College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 11/6/18
College basketball season is back! And this year, with it comes the return of college basketball DFS.
March Madness is still four months away, but you can get in all the college hoops hype by playing daily contests at FanDuel today. If you've played NBA DFS before, it's quite simple: pick a total of eight players -- four guards, three forwards and one utility spot you can use for either position. Stay within the $50,000 salary cap and field the team you think will score the most fantasy points.
Where scoring differs from NBA is in the blocks and steals categories, with each worth two FanDuel points apiece rather than the three you get in daily NBA contests.
Now that you know that, we can attack today's slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST and consists of six games, including a head-to-head matchup between the second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
R.J. Barrett, Duke ($8,800): The young Dukies have a bunch of options to go to, and the same goes for us in daily fantasy. But why not start off with the first-ranked player in this year's freshman class, R.J. Barrett. Barrett is a big 6'7" guard with a versatile skill set who showed well in the team's two exhibition games this past month. Over 27 minutes a game, Barrett averaged 27.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals, for what would come to 42.2 FanDuel points. A matchup with John Calipari's squad isn't as easy as the competition of the two exhibitions, but the Blue Devils still have an implied total of 78.0 points in a game with the second-highest over/under (158.0) on the slate. If you want to pay up, Barrett's ceiling is as high as any.
Cody Martin, Nevada ($7,600): Last year, it was Martin's twin brother, Caleb, who led the Nevada Wolf Pack in scoring, but it was Cody who led the team with a box plus-minus of 8.8 all the while using 20.3% of the team's possessions and assisting on 24.0% of the Pack's made field goals, according to Basketball Reference. On a per-game basis, he averaged 33.0 FanDuel points over a team-high 35.7 minutes. Tonight, Nevada's 83.25-point total is second on the slate as they face a BYU team that ranked outside the top 50 in both opponent points per game (67.8) and defensive rating (98.7) a year ago.
Cameron Johnson, North Carolina ($6,800): While the other four powerhouses fight it out in the State Farm Champions Classic, the North Carolina Tar Heels will travel to Wofford for a less high-profile opener. That could keep ownership on UNC down a bit, but their 84.75 total is the best on the slate and certainly worth going after. By KenPom.com's adjusted efficiency margin, Wofford is the nation's 121st best team and is 191st in defensive efficiency. That plays into the hands of Johnson, who returns from offseason hip surgery and looks ready to be a force in 2018-19. Over 20 minutes in Friday's preseason finale, he put up 11 points (4-of-7 shooting) with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. He projects to start and play a big role from the get go.
Matisse Thybulle, Washington ($6,100): As nine-point favorites over Western Kentucky -- the nation's 80th-ranked team by adjusted efficiency, the #25 Washington Huskies -- 45th -- carry an implied total of 81.0 into tonight's home matchup at Alaska Airlines Arena. Now, guard Jaylen Norwell is the obvious choice, but Thybulle, the team's starting small forward, is poised for a breakout. Last year, the 6'5" senior averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists, not to mention the ever-valuable 3.0 steals and 1.4 blocks on the defensive end. In two exhibitions, Thybulle averaged 12.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.5 steals, 3.0 assists and 3.0 blocks (41.3 FanDuel points). He appears to be hte best point-per-dollar play of the night.
Devin Vassell, Florida State ($3,400): An inexperienced freshman, Vassell is unlikely to start in the opener against Florida. However, he has played himself out of a redshirt and into the rotation as he's shined during the preseason exhibitions, both on and off the court. On it, he impressed coaches with averages of 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. He shot 11-of-14 from the field and 4-of-5 from three in a total of 32 minutes. If he keeps up the efficiency, he won't need many minutes to exceed five-times value at this bottom-dollar cost.
Reid Travis, Kentucky ($8,300): While all the talk is about the young and exciting faces on each side of this game, the 22-year-old Travis could fly a little under the radar. But he certainly shouldn't. A grad transfer from Stanford, Travis averaged 19.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 34.0 minutes a game last season. He ranked in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in player efficiency rating (PER; 23.5), effective field goal percentage (54.6%), usage rate (26.8%) and offensive win shares (3.8). KenPom has Duke as a top-five defense, but the pace should be healthy as the two teams look to feel out their teammates and show out on a national stage.
Zion Williamson, Duke ($8,000): If you want to stack the exciting duo of Barrett and Williamson, who can blame you. After all, Williamson's price is somewhat soft considering his abilities. The 6'7" combo forward was rated second in his class after averaging 36.4 points and 11.4 rebounds in his senior year at Spartanburg Day School. He has averaged 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals (42.85 FanDuel points) over 25.5 minutes in Duke's exhibition contests. It will take a special effort from Kentucky to keep Williamson short of 35-plus FanDuel points tonight.
Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State ($5,800): Last season's leading scorer, Phil Cofer, is out for the next six weeks due to a right foot injury. With his absence to start the season, that opens up 29.3 minutes, 9.9 shots and a 20.3% usage rate from a year ago. Kabengele is entering his second season and is a candidate to take Cofer's role. He started in the team's first exhibition, in which he struggled in 14 minutes, but he rebounded with a strong 13-point, 7-rebound (17 minutes) showing in their final preseason game. He played just 14.8 minutes a year ago, but over 40 minutes, he would have averaged 19.5 points and 12.6 boards. The upside is there, especially on a team with a total implied at 76.75 tonight.
Trey Porter, Nevada ($5,400): According to Nevada head coach Eric Musselman, starting forward Jordan Caroline suffered a "minor" injury last Wednesday. The senior's status is uncertain for the opener, and if he's out, grad transfer Trey Porter would see more minutes. Porter, a 6'10" forward, scored 14 points and contributed 5 rebounds in just 14 minutes of work in the team's last tuneup before the season opener. A year ago at Old Dominion, he averaged 23.69 FanDuel points in 23.6 minutes. He's basically a point-per-minute guy, so if he's given a shot at 20-odd minutes, he could provide solid value at this cost.
Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.