It’s finally here—it’s Masters week, one unlike any other! Augusta National is known for its tradition and consistency to what we can expect year to year, which, for fantasy purposes, means that there’s no course in the world where experience matters more. There are few courses in the world that we have more data on than Augusta National, which usually makes it easier to predict. But the forecast for this week throws a bit of that familiarity out the window.
Still, we believe you can rely on the mountain of data at the Masters historically and the stats that portend success—par 5 scoring, birdies or better made and the others that you can navigate for yourself at my website, RickRunGood.com, to build winning lineups.
Here are my favorite plays for this week at Augusta National!
High Upside: Bryson DeChambeau ($11,200 DraftKings | $12,100 FanDuel)
There is no doubt that DeChambeau possesses the upside required to win this, or any golf tournament. He’s planning on playing Augusta National in a way that we’ve never seen before. He will be injecting more risk into his range of outcomes, but with great risk comes great reward. DeChambeau won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in a way that many (myself included) didn’t think was possible. Augusta National is, in theory, a much better setup for this game, and wet conditions should benefit the longest hitter in the field—who’s carrying it 345 yards (!) in this early season.
Safest Option: Rory McIlroy ($10,200 DraftKings | $11,900 FanDuel)
McIlroy will have the Career Grand Slam hanging over his head this week. Unfortunately, his form entering the week has not been sharp by his own standards. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, McIlroy is averaging just 0.11 strokes gained on approach in the 48 rounds he has played since the tour’s restart. The fact that McIlroy has been tour average in the most important statistical category is actually proof of his high floor. Despite the “struggles,” he hasn’t finished outside the top 21 in any of his past five starts, including three top-15s. He has the longest active cut streak on the PGA Tour, proving that even McIlroy’s “B+ game” is way better than most golfers.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Tiger Woods ($9,100 DraftKings | $11,100 FanDuel)
As much as I’d love to see Tiger Woods contend for his sixth Masters title, there is little evidence of that performance coming. We can look back to his form entering the 2019 Masters. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, Woods was gaining strokes in all four major strokes-gained categories, for a total of +1.33 strokes gained per round in his eight measured events last year. In his eight measured starts leading up to this week, he’s losing strokes in three of the four categories for a total of 0.47 strokes lost per round. That’s nearly a two-stroke difference, per round, between each year.
Pick To Win: Dustin Johnson ($10,000 DraftKings | $11,800 FanDuel)
It took Dustin Johnson exactly one round to shake off the rust after missing a few weeks from a positive COVID test. He kicked off the Houston Open with a 2-over 72 before rattling off rounds of 66-66-65 to finish in a tie for second. The way he performed last week was vintage DJ. He gained 10.17 strokes from tee-to-green last week, second in the field behind only Sam Burns. He passed the eye test, looking dialed-in with his putter, and he’s ready to add a second major to his résumé.
High Upside: Matthew Wolff ($8,500 DraftKings | $10,300 FanDuel)
Wolff is coming off the two worst driving performances of his young career, losing 3.43 off-the-tee the Zozo Championship and another 4.42 strokes off-the-tee at the CJ Cup. That’s concerning, but not entirely surprising. He’s 21 years old and will be more volatile than most. The couple of weeks off will allow him to dial in his weapon—the driver—and could return him to the form that resulted in runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open and Shriners.
Safest Option: Tony Finau ($8,800 DraftKings | $10,400 FanDuel)
Consistent performances on tour come from golfers who are great from tee-to-green. Finau is certainly that type of golfer, gaining strokes on the field in that category in 25 of his past 27 measured starts. We can argue all day about his win equity, but we can’t argue about his results at the Masters. Finau has teed it up in Augusta twice, finishing T-10 and T-5.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Rickie Fowler ($8,100 DraftKings | $9,800 FanDuel)
Fowler has finished inside the top 12 in five of his past six trips to The Masters. Combine that with him being one of the most popular golfers on tour, and many will consider rostering him this week. Unfortunately, this year has been a struggle for Fowler as he continues to work through swing changes since January. He only has one top-10 finish since The American Express in January, so that enticing price tag still brings a ton of risk.
