It’s been a few weeks but it’s nice to be back in the winner’s circle this week with Russell Henley. Let’s hope that good fortune carries over to Augusta and maybe gives us a shot at a cool million dollars.
This week is one of the most important weeks of the year for professional golfers and fantasy golf fanatics as well. Fantasy players have the chance to win $1,000,000 on DraftKings and make a large move up the leaderboard in their One-and-Done leagues. In order to maximize our chances to win in both formats we need to talk strategy.
This week on DraftKings, we have the Millionaire Maker, which pays a million to the winner of the $33 contest. With salaries being released a few weeks ago, there are some pricing inefficiencies that will yield extremely high ownership of some players. If you are trying to hit the jackpot and win the million, it is most prudent to avoid some of these highly-owned players.
I expect Rahm to be about 35-40% owned this week due to his salary of $8,600. Rahm has been on fire lately but I think he is burned out and is due for some lackluster results. Rahm has shown some chinks in his armor when it comes to the putter on really quick, undulating greens (see front nine of the finals against DJ at the WGC-Dell Match Play). I am going to fade Rahm and not have him in my DK lineup this week. Here is why that play creates a better opportunity for you to win:
Let’s assume Rahm is 35% owned and actually goes on to win or finish top 5 (thus you need to have him in your lineup to win a million). Given this case, you still have 35% of the field that you have to beat in order to win the million even though you picked the winner.
Let’s now assume that Rahm finishes outside of the top 20 or even better misses the cut. This essentially means that 35% of the people have been eliminated due to Rahm’s poor play. Now only 65% of the field remains for you to beat. The best strategy is to pick someone similarly priced who will be lesser owned (such as Justin Thomas at $8,900). I think Thomas will be around 8-10% owned this week. So if you choose a player like Thomas instead of Rahm and Thomas wins, you now only have to beat about 6-7% of the field to capture the million.
I used this same strategy last week by fading Spieth, Stenson, and others and happened to have Russell Henley in my lineup, which led me to winning over 10 times my amount of money entered. So many lineups were eliminated automatically due to missed cuts by some of the top players (only 2-3% of lineups had all six players make the cut).
Now with that in-depth DK strategy session out there, here are some players to use in your anti-Rahm lineup:
Justin Thomas $8,900
Thomas is the perfect leverage play against Rahm. If someone rosters Rahm and one of the top studs (DJ, Jordan or Rory), they will have difficulty affording Thomas. Since I expect a lot of people to construct their lineup that way, I think Thomas goes under-owned at less than 10 percent. He has a tremendous amount of upside for DK since he is a birdie machine and isn’t afraid of the big moment. I lost count….how many times has he won in the last 6 months?
Louis Oosthuizen $8,100
Louis is another one of my favorite plays of the week. I expect him to be owned by about 10-14% of the field based on solid play this year, good history at Augusta, and ability to contend on the big stage of majors. Many people don’t realize that Louis could have 4 majors right now if he played a total of 3 or 4 shots better at the right time. Louis won the 2010 British Open and he lost in a playoff at the 2012 Masters and 2015 British Open. He also lost to Spieth at Chambers Bay in 2015 by a shot.
Daniel Berger $7,300
Berger is another birdie machine and provides great value at $7,300. He is a volatile player and there is always the chance of a MC with him but we are trying to win the million here people! When Berger plays well, he can take it really low and finishes on the front page of the leaderboard. Berger finished 10th here a year ago and finished fifth last week in Houston.
If you are near the top of the leaderboard of your league, I implore you to go along with most of the other people and choose one of the favorites this week. This should keep you near the top of the leaderboard. If you are in the bottom half of your league, I suggest that you play a bit contrarian. I think you should play a bit of a longshot and hope that he finishes high and vaults you up the leaderboard meanwhile saving a top player for another major. Example: Ride Oosthuizen to a top-five and hope that Spieth, DJ and Rory fail to finish in the top 5. If that happens, you will vault up the leaderboard and will have an advantage later when others already have burned one of their studs.
Spieth is dominant at Augusta, as shown by his 2-1-2 finishes over the last three years. This is hands down the best place to use Spieth this year and I expect him to be the highest owned player this week in your league.
Not much to say here: Three wins in a row and top-six finishes the last two years at Augusta. If you still have him available and want to save Spieth, I would use DJ this week.
If you are going to pick someone outside the box, go with Louis. As described above in the DK section, he has the ability to perform well on the biggest of stages.
Longshot to win: Angel Cabrera 200-1
“El Pato” knows how to get the job done when near the top of leaderboard. Cabrera was won two majors (2007 US Open and 2009 Masters) and lost in a playoff at the 2013 Masters. Come Sunday, I want a guy who has closed before and isn’t afraid of the spotlight and that is Cabrera. He has finished top 35 in six of the last seven years at Augusta. Cabrera also plays very well in bad conditions with his calm demeanor where he plots along and picks the course apart. Cabrera has shown some flashes of game as shown by his 34th-place finish last week at Houston, which was capped off by an ace on his last hole of the final round. At 200-1 to win, he is more than worth tossing a few dollars on.