Hello, friends! Welcome to the 2022 Masters. We’re in for a treat this year. The early pre-tournament storylines this year include Tiger Woods’s possible return, new world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, and the annual Rory McIlroy grand-slam watch.
What does a player need to contend for a green jacket? Well, if history tells us anything, an elite iron game is a start. It’s pretty simple: those striking their irons well leave themselves a lot of makeable birdie putts; those striking their irons at a less precise rate face a lot of difficult two-putts and near-impossible up-and-downs.
So for your fantasy leagues for this week’s Masters, stick to the players who have been flushing it lately. Let’s take a look at three to target for DraftKings this week:
Brooks Koepka $9,400
Koepka is a different player when majors come around. He has finished in the top 10 in 15 of his last 22 majors. Just how good is that? As a frame of reference, Tiger’s most top 10s in a 22-major stretch in his career is 18. Koepka’s mental game in majors is elite; he knows how to pick apart a golf course strategically and make putts when it matters. His game has been trending upward in 2022 now that he is back to full health. He finished third at the WM Phoenix Open, 16th at the Honda Classic, and 12th at the Valspar Championship.
These solid but not sensational finishes have kept Koepka under the radar. His game looked even better at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he won all three matches in the group stage and beat Jon Rahm in the round of 16. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Dustin Johnson on the 18th hole. This is more than enough positive form for me to consider backing Brooks this week.
If we dig into his recent history at the Masters, we see that he finished second in 2019, seventh in 2020, and missed the cut in 2021. Keep in mind that Koepka wasn’t anywhere close to 100% last year, as he was in the process of rehabbing from injury. So ask yourself, How is the best major player in this field (aside from Tiger), who is in good form, priced as the 12th most expensive? Take the value and the likely top 10 from Koepka.
Russell Henley $7,800
Henley hasn’t competed in the Masters since 2018, but he does have good historical form, having finished 31st or better in each of his last four appearances. So far in 2022, Henley has finished second at Sony and racked up three other top-15 finishes. His worst finish this year in a stroke-play event is 33rd.
Henley’s game is built on precise iron play, which is the number one characteristic needed to succeed at Augusta. His irons have been especially dialed in lately: his last stroke-play start at the Players resulted in 11.5 strokes gained en route to a 13th-place finish. Henley has the ability to catch fire with those clubs and be the best iron player on the week. In seven of his past 16 events, he has gained at least five strokes on approach, the same amount as Collin Morikawa, who is widely regarded as the best iron player on the PGA Tour. Henley’s price, $7,800, is just too cheap for a player who is very likely to make the cut and has a solid chance at a top 15.
Luke List $7,000
List has never played in the Masters as a professional but was low amateur back in 2005, when he placed 33rd. He qualified for this year’s edition after his breakthrough win at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. Getting into the field means the world to him, especially now that he has lived in Augusta for the past four years. (His wife is from the area.)
List is playing the best golf of his career right now, and he has been striking the ball tremendously well. He has gained strokes tee to green in all but one event for the past 12 months! His combination of length, above-average iron play, and deft short-game touch should allow him to make the cut this week and accumulate plenty of birdies.
Yes, his putting is weak. He is one of the worst players in the field on the greens. However, that’s exactly where List’s upside lies: four of the last five times he gained strokes putting, he finished in the top 10. At $7,000, we don’t necessarily need a win out of him; we just want enough consistency to make the cut and enough upside with birdies, especially on par 5s, to open up the potential for a top-20 finish.
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