Daily Fantasy Golf Value Picks and Sleepers for the DraftKings Millionaire Maker
Golf’s most prestigious event, The Masters, kicks off this week at Augusta National, and DraftKings is celebrating by hosting an historic $2.2 Millionaire Maker contest that will award $1 million to the winner. That’s right — for a $20 investment you have a chance at earning a seven-figure payoff simply by picking six golfers and watching them from your couch. What a world.
Ninety-eight of the game’s best golfers will compete at the season’s first major championship. The field includes World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, and defending champion Bubba Watson, who will look to claim his third green jacket in four years. Tiger Woods will also return from an eight-month hiatus and attempt to regain the form he showcased to win The Masters four times. Late qualifiers like Paul Casey and Branden Grace also snuck into the field in the final weeks.
The $2.2 million Millionaire Maker purse will draw a lot of new blood to daily fantasy this week. If you’re new to DFS, here’s how the contest will work:
Augusta National Golf Club is a Par-72 course that measures 7,435 yards in length. The course hasn’t undergone many significant changes over the past several years, but it still remains a challenging test for those who return year after year.
The one big change came in 2010 when the yardage was increased by 200 yards. Since then, only 300-yard hitters have won — something to consider when building lineups this week. While the big ball strikers will have the ability to recover from mistakes, short hitters won’t have that luxury.
Stats to Consider
Driving Distance: Length off the tee is a great place to start. Of the past five winners at Augusta, four have ranked in the Top 25 in driving distance. Bubba Watson bombs it off the tee and has thrived at the course, winning twice in three years. The Par 4s are long, and making birdies on the reachable Par 5s will be crucial. Since 2010, driving distance has been the most important statistic in determining a Masters champion.
Top 5 ranked in the field: 1.) Dustin Johnson 2.) Bubba Watson 3.) Brooks Koepka 4.) Ryan Palmer 5.) J.B. Holmes
Greens in Regulation (GIR): Accuracy and precision are paramount on this course, especially for short hitters like Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk. They’ll need to be close to perfect with their iron play to compete for a title. We’re likely to see one of these short hitters in contention on Sunday.
Top 5 ranked in the field: 1.) Henrik Stenson 2.) Jason Day 3.) Ben Martin 4.) Louis Oosthuizen 5.) Hideki Matsuyama
Putting: The greens at Augusta are fast and deceptive, making each putt important throughout the week. Three-putt avoidance is especially vital on these tough greens.
Top 5 ranked in the field: 1.) Ryan Palmer 2.) Henrik Stenson 3.) Brooks Koepka 4.) Russell Henley 5.) Jimmy Walker
Par 5 Birdies or Better: Here’s where a lot of the scoring takes place at Augusta. The course has four Par 5s, all of which are short and provide the best chance at birdies and eagles. Length is a big factor, which is why you see Watson and Johnson among the leaders of this stat in 2015.
Top 5 ranked in the field: 1.) Bubba Watson 2.) Webb Simpson 3.) Jimmy Walker 4.) Jason Day 5.) Dustin Johnson
World Rank: 4
DraftKings Price: $11,900
Vegas Odds to Win: 8/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 2nd (2014)
Rory McIlroy ($14,900) and defending champ Bubba Watson ($12,200) have the highest price tags on DraftKings, but we prefer the discounted Spieth who finished runner-up here last year. The 21-year-old is at top form, looking like McIlroy in the second half of 2014. Spieth has a pair of runner-up finishes in his last two tournaments. His short game is arguably the best in the world — he’s a fantastic putter and scrambler — and poses enough length and accuracy off the tee to make a run at his first green jacket.
World Rank: 7
DraftKings Price: $10,500
Vegas Odds to Win: 16/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 13th (2013)
Johnson carries himself like a champion. We love his confidence, and although he hasn’t had the best history Augusta, he’s also never played at this level before. He picked up a win at the Cadillac Championships and finished sixth at Valero last month. Johnson’s huge length off the tee and with his irons will convert to many scoring opportunities this week. If your goal is to cash in the Millionaire Maker, we suggest taking Henrik Stenson at a similar price point. But if you’re looking to win, take a shot on the boom-or-bust Johnson.
