Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 Masters

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 12: Tiger Woods of the United States and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland wait on the tenth tee during the final round of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) Getty Images

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 Masters

Fantasy

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 Masters

Need help with your fantasy-golf lineups for this week’s Masters Tournament? Our fantasy-golf experts are here to help.

Anyway, from picks to win to DraftKings bargains to players to avoid at Augusta National Golf Club, here are some options our experts feel you should consider:

Geoff Shackelford

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. After losing in a playoff last year to Sergio Garcia, has played sparingly but when he does show up, almost always contends. Loves Augusta and should have been the champion last year but for one bad swing in the playoff on a hole where it does not take much to misfire. Veteran presence, smart caddie, length off the tee and improved putting this year make him the man to beat.
  • Also like: Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas. Phil’s iron play is back to go with his ridiculous short game. Tiger is Tiger and can break par at Augusta National blindfolded. Sergio is in a great place and has continued his fine play despite changing equipment. Bubba seems to be playing better than ever. Thomas is the best player in the world right now and after two Masters starts, is ready to take his Augusta game to another level.
  • Sleeper: Bryson DeChambeau. Has picked up distance this year and his iron play is stout. Putting still a question mark some weeks.
  • DraftKings bargain: DeChambeau ($6,900). He fought gamely at Bay Hill and if he doesn’t try too hard in his second go-round here, should keep up the great play from early in the season. A bargain!
  • Fade: Hideki Matsuyama has battled a bad wrist and doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders right now. He will understandably get some attention from those who will feel this huge talent is being overlooked in the prognosticating. There are too many other good options with stronger Augusta National track records.
  • Low amateur: Doc Redman. The current U.S. Amateur champion from Clemson will ride his putting prowess to a made cut and seat in Butler Cabin Sunday. Redman made the cut in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month.
  • Where will Tiger finish? T-2. Because he won’t actually play blindfolded.

Eamon Lynch

  • Projected champion: Rory McIlroy. This is the first time he’ll arrive at Augusta National with as much belief in his putting as he’s accustomed to with the rest of his game. The confidence from Bay Hill will carry over.
  • Also like: Paul Casey. He’s coming off a win at the Valspar Championship and hasn’t finished outside the top six here the last three years. Could be a Stenson-type who finally snags a major at 40.
  • Sleeper: Tommy Fleetwood. Looks more comfortable every time he plays in U.S. now, and seems to have that quietly unflappable demeanor that helps on sweaty palms Sunday.
  • DraftKings bargain: Bryson DeChambeau ($6,900). Because the potential clash of his science against Augusta’s artistry is too good to resist.
  • Fade: Jordan Spieth. Last year was his first time finishing outside the top 2. Expect the same in 2018. He has a greater flair for the dramatic than anyone on Tour right now, but his putter ain’t behavin’.
  • Low amateur: Joaquin Niemann. He’s the best amateur in the world right now and qualified for the first three majors this year, though he will turn pro after the Masters and forego his eligibility for both Opens.
  • Where will Tiger finish? Top 15. A little untidiness in his game has emerged on Sundays at Valspar and Bay Hill. He’ll linger around the leaderboard, but the weaknesses he’s showing are often what separates good finishers from contenders and winners.

