Masters DFS picks 2022: Why I’m fading Tiger Woods
Masters Week is finally here—one of the best weeks for not just golf fans but also DFS players! There are million-dollar contests and with more than half of the United States legalizing gambling, odds are—you have a number of ways to get involved in the action.
There are a few things to note this year: Augusta National has a few changes—added distance to the 11th, 15th and 18th holes—plus some greens (the third, 13th and 17th) have been rebuilt. That shouldn’t change things so much. What could alter your strategy, though, is some forecasted rain coming on Tuesday into Wednesday morning. Will that make the course play longer? Augusta National has a state-of-the-art SubAir system to pump out moisture, but with a ton of rain in the area over the past month, there’s a likelihood that the course plays even longer than the record 7,510 yards listed on the scorecard.
Stay tuned to my YouTube channels, where I’ll be doing live shows the rest of the week. No matter what, we do know Augusta National is a complete test of a golfer’s game, so even if the course does play longer—do not discount the importance of short game, which is one of the biggest factors year after year at the Masters.
Here are my favorite plays and fades this week at the 2022 Masters.
Price range: $9,000 and above
High Upside: Justin Thomas ($10,300 DraftKings | $11,900 FanDuel)
Thomas’ statistical profile is the blueprint for winning. He is gaining 1.04 strokes on approach over his last 20 rounds, joining Viktor Hovland as the only golfers in this field gaining at least one stroke in that period, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. That gives him a high floor, as evidenced by his six top-10 finishes in his past eight stroke-play events. His putter will need to cooperate, but he’s even gained strokes with the flat stick in three of his past five measured events.
Safest Option: Cameron Smith ($9,900 DraftKings | $11,200 FanDuel)
Cameron Smith has gained 2.43 strokes per round over his past 20 rounds, the most of anyone in this field. If you think that’s a fluke, he’s also gaining 1.85 strokes per round over his past 50 rounds, which is, again, best in the field. If you think both of those are flukes, he’s gaining 1.44 strokes per round over his past 100 rounds, fifth-best in this field. That’s sustained excellent play to combine with his three top-10s in his past four trips to Augusta National.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Bryson DeChambeau ($9,100 DraftKings | $10,500 FanDuel)
DeChambeau continues to battle injury, and his game looks anything but healthy. He’s been wild with his driver, something that he’ll need as his best weapon at the Masters. Unfortunately for Bryson, his big miss is usually left and missing left at Augusta National is a recipe for disaster. That might be part of the reason that he’s only earned one top-25 in his five starts at this event … and that was as an amateur in 2016.
Pick To Win: Brooks Koepka ($9,400 DraftKings | $10,900 FanDuel)
It’s time. It appears that for the first time in a long time, Brooks Koepka is healthy again. His spirits are high, and his metrics are following suit. He has gained strokes off-the-tee in four straight starts while gaining over three strokes on approach in three of his past four. These stats resemble his run from last summer—when he finished T-2 at the PGA and T-4 at the U.S. Open. Koepka has knocked on the door at the Masters for his entire career, earning three top-11 finishes over the past four years.
$8,000 to $9,000
High Upside: Sungjae Im ($8,400 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)
It’s easy to remember Im’s runner-up finish to Dustin Johnson at the Masters in 2020, but I still remain excited about his play in the past six months. Dating back to his victory at the Shriners, he’s gaining 1.23 strokes per round. That’s the 13th-best mark in the field since that time, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He possesses all the shots and all the skill to contend again this week.
Safest Option: Adam Scott ($8,300 DraftKings | $9,700 FanDuel)
Scott ascended to the mountaintop in 2013, winning the Masters. He only has two more top-15s in the years since, but he’s playing better now than he has in quite some time. Just this year he has four top-10 finishes in the seven events that he’s played. He has finally found a consistent putter and is starting to match his long game to it. It should be an exciting week to roster Scott.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Tiger Woods ($8,500 DraftKings | $8,800 FanDuel)
I might get fired for this—hear me out! I’m quite bullish on Tiger being able to out-perform expectations and use his Augusta National experience better than anyone else in the field. In fact, I’ve already bet him to make the cut. However, with that, it’s going to be difficult to roster him for DFS purposes. He’s priced at $8,500 on DraftKings, more than Sungjae Im, Adam Scott and Joaquin Niemann. He’s just $100 cheaper than Sam Burns who has won three times in the past 10 months. Paying $8,500 for someone who hasn’t played competitively in 17 months is not usually something I like to do. But … Go Tiger!