Pick To Win: Bubba Watson ($9,000 DraftKings | $10,000 FanDuel)
Watson is rounding into form and heading to a “Bubba course.” Watson, famously, has 12 PGA TOUR titles with seven of them coming at only three courses (Riviera Country Club, TPC River Highlands and Augusta National). Watson has been striking the ball beautifully over his past five starts. In fact, since the Northern Trust in August, no golfer with as many rounds played as Watson is averaging more strokes gained from tee-to-green (+1.93).
High Upside: Cameron Smith ($7,300 DraftKings | $8,700 FanDuel)
Smith is putting together a very quiet stretch of golf that has resulted in 10 consecutive cuts made with six top-25 finishes in that stretch. His most recent two events are an 11th-place at the CJ Cup and a T-4 at the Zozo. The fields in those events will have a similar composition to the field playing in Augusta this week. Smith will need to rely on his strength, the putter, to find success this week. He’s made the cut in all three trips to the Masters and finished fifth in 2018.
Safest Option: Scottie Scheffler ($7,800 DraftKings | $9,400 FanDuel)
Scheffler jumped out to the first page of the leaderboard around the first round of the Houston Open last week. He struggled on both Friday and Saturday before putting together a final-round 65 to finish T-32. He’s making his Masters debut, which gives me pause, but his ability to make birdies and eagles is incredibly valuable in fantasy scoring.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Justin Rose ($7,700 DraftKings |$9,700 FanDuel)
The course history is elite for Rose, who has finished inside the top 25 in eight of his nine Masters starts. The only time he didn’t was last season when he missed the cut. Unfortunately for Rose, his game is erratic right now. Since the restart he’s missed the cut in five of his 11 starts but has four top-20 finishes during that stretch. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason when he’s going to play well, so I’ll take a pass and let others invest in Rose.
Pick To Win: Jason Kokrak ($7,000 DraftKings | $9,000 FanDuel)
Kokrak is coming off a victory just two starts ago when he raised the trophy at the CJ Cup. Maybe just as impressive, he followed up that performance with a T-17 the following week at the Zozo. It’s very difficult for first-time winners to follow up a victory with another solid performance, but this is just more of the same from Kokrak. He has earned six top-20 finishes in his past seven starts. He has plenty of distance off the tee and offers significant value in this player pool.
High Upside: Si Woo Kim ($6,800 DraftKings | $8,500 FanDuel)
No one would ever confuse Kim for a safe option, but if it’s upside you’re looking for, look no further. He’s been hitting his irons very well since the Memorial in July, but I’m even more interested in his short game. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, Justin Thomas and Si Woo Kim have been the best players in this field in strokes gained/around-the-green since the restart. That short game will be critical around Augusta National since it offers some unique and challenging greenside shots.
Safest Option: Zach Johnson ($6,800 DraftKings | $8,100 FanDuel)
The 2007 Champion has actually missed the cut five times in his 12 starts since donning the green jacket. However, his game is in great shape right now. He’s gained at least four strokes on approach in four of his past seven starts, which has resulted in two top-10 finishes, including his T-8 at the U.S. Open.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Henrik Stenson ($6,800 DraftKings | $8,600 FanDuel)
Course history matters more at Augusta National than any other course on the professional schedule. That means many will opt for a familiar name, like Stenson, with great history. He’s finished inside the top 25 five times in his past seven trips to The Masters. While that’s great, I’m more concerned about his recent play. He withdrew at the Bermuda Championship, his last start, and has failed to make the weekend in five of his last seven events. He doesn’t have a top-20 finish anywhere in the world in 2020.
Pick To Win: Sebastian Munoz ($6,700 DraftKings | $7,900 FanDuel)
Munoz is on one of the best stretches of golf in his career. He’s notched top-15 finishes in four of his past seven starts, including some really premier events. He notched a T-8 at the BMW Championship, finished T-7 at the Tour Championship (without strokes) and had back-to-back top-15 finishes at the CJ Cup and Zozo. Those are deep fields that Munoz found a way to assert himself into contention. This will be his first trip to Augusta, but he hasn’t blinked in big spots recently, and I don’t expect him to start now.