Brentley Romine

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. A year after losing in a playoff to Sergio Garcia, Rose will finally get his green jacket. He hasn’t missed a cut in 12 career trips to Augusta National, and has finished runner-up twice in the past three Masters. He also owns five top-10s among 10 top-25 finishes here and is coming off a third-place finish at Bay Hill and T-5 at Valspar. I firmly believe that this is his year.
  • Also like: Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey and Alex Noren. Mickelson is in great form and knows this course as well as anyone in the field not named Tiger. Casey has notched three straight top-6 finishes at Augusta National and won last month in Tampa. Noren missed the cut in his Masters debut, but he checks all the stat boxes. Love his combination of ballstriking and putting.
  • Sleeper: Kevin Chappell. Perfect in two tries so far at Augusta National, including a T-7 showing last year that was capped with a 68. Has played nicely this season with six top-21 finishes, including three top-10s since CareerBuilder.
  • DraftKings bargain: Chappell and Brendan Steele ($6,900). I’d roster both players this week. Steele was T-27 last year in his first Masters start in five years. He’s got good length and hits lots of greens.
  • Fade: Jason Day. Yes, he’s playing well and leads the Tour in strokes gained: putting, but I’m worried about his 185th ranking in strokes gained: approach-the-green. I just don’t think he’s worth the price tag.
  • Low amateur: Doug Ghim. I think he and Joaquin Niemann will make the cut, and Ghim will edge out the Chilean.
  • Where will Tiger finish? Top 5. He’ll lead after 36 holes, falter a little on Saturday and then get beat by a few guys on Sunday.

David Dusek

  • Projected champion: Justin Thomas. The whole package, JT can it hit it miles off the tee, control his iron shots, has a sneaky-good short game and putts better than most of the elite ballstrikers in the field. He’s won twice this season and has proven that he can win a major. On Sunday night, he’ll be halfway to the career Grand Slam.
  • Also like: Jordan Spieth. Go ahead, talk to me all you want about Spieth not putting as well as he has in previous years; I don’t care. The Texan has gone T-2, win, T-2, T-11 in his four Masters appearances and he ranked ninth in strokes gained: tee-to-green entering the Houston Open. His iron play and short game are good enough to keep him in the mix at Augusta. I believe in Jordan and when he jars a 20-footer on No. 10 Sunday to pull within a shot of Justin Thomas’ lead, you’ll be saying to yourself, “Why did I not pick Jordan Spieth?”
  • Sleeper: Alex Noren. There are 18 golfers on DraftKings’ board that will cost you more than the Swede, who has three top-3 finishes this season, and he’s playing better than half of them. No one will pick Noren to win the Masters in his second start at Augusta, but he ranks 20th in strokes gained: tee-to-green and in his first full season on the PGA Tour is proving he belongs among the game’s top players.
  • DraftKings bargain: Brendan Steele ($6,900). Steele made his Masters debut last season after winning the Safeway Open and made the cut, finishing T-27. He’s back this year after defending his title at the Safeway and he’s made the cut in all eight events since that win. He’s long off the tee, a streaky putter and this year is going to feel like he belongs out there. I could see him getting a top-10 in his second Masters.
  • Fade: Daniel Berger. No top-10s so far this season for the American and he ranks 69th in strokes gained: tee-to-green.
  • Low amateur: Doug Ghim. I’m picking the runner-up in last season’s U.S. Amateur because he is wearing a Chicago Cubs hat in his official photo on the Masters website.
  • Where will Tiger finish? T-4. Inconsistency off the tee will cost Woods some birdies, but his iron game and hot putter will make up for most of his mistakes with the driver. Not all of them, but many.

