We finally made it, boys and girls. It’s Masters week!
It does not get much better than this if you’re a golf fan. As cliche as it sounds, it truly is a tradition unlike any other. There probably isn’t much I could tell you about Augusta National that you don’t already know, however just as a refresher, the course is a par-72 that measures 7,475 yards with bentgrass greens. The purpose of this article is to highlight the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate; however, these players are great options in any contest type.
Note: My forthcoming analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories that you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend following Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained columns each round, which highlights golfers to buy and fade following each round of play at that week’s PGA TOUR event, and Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course.
Dustin Johnson ($10,00 DraftKings; $11,800 FanDuel)
DJ’s price on DraftKings this week is beyond egregious, and he’s without a doubt the best cash game play on the board. The No. 1 player in the world is coming off a second place finish at the Houston Open in his first start back after testing positive for COVID-19. After a lackluster opening round, Johnson closed 66-66-65 and was barely edged out by Carlos Ortiz. The only thing we needed to see from DJ last week was that he was healthy, and boy did he prove that.
Prior to his contracting COVID-19, Johnson was playing the best golf on the TOUR by a wide margin. In his previous five tournaments — which included the U.S Open and FedEx Cup Playoff — he finished sixth, first, second, first and second. A truly ridiculous stretch of golf. DJ also boasts some of the best course history in this field, posting four consecutive top-10 finishes at Augusta.
His rolling stats also stand out, as Johnson ranks first overall in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green, Approach and Ball-Striking over his past 16 rounds. He’s as sure a bet as any to take home the green jacket this week and is severely underpriced. He’ll be the first guy I lock in for cash plays this week, and I recommend you do the same.
Tony Finau ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,400 FanDuel)
Another player that is slightly underpriced is Finau, who has almost become a must-play in Majors at this point. Dating back to last year’s Open Championship he’s finished eighth, fourth and third in his last three starts at Major Championships. His history at the Masters is also elite, boasting a fifth and 10th in his only two starts. Since coming back from his positive COVID-19 test he’s finished 11th and 24th in his last two events, showing his game is right where we need it to be for the biggest week of the year.
Finau sits 10th in this field over his past 16 rounds in SG:Tee-to-Green and 13th in total strokes gained. His length off the tee is a massive advantage at Augusta, and if it rains this week — which is what the forecast calls for — the course should play even longer than normal. He could easily be a mid-$9,000 player on DraftKings this week, so we will take the value in cash games and move along.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,700 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel)
I love rostering Matsuyama at Majors because his price always hovers in the mid-$8,000 range on DraftKings, which is his sweet spot in terms of positive expected value. Course history seems to matter plenty here at Augusta, and the native of Japan has some of the best around, boasting two top-20s and two top-10s in four of his past five trips.
Matsuyama is also in great form, having finished in a tie for second place last week at the Houston Open after a final round 63 shot him up the leaderboard. His ball striking has been elite of late, as well, as Matsuyama sits fifth in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and eighth in SG: Ball-Striking over his past eight rounds. Matsuyama is one of the likeliest in this field to make the cut and possesses massive upside beyond that, which is definitely something we can exploit at just $8,700 on DraftKings.
Scottie Scheffler ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel)
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, we are going to put that theory to the test again this week as I just can’t seem to quit Mr. Scheffler. He’s simply too talented to be priced at just $7,800 on DraftKings when you consider guys like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are more expensive. Scheffler has not looked himself after his return from a positive COVID-19 test, but it’s not like he’s been awful either, finishing 32nd and 17th his last two times out.
Debutants normally do not normally perform that well at Augusta. However, Scheffler has the requisite length to tear this course apart. I also feel more comfortable knowing he came into the PGA Championship (his first career major start) in similar form and proceeded to finish tied for fourth. The price is too strong to ignore, so we’ll go right back to the well this week.
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel)
Fitzpatrick is another strong value this week as the strength of the field has kept his price in check. His $7,600 tag on DraftKings is about $1,000 less than we are used to seeing. Considering his affinity for showing up at Majors, that’s a pretty massive advantage.
Since missing the cut in his first career start here in 2014, he’s not finished worse than 38th in his four subsequent starts, which include a T-21 and T-7 in that span. Fitzpatrick is also coming in hot, ranking 21st in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and 13th in SG: Approach over his past eight rounds. If the weather gets bad this week, it’s just another reason to like Fitz’s prospects. His extensive experience on the Euro tour playing in rain and with heavy winds should pay massive dividends.
Cameron Champ ($7,100 DraftKings; $9,100 FanDuel)
Champ has been largely hit-or-miss over the course of his young career, but the two-time TOUR winner is coming off an eighth place finish in his last start at the ZOZO and sits 11th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and fifth in SG: Approach over his past eight rounds.
Like Scheffler, Champ is a first-timer here at Augusta, but one that I’m also not concerned about due to his ridiculous length off the tee. We’ve also seen that Champ does not mind the big stage after his very impressive 10th-place finish at the PGA Championship a few months back. If you are scared off by his volatility, I like both Kevin Kisner and Ian Poulter a lot this week at similar prices. It simply came down to upside for me, in which I believe Champ has a slight advantage over the two vets.
Si Woo Kim ($6,800 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel)
Si Woo has been playing some very consistent golf of late, which is something we are not usually accustomed to. Before missing the cut last week in Houston by just one stroke, he was coming off two straight strong top-20s, including a T-8 at the Shriners.
We’ve seen Kim come out of nowhere and dominate strong fields before, demonstrated best from his win at the 2017 Players Championship. He also rates out pretty well statistically of late, ranking 14th in SG: Tee-to-Green and seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee across his past eight rounds. In three starts at Augusta, Kim has two top-25s, and at just $6,800 on DraftKings you could do way worse considering his sky-high upside.
John Rahm ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,700 FanDuel)
Rahm has been the most consistent player on TOUR since the restart and is on the very short list of likely winners this week. He would’ve been mentioned as a core play if DJ wasn’t setting the world on fire. Rahm ranks third in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green over his past 24 rounds and is knocking on the door of winning his first major. He’s also gone T-9 and T-4 in his last two times out at Augusta. You can play him in cash and GPP’s alike this week.
Xander Schauffele ($9,800 DraftKings; $11,500 FanDuel)
Not much to say here. It’s Xander at a major for under $10,000 on DraftKings. There are too many good plays this week, so you will have to take a stand somewhere. I just think DJ is too strong to fade in cash, so I prioritized him. You can certainly stack him with Schauffele, but then you have to round out your team with a $6,000 player, which is something I try to not do in cash games.
Pictured: Dustin Johnson
Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images