This week is always my favorite of the year, I’m a bit of a kid on Christmas when it comes to Thursday morning at Augusta National. It always helps that DraftKings puts up a Milly Maker for us, and this year they have three of them to fit all buy-in levels.
My focus this week will be around the big $10 tournament, where you’ll need to best 473,064 other lineups to take home the top prize of $1 million. In order to do that, you’ll have to basically hit the nuts and do so in a unique build in order to avoid splitting it with a bunch of others.
I touched on much of that strategy and went deep into the breakdown of past Milly Makers in my article for the November Masters, and I will cover how that contest went from DJ’s win in the fall. Here is how that lineup shook out.
It obviously had the winner in Dustin Johnson, who was egregiously underpriced and therefore very big chalk. He was paired up top with Justin Thomas in a stars-and-scrubs type of build. Everything played out perfectly in the lineup as Sungjae Im, Cameron Smith, Dylan Frittelli and Cameron Champ came in at less than $7,500 in pricing to round out the six golfers. One particular thing this lineup did that we have covered in this spot time and again, is it left $900 in salary on the table, allowing it to be unique.
The contest this week will see twice as many entries as we saw in November, making it extremely difficult to win, and requiring some creativity with your builds. I am always one who believes that difficult course conditions will eventually cause the top players to rise to the top, so I will have plenty of builds that rely on the top-salary guys. I will then look to find some cheap players who can round out my lineup with enough upside to help me win that top prize.
Now, let’s get into the picks!
Dustin Johnson $11,500
As crazy as it sounds, the top player in the world and defending champion may be a bit overlooked this week. He is $500 more expensive than Jon Rahm who just alleviated many worries as he and his wife had their first child over the weekend, removing concerns of him leaving the grounds early for the birth. This has caused a spike in attention for Rahm. Justin Thomas, who just won The PLAYERS and has been steadily improving at Augusta National, has gotten quite a bit of attention as well.
DJ may come in at less than 15% ownership despite being the most dominant player at this event over the last several years. He has averaged 12.4 strokes gained on the field over his last four appearances, which is nearly four(!!) strokes better than the next best players during that stretch (Rahm and Rory McIlroy 8.6). If things continue to look this way heading into Thursday, I’ll get leverage by playing DJ and feel comfortable that I can expect a great result.
Bryson DeChambeau $10,800
All of the talk going into the fall Masters was driven around Bryson and how he was going to just overwhelm this course. He even went as far to reference it as a “Par 68” for him as all of the Par 5s were essentially Par 4s in his eyes. He ultimately struggled to get much going at that tournament. Now just five months later, things are much quieter around him.
I still expect to see him owned, but I am hopeful that many will go to the other names around him despite a recent win at the Arnold Palmer and the final tee time on Sunday at The PLAYERS. If he does happen to get overlooked and stay under 20%, I’ll be starting a number of lineups here, though I will say I built one already that I didn’t hate with him and DJ both in it.
Collin Morikawa $9,600
I have made it clear my thoughts on Patrick Cantlay in this same price range, and there’s an undeniable attraction to Jordan Spieth here as well. The reason I am highlighting Morikawa, though, is because of the attention going to the guys he is sandwiched between. You could certainly play all three, but if the PGA Champion and recent WGC winner Morikawa is going to go overlooked at less than 10% ownership, then I will hammer him for leverage in this spot.
Morikawa’s elite ball striking game will travel to any course and any event. He will be able to adapt and rely on it in the firm and fast conditions of the week, and he at least has one Masters under his belt. I don’t expect to see him holding the trophy — though he certainly has that upside — but he can certainly be in the mix to be an optimal piece in DFS.
Daniel Berger $8,500
This is one spot where I will eat some chalk and try to get different elsewhere. Daniel Berger has just been too good for this price tag, and he comes in after missing the November Masters with a chip on his shoulder to show he belongs. We have talked a lot about the resurgence of Spieth, but Berger deserves to be in that conversation as well with all of the top showings he has put up in the past 12 months.