Pick To Win: Tyrrell Hatton ($8,000 DraftKings | $9,500 FanDuel)
Hatton has been in great form over the past few months, notching four top-10s in seven starts in 2022. That stretch is highlighted by his runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and winning his group in the Match Play event. After four years of struggling at Augusta National, Hatton earned his best finish (T-18) last year. When he’s at his best, he combines solid approach play and great putting. That’s a combination of skills that can take you to the top of the leader board.
$7,000 to $8,000
High Upside: Webb Simpson ($7,500 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)
Simpson falls firmly into the “X-factor” category. After missing a few months with injury, Simpson is now back in action but not necessarily looking like his old self. He made the cut at the Valspar but failed to advance from his group at the Match Play. The optimism lies with his history around Augusta National. Over the past four years, Simpson has gained 1.74 strokes per round at the Masters. That’s the fourth-most of anyone who has played all four years, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
Safest Option: Matt Fitzpatrick ($7,700 DraftKings | $9,600 FanDuel)
Fitzpatrick is gaining a staggering 1.75 strokes per round in 2022. That’s the seventh-best mark of any golfer in this field with at least 20 rounds. The other six golfers who match that criteria account for four victories. Fitzpatrick hasn’t hoisted a trophy yet, but he’s been in the mix seemingly every week.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Jason Kokrak ($7,200 DraftKings | $8,600 FanDuel)
There’s some growing concern around the state of Kokrak’s game right now, and it revolves mostly around his putter. Kokrak has been exactly tour average with his flat stick in 2022. That means he’s 0.59 strokes worse per round this year than last. That was the part of Kokrak’s game that really served as a weapon. This will be his third trip to the Masters, finishing 49th and missing the cut in his previous two.
Pick To Win: Russell Henley ($7,800 DraftKings | FanDuel price unavailable)
Jared C. Tilton
Henley hasn’t been able to put four rounds together but that doesn’t diminish how good he’s been. Over the past 50 rounds, he’s gaining 1.19 strokes per round, the 14th-best mark of anyone in this field. The majority of those gains are coming on approach, where he’s second-best over that stretch, behind only Viktor Hovland. The Georgia native has three straight top-25 finishes at the Masters.
$6,900 and below
High Upside: Kevin Na ($6,800 DraftKings | $8,300 FanDuel)
Na plays a style of golf that is reliant on his short game, but he gets the job done. We’ve seen a wide range of variance in his outcomes through his career. At the Masters, though, he’s been more consistent. Each of his last two trips have resulted in top-15 finishes, which is a feat that he’s accomplished in four of his past eight Masters starts.
Safest Option: Brian Harman ($6,800 DraftKings | $8,500 FanDuel)
Harman has found something in his game, gaining strokes off-the-tee in four of his past five starts and gaining on approach in five of his past seven. That’s uncommon for Harman, who usually relies on his short game. We’ll see if he can continue that excellent ball-striking as he tries to improve on his T-12 at Augusta last year.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Matthew Wolff ($6,500 DraftKings |$8,400 FanDuel)
Outside of the Saudi International, Wolff doesn’t have a top-50 finish in 2022. He has lost strokes from tee-to-green in five of his past six measured events. With the driver, he has failed to gain multiple strokes in 13 of his past 15 events. That’s something he did with regularity early in his career. This will be his third trip to the Masters, and he’s still looking for his first weekend tee time.
Pick To Win: Kevin Kisner ($6,800 DraftKings | $9,000 FanDuel)
Augusta National hasn’t been a great spot for Kisner, but he’s playing excellent golf right now. He finished runner-up in the Match Play, fourth at The Players and T-3 at the Sony Open—all in his last seven starts. Kisner will need to find a hot putter this week to contend, but he’s playing with great confidence.
Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.