This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Augusta National Golf Club - Par 72 - 7,475 yards
Field - 88 entrants
Purse - $11.5M
Blooming azaleas accompany tougher scoring conditions in a return to springtime normalcy at Augusta National Golf Club after the peculiar November edition of the Masters culminated with a five-shot victory and scoring record for Dustin Johnson, while Cameron Smith became the first entrant in tournament history to break 70 in all four rounds. Although scattered showers are forecasted to soften the layout as they arrive Friday and beyond, Augusta could show its teeth right away in Round 1 as members behind the scene extend their wishes to never witness a champion reach the 20-under-par mark ever again. The famous SubAir technology used at Augusta National will function to keep the bentgrass green complexes firm and fast, however, lending additional rewards to the field's bombers as shorter approaches generally precede satisfactory proximity to the pin and loftier par-breaker rates. The exclusive 88-man field will be cut down to the low 50 and ties after 36 holes, so more than half the contestants will advance to the weekend despite the termination of a past rule that allowed anyone within 10 strokes of the leader to march onward.
Key Stats to Victory
Par-4: 450-500 efficiency
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Justin Thomas - $48
The reigning PLAYERS champion has chronologically improved his finishing position at the Masters with results of 4-T12-T17-T22-T39 here since his Augusta National debut in 2016. Thomas is second to none in par-breaker percentage and fifth in SG: Around-the-Green over his last 36 rounds, but he's also third in SG: Approach over his past 24 and fourth in Par-4: 450-500 scoring over his past 50 rounds. JT, who resides No. 2 in both the Official World Golf Ranking and FedEx Cup standings, held a share of the 36-hole lead at ANGC in November but he's now settled into the top-5 on Tour in proximity from 175-200 yards, birdie average and one-putt percentage as well.
Jon Rahm - $47
Bettors holding Rahm futures tickets let out a sigh of relief when the Spaniard welcomed his first child this past weekend, as a withdrawal from the Masters was a legitimate possibility if the birth of his son Kepa were to conflict with any of his four rounds in Augusta. Rahm's pre-tournament preparation will be limited as he plans for just one practice round Wednesday, but a player of his caliber should be ready to go when his name is announced on the first tee at 10:42 AM ET on Thursday morning. Rahm most recently advanced to the quarterfinals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on the heels of a top-10 at the PLAYERS, but his brief course history is more impressive. He's a collective 31-under-par throughout his last three trips to the Masters, all of which resulted in top-10 finishes after debuting with a T27 in 2017. Additionally, Rahm is second in par-5 efficiency over his last 50 rounds, second in GIR percentage over his past 36 and third in SG: Off-the-Tee throughout the 2020-21 campaign.
Patrick Cantlay - $41
A missed cut at the PLAYERS Championship where he lost 2.8 strokes putting in 36 holes could help keep the casual gamer from placing Cantlay in chalk territory this week, but he had gained just north of eight strokes from tee to green per event in three starts prior to his MC at TPC Sawgrass. Cantlay's versatile skill set is perfect for Augusta National, where he's finished T17-T9 the past two years in just his third and fourth Masters entries. Cantlay's short game has been an underrated bright spot, given he ranks second in SG: Around-the-Green over his last 36 rounds and fourth in SG: Putting on bentgrass over his past 50.
Paul Casey - $34
Few, if any, are playing better than Casey in 2021, as the Englishman has yet to finish worse than T12 through six international stroke-play tourneys to begin his calendar year, a stretch that includes a victory at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic in late January. He's third in proximity over his last 12 rounds and has gained an average of 6.98 strokes from tee to green per event in four measured starts dating to the American Express. Putting issues usually plague Casey, but he gained 5.3 strokes with the flat stick at the PLAYERS and 3.9 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The Englishman owns five career top-10s at ANGC and at 43 years old, he should be especially hungry for that elusive major title.
Hideki Matsuyama - $33
Everyone rags on Matsuyama for being such a bad putter, but he hasn't been horrific with the flat stick since mid-January and he's actually in the green from a SG: Putting perspective throughout his last five starts. Matsuyama is still one of the best around-the-green players in the world, especially at Augusta, so this probably isn't the week to preemptively cancel him from lineup consideration due to short-game concerns. He's gained no less than two strokes on his approaches in four straight showings since the WGC-Workday Championship, tallying a trio of top-30s in the process. Matsuyama should be a candidate for deflated exposure as well with gamers flocking to Scottie Scheffler, Paul Casey, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood and probably even Joaquin Niemann in this general range.
Matthew Fitzpatrick - $32
He's never been recognized for noteworthy driving capabilities, but Fitzpatrick gained 2.7 or more strokes off the tee in his three appearances along the Florida Swing. The Englishman failed to escape out of pool play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but he placed T5-T11-T10-T9 in his last four stroke-play appearances from the Genesis Invitational through the PLAYERS Championship. Fitzpatrick is working with a red-hot putter while averaging 3.98 strokes gained on the greens per tournament since the aforementioned Genesis, but he's also top-10 in P4: 450-500 efficiency over a 50-round sample size, which demonstrates his seemingly overlooked potential on lengthier tracks like Augusta National.
Jordan Spieth - $25
At some point you just have to eat the chalk and let others make the mistake of fading a top-5 betting favorite at this laughably erroneous $25 salary tag. That's simply the case with Spieth this week, coming off his first win since 2017 at last week's Valero Texas Open where he gained the third-most strokes from tee to green in his entire career with 12.9. The 2015 Masters champion is a perfect 7-for-7 in cuts made at Augusta with a quartet of top-3 results under his belt. Spieth ranks second to only Collin Morikawa in SG: Approach over their past 12 rounds, but the former also resides top-5 on Tour in overall putting average and one-putt percentage this season.
Corey Conners - $23
Appearing eighth overall in my custom model, Conners paces this week's field in GIR percentage over his past 36 rounds while also ranking ninth in SG: Off-the-Tee during this span and fourth in SG: Approach throughout his last 24 rounds. The Canadian placed T14 or better in each of his last three stroke-play events dating to a solo-third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but he also recorded a top-10 at ANGC in November. Conners has been on the positive side of SG: T2G and SG: APP by a pretty safe margin in every measured start since the ZOZO Championship in late October, so he won't be flying under the radar at this discounted price.
Jason Kokrak - $21
This 100/1 sleeper candidate missed the cut by four shots in his Masters debut this past November, but he recently racked up three consecutive top-10s from the WGC-Workday through the PLAYERS Championship and he hasn't missed a single cut in 2021. Kokrak averaged 6.93 strokes gained from tee to green per event during that string of impressive finishes throughout the Florida Swing, but he also ranks 13th in SG: Putting over his last 50 rounds on bentgrass. On the season, Kokrak is top-25 in SG: Off-the-Tee, GIR percentage, birdie average and putting from inside 10 feet en route to his current standing of 15th in FedEx Cup points.