College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 3/7/19

Wisconsin's Ethan Happ squares off with Iowa on senior night. Which other players should be in your Thursday lineups?

College basketball season is in full tilt.

March Madness is basically upon us, 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 six games. We get three games out of the American conference, including a top-25 tilt between the Cincinnati Bearcats and UCF Knights.

Thursday, March 7th
Iowa at #21 Wisconsin
#20 Cincinnati at #25 UCF
Temple at Connecticut
Indiana at Illinois
UCLA at Colorado
SMU at #12 Houston

Which players should you be targeting and why?


Shizz Alston Jr., Temple ($8,300): Tonight, the Temple Owls are 1.5-point underdogs on the road against the Connecticut Huskies. But their 71.25 implied total is still worth targeting in a game that's expected to be close and boasts the night's second-highest over/under (144.0). The Huskies are 110th in defensive efficiency, per, and allow 70.6 points per game. The last time these two met, Temple put up 81 behind Alston's 18 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals (32.3 FanDuel points). In the six games since, the senior guard has averaged 22.2 points and 35.2 FanDuel points over 37.3 minutes per game, having turned in 22 or more points in five straight. In two games, he's gone for over 40 FanDuel points with usage rates of 30.1% and 46.5%. You can feel safe about locking him in as your top guard tonight.

Tyler Bey, Colorado ($7,900): If you feel like saving a few bucks to get up to a higher-level forward -- (cough) Ethan Happ -- Bey could help you accomplish that without sacrificing much in the way of ceiling. The 6'7" sophomore averages 27.3 FanDuel points over 25.8 minutes per game, both of which see jumps -- to 27.8 and 26.6, respectively -- in Pac 12 play. Bey's 26.0% usage is 4.4% higher than the next-closest teammate in conference play, and that's on top of a monster 22.1% rebounding rate (34.5% on the defensive boards). As a result, he's posted four double-doubles in his last five, including three straight -- all for more than 30 FanDuel points. Only adding to his potential, Bey's matchup is about as good as it gets, facing a UCLA Bruins team ranked 122nd defensively and playing at a top-20 pace. For that reason, his Colorado Buffaloes check in atop the slate with a 77.75 implied total on their home floor.

Armoni Brooks, Houston ($6,300): Among Thursday's games, Houston against SMU is the one most likely to be a blowout. At home, the Cougars are 13.5-point favorites over a team rated over 100 spots below them by KenPom's adjusted efficiency margin. The Mustangs' biggest thing holding them down has been their defense, which comes into tonight ranked 221st in efficiency, as they have allowed 70.6 points per game in conference play despite playing at the nation's 24th-slowest tempo. Houston's going to put up points, and Brooks will be heavily involved with 13.5 points on 11.6 field goal attempts and 8.4 three-point attempts per game. So far this season, Brooks has tallied 11 games at or beyond his expected output of 25.2 FanDuel points.

Jules Bernard, UCLA ($5,300): Opposite the Buffs, the Bruins have a very nice total (71.75) on their own. They are 6th of the 12 teams on the slate, and their opponent has allowed 73 or more points in 9 of their 16 conference games. That puts a guy like Bernard in a good spot, particularly because of the injury to Prince Ali, who has been deemed doubtful to play this week. So long as he remains out, the freshman will benefit from a larger workload, having turned 28 and 31 minutes into 24.9 and 25.2 FanDuel points over the last two games. And going back four games, he's now had three with 24.9-plus FanDuel points, scoring in double figures in each of those contests.

Tarin Smith, Connecticut ($4,900): Again, we want exposure to this UConn/Temple game, and we aren't without a value play. The Huskies will remain without senior Jalen Adams, who has sat out the last six games due to a knee injury. Fellow senior Tarin Smith stepped into a starter's role just prior to Adams' absence, but he's been even more solid since. While playing 33.0 minutes a game, he has averaged 17.7 FanDuel points, though that includes a game in which he was limited to 21 minutes and 5.6 FanDuel points. Eliminating that one, Smith has put up 19.1 FanDuel points going back to the beginning of his stretch as a starter. He doesn't have a high ceiling, but the floor is there, and all he needs is 19.6 to return four-times value. He's a plug-and-play option for a UConn team fourth on the slate with a 72.75 total.


Ethan Happ, Wisconsin ($9,000): On virtually all slates, Ethan Happ's floor is unmatched. Averaging 38.6 FanDuel points on the year, the forward has only dipped below 30 FanDuel points five times all while hitting the 40-point mark on seven occasions. He lives in the 35-point range, and all we're looking for is 36 at this cost. Everything else points to that ceiling here, too. The Wisconsin Badgers are at home against the Iowa Hawkeyes, which means two things. One is that the Badgers get a pace boost of 6.5 possessions, and the other lives on narrative street with Happ playing on senior night. There's no quantifying that, but it is worth noting that he's shot a higher percentage (54.9%) from the field at home, where he's averaged 39.8 FanDuel points on the season.

Tacko Fall, UCF ($6,700): Whether you're taking the safety of Happ or not, Fall is a tournament-only play under all the circumstances tonight. The Bearcats' defense is 21st in the nation with their bottom of the barrel pace (345th) helping to keep opponents to 61.3 points per game (64.0 in conference play). They are also the AAC's top rebounding team across the board, which gives Fall -- averaging 7.7 rebounds in American games -- a ding to his potential. But again, it's senior night for Fall as the Knights play their last home game of the regular season. He is going to come out motivated to beat a conference rival and better UCF's NCAA Tournament resume. Oh -- and he has the upside to win you a tournament at lower ownership. In two of the past six games, the big man has gone for at least 42.3 FanDuel points. He has five games over 30, and his ability to rack up blocked shots plays a large role in that.

Josh Carlton, Connecticut ($6,000): Carlton is the highest-priced forward in this game, but he should probably be priced higher to reflect his ceiling. This salary seems to capture his floor and recent play, which has been nothing in comparison to what he's shown in flashes throughout the year. He's played 31 minutes in the last two after logging no more than 24 in a string of four games. In the two, he's averaged 27.2 FanDuel points, but if we go back to his time before the drop-off in minutes, he averaged 31.6 FanDuel points over a five-game stretch. He was seeing 29.4 minutes during that time, so it appears that when the minutes are there, the fantasy production follows.

Justin Smith, Indiana ($4,900): For as little success as both teams have had this season, tonight's game between the Indiana Hoosiers and Illinois Fighting Illini is not one to fade. The 142 total is enough to support two teams scoring in the 70s, so there is value to exploit. Justin Smith has been great in back-to-back games, drawing two straight starts and producing 18.2 and 27.8 FanDuel points. His minutes are back up after three straight games under 20, and as we saw earlier in the year, the kid can produce when given the chance. Against this same team, he took 33 minutes for eight points, six rebounds, three blocks and 22.7 FanDuel points.

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.