A Complete Player Breakdown from a DFS Perspective for the 2017 Masters
By DAVID FRAYE (@jaebberwock)
Cumulative Odds to win and Official World Golf Ranking thru April 3rd
Dustin Johnson DK 11300 FD 11000 ODDS 5 OWGR 1
From a daily fantasy perspective Dustin Johnson will be tough to avoid using, in any format. He will be the most popular player used in this field and it might not be close. He’s won his last three events and there’s no sign he’s even starting to slow down (in classic DJ form, after the match play he said he hasn’t even hit his best game yet). From my perspective, it’s best to embrace this dominance, rather than resist. Most people want to have a rooting interest on Sunday afternoon and they respond by loading up on the player most likely to be there. I’ve deployed the “fade the top player at the Masters” strategy in the past. My advice is to not do that to yourself.
The argument against using D.J. is that he cuts the ball off the tee. Otherwise known as a fade (i.e. the ball fades to the right when a right handed player hits it) this creates a slight disadvantage for many guys at Augusta given the way the fairways are designed. For Johnson this is probably not as big of a problem due to his overall distance. At roughly 40% ownership in the Milly Maker on DraftKings if he doesn’t win he most likely won’t be worth his price, and even that will only be true if another top dog like Spieth or McIlroy wins.
On FanDuel you’ll be hardpressed to find anyone avoiding him. The pricing structure allows you to roster two of the top three players with relative ease (the value in the 6k range on that site is almost overwhelming). There’s little doubt he’ll be the first one everybody selects to build around. The most contrarian you will get on FD is during round one and two and I prefer this strategy considering that, if he runs away with the tournament, which he has a good chance of doing, he will accumulate most of his points early on. For those unaware, as FD Golf is in its infancy, you select eight total golfers. Four accumulate points in rounds one and two, and four accumulate them in rounds three and four. The most popular strategy is to select the best golfers in the later rounds because they have the best chance of making the cut. Since everyone collects points in rounds one and two its smarter to play the riskier players there. I think Johnson will probably push 50-60 percent ownership in the later rounds in this format and 20-30 percent in the first two.
Breaking: Dustin Johnson seemingly injured himself in his rental house today at 3 PM. Here’s the story. The betting markets are reacting heavily to this and it looks very questionable that he can compete, much less go out and win. I’d certainly fade in cash games and proceed with caution in GPP. I’m personally just moving all my DJ teams to McIlroy and Spieth.
Jordan Spieth DK 11500 FD 10600 ODDS 7 OWGR 6
If you can call anyone a course horse after three events it’s Jordan Spieth at the Masters. A second, first, and second each of the last three years, the thing I find most notable is that he still outscored the event winner (Danny Willett) last year by a good ten points. As the most expensive player on DK he’ll garner a little bit lower ownership than he should given Dustin Johnson’s current dominance. Rostering him and D.J. in the same lineup is certainly possible but there are very few ways to build a good and unique team as the average remaining salary on DK is 6800 and down in that price range we see few guys with realistic upside this week. As with Dustin he probably won’t be worth rostering if he doesn’t win (a fact that wasn’t true last year), and this game theory is the only reason you would not play him. On FD he will also be a contrarian play in rounds one and two and, with that format, you would be smart to play him as much as possible. For those concerned with his play at the Shell Houston Open I believe his +5 on Friday was largely intentional (i.e. not really trying to sink putts) due to the weather forecast and the fact he was 5 shots back after the first round. I see no flaws to his game right now.
Much will be made about his collapse last year. It will impact people and their decision making abilities. Many will say he can’t get over it. I’d say that while I recommended playing Dustin I still think Spieth has the advantage over him at this course and if they are coming down the back nine on Sunday tied, I think Jordan wins. However, I do not think that will happen this Sunday. In fact, I think there is only one player capable of keeping up with DJ this week…
Rory McIlroy DK 10600 FD 10400 ODDS 8 OWGR 2
You know what they say, ninth times a charm…Three straight top ten finishes at this event and he’ll likely the be the lowest owned of the DJ, Spieth, McIlroy trio (though he will still be popular). I believe 95% of lineups will have at least one of them and I think a rough guess of Johnson at 40%, Spieth at 30%, and McIlroy at 25% will be fairly accurate in karts GPPs on DK considering you can pair Jason Day with them and them with one another.
McIlory is my gut pick for the tournament this year and that is simply due to his play since dominating the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs in September. My gut pick means nothing other than he’s my personal preference. Both Dustin and Spieth are more likely to take this down. After a brief injury Rory has returned to his standard excellent form, even though he was a tad “meh” at the match play. The key to Rory is the putter. He’s been avoiding the big number as well. He naturally fits Augusta, at least his game fits better than Dustin’s does, in my opinion, and if he’s leading after three rounds again he won’t shoot 80 this Sunday.
