College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 2/16/21
College basketball season is in the midst of conference play, and we have a six-game slate today.
March Madness is a little more than 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 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: Michigan State Spartans guards Foster Loyer and Rocket Watts are both questionable. South Carolina Gamecocks guard Jermaine Couisnard is questionable while forward Justin Minaya should be ready to play.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois ($9,000) - I debated between writing about Dosunmu and Auburn Tigers star Shareef Cooper ($8,700). While both are great options, I prefer Dosunmu (barely). The Illinois Fighting Illini guard has been unstoppable lately. Over the last two games, Dosunmu is averaging 26.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.0 assists, and 3.0 steals in 38.5 minutes (one game includes overtime). His hot streak figures to continue against the struggling Northwestern Wildcats. The Wildcats have lost 11 straight games and are allowing an average of 78.3 points per game over that stretch.
Julian Champagne, St. John's ($8,100) - Champagne has some of the best rates on the slate. The St. John's Red Storm forward has a 26.3% usage rate, 29.3% shot rate, 20.1 defensive rebounding rate, 4.2% block rate, and 2.4% steal rate. The matchup with the Xavier Musketeers is the icing on the cake. The Musketeers struggle defensively as they rank 70th nationally. Additionally, Champagne recorded 29.8 FanDuel points in his first meeting with Xavier this season. He knocked down just 4 of his 14 field goal attempts in that game.
AJ Lawson, South Carolina ($6,300) - Lawson may fly under the radar due to the matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers. The Volunteers love to slow down the game (246th in tempo), and they own the nation's third-ranked defense. However, Lawson's ceiling is massive due to his ability to contribute in every major statistical category. He's taking 28.1% of the South Carolina Gamecocks' shot attempts when he's on the floor. The junior has an effective field percentage of 53.3, a 12.3% defensive rebounding rate, 10.2% assist rate, and 2.7% steal rate. He's also played at least 30 minutes in five straight games. Josiah Jordan-James ($5,900) is a fine play at a slightly reduced salary while Paul Scruggs ($7,500) looks like an intriguing play with a salary between Lawson's and Champagne's.
Jaden Springer, Tennessee ($4,900) - I'm not sure what the fantastic freshman has to do in order to see a salary increase. Springer has emerged as a pivotal player for the Volunteers. Over the last four games, he's logged 31-plus minutes in each, including three games of 35-plus minutes. Take advantage of his bargain salary while you still can. Springer has topped 30 FanDuel points in three straight games. Up next is a juicy spot as the Volunteers host South Carolina. The Gamecocks are one of the fastest teams in the country (10th), and they're not particularly concerned with the defensive end of the court (74th in defense). Springer will likely be the most popular player on the slate. Vols Teammate Keon Johnson ($4,500) is also a solid play along with the Mississippi State Bulldogs' backcourt of Iverson Molinar ($5,400) and DJ Stewart Jr. ($5,300).
Rasheem Dunn, St. John's ($4,800) - Dunn has a starting assignment and logs heavy minutes for the Red Storm. Additionally, he's averaging 0.66 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 29.1 minutes of action (assuming value is four points per $1,000 of a player's salary). Dunn is averaging 32.4 minutes per game over the last nine. He's makes for a compelling play at his current salary.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Tyree Appleby, Trent Frazier, Eric Hunter Jr., Santiago Vescovi, Noah Locke, Jaden Ivey, Keon Johnson, Davante Davis, Joshua Langford (if Foster Loyer and Rocket Watts are out), Deivon Smith, Adam Kunkel, and Da'Monte Williams.
Kofi Cockburn, Illinois ($8,300) - Cockburn is an elite rebounder and solid rim protector. The seven footer is posting eye-popping rebound rates this season -- 15.4% offensive rebounding and 26.4% defensive rebounding, both rank inside the top 40 nationally. He also owns an impressive 25.0% usage rate and 5.6% block rate. The sophomore has recorded a double-double in 10 out of the last 11 games. He's in a great spot against a less talented Northwestern squad. Cockburn tallied 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 28 minutes in his first swing at Northwestern this season.
Zach Freemantle, Xavier ($6,600) - I'm anticipating Freemantle to be very popular after tallying 30 points and 15 rebounds against the Connecticut Huskies last Saturday. At his current salary, he's nearly unavoidable as he leads the Musketeers with a 25.6% usage rate. He also possesses a strong 8.3% offensive rebounding rate, 20.6% defensive rebounding rate, and 3.0% block rate. Up next is a fantastic matchup as the Musketeers face off with the fast-paced and defensive-deficient Red Storm. The Red Storm are 14th in tempo nationally and 110th in defense. Colin Castleton ($6,300) is a fine alternative at a slightly lower salary.
Justin Smith, Arkansas ($5,600) - Smith's ability to contribute on both ends of the court make him an intriguing mid-tier option on Tuesday night. The Arkansas Razorbacks' forward is averaging 0.81 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, Smith should pay off his salary in 27.7 minutes of action. The senior has been on the court for at least 30 minutes in each of the last five games. Jalen Tate ($5,300) is also a good option who possesses bigger upside but comes with a lower floor.
Ryan Young, Northwestern ($4,700) - Young's playing time has significantly increased over the Wildcats' last four games. The sophomore center has logged 28-plus minutes in all four of those outings, compared to a seasonal average of only 19.2 minutes per game. His playing time should be secure against Illinois as his size will be needed against Cockburn. While foul trouble is a concern (Cockburn is drawing 6.8 fouls per 40 minutes, which is 20th nationally), Young is productive when he's on the court. Young owns a 23.1% usage rate, 10.3% offensive rebounding rate, 16.4% defensive rebounding rate, 14.8% assist rate, and 2.9% block rate. All of those rates rank fourth or better on Northwestern. I also like Omar Payne ($4,300) as a fantastic source of salary relief at the forward spot.
Derek Fountain, Mississippi State ($3,000) - Fountain is a risky play but possesses an unusually high ceiling for a player at the minimum salary. He's made two consecutive starts for Mississippi State. Over the last three games, he's recorded FanDuel outputs of 20.8, 33.4, and 5.4. The downside is that if he struggles, his playing time could be at risk, which is evidenced by his latest game. Despite starting, Fountain played only 17 minutes in that one. However, on the plus side, he provides an enormous amount of salary relief, and there are a ton of studs in good spots on this slate.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): JT Thor, Omar Payne, Jaylin Williams (ARK), and Mason Gillis.
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.