College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 1/26/21
College basketball season is entering conference play, and we have a six-game slate today.
March Madness is a ways off at this point, 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 NBA contests.
Now that you're in the know, we can attack today's slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Relevant injury situations to monitor: Kentucky Wildcats guard Terrence Clarke is doubtful. Texas Longhorns forwards Brock Cunningham, Kai Jones, and Greg Brown are all questionable after missing the Longhorns' last game. Auburn Tigers guard Justin Powell is out.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Justin Champagnie, Pittsburgh ($9,000) - Champagnie is averaging a slate leading 1.24 FanDuel points per minute. The National Player of the Year candidate is an efficient scorer and an elite rebounder. He's also a force on the defensive end of the court. The sophomore is averaging 19.9 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 3.0 blocks/steals in 33.7 minutes. Despite a tough matchup with the North Carolina Tar Heels (25th in defense), this game should feature a ton of possessions as both teams love to push the tempo. North Carolina is 62nd in tempo while Pittsburgh is 94th. Champagnie has scored at least 10 real-life points and grabbed at least seven rebounds in each of the nine games that he's played in this season. Additionally, he has two 20-20 (points/rebounds) games this campaign.
Sharife Cooper, Auburn ($8,800) - Cooper has played only five games this season, but his rates are through the roof. The decorated freshman has an eye-popping 36.9% usage rate, 12.2% defensive rebounding rate, and 57.5% assist rate. He's also a good bet to play most of the game against the Missouri Tigers if the clash stays competitive (averaging 32.8 minutes per game). If his shooting improves, watch out; Cooper is making just 39.8% of his field goal attempts this season. Despite the high salary, Cooper is worth the investment.
Herbert Jones, Alabama ($6,500) - Jones provides a solid floor with massive upside due to his ability to contribute on both ends of the court. Over the last seven games, Jones has tallied at least 23.8 FanDuel points six times. The lone exception was due to an injury that ended Jones' evening after only eight minutes. He has cleared 40 FanDuel points in two out of the last five games. The senior is averaging 0.99 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 26.3 minutes (assuming value is 4x of a player's salary). Jones logged 37 minutes in Alabama's last game.
Brandon Boston Jr., Kentucky ($5,600) - Boston may finally be playing up to his massive potential. The five-star freshman has averaged 18.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals/blocks in 33.5 minutes over the last two games. Additionally, he's leading the Wildcats with a 24.1% usage rate this season. The matchup with Alabama is tough (13th in defense nationally) but it's also a massive pace-up game for Kentucky. The Wildcats are 274th in tempo nationally while Alabama is 9th.
Elijah Harkless, Oklahoma ($4,800) - The junior has emerged as one of the Oklahoma Sooners' key players in Big 12 play. Over the last four games, Harkless is averaging 6.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.8 steals/blocks in 27.5 minutes (equates to 24.3 FanDuel points). There's room for improvement, too, as Harkless has struggled shooting the ball in those four games, connecting on only eight out of 22 field goal attempts. Caleb Love ($5,000) may have turned a corner and is currently playing up to his monster preseason expectations. He makes for a fine play at a slightly higher salary than Harkless'.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Caleb Love, Myles Tate, Brendan Adams, Davion Mintz, Mark Smith, RJ Davis, Josh Primo, Jamal Johnson, Kerwin Walton, and Devin Askew.
Jalen Johnson, Duke ($6,200) - Johnson is a phenomenal talent, and he possesses one of the highest upsides in college basketball. He's also frustratingly inconsistent. In the last two games, Johnson has recorded 64.5 FanDuel points (against Pittsburgh) and then 7.8 FanDuel points (against Louisville). His playing time was cut against Louisville due to foul trouble and turnovers (six of them). However, at his current salary, he's worth the investment. The Duke Blue Devils' star freshman owns an impressive 28.5% usage rate. He also has an incredible 32.1% defensive rebounding rate, 20.4% assist rate, and an 8.6% block rate. The matchup with Georgia Tech is a good spot for Johnson to bounce back as the Yellow Jackets struggle defensively (89th in defense nationally).
Jeremiah Tilmon, Missouri ($5,800) - Tilmon is intriguing due to his ability on both ends of the court. The senior is averaging 0.90 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 25.8 minutes of action. Tilmon has logged at least 27 minutes in six straight games. Moreover, this is also a pace-up spot for Missouri. The Tigers are 169th in tempo nationally while Auburn is 55th.
Garrison Brooks, North Carolina ($5,700) - The Tar Heels have three talented frontcourt players in Armando Bacot, Day'Ron Sharpe, and Garrison Brooks. Brooks appears to be the player who North Carolina trusts most to play big minutes amongst the three. Brooks has logged 33-plus minutes in three out of the last four games. The matchup with Pittsburgh is a juicy spot to target. The Panthers have been throttled by post players in each of their last two games. Wake Forest forward Ismael Massoud scored 31 points and collected four rebounds in Pittsburgh's last game. Prior to that game, Duke's Jalen Johnson exploded for 24 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, and two steals against Pitt.
Brady Manek, Oklahoma ($4,900) - Manek is working his way back into game shape after missing time due to COVID-19. The senior has played two games since the illness, and his minutes were ramped up in the Sooners' last outing. It's time to take advantage of his low salary now before it starts to rise. Manek is the Sooners' third leading scorer (11.8 points per game) and rebounder (4.2 rebounds per game). He's also effective defensively as he averages 1.4 steals/blocks per game. Additionally, the senior is taking 27.1% of the Sooners' shots when he's on the floor, a clip which leads Oklahoma.
Jericho Sims, Texas ($4,600) - Sims' salary remains a bargain despite him tallying at least 22.6 FanDuel points in four out of the last five games. He's also logged at least 24 minutes in four of the last five games. The lone exception was when Sims fouled out in 17 minutes against West Virginia. Further enhancing his viability is that the Longhorns are potentially going to be short-handed in the frontcourt on Tuesday night. Sims is my favorite play among those with a salary under $5,000. As noted above, If Brock Cunningham, Greg Brown, and Kai Jones all miss their second consecutive game, Kamaka Hepa ($3,000) would be a solid source of salary relief at the minimum salary.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Wendell Moore Jr., Tyler Polley, Alex Reese (if James Rojas is out), and Kamaka Hepa (see above).
Matthew Hiatt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Hiatt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username easternmh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her 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.