College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 12/18/18

Christian James and the Oklahoma Sooners boast Tuesday's highest total as they take on the Creighton Bluejays. Which other teams and players should be on your radar tonight?

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're in the know, we can attack today's main slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST and consists of four games, including a Creighton/Oklahoma clash with a slate-high 159.5 over/under.

Tuesday, December 18th
Xavier at Missouri
Liberty at Alabama
#14 Buffalo at Syracuse
Creighton at Oklahoma

Which players should you be targeting, and why?


Christian James, Oklahoma ($8,500): James is the highest-priced player on tonight's slate -- and by a cool $300 at that. However, he might just be worth it in tonight's matchup. As mentioned, the Sooners and Bluejays are expected to push 160 combined points, according to the oddsmakers, and as 7.0-point favorites James and his Sooners have an implied total of 83.0, topping the eight teams in action. Creighton checks in 120th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per, and they've allowed 77.1 points per game. As for James, he's posting 18.9 points a game on 13.2 shots (6.6 from three) and a team-leading 25.8% usage rate. His per-game output is down to 29.5, but that's primarily held down by one game in which he was held to 14.4 FanDuel in 20 minutes. When you eliminate that one, the star senior is at 31.2 FanDuel points per game, and with four games over 35, he has as high of a ceiling as anyone going tonight.

Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton ($7,900): Opposing James and company, Alexander will lead the Bluejays' attack against the uptempo Sooners, who average 1.2 more possessions per game and rank top 50 in KenPom's adjusted tempo. OU's defense ranks an impressive 13th, but the oddsmakers are telling us that it shouldn't keep Creighton off the board too much. The Bluejays' 76.0-point implied total is second on the slate and 2.0 points clear of the next team. Meanwhile, Alexander enters play averaging a team-high 27.0 FanDuel points on a 24.2% usage rate -- first among Creighton players to have played 20 or more minutes. He has two games of 30-plus FanDuel points in his last three and another one if we go back five games. He draws 18.2 of his FanDuel points from scoring, but he's also managed eight games with at least three assists. That gives him the upside of 5.0 fantasy points per $1,000 at this price tag.

Mitch Ballock, Creighton ($6,300): If you prefer to pay up for James and can't find enough value to roster the top dogs from both sides, Ballock is a good consolation pick among Creighton guards. His 12.8 points per game are second on the team, and despite a low 17.2% usage rate, he's gotten things done by hitting 3.4 threes a game while adding 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 blocks-plus-steals. OU allows a healthy 38.5% of their opponents' shot attempts to come from deep, so the opportunity should present itself for Ballock.

Mark Smith, Missouri ($5,800): As with most nights -- at least four-game slates -- we have a game that just isn't very fantasy-friendly: Missouri/Xavier. The 136.0 over/under is the lowest on the slate, and a one-point spread in the Musketeers' favor keeps both teams at or below a 68.5 implied total. Mizzou, at home, is expected to score just 67.5 points, but still, someone has to score the ball for the Tigers. After all, Xavier isn't what it used to be as the Musketeers rank 123rd in adjusted defensive efficiency and 191st in points allowed per game (71.8). So far this year, Smith is second on the team in points per game (11.6), shot attempts (7.9) and rebounds (5.1). He also hits a team-best 2.4 threes per night on a 64.8% three-point attempt rate and 64.2% true shooting percentage.

Frank Howard, Syracuse ($5,000): In most cases, a Syracuse game is a stay-away spot. But this isn't one of those times as the Orange host the 14th-ranked Buffalo Bulls at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse has a nice 74.0-point implied total as 3.5-point home favorites -- and that's not to mention the big pace boost they get. As Syracuse trudges along at a pace of 67.4 possessions a game, Buffalo gets up and down at 73.3 a game. That's nearly six more possessions to use and rack up fantasy points. And for a value guy, Howard is a no-brainer. Due to an early-season injury, he hasn't been up to his usual output, but the price is right and he's coming off of a good game in which he totaled 18.2 FanDuel points in 32 minutes. He's played 32 minutes twice in a four-game stretch, so if the senior can regain his shooting stroke -- he's hitting just 27.0% from the field -- and pick up the assists, he could certainly exceed 20 FanDuel points in the matchup.


Oshae Brissett, Syracuse ($8,200): From value to stud, we move to the frontcourt in Brissett, who leads all eligible forwards with 29.5 FanDuel points per game this season. Over 32.6 minutes a game, the 6'8" sophomore is contributing 14.9 points, 8.2 rebounds (2.9 offensive), 1.9 assists and 1.8 blocks-plus-steals. He's second on the team in shots per game (12.6), and he's produced in spite of a 37.3/28.9/68.9% shooting line. Last year's marks weren't a lot better, but even if he can improve marginally, that should be enough to get him over the 30-FanDuel-point threshold more consistently.

Brady Manek, Oklahoma ($6,700): In case you didn't gather as much already, you want to be all over this Creighton-Oklahoma game -- the OU side, particularly. Down low, the top dog is Brady Manek, a 6'9" sophomore averaging 10.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.6 blocks-plus steals (23.1 FanDuel points) over 28.1 minutes per game. He's produced despite a rather mediocre 21.0% usage rate, doing so via a 20.2% defensive rebound rate and 14.2% total rebound rate. He's shot an abysmal 37.0% from the field (31.3% from three) for the year, after hitting 46.6% of his shots (38.3% from three) a year ago. He's due for some regression in the scoring department, and with a lot of points presumably up for grabs, he could turn in a big performance.

Jamuni McNeace, Oklahoma ($6,000): Rolling out both OU starting forwards isn't a terrible idea, and having at least one is a near-must tonight. Creighton is outside the top-100 teams in all three rebounding categories as their 48.8% rebound rate sits 273rd in the nation. Averaging 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 offensive boards per game, McNeace has been a beast in the rebounding department. Plus, he adds 8.9 points and 1.9 blocks in his 25.8 minutes a game. He was held out of the starting lineup in his return from an ankle injury on Saturday, but look for him to be back in there in his normal role tonight.

Marek Dolezaj, Syracuse ($3,700): Dolezaj is a punt in an pace-up matchup. While he has put together four games of at least 12.1 FanDuel points, he also has three of 5.2 or fewer. His season average is a mere 9.7 FanDuel points, but we're looking for just double-digits at this price, and that's basically it. All he needs is 14.8 FanDuel points to reach four-times value, and even at that, you should be able to make it up in rostering OU/Creighton players. Assuming Dolezaj sees 20-plus minutes -- which he has four times this season -- this could be the way to winning tournaments tonight.

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.