Kevin Casey

  • Projected champion: Jason Day. To me, this course is a perfect fit for Day. The long, high-ball hitter and great putter most feel is a model for Augusta? That fits Day to the extreme. And he enters the week having posted a win and a runner-up this season already. After going T-2 and third in 2011 and 2013, respectively, at Augusta, he’s only posted one top 10 since. Still, his worst finish (aside from a WD) is T-28. He’s never lost his comfort at this layout, and it only feels like a matter of time before another bout of contention arises here. This week seems primed for that, and this time he turns it into a win.
  • Also like: Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth. It somehow feels like DJ is under the radar. Remember, he’s still World No. 1 and has gone T-4, T-6 in his last two starts at Augusta. Lefty’s lackluster showing in Houston kind of enthuses me on him, as he played pretty poorly there in 2010 and then won the next week’s Masters. Aside from that blip, his form has been so promising and we all know he’s an ace at Augusta. Spieth has seemed to find something in Houston, and even if he hadn’t I would put him here. You get that luxury when you start your Masters career T-2, win, T-2, T-11.
  • Sleeper: Martin Kaymer. This may seem a curious pick considering Kaymer has struggled mightily at Augusta in the past, is coming back from injury and missed the cut in Houston by six shots. But Houston was really a warm-up start, and his coming back there rather than waiting until the Masters shows his wrist injury is of little bother now. As for that Masters record: Kaymer’s battles occurred way earlier in his career. In his last six Masters, he’s quietly made five cuts. And he finally seemed to crack something special at Augusta last year when he followed an opening 78 with 68s on Friday and Sunday to finish T-16. His comfort at this course is rising rapidly and his form has been underratedly solid. This seems like a week where Kaymer pops up without much warning again.
  • DraftKings bargain: Bryson DeChambeau ($6,900). DeChambeau had an eye-opening Masters debut as an amateur in 2016, posting a T-21 that was actually more impressive than that finish showed. And his game came alive recently in a runner-up at Bay Hill. Heck, he played well enough to win. And he’s already played practice rounds this year at Augusta with Tiger. Add that all up, and there’s a lot of potential for a man at this price.
  • Fade: Rory McIlroy. I really don’t know why. It just seems like something always goes wrong for McIlroy here, and a bigger calamity is coming in this year’s version. It may turn out I’m 100 percent wrong, especially considering his recent Bay Hill performance, but those demons are tough to get rid of.
  • Low amateur: Joaquin Niemann. He’s the top-ranked amateur in the world with all the good vibes as his pro debut awaits shortly. This kid is unbelievably talented, has already played in a major (2017 U.S. Open) and posted a closing 64 to finish top 30 in a PGA Tour event. There’s a strong amateur contingent this year, but it’d be a mild surprise if Niemann isn’t head of the class.
  • Where will Tiger finish? T-25. Maybe this is some sort of reverse jinx I’m imposing, but I think Tiger has a tough time grappling with Augusta in a rare deviation. Everything has been trending up for him recently, but we all know golf isn’t a steady path like that – even for Woods. At some point he’s going to have a tough week again. He loves Augusta, but his first foray back into a major in years could be a bit too large of a jump on the big stage for Woods to perform to the expectation right away. I know, underestimating Tiger is dangerous. He can contend and win this week, neither would surprise me. I just find it more likely that his performance won’t quite match the hype heading into a major. Yet.

Dan Kilbridge

  • Projected champion: Dustin Johnson. He’s still World No. 1 for a reason and already has four top-10s with a win in six starts this season. T-4 at the 2016 Masters and T-6 in 2015. Also flying under the radar a bit due to Tiger’s return and recent wins from Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. DJ gets it done this week for career major No. 2.
  • Also like: Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods. Rahm’s shot-shaping ability is a great fit for Augusta National and it hasn’t been that long since he won the CareerBuilder. And I saw enough from Woods at the Valspar and Bay Hill to believe he can give it a serious run here. The short game was so strong and he’s clearly rejuvenated these days. Still flaws in his game, of course, but you could say the same about Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas or any of the other favorites this week. The overall product is good enough to contend on the weekend.
  • Sleeper: Charl Schwartzel. Hasn’t made much noise this season, but a past champion who finished solo third here a year ago deserves a lengthy look.
  • DraftKings bargain: Bryson DeChambeau ($6,900). Three top-10s this season, including a runner-up at Bay Hill his last time out. Finished T-21 as the low amateur in the 2016 Masters. Definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see DeChambeau make some noise this week.
  • Fade: Phil Mickelson. Just too pricy at $9,500, when you can get guys like Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler cheaper. We’ve seen promising signs and it’s probably foolish to count Mickelson out at Augusta, but we’re gonna take that risk and go with a cheaper option.
  • Low amateur: Doc Redman. Made the cut at Bay Hill in his first PGA Tour start and we can’t get that epic 2017 U.S. Amateur comeback win out of our minds.
  • Where will Tiger finish? T-4. Thinking Woods will be around three shots off the lead come Sunday and play well in the final round. Just not well enough to find the extra gear and make enough birdies to get it done.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home