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PGA DFS Picks: The 2021 Masters

In this edition of PGA DFS picks, we’re looking for a big payday at The Masters and helping you find some winning teams to boost your bankroll!

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Reduced field of 88 golfers with all the big names
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 50 and ties (10-stroke rule NOT in effect)
  • Last year’s champion: Dustin Johnson (November)
  • The course: Augusta National (Donald Ross design)
    • Par 72: 7,475 yards
    • Bentgrass greens
    • Tournament is back to its usual April date, so the course will play differently than it did five months ago
    • Patrons are back at Augusta National
    • Winners typically come from PM Thursday/AM Friday groups
  • Wind will blow, course should play tough if it doesn’t rain at all
  • Focus Stat Categories: Course History, Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Off the Tee, Driving Distance, Birdie or Better %, SG: Around the Green, Par 5 scoring

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $9,500 and up):

Dustin Johnson (DK $11,500) – Because of this week’s soft pricing and slew of viable golfers in the $7K range, getting DJ into your teams won’t be that much of a hassle, even with one more $9K and up player in the mix. Despite two less-than-stellar finishes at the WGC-Workday and Players Championship, DJ still offers the most consistent upside at this venue, where he won in November. It’s playing differently now, but he knows that. Don’t overthink this – get exposure to DJ in all formats.

Jon Rahm (DK $11,000) – The Rahm/DJ combo leaves you with $6,875 per golfer for the remaining four slots on DK, and with some of the talent in this field, even those stars-and-scrubs teams don’t look too scrubby. But there are some key golfers I like in the $7.5-$8.5K range that I won’t be able to get if I use the top two salaries – so most of my teams will feature one or the other, and in some cases, neither. Rahm, a new father, seems a little more cash-viable than the next two guys, and he’s fine for single-entry GPPs.

Bryson DeChambeau (DK $10,800) – I know he’s in Sia’s initial picks column and Joel loves him – and I agree he has plenty of upside – but Bryson’s aggressive approach on Par 4s worries me a bit. He tends to attack those holes and try to create his own scoring chances instead of treading water and waiting for his opportunities. If it didn’t work in November, when he finished T34, it may not work in April, even with the new driver that he says will mitigate the shot dispersal. I’ll tread lightly with him, but I think he’s fun to watch and root for.

Rory McIlroy (DK $10,100) – Rory may very well be the same golfer who was dominating before the pandemic, but it’s hard to see that in his results. Still – he managed to finish T5 here in November and certainly has enough Top 10 finishes at Augusta (and no finish worse than T21 in his last five tries) to land in the Top 5 again. He’s never won here, but he’s guaranteed for low ownership relative to the rest of this bunch and that really intrigues me.

Patrick Cantlay (DK $9,800) – Like Sia, I like the price on Cantlay and think he’s about as solid an overall golfer as you can find in the field, without any glaring weaknesses and sporting a game face for the ages. Much like Patrick Reed, Cantlay is not here to make friends, and Augusta National is a fine a venue as any for his first major win. Ownership will probably end up between 15-20%, but I really like him for single-entry GPPs and I’ll have exposure in all formats.

Also consider: Justin Thomas (GPP), Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $7,600 to $9,400):

Jordan Spieth (DK $9,400) – Fresh off a win at the Valero, folks will be dying to play Spieth at the site of his greatest triumph and most epic collapse. He knows the course, he’s playing great golf (even if he’s still a little erratic off the tee and on some approaches), and I’ll have a hard time fading him, even when his ownership spikes. Last week I said I was excited to play him, and I clearly didn’t play him enough. My single-entry team had 5/6 make the cut and cash in every instance, but it earned about one-hundredth of what it should have because I had Tony Finau (the lone MC) instead of Spieth as my big spend.

Webb Simpson (DK $9,000) – Simpson’s course history is a lesson in perseverance and scholarship, as he’s learned how to “master” Augusta in recent years. Now in his tenth year playing the Masters, he’s in position for another Top 10 and continued, under-the-radar success. I’ll have Simpson at about 25% in my GPPs and he’s on the short list for my single-entry player pool. I may even play around with some Milly builds that have him as my only $9K and up player, and everybody else on the team is $7,700 and up.

Viktor Hovland (DK $8,700) – The experts are giving Hovland no love this week, and while he’s in the Top 20 of my model, I can understand why – as a really strong short game seems like a must to win at Augusta. Hovland may not be the best around the greens, but he’s awesome on Par 5s and that’s where most of the scoring is done at this golf course. If his ownership dips a little bit from the early projections, I’ll increase my shares.

Hideki Matsuyama (DK $8,300) – I normally don’t play a lot of Matsuyama because of his erratic putting, but he has a bunch of Top 20 finishes at Augusta because of his amazing ball-striking and performance “around” the greens. His overall short game still ranks in the Top 40 of the field for Augusta and its closest course comps, and he seems to know where to miss in off the tee here, since he’s navigated his poor tee shots well in the past.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (DK $8,100) – Fitzpatrick could have been priced at $9K and I’d have interest, because this is a course where he could win – if he can just elude the one bad round he seems to have at every major. His form is alarmingly consistent, with five straight Top 20s internationally and four straight within the Top 11 since the Genesis. He’s a fine play in all formats and there’s always the chance he finally breaks through.

