College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 3/15/19

Zion Williamson returned to the lineup with a big double-double on Thursday night. Is he a must-have for Friday's rematch against North Carolina?

College basketball season has now entered into the precursor for the Big Dance: conference tournament play.

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 13 games. None are more high-profile than Duke and North Carolina's third meeting of the year, which pits the nation's fifth-ranked team against its third-ranked squad in a matchup boasting a monster 164.5 over/under.

Friday, March 15th
Xavier at #25 Villanova
SMU at #24 Cincinnati
Iowa State at #15 Kansas State
#12 Florida State at #2 Virginia
Alabama at #4 Kentucky
Minnesota at #13 Purdue
Colorado at Washington
#5 Duke at #3 North Carolina
Seton Hall at #23 Marquette
West Virginia at #17 Kansas
Wichita State at Temple
Mississippi State at #8 Tennessee
Iowa at #10 Michigan

Which players should you be targeting and why?


RJ Barrett, Duke ($9,400): Everyone talks about Zion Williamson, the basically done-deal top pick in this year's NBA Draft, but Barrett is having a great year all his own (and it could make him the second overall pick). To this point, the star freshman is averaging 23.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists for a total of 38.0 FanDuel points a game. In conference, he's at 37.7 per game with 51.6 and 42.4 FanDuel points in the two previous matchup against the Tar Heels. His usage will return to its usual place with Zion back in there, but the game script negates that. North Carolina's fourth-ranked adjusted tempo -- per -- helps prop up the over/under and, subsequently, Duke's 83.75 total. Don't forget about Barrett in this star-studded ACC showdown.

Coby White, North Carolina ($7,800): With both teams in the top 15 in pace, there's no playing down that juicy over/under. In fact, the two combined for 160 and 149 points in their two regular season games (and that was without Zion). Points will be scored in bunches, and if there's one thing White does best it's score. The outstanding freshman is averaging team-highs in field goal attempts (12.6), three-point attempts (6.6) and points (16.4), all while using 27.4% of the team's offensive possessions. That usage is above 28% in 18 ACC games, which has White on a roll entering the conference semifinal. Yesterday, he took a 26.4% usage to tally 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 37.4 FanDuel points. He had success (32.7 FanDuel points) last time against Duke, and his minutes should be around 36, making White a much more attractive than teammate Cameron Johnson, who plays fewer minutes and costs $300 more. There's no discounting the value of minutes and possessions in a game like this.

Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State ($6,100): The Iowa State Cyclones are finally healthy, which was evident from Thursday's 83-66 beatdown of the Baylor Bears. Marial Shayok is back in his starting role alongside Talen Horton-Tucker and others, and that's good news for Iowa State but it also pushes Wigginton to the bench. However, he's used to coming off the bench now, having done so for most of the year and averaging 13.4 points in that capacity. Along with his contributions in rebounds and assists, he's averaging 22.0 FanDuel points, though that comes on a 27.8% usage rate. The sophomore does damage quickly in his roughly 25 minutes off the bench. Yesterday, he played 22 and turned in 23.1 FanDuel points. He's averaged 26.6 against K-State, so that could lead to more minutes as the Cyclones search for offense against the sixth-ranked defensive of the Kansas State Wildcats.

Devon Dotson, Kansas ($5,300): Dotson wasn't on the radar on Thursday given a slow matchup against Texas. Well, all the freshman did was score 17 points and rack up peripherals to the tune of 29.8 FanDuel points. He scored 15-plus for the second straight game and looked back to the form he showed in early February, when he averaged 18.2 points and 33.7 FanDuel points for a five-game stretch. For fantasy purposes, Kansas' matchup with West Virginia is much more friendly, boasting a 147 over/under with the Jayhawks double-digit favorites. The Mountaineers are 124th in defense, putting Dotson in a smash spot this evening.

Carter Diarra, Kansas State ($4,200): For the first time since February 9, Diarra was able to play on Thursday, posting eight points, five rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes -- a total of 18.5 FanDuel points off the bench. That doesn't sound like much, but all he requires is 16.8 for optimal value (4.0 points per $1,000) at this price, a number he's hit or exceeded in four of his last five and nine times total this year. The opportunity is even great now, too, with Dean Wade out, opening up 30.4 minutes and 9.9 shots per game. The Wildcats have just an OK total at 64.25, but Iowa State's pace could push it, and K-State will have to score to keep up.


Zion Williamson, Duke ($9,800): What is there to say? He was unhealthy at some point? So far, missing a few games has been the only issue for Williamson. After injuring his knee in the first game against UNC, Zion sat out five games before returning to play Thursday against Syracuse. All he did was play 36 minutes, hit all 13 of his field goal attempts, rack up a double-double and produce 58.8 FanDuel points! That puts his per-game average at 41.2 on the year thanks to a 28.4% usage rate and six games of at least 50 FanDuel points. Zion's virtually making his first full appearance in this rivalry, further stoking the narrative behind a game full of NBA prospects and sure to be played as close to an NBA game as you can get. If you are willing to dip down for some value, Zion is a no-brainer to anchor your lineups.

Eric Paschall, Villanova ($7,400): Xavier is one of the slate's worst defensive teams, allowing 100.8 points per 100 possessions and 71.2 a game in conference play. Paschall's Villanova Wildcats scored 85 in the first regular season but followed it up with 54 at Xavier. However, the oddsmakers back up the former, giving 'Nova a 71-point total as seven-point favorites at Madison Square Garden. Behind Paschall's 20-and-10 yesterday, the Wildcats scored 73 in a win over Providence. The senior has three double-doubles on the year and is averaging 29.2 FanDuel points against Big East foes. His rebounding should see an added boost with Xavier outside the top 100 in rebounding.

Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan ($6,700): Usually, we fad games involving the Michigan Wolverines and their third-ranked defense, but their 74.75 total is really high for their standards. As a team, they average 70.4 a game and 68.5 in Big Ten play alone, and four to six points could be a big difference. That comes into play because of Iowa's above-average pace (86th), but it's also a product of the Hawkeyes' 120th-ranked defense. Brazdeikis looks like the most obvious beneficiary, leading his team with 15.0 points per game on a 26.1% usage rate. The Canadian could be in for more action too, while teammate Charles Matthews looks limited because of an injury. Expect Brazdeikis to absorb some of Matthews' 10.8 shots a game.

Emmitt Matthews Jr., West Virginia ($4,600): Unlike most players and teams here, Matthews and his Mountaineers aren't in a very obvious spot by game script. As underdogs to the Jayhawks, West Virginia is in the bottom bottom of the slate's teams at a 68.25 implied total. But they have been exceeding expectations of late, after a very disappointing regular season. As they look to steal a bit to the Big Dance, Matthews has been one of their hottest players, having scored 41 points over the last two games. Matthews has averaged 14 points in 28.3 in the last four, and in doing so, has tallied 26.3 FanDuel points after smoking Texas Tech for 43.1 last night. He's a steal, particularly on a slate where you're paying premium prices for others.

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.