Jason Day DK 10200 FD 10000 ODDS 15 OWGR 3
This is the ultimate contrarian play up top. Day has frustrated everyone since he won The Players last May. His form has been flat, his competitive edge, seemingly wed to his putter, has not returned from Florida. Now dealing with his mother’s cancer on top of his own endless health issues, it feels very much like the US Open from 2015 where people weren’t even sure he would finish the tournament due to his vertigo, yet he proved for three days that he belonged in the same conversation as Spieth and Johnson. I can’t really justify playing him over the aforementioned three due to the sharpness of his game (it’s about as sharp as that metal rake that’s been sitting in the back of grandpa’s tool shed for 45 years) but no one else will either. I think if people play ten lineups they’ll put him on 1 or 2, so going 20% is probably appropriate and will be more than most. Remember, he made a charge last year here before fading off on the weekend.
Hideki Matsuyama DK 9900 FD 9700 ODDS 20 OWGR 4
HidekiBOT went on a tear that most casual fans don’t know about last October after his fifth-place finish at the TOUR Championship. A win at the Japan Open on the Japan Tour was followed by a second at the CIMB Classic. He then took down the HSBC Champions WGC, the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Masters, and the Hero World Challenge before finishing his seven-tournament run with a second at the Tournament of Champions this January. Not a month later he won the Phoenix Open to cap off a five win stretch that took a mere six months to complete. In his last four events, however, his putter has been flat. He hasn’t finished higher than 25th and has all but disappeared from the “who’s hot” list that everyone is touting (Dustin Johnson is at the top, if you weren’t sure). Hideki’s Masters history is improving with top ten finishes each of the last two years. I can’t decide if I love or hate his swing, but I’ll have financial incentive to root for it on both sites, that’s a stone-cold fact.
Jon Rahm DK 8600 FD 9300 ODDS 20 OWGR 12
The youngster from Spain that Sergio Garcia has been tossed in the back alley dumpster for, Rahm has taken the Tour by a proverbial storm and has thus made everyone who is not living under a rock wonder if he can be the first rookie player to win the Masters since 1979. Even Spieth, the guy who owns this course, finished second here in his debut and none of Dustin, Rory, Matsuyama, Fowler, Stenson, Rose, Mickelson, Watson, or Garcia finished inside the top 20 in their debuts. A win is thus, unlikely. Even though I gave been on the Rahm bandwagon since before the Open last year, given his likely ownership on DK I’d consider fading him for MM purposes. That is the only reason I would fade him. I think his potential ownership will be around 30% and anyone outside the top three would be a mistake to roster in GPP at that ownership percentage. On FD I think he’d be a great early round play because I think he could get off to a hot start before fading off slightly over the weekend (almost like Bryson DeChambeau did last year). His price is also restrictive in my eyes as a debutante. Some have argued his 23rd at the US Open last year proves he doesn’t get fazed, and I know that he doesn’t, but his weakness is the short game and the reason people fail here is because they bleed through their putters. Again, I would not be surprised to see him inside the top 10 before fading on the weekend. On DK that means he could potentially be worth avoiding, it just might not be fun.
Phil Mickelson DK 8700 FD 9100 ODDS 20 OWGR 18
I don’t know about you but I’m all about rostering guys who pay off $1.9M gambling debts. A man after my own heart, I say. No, but seriously, I’m not paying this price for a 46 year old who hasn’t won a tournament since the Open in 2013. Interestingly enough, Henrik Stenson, the man he beat in 2013, beat him at the 2016 Open, which doesn’t mean anything at all other than it annoys me that Phil still has the ability to battle with a guy shooting an historic 20 under at Royal Troon. I understand that he can compete here and he’s won this event three times, but I think he should be about 1K cheaper before I even consider using him on teams. He’s missed the cut and come in 54th 3 of the past 5 years. But because he finished 2nd and 3rd the other two he’s priced where he is. Talk about hit or miss. If I lose because Phil Mickelson wins, I’ll just move onto next week.
Henrik Stenson DK 9500 FD 9200 ODDS 25 OWGR 5
I think it would annoy more people if Stenson wins here, than if he misses the cut. Thanks go out to Moose for polling twitter. Man people hate this guy right now. Of course, it is with good reason. In four March events he has withdrawn once, missed the cut twice, and shot seven under on a calm Thursday morning at the Valspar Championship before shooting a combined one under the next three days. He simply watched Adam Hadwin barely hang on to his first Tour win. I’d endorse a hard fade here simply because he’s hit his golf ball into a water hazard 10 times over the last four rounds he’s played. He’s never finished inside the top ten here. It’d be insane to think he can do that now. Like Phil, if I lose because of this guy I’ll move onto next week. You can’t roster everyone and right now Stenson is the grizzle hanging onto the edge of a medium rare steak. Just cut it off and push it aside.