Sergio Garcia (DK $7,900) – Garcia still hits it like a beast off the tee (long and straight) and he’s got the requisite experience at Augusta to tackle this difficult layout and win – or at least contend – again. He’s one of my favorite value plays in the mid-range and while there’s inherent risk with him because of his volatility, it’s a week without too many guarantees.

Paul Casey (DK $7,700) – A missed cut in 2019 (which started out with an uncharacteristic 81) is just about the only recent blemish on Casey’s record at Augusta, which includes a T6 in 2015, T4 in 2016 and solo 6th in 2017. He’s had a monster resurgence in 2021, with six straight finishes inside the Top 12, including a win in Dubai and T5s at both Pebble Beach and the Players.

Also consider: Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka (GPP), Tyrrell Hatton (GPP), Lee Westwood, Daniel Berger, Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Smith, Bubba Watson (GPP)

Value PGA DFS (DK $6,600 to 7,500):

Louis Oosthuizen (DK $7,500) – As long as his back doesn’t lock up before his tee time, Louis should be a solid pick this week at Augusta, where he almost always plays well. In many ways, Oosty is like the still-under-40, cheaper version of Lee Westwood. The South African has one thing that Westwood doesn’t – and that’s a major championship victory. He’s among the top golfers in this value range.

Will Zalatoris (DK $7,300) – What Zalatoris lacks in experience he makes up for in talent and fearlessness, and he proved in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot he can take whatever a golf course and extremely windy conditions has to offer. He’s a solid bet to make the cut, and even though he’s a first-timer at Augusta, he’s played casual rounds and seems to understand (from quotes and interviews) how to play the course.

Max Homa (DK $7,100) – The fact that Homa won at Riviera factors into his inclusion in the value picks, because he’s got minimal experience here (just a missed cut at the November event) and finishes just inside the Top 40 on my model. But if I’m looking for GPP plays with confidence and upside, he’s a solid pick.

Corey Conners (DK $6,900) – If you’re looking to avoid chalk in GPPs and assume more risk, then maybe you’d prefer to spend the extra $100 and grab Victor Perez, who should come in under 5% ownership. But Conners is a much safer pick, with two made cuts in two tries and a top 10 in November. Granted, we could see a few three-putts and greenside abominations from the Canadian ball-striking sensation, but he’s so good tee-to green it might not matter. A staple in cash games for his low price and a guy to watch this year.

Si Woo Kim (DK $6,700) – The more I dig into the windy weather and the mixed model, the more I like Kim as a GPP risk-reward play. He’s made three straight cuts at Augusta after missing in his 2017 debut, and he’s got oodles of Top 25 upside this year. He already has one 2021 win (at the AMEX) and while he missed some cuts in February and withdrew at Bay Hill, his last two finishes are a T9 at the Players and T23 at the Valero last week. I’ll be massively overweight on the field and I’m thinking about using him on my largest field single-entry GPP.

Sebastian Munoz (DK $6,600) – It’ll be interesting to see how well Munoz makes the adjustment form his Masters debut in November to a much harder and faster course this week, but his recent form is solid (aside from a MC at the Players) and the price is fair. The Colombian golfer sports solid metrics on most of the course comps (excluding TPC Sawgrass) and could be an option as a last piece.

More value golfers to consider: Joaquin Niemann (GPP), Justin Rose (GPP), Billy Horschel, Victor Perez (GPP), Brian Harman, Matt Kuchar, Christian Bezuidenhout, Danny Willett, Phil Mickelson, Cameron Champ (GPP)

Longshot Punts PGA DFS (DK $6,500 and under):

Carlos Ortiz (DK $6,500) – He’s a Masters virgin but has been practicing this week with Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia to learn the ropes of this famously difficult risk-reward layout. He seems to play the comp courses well and can get insanely hot with his short game, so I’m very interested in using him in a bunch of GPPs.

Kevin Na (DK $6,500) – Playing Na is always a bold move because he’s so prone to withdrawing due to injury and his game can be erratic, but his short game is elite and he’s underpriced for his upside here. He’s the ultimate GPP punt this week and he’s never all that popular because he scares the crap out of people.

Charl Schwartzel (DK $6,300) – A former Masters champion who placed third here in 2017, I’ll be using Schwartzel on a few of my GPP teams where I need salary relief from one or two spots because I’m playing two $10K+ studs. He’s in the top 50 of my model, so at this price we’re looking for a made cut and a couple birdie streaks during the weekend to land him a Top 25.

Additional punts: Robert Macintyre (GPP), Ryan Palmer (GPP), Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Stewart Cink, Bernhard Langer

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