College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 3/28/19

Fresh off a dud, Rui Hachimura will look to bounce back as Gonzaga squares off with Florida State. Which other players should you be targeting on Thursday's Sweet 16 slate?

March Madness is here. And just because your bracket is toast that doesn't mean the DFS grind stops.

As all year, you can get in on college hoops DFS 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 Thursday's Sweet 16 slate, which locks at 7:09 p.m. EST and consists of four tournament matchups. With a 147 over/under, Florida State/Gonzaga appears to be the most fantasy-friendly among them.

Thursday, March 28th (Sweet 16)
Florida State vs. Gonzaga
Purdue vs. Tennessee
Texas Tech vs. Michigan
Oregon vs. Virginia

Which players should you be targeting and why?


Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech ($8,600): Undoubtedly, Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver is one of the top talents on the slate. He has risen to the occasion throughout the season and in the tournament, and for that reason, he's a marked man as an NBA prospect. As a sophomore, he's utilized his size and skillset to capture Big 12 Player of the Year honors on averages of 18.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists to go with 1.4 steals on the defensive end. Averaging 32.0 FanDuel points on the season, Culver has upped his game of late, putting up 46.3 fantasy points per game across the last two and 39.0 in the last 10. He has four 40--fantasy-point games in that span, including three double-doubles and 2.0 steals per night. He has the same potential of a Brandon Clarke ($9,200) but at a $600 discount. If you can ignore the matchup with Michigan's second-ranked defense, per KenPom, you can see the upside, though it's accompanied by a heightened chance of him coming up short of value. There's a lot more risk on this slate, given the teams and defenses involved, so going for the reward is the right play in this spot.

Ty Jerome, Virginia ($7,600): Virginia and Oregon are two of the slowest teams in the country, ranking 353rd and 328th, respectively, in adjusted tempo. To make matters worse for the sake of points and fantasy numbers, they are 3rd and 15th in defensive efficiency. That has oddsmakers pegging this one at a slate-low 119.5 points between the two. But just cause that doesn't scream cash plays, don't go avoiding it entirely. Jerome, UVA's junior point guard, presents a nice contrarian option. After all, he's used to playing slow and facing some of the nation's top defenses in the ACC. And throughout, he has flashed upside with 27.57 FanDuel points a game and three games of 40-plus fantasy points. Jerome possesses a 23.0% usage rate and in averaging 5.3 assists a game, leads the team with a 31.8% assist rate. He's the engine that makes this offense tick, and if it just so happens that this game flies by the total, he's in line to be the biggest beneficiary from a fantasy standpoint.

Terance Mann, Florida State ($6,800): As mentioned, the betting lines point to this game as one to get heavy exposure to. The 147.0-point over/under is tops on the slate and allows both teams to have top-four implied totals. The underdog Seminoles enter at 69.75 points, and they'll likely need to score more to keep up with the Zags' top-ranked offensive attack. If they're going to pull an upset, Mann will be the guy to lead them to it. The 6'7" senior has been doing just that through two tournament games, averaging 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He has at least 34.1 FanDuel points in both tourney matchups, which is enough upside to justify him at this price tag. He requires 27.2 FanDuel points for four-times value, and as long as he plays 33 to 35 minutes, his floor is around 25, putting Mann in play in all formats.

Ryan Cline, Purdue ($5,500): Tennessee/Purdue is a game many might forget about. But while it lacks some of the name appeal of a Virginia or Gonzaga, this clash carries a 146.5-point over/under -- a half-point short of the top figure. Plus, a 2.0-point spread in the Vols' favor suggests a close game going down to the wire. It cannot be overstated how big a potential overtime could be for those players involved. That's particularly the case for a guy like Cline, who has been been playing big minutes for the Boilermakers. After averaging 33.7 per game in the regular season, the senior's gone on to log 34 and 31 in consecutive games in the Big Dance. He hasn't wowed anyone with his style of play or his numbers, but he's averaged 21.6 FanDuel points with at least four rebounds and four assists in each. He's commonly exceeded the 20-fantasy-point mark this season, though the minutes are enough alone to entice us on a slate like this.


Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga ($8,300): Florida State is a tough defense to go up against. They rank 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency and hold opponents to 67.0 points per game while they've allowed no more than 69 points in either tournament game. However, they are still just the fourth-best defense on the slate, so we can't go fading the Bulldogs and their uber-efficient offense. At the head of it, Hachimura checks in at a very reasonable price despite coming off a 9.0-FanDuel-point dud versus Baylor. He will be looking to show out for NBA scouts as he faces NBA-type size and length in Florida State. But that FSU squad has allowed 34.0% of shots at the rim and 65.7% on unblocked attempts. Meanwhile, Hachimura has converted 71.8% of his shots at the rim, from where he's attempted 55.7% of his shots, and he's averaging .473 free throw attempts per field goal attempt.

Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State ($6,400): Kabengele has been producing off the FSU bench all season. While he hasn't made a single start, the 6'10" sophomore has averaged a team-high 13.4 points alongside 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks-plus-steals a game. Kabengele has nine games of three-plus blocks with three of those coming in the ACC tourney or NCAA tournament. His two tourney contests have seen him go for 22 and 21 points, with 10 boards in the opener, en route to him averaging 36.2 FanDuel points per game in the Big Dance. He'll need to have a big game to help mitigate the production of the Bulldogs' frontcourt.

Mamadi Diakite, Virginia ($5,000): Keeping with the theme of hard names to say, Diakite's another one who has often come off the bench. He has started only 18 times all year, though he's averaged a valuable 20.3 minutes for just short of 15.5 FanDuel points a game. But after producing 17 points, 9 boards and 25.8 FanDuel points in Virginia's first-round comeback win, he drew the start against Oklahoma, logging 28 minutes for 31.8 FanDuel points and another near double-double. He has unquestionably been the team's most valuable player so far in the tournament. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him start once again, and if that's the case, he's a hard guy to pass on in spite of a slow-paced game script.

Raiquan Gray, Florida State ($4,200): We are going back to the well with the 'Noles. In case Diakite's salary isn't low enough or if you are trying to fit in two elite options, Gray's minimal salary will help you make it work. Unfortunately, the reason Gray is even in play is because of the tough situation Phil Cofer has to deal with following the death of his father. That has forced Gray into a starter's role, with the freshman averaging 22.5 minutes in the tournament to date. He has turned in 21.1 FanDuel points a game in that time as he's racked up the peripheral numbers -- seven steals, six rebounds, two assists and one block -- necessary to counteract his 5-of-16 shooting. It won't be easy against Gonzaga's frontline, but you don't need much from Gray for him to pay off.

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.