Berger will be heavily owned at more than 20%, maybe even 25%, but he is too cheap for his level of play and at this spot I will eat it. He also has a Top 10 at this tournament and has been around the course enough to really try to contend this week. I think the play may be to avoid putting him with more than one other chalky guy. as building him in with both Spieth and Cantlay could be quite popular this week.
Scottie Scheffler $8,400
The top player in this price range for my DFS model is Scheffler, and that is without any stat credit to his runner-up finish at the Match Play. He has been in great form of late, even with a bit of a stumble at times during last week’s Valero Texas Open. I think it may have been a benefit to his ownership as he’s hovering around 10%, but with his scoring ability, the upside is tremendous if he just finds the weekend. I’ll happily look to at least double the field on Scheffler this week at his second Masters.
Paul Casey $7,700
This is a second chalky play in the range, but again, I feel like this is one that is good chalk. Casey may be the most owned player on the slate by virtue of a strong course history and him being in possibly the best form of his entire career coming into the week. He has been generating top-10 finishes like it’s going out of style, and even posted a win on the European Tour back in January. There is nothing to dislike about Casey here, and honestly I think anything under 25% owned is a mistake by the 75% plus not playing him.
Adam Scott $7,600
Adam Scott is another player I have been driving home in the betting markets, in part due to his ridiculous odds. That thought translates well here for DFS as he makes a great GPP play. There is risk that he comes out and drives it all over the map as he’s done through several events this year, but if he shows up like he did at The Honda, gaining 9.8 strokes on the field ball striking, he has the upside to win this tournament. I’m in for some shares here, but I will sprinkle around this range as others like Jason Day, Joaquin Niemann and Abraham Ancer have similar abilities if they show up with their best.
Matthew Wolff $7,100
We finally saw some good play out of Wolff as he went through the group play rounds at Match Play. He seemed to find some form and is in a better spot overall with his game. I will play him some this week and hope that the guy who showed up for the U.S. Open in the fall is the one who plays The Masters this week. One thing to note: He and Bryson seem to have some correlation in playing well in similar weeks. We don’t talk about stacking players in golf like we do in other DFS sports, but it seems to be a real thing with these two bombers and I’ll look to build that way at times this week.
Max Homa $7,100
One of the best players to start this year has been Max Homa. He went on a ridiculous eight-week stretch of tournaments, and played really well throughout what had to be an exhausting run. His win at Riviera was right in the middle of that, and it’s notable for this week as many will point to that track as a bit of a correlation to Augusta. We get Homa at a cheap price tag this week with immense upside if he can avoid being cut off from the weekend like he was in November.
Corey Conners $6,900
This is another spot that will undoubtedly be quite chalky. Conners is a ball-striking machine who has shown great form over the first few months and is underpriced for what he can bring to the table. I will look to be careful with where and how I build around him as 20% ownership in this range is a lot to swallow. He has to be a play, but just make sure you don’t stack him alongside three or four other 20% guys.
Jason Kokrak $6,900
One pivot away from Conners is a similar player in Jason Kokrak. He actually stands out as someone who could perform better this week than the Canadian at the same price, as Kokrak has found something quite remarkable with his short game. He has transitioned himself into one of the top putters in the world as things stand this season after finishing ranked in the triple-digits in that category last year. He will be at least half as owned as Conners, and you could argue he has higher upside.
Ryan Palmer $6,500
I’ll keep it short and sweet in the sleeper category. Palmer is one who has been playing great lately despite a disappointing weekend at the Valero. He has a top-10 finish here and is playing some of his best golf in his career. I like Palmer as a cheap guy with great upside if the ball striking stays in tact.
Matt Wallace $6,400
Wallace is another guy who has come on strong lately, with a peak of a third-place finish in Texas last week. He has a great short game to be able to handle the firm and fast conditions and make the weekend. He is priced way too low for his overall talent level.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Pictured: Dustin Johnson