World Rank: 2
DraftKings Price: $10,100
Vegas Odds to Win: 18/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 14th (2014)
The World’s No. 2 is a model of accuracy and consistency. Stenson opts for his three-wood over a driver in most cases, but he still eclipses 300 yards off the tee and is excellent at hitting fairways. He also ranks #1 in the world in GIR, a statistic that we featured above. Stenson has played four events this season and placed in the top five in three of them. He’s not the best bet to win, but we love his chances at a Top 5.
World Rank: 10
DraftKings Price: $8,900
Vegas Odds to Win: 22/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 8th (2014)
How is the world’s hottest golfer priced at $8,900, you ask? It’s partly because the pricing for the Millionaire Maker contest came out before Walker won the Texas Open two weeks ago. Walker currently leads the FedEx Cup standings by a mile with the help of two victories and five Top 10s this season. He has four wins since the end of 2013, the most in the world. Walker will be very popular this week, so if you’re trying to build a contrarian lineup, look elsewhere.
World Rank: 37
DraftKings Price: $7,600
Vegas Odds to Win: 50/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 2nd (2012)
If you’re looking to pivot off of a popular play like Walker, we recommend Oosthuizen at a $1,300 discount. When considering odds per dollar, Oosthuizen matches up as well as anyone in the field (outside of Walker and J.B. Holmes). His short game is phenomenal and he’s found success at Augusta in the past, losing in a playoff to Bubba Watson in 2012.
World Rank: 18
DraftKings Price: $7,300
Vegas Odds to Win: 66/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 37th
Last year’s Fedex Cup champion started slow in 2015 but has come alive of late, making three straight cuts including a third-place finish at the Texas Open. Horschel has only played Augusta once, finishing 37th last year, but his game fits the course nicely. He ranks 34th in driving distance, 23rd in GIR% and 53rd in Par 5 birdie or better percentage. Horschel will likely be overlooked by most in the Milllionaire Maker this week, and for that reason is one of our favorite plays.
World Rank: 12
DraftKings Price: $7,200
Vegas Odds to Win: 35/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 25th (2014)
Dollar for dollar, Holmes is the best value on DraftKings this week. His price is astoundingly low. After finishing second at the Cadillac Championship in March, Holmes won in a playoff at the Houston Open last week. His form is as good as it’s ever been. Holmes finished 25th last year in his first ever trip to Augusta, and he’s a favorite to improve on that this week. He’s a big hitter who is putting incredibly well. Plug him in, but beware of his high ownership.
World Rank: 23
DraftKings Price: $6,600
Vegas Odds to Win: 100/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 10th (2011)
Palmer is a steal at $6,600. A STEAL. And unlike Holmes, his ownership shouldn’t be terribly high this week. The 38-year-old ranks in the top five in the Masters field in both driving distance and total putting this year. That’s a hell of a combination for a guy who can be purchased for peanuts. Palmer has made the cut in seven of eight events this year with all seven resulting in Top 25 finishes. He’s our favorite play in the Millionaire Maker. But shhhh — don’t go telling a lot of people.
World Rank: 47
DraftKings Price: $6,500
Vegas Odds to Win: 125/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 31st (2014)
Need a bargain golfer who will make the cut? Henley is your man. He hasn’t missed a cut on Tour since August 2014, and is coming off a brilliant fourth-place finish last week at the Houston Open where he shot all four rounds under 70. Can Henley win The Masters? Probably not with his below-average iron game. But he’s playing too well to be overlooked at this cheap price point.
World Rank: 21
DraftKings Price: $6,000
Vegas Odds to Win: 150/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 12th (2012)
Na is on fire. He’s placed in the top 20 in each of his last four tournaments (three inside the top 10) and has only missed one cut in 11 events this season. He’s almost a must-play at this price tag, especially when you consider he has a 12th place finish at Augusta already under his belt. Seriously, his price here is baffling. He’ll be popular but he’s hard to pass up.
World Rank: 221
DraftKings Price: $5,400
Vegas Odds to Win: 300/1
Best Finish at Augusta: 1st (2000)
Trusty old Vijay has made the cut 17 out of 21 times at Augusta. He’s also a former champ, but a lot has changed since 2000. Vijay is always a favorite to make the cut, so if you need salary relief to fit in guys like Rory and Bubba, he provides excellent value at $5,400.