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2018 Masters preview
We’re at the first men’s major of the year, and Augusta National is buzzing with excitement about the 82nd Masters. You can feel it. Wherever you are, even at home. This should be one of the best Masters in memory, but our question is figuring out who’s going to win so we can make some money in the process.
It’s long been said you’ve got to putt well to win at the Masters. That’s not necessarily true. You don’t have to be a great putter so much as you need to be able to avoid three-putts or worse. Augusta National’s greens are fast, severe and difficult to read. Pace is key, and defensive putting is a must. Avoiding three-putts means avoiding unnecessary bogeys. Players are going to make bogeys, but they need to avoid bad bogeys and scores higher than bogey. If you make a double at the Masters, it’s almost impossible to win.
We’re looking for longer hitters who are good iron players, preferably with a higher ball flight. We want guys who play long par 4s and short par 5s very well because those are the key holes at Augusta National. Avoid bad scores on the long par 4s and try to make 4 or better on three of the four par 5s in every round. That’s a recipe to win.
2018 Masters DraftKings picks
Each week, we’ll offer players in 3-5 buckets of pricing so as to offer some mix-and-matching with your lineups based on our recommendations.
Recent PGA Tour Trends
We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual, stroke-play PGA Tour events.
- Byeong-hun An – 2 – T-5 The Honda Classic, T-14 Arnold Palmer Invitational
- Justin Rose – 2 – T-5 Valspar Championship, 3rd Arnold Palmer Invitational
- Kelly Kraft – 2 – T-8 The Honda Classic, 3rd Puntacana
- Luke List – 2 – P-2 The Honda Classic, T-7 Arnold Palmer Invitational
- Sean O’Hair – 2 – T-12 Valspar Championship, T-7 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 15 in this event in the last five years:
- Adam Scott – 3
- Dustin Johnson – 3
- Hideki Matsuyama – 3
- Jason Day – 2
- Jordan Spieth – 4
- Justin Rose – 4
- Matt Kuchar – 3
- Paul Casey – 3
- Rickie Fowler – 3
- Rory McIlroy – 4
- Sergio Garcia – 2
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
Here’s the list of players in the field playing over their 2017-18 average salary (ranked least to most over average salary):
- Haotong Li
- Bubba Watson
- Thomas Pieters
- Tiger Woods
Here are the players playing this week with multiple top-15 finishes in the last five PGA Tour events that are playing AT OR BELOW their 2017-18 average salary:
2018 Masters DraftKings recommendations
$10,000 and up
We have four players in this group, and I think avoiding Dustin Johnson makes some sense from a safety perspective. You can get Spieth, Woods or JT, who are all perhaps better picks anyhow, for less money. JT is the best player in the world right now. If you believe Spieth has a reliable putter, then he’s a great pick.
We have 16 players in this group. It’s pretty easy to see the winner coming out of this group. Obviously you have to love Rose and Casey in their pricing, and they average out to $9,000 together. Good deal there.
McIlroy has four top-10s in a row here, and he hasn’t been in contention once. That’s not worth $9,900, is it?
Watson and Garcia are great picks given current form, and Garcia seems happier than ever. He’s probably not much worried about defending, which is dangerously good.
Alex Noren has been lights out this year on the PGA Tour, but he has no high finish of note at the Masters.
Hideki Matsuyama has been on a roll here, but he hasn’t been up to his standard this year. I like Noren a lot here.
DraftKings basically breaks the rest of the field in half at the $7,000 mark. This is very much hit-or-miss territory.
I want to love Brian Harman, but I don’t think he hits the ball high enough or well enough with his irons to win.
Rafa Cabrera Bello has been playing great golf this season, but he just does not work at Augusta National. Neither does Patrick Reed.
Branden Grace doesn’t do much pretty at the Masters, but he does cash checks.
Below or at $7,000
We’re looking for bargains in this range with a threat to top-10.
Kevin Chappell seems a steal at $6,900. He likes Riv, and we like Riv guys at Augusta.
Jimmy Walker may be coming out on the right side of things, but leave him on the bench this week.
Kyle Stanley may be a sneaky good pick here. He hits 72 percent of his greens, though he’s a modest long-iron player. Just a small adjustment for the week could be huge for him.
My primary DraftKings lineup
- Justin Rose – $9,200
- Paul Casey – $8,800
- Bubba Watson – $8,700
- Alex Noren – $8,100
- Patrick Cantlay – $7,600
- Brian Harman – $7,500