College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 2/21/19

SMU players are primary targets in a home game against UConn. Who else should you be building your lineups around tonight?

College basketball season is in full tilt.

March Madness is still roughly a month 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 just five games, with a slate-high 143 total between AAC rivals SMU and Connecticut.

Wednesday, February 20th
UCF at Cincinnati
#7 Michigan at Minnesota
Oregon at USC
Connecticut at SMU
California at Arizona

Which players should you be targeting and why?


Jimmy Whitt Jr., SMU ($7,500): The Mustangs enter tonight's game as 6.5-point favorites, giving them a 74.75 implied total against the Huskies. That number places them second on the slate and makes them one of only two teams with a total above 70. SMU's key contributors are all in play, but Whitt is in a great buy-low spot. He's experienced a bit of a dropoff since the beginning of the season, when he tallied 30 or more FanDuel points in four of his first five contests. Still, the junior guard is averaging 29.5 FanDuel points on the year and 30.3 on his home floor alone. He has assisted on 24.9% of his team's made field goals in conference play, which has helped him to five games above tonight's salary-implied output (30.0 at 4.0 points per $1,000) through 12 AAC matchups. He continues to play 37-plus minutes on a nightly basis, giving him arguably the most upside of any Mustang.

Jahmal McMurray, SMU ($6,900): Joining Whitt in the backcourt, McMurray lacks the same fantasy floor, as he's averaging 23.8 FanDuel points for the year. But that takes into account a 1.5-point effort when he played six minutes against Central Florida. Discounting that game, the senior averages 24.8 FanDuel points behind a team-high 27.0% usage rate. And that usage moves to 27.2% in conference play, where McMurray has tallied 17.1 points a night on 13.9 fields goal attempts and 8.2 from three. Tonight, he draws a Huskies team ranked 115th in's adjusted efficiency, and one that has allowed teams to shoot 30 of 65 (46.2%) from three over the last three games.

Brandon Randolph, Arizona ($5,300): Given the landscape of the this short slate, you should probably be focusing primarily on three games. In addition to that matchup in the AAC, the other two are in the Pac 12, starting with Arizona hosting California. The Golden Bears are the slate's worst defensive efficiency, ranking 338th in adjusted defensive efficiency and bleeding 79.4 points a game (80.8 in conference). Last time these two met on January 12, the Wildcats put up 87 points, and though they'll be without Brandon Williams' 16 points from that one, guys like Randolph should be ready to step up. The sophomore leads all healthy Wildcat guards with a 25.8% usage rate, while he has averaged 12.2 field goal attempts a game and 11.9 in Pac 12 clashes.

Kevin Porter Jr., USC ($5,200): The USC Trojans' 70-point implied total is third on the slate as they take on the Oregon Ducks at Galen Center. Their minutes have fluctuated as they head down the stretch, particularly in the backcourt, but it's looking like we'll get more of hyped freshman Kevin Porter. Now healthy, the four-star recruit has played high minutes off the bench in back-to-back games. In them, he has used at least 24% of the team's available possessions, bringing his season average to 24.3% -- second on the team. He tallied 21 and 20.6 FanDuel points in those two games, and all he requires is 20.8 for four-times value at this low price. As long as he gets the run, he should pay off.


Bennie Boatwright, USC ($8,400): In recent games, Boatwright has taken over as USC's top dog with Nick Rakocevic getting pushed to the bench. The senior has at least 40 FanDuel points in two of his last three and comes off a 46-point outing at Cal. Oregon is much better defensively -- 29th by efficiency -- but they have dealt with injuries (most notable to Bol Bol) and allowed 72 points last time out. In fact, they have ceded 72 or more in four straight road games in conference. Boatwright isn't exactly a flash in the pan, either. On a usage of 26.2%, he averages 21.3 points and 33.9 FanDuel points against Pac 12 foes. If there's someone worth paying up for it's him.

Isiaha Mike, SMU ($7,100): In the frontcourt, Mike will give both Whitt and McMurray a run for their money as the top point-per-dollar play on their team. The 6'8" sophomore has posted a 20.6% usage rate overall and a 21.8% rate in conference play alone. He's also been more efficient over the last 12, turning 10.1 field goal attempts into 14.1 points along with 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.3 blocks-plus-steals per game (26.8 FanDuel points). He's been really great in the Mustangs' last six, a span in which he's averaged 32.8 FanDuel points with five games of 18-plus points and two double-doubles (in back-to-back games). A soft matchup should lead to him continuing this hot streak of play.

Chase Jeter, Arizona ($5,900): Of the two key Arizona bigs, Ryan Luther has been the more productive of late. However, Jeter comes at a $300 discount and should benefit in this matchup all the same. He is averaging 22.1 FanDuel points for the year -- 6.2 more than Luther -- and excels around the rim, taking 57.5% of his attempts from there and converting 70.1% of them, per Hoop-Math. Cal has been poor to that end, allowing 36.7% of shots at the rim with opponents knocking down 66.7% (73.0% on unblocked attempts). Only 17 other teams give up a higher rate at the basket. Jeter didn't have any problem versus Cal last time, contributing 23 points, 9 rebounds and 35.8 FanDuel points, which would be enough for 6.1-times value and potentially make him the best play of the night here.

Tyler Polley, Connecticut ($4,700): On the other side of that SMU-heavy game, UConn's Tyler Polley is one of tonight's few viable punt plays. He has played 34 minutes in each of last two, and that will likely continue as the Huskies deal with a handful of injuries and suspensions across their rotation. Now, Polley hasn't been as productive as he's been in the last two games -- 23.2 and 13.4 FanDuel points, respectively -- having yielded double-digit fantasy points just twice in the eight games prior. Although the bump in minutes and an exploitable defense (SMU's 249th in defensive efficiency) should do nothing but help his case. So, if you're looking to depart from what appears to be a night favoring more balanced lineups, he could help you grab a pair of top studs.

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.