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Masters 2024 DFS picks: Why I love Jon Rahm this week

April 08, 2024
DORAL, FL - APRIL 05: Professional Golfer Jon Rahm in action during LIV Golf Miami on April 5, 2024 at Trump National Doral Miami in Doral, FL. (Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

We’ve finally made it to the first major of the year and golf’s proverbial Super Bowl… it’s Masters Week! For the first time since last July, we can finally come together to watch the best in the world trade blows at the game’s most recognizable venue. The Masters Tournament is held every year at Augusta National Golf Club, and 89 of the best players in the world will make the annual trek to Augusta, Ga., in search of a green jacket.

Storylines are abound this year, as Scottie Scheffler looks to parlay his run of dominance into a second Masters victory. How will Jon Rahm fare in his title defense as the new face of the LIV Tour? Can Brooks Koepka become just the 14th golfer ever to record six major victories, or will this finally be the year that Rory McIlroy completes the career grand slam? That barely scratches the surface, but let’s continue to dive into the players from a DFS perspective for your Masters contests this week.

$10,000 range

Play: Jon Rahm, $11,200:

Is it possible the pendulum has swung too far in the negative direction on the defending Masters champion? I certainly understand the hesitancy—winning consecutive Masters titles has only been done three times, but of course the enigmatic Spaniard is now playing LIV, giving us less visibility on his form. That being said, I view the LIV change as a positive motivator for Rahm. The two-time major winner has finished top-eight every week on LIV while leading the tour in driving, and yet Rahm is an afterthought to Scottie Scheffler in the markets this week, as well as in any “Best Player in the World” conversation. I’m expecting a huge performance from the defending champion, who is somehow now in prove-it mode, despite boasting one of the most decorated Masters résumés in the modern era.

Fade: Wyndham Clark, $10,000:

While I know that the “Only Drawers Can Succeed at Augusta” narrative has been cracked by faders of the ball such as Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, I still have some serious concerns about a player who deploys as much left-to-right spin as Wyndham Clark. The reigning U.S. Open champion prefers a big slinging cut, and the new tee box on the second hole, for example, is far from advantageous to that ball flight. Based on his long iron play and lag putting, I’m optimistic that Clark can figure out Augusta in time, but I expect a learning curve in his first appearance.

$9,000 range

Play: Xander Schauffele, $9,900:

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Andrew Redington

Is there a player (non-Scottie Scheffler division) that feels safer to finish top 10 this week than Xander Schauffele? Given Schauffele’s recent play and Augusta National form, I would argue that this is one of the most disrespectful price tags on the board. In eight starts this season, Schauffele has recorded five top-10 finishes and four top-fives. He’s gained strokes ball-striking in every start this year, and he now returns to a golf course where he has recorded a 67 percent top-10 rate across six editions. If you are more inclined for a balanced build this week, starting lineups with Schauffele is an incredibly sensible option.

Fade: Patrick Cantlay, $9,400:

While the results haven’t been terrible this year, this has been the worst approach stretch of Patrick Cantlay’s career. The eight-time PGA Tour winner ranks 64th in this field in overall approach play this season, and he has lost strokes on approach in six of his seven starts this year. It appears to be getting worse before it gets better, as Cantlay bottomed out by losing 6.4 strokes on approach at the Players Championship. While he certainly has had some time to figure it out, there is very little precedent for Masters success with such lackluster lead-in iron play. I’ll be looking in other directions this week.

The Best and Worst Value Bets for the 2024 Masters

$8,000 range

Play: Cameron Young, $8,500:

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Julio Aguilar

I know that he has still yet to win on the PGA Tour, but Cameron Young has been just steps away from multiple major wins. With top-three finishes at the 2022 PGA Championship and the 2022 Open Championship, Young has clearly taken a liking to bigger ballparks with heavily undulated green complexes. It should not come as a surprise that the 27-year-old also finished seventh at the Masters last year, gaining over five strokes putting in the process. We know that Young’s driver is an absolute weapon on any golf course. If we can count on anything similar to his putting performance last year, Young will once again play a factor in another major championship.

Fade: Cameron Smith, $8,900:

Don’t get me wrong, I have respect for Cameron Smith’s Masters record, but if I am going to talk about how we need to be paying attention to how well Rahm is striking it on LIV, we also have to be honest about the contrary. Smith has struggled tremendously from a ball-striking standpoint on LIV this year, losing strokes off the tee in every single start. When he was at his best in 2022, the Australian was a tremendous iron player, and that aspect of his game appears to have fallen off significantly as well. While Smith is always a threat to lead the field in short game and putting metrics, the lack of ball-striking consistency cannot be ignored.

$7,000 range

Play: Sahith Theegala, $7,700:

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Raj Mehta

Ever since the skill profile comparisons between Sahith Theegala and Jordan Spieth began to emerge, I had a feeling that some Masters momentum would build around the former Haskins Award winner. Theegala delivered with a ninth-place finish last year as a debutant, and I would argue he’s a much better player now than he was then. In nine starts this year, Theegala has recorded four top-10s, and he appears to have found some magic with his driver. Look for the 26-year-old to build upon his strong debut performance and factor into the proceedings at Augusta once again.

Fade: Brian Harman, $7,800:

This might be a controversial fade since Brian Harman dominated the field at the most recent major championship. That being said, Harman boasts a fairly unimpressive Augusta record, missing the cut in his past two appearance. Though there have been some strong highlights this year, including a runner-up at The Players, Harman has now lost over a stroke on approach in back-to-back starts and appears to be trending in the wrong direction.

Flier: Stephan Jaeger, $7,000:

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Raj Mehta

If you are looking for a longshot top-debutant bet to overtake Wyndham Clark or Ludvig Aberg, look no further than Stephan Jaeger, recent winner of the Houston Open. Memorial Park was set up specifically to help players prepare for Augusta National, and the lack of rough, undulating green complexes and closely mown areas certainly looked the park. Jaeger has picked up a tremendous amount of distance off the tee, and the exact same skill-set that he used to master Memorial Park (elite power, long iron play and touch around the greens) should play beautifully at Augusta National.

$6,000 range

Play: Chris Kirk, $6,900:

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Brennan Asplen

There’s always a surprise finisher at the Masters that hangs around far longer than most expect, and my nomination this year is Chris Kirk. While agronomically different, Kapalua is the only other golf course on tour to feature massive elevation changes, and there is a reason why we have seen a massive correlation between Kapalua and Augusta National (i.e. Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Xander Schauffele, etc.). After winning The Sentry earlier this year, Kirk has maintained solid ball-striking form, and he also possesses one of the most underrated short games in this field.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports