Immediately before and after the restart, Daniel Berger was playing at a level of being one of the world's best golfers. Unfortunately, regression seems to have set in all at once, and the American has slipped into a current trajectory that has seen him finish between 17th and 34th place in his four most recent starts. While we realize most are buying into the sale of the 13th-ranked player in the world, Berger is someone that has fallen too far in recent weeks on DraftKings. Consider the 27-year-old to be a superb buy-low option that has upside to win in California. He may not have been as good as his short-term sample size indicated, but we believe he is better than his current going rate.
A high made-cut percentage has always been a factor that has pushed Hideki Matsuyama into being an intriguing prospect for DraftKings contests, but the Japanese sensation has recently struggled to pay off his backers. The no-cut nature in California does slightly hurt Matsuyama's value, and it adds to the worry that the 28-year-old has only gained strokes on the greens in five of his previous 20 events. Matsuyama is a statistical monster when you remove his flat stick while handicapping, but it continues to be an issue that isn't going away anytime soon.
By Patrick Cantlay's lofty standards, it has been a cold stretch of golf for him since the restart. Cantlay has only provided one top-10 finish in his last eight events, and it came at a venue in Las Vegas where he had never come worse than second place in three prior attempts. There are reasons to believe that the shorter venue and Bentgrass greens will give the American a boost for the week, and it shouldn't hurt matters that Cantlay is ranked inside the top-10 of the field in par-five scoring. The 28-year-old will be one of the least owned players above $9,000 on DraftKings and could provide some contrarian upside in GPP contests.
It may have been somewhat jarring for some to see Xander Schauffele listed at the top of the DraftKings board, but the 26-year-old has earned his price tag of $11,200. Schauffele has finished inside the top-five in his last three events and hasn't ended a tournament worse than 25th since the Travelers Championship in June. We believe there will be a slight decline this week in ownership because of him being listed as the man to beat, not to mention the general dismay within the industry because of his lack of closing out events, but many factors are pointing in Schauffele's direction for another positive performance.
Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from this week's ZOZO Championship at Sherwood Country Club after missing last week's CJ Cup due to a positive COVID-19 test. The big-hitting American was eligible to return Thursday since he would have been 10 days clear of initial symptoms, but Johnson still isn't feeling 100 percent and believed it would be best to wait and resume his schedule in Houston. The removal of the top-ranked player in the world has opened up a slot for Matt Kuchar, who enters the week priced at $6,800 on DraftKings. Kuchar has had some past success at Sherwood Country Club and will look to get his season going in a better direction.
Patrick Reed will make his second start of the season this week at Sherwood. In his only start of the 2021 season, he finished T13 at the U.S. Open. He was very good with his irons and putter at Winged Foot, ranking fifth in strokes gained approaching the green and sixth in strokes gained putting. Reed was at the very top of the leaderboard before a lackluster weekend at an incredibly difficult course. This will be his first start in a month, so he may be a bit rusty early. With that being said, Reed is one of the more expensive DFS options this week and should be able to compete.
Collin Morikawa will make his third consecutive start and fourth of the 2021 season this week at the ZOZO Championship. He comes off a solid T12 finish last week at the CJ Cup. He ranked 20th in strokes gained around the green but just 55th in strokes gained putting. This was a good bounce-back performance for Morikawa after missing his first two cuts of the 2021 season. He found a bit of success last season at ZOZO, finishing T22. ZOZO will be at Sherwood this year, which is different than usual. However, Morikawa is definitely worthy of being a DFS pick if he can build on last week's performance.
Webb Simpson is set to tee it up in this week's ZOZO Championship at Sherwood. Simpson posted a T13 in his most recent start at the Shriners two weeks ago. The veteran isn't the longest hitter off the tee, but continues to be a force on the PGA Tour thanks to his sharp iron play and terrific putting. This week's Jack Nicklaus-designed layout should play right into his hands and Simpson posted a top-five finish on this course in a 2013 World Challenge event. He isn't a flashy DFS play, but must be considered an elite option in this spot.
Bubba Watson heads to the upcoming ZOZO Championship in sharp form. Watson posted an impressive T7 result in last week's CJ Cup. The mercurial lefty was second in the field in strokes gained tee-to-green with a mark of 10.9, but still struggled on the greens, losing 1.7 strokes putting. Watson's recent ball striking output has been reminiscent of his prime playing days. He's familiar with this week's Sherwood layout and posted a third-place finish on the California course in the charity World Challenge event in 2013. The veteran is an intriguing DFS option thanks to his recent form and course history.
The latter half of the year has been a struggle for Rory McIlroy, and those issues were once again evident last week at the CJ Cup. McIlroy was tremendous off the tee but struggled mightily with his irons, losing 3.8 strokes on approach for the tournament. It was the second time in his last three starts that he's lost strokes to the field with his irons. He'll need to fix the issue quickly as he heads to the ZOZO Championship and a Sherwood Country Club layout that can be classified as a second-shot golf course. Tournament-winning upside is always present with McIlroy, but his spotty iron play as of late lowers his DFS floor.
Justin Rose is in the field for the upcoming ZOZO Championship. Rose heads to Sherwood Country Club fresh off another disappointing outing. The Englishman posted a T52 in last week's CJ Cup and managed only one sub-70 round at Shadow Creek. His 2020 has been marked by inconsistency and some head-scratching results. Rose was once a lock-button DFS option, but those days are long gone. He's nothing more than a GPP dart throw at the ZOZO with his current shaky form.
It was a rough start for Harris English in last week's CJ Cup, as he posted an ugly 75 in the opening round at Shadow Creek. However, English battled back with three sub-70 rounds to sneak into a 10th-place finish in Las Vegas. The Georgia Bulldog had the flatstick firing and gained over four strokes putting last week. He's set to tee it up in the upcoming ZOZO Championship and this week's Sherwood Country Club layout figures to be a much better fit for his accurate style. English has been a consistent performer this year and remains a rock-solid DFS option for the ZOZO.
Jon Rahm is in the field for the upcoming ZOZO Championship. Rahm logged a respectable T17 in last week's CJ Cup, despite losing 2.6 strokes on the greens at Shadow Creek. This week's Sherwood Country Club layout doesn't appear to suit the strengths of the Spaniard's game, but Rahm defied expectations by winning at another Jack Nicklaus-designed layout earlier this year at the Memorial. His DFS price tag is steep, but the young star has steadily turned in rock-solid performances this season and has posted two wins in 2020.
Viktor Hovland is in the field for this week's ZOZO Championship. Hovland heads to California on the heels of an impressive T12 in last week's CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. It was his 11th top-25 finish of 2020. The youngster gained 4.8 strokes tee-to-green at Shadow Creek and his tremendous ball striking should once again make him a factor at this week's Sherwood Country Club layout. Hovland still sometimes struggles to put four rounds together, but his explosive ability makes him a high-upside option in GPP formats.
Tyrrell Hatton heads to this week's ZOZO Championship in scorching form. The Englishman won the BMW Championship in Europe two weeks ago and followed the victory with a T3 in last week's CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. We can attribute Hatton's success to his razor-sharp iron play. He led last week's field in strokes gained approach, gaining a massive 9.2 strokes with his irons. This week's Jack Nicklaus-designed Sherwood layout should be a tremendous fit for Hatton's precise style. He's an elite DFS option due to his current form and the projected course fit.