (Rory McIlroy) down to $8,000 (Adam Scott) can go out and win this thing, and fading some of these guys will be brutally hard decisions. For me personally, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Hideki Matsuyama are my overweight stands and I’m willing to play all three in all formats, with Hideki as my top overall play of the week and my pick to win the 2018 Masters. In cash games, I have no problem pairing both Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia in a balanced lineup build and will also have shares of both in tournaments. It’s terrifying given his current form and Augusta pedigree but I will be fading Bubba Watson… GULP!

Getting into some of the value plays, Matt Kuchar is a guy who feels too cheap at $7,600, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him win the whole thing. He has a great Masters track record and the theme over the last few years is “guys who can’t win” actually winning, see Paul Casey at Valspar, Sergio here last season, and that stupid narrative that Justin Thomas can’t win in the continental United States from early 2017. I strongly recommend not dipping below $6,900 in any format as those guys really don’t provide much top-10 or top-5 equity, and forget about any chance these guys have at actually winning. The two guys who I have some interest in down there are par-5 scorers like Kevin Chappell and Bryson Dechambeau.

 

Key Stats 

  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Par 5 Scoring
  • Scrambling
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Driving Distance

Players to Target in Each Tier 

$10,000 and Up 

$10,000-$9,000

  • Phil Mickelson - $9,500
  • Justin Rose - $9,200

$9,000-$8,000

  • Paul Casey - $8,800
  • Sergio Garcia - $8,600
  • Hideki Matsuyama - $8,400
  • Alex Noren - $8,100
  • Adam Scott - $8,000

$8,000-$7,000

  • Matt Kuchar - $7,600
  • Daniel Berger - $7,500
  • Brenden Grace - $7,400
  • Rafa Cabrera-Bello - $7,300
  • Adam Hadwin - $7,200
  • Charley Hoffman - $7,100

$7,000 and Under 

  • Zach Johnson - $7,000
  • Ryan Moore - $7,000
  • Kevin Chappell - $6,900
  • Bryson Dechambeau - $6,900

Check back as I give you my favorite picks for cash games and tournaments and break down why you should give them a hard look as well. I’ll also break down some more game theory and roster construction options to give you an edge in your tournament lineups.

Fantasy golf can be one of the most fun and profitable sports in Daily Fantasy and there's plenty of strategy that goes into putting together a winning DFS lineup, and the best place to start is RotoQL’s DFS tools (get a 3-day free trial NOW!). Our RotoQL PGA Lineup Optimizer is a massive advantage when you're building lineups, regardless of contest size or site. I'm always there to help, too, so check me out on Twitter (@DFSBenj) for even more NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA daily fantasy content.

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About the author

Bennett Bedford

Bennett Bedford

Bennett Bedford writes a pair of weekly daily fantasy golf (DFS) PGA Tour pieces, including a weekly tournament preview and ideal plays for both cash games and DFS tournaments.

Bedford works with RotoQL, and their RotoQL PGA Lineup Optimizer is a massive advantage when you're building lineups, regardless of contest size or site.

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