Rickie Fowler DK 9300 FD 9200 ODDS 20 OWGR 8
My sexy pick to win last year that missed the cut after a completely demoralizing opening round 80, Fowler is once again striking on all cylinders just like he did in 2014. I can see an improvement on the top fives at each major, if we’re being honest. He’s the first guy I’m looking to after the top three and probably a big reason why I’m considering a Rahm fade. Cheaper than Stenson on DK, I think the price is lower than it should be. He won’t be missing the cut this year, not with the way he’s currently playing, and I think he’ll carry lower ownership than Rahm, which is just plain silly. (I wrote this paragraph on Wednesday evening before the Houston Open started. I’m even more inclined to roster him now).
Justin Rose DK 9200 FD 9500 ODDS 20 OWGR 14
I told myself to keep these under a hundred words a piece. Still working on that but I can guarantee you that once I get to Pat Perez I won’t have that much to say. Rose has been the sharp under-owned play each of the last two years here and he’s in better form now than he was in 14 and 15. Now an Olympic Gold Medalist, which is just a cool title he can wear every time he’s announced off the tee, I feel like the sneaky, get Rose in at sub-10% ownership is over with. Still worth working in, though I’m more interested in Rickie at the same price if we’re sticking them on a scale and weighing who is more dominant right now. He definitely tells awkward dad jokes in his free time.
Adam Scott DK 8800 FD 9700 ODDS 30 OWGR 9
This. Guy. Can’t. Putt. He’ll hit every green and then two putt his way inside the top 25 but he’s probably not going to win you a tournament. He hasn’t had a top ten this year and he’s 13 months withdrawn from any sort of dominance. He can always score, which is why you must consider him on DK. On FD, once again, the prevailing ‘play the studs in the early rounds’ will be the contrarian way to go and a healthy mix of studs in both sets will probably be what takes a tournament down. Scott might be on that team, but I highly doubt it and I will proceed with caution.
Bubba Watson DK 8400 FD 8300 ODDS 30 OWGR 19
Changed his ball to some disturbing pink and yellow novelties but I think his ability to contend disappeared with the weight he just lost. The man looks like he forgot what carbs were and while that’s great and something I need to consider doing myself, it has had a negative effect on his golf game as he adjusts. The most concerning aspect of is his short game. Once one of the best lag putters on Tour, he now struggles to sink 4 foot birdie attempts. This, hopefully, is just a blip. He played well at the match play so there is a hint he has figured it out. I will be playing him this week but with reservations. He hasn’t had a T35 here since his win in 2014. In fact, he hasn’t been worth paying for here aside from his two wins.
Justin Thomas DK 8900 FD 8900 ODDS 30 OWGR 7
Thomas intrigues my GPP interest this week as he’ll likely see lower ownership than he would see if he were coming off a pair of wins like he was after he left Hawaii in January. Just 23 years old, the dude has 4 Tour wins and put up a 59. Do I think he wins? No, this guy needs to contend at a few majors before I think that. Would I be surprised if he does win? No. A T5 in Mexico means he’s still feeling it and that’s all he needs in order to go low. Maybe he and Jordan can compare green jacket sizes after all, but that’ll only happen if he can suddenly learn to keep his nerves at bay.
Sergio Garcia DK 8300 FD 8100 ODDS 40 OWGR 11
The seemingly overshadowed Sergio enters the Masters with relatively little hype as he’s been absent from DFSers lineups for some time now but he won in dominating fashion in Dubai earlier this year. Sergio is always over owned in DFS and as a player with only one top 5 in his entire career here it’s hard to visualize him pulling it off save for the fact that he’s playing as well as he ever has, is older (therefore wiser?), and perhaps most important of all, needs to put a certain young phenom back in his place. I hope his ownership remains under 15%.
Paul Casey DK 7800 FD 8300 ODDS 40 OWGR 16
Two really nice finishes here each of the last two years could make Casey a bit more popular than he should be this week, as he doesn’t have the short game one needs to win. On the flip side we have now reached the players who will complement your two above favorites to win so we’re looking for top 10 potential and that is something that Casey clearly has a chance to do. Word is he finally has a driver he is comfortable with, claims he has confidence here, and says he prefers these fast greens (which should be true for most bad putters). Alot of people confuse betting and DFS analysis as two things that go and in hand. I don’t think this is true. At 40 to 1 I wouldn’t waste my money betting on him to win, I would, however, use him as a mid range golfer, as a complement to my studs. He’s more in play on DK in this capacity than FD, but should not be avoided on either.
The rest of my player by player breakdown is behind the pay wall. In DFS the bottom half of your lineup is where the money is usually made. Our team has a retty good track record of nailing down those value plays.
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