College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 2/17/21
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 6:00 p.m. EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Relevant injury situations to monitor: The Oklahoma Sooners/Texas Longhorns game has been moved to Thursday so don't roster any players from that game. Arizona State Sun Devils guard Josh Christopher and forward Marcus Bagley are both questionable. South Carolina Gamecocks guards Jermaine Couisnard and Justin Minaya are both out. Minnesota Golden Gophers center Liam Robbins is questionable.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Marcus Carr, Minnesota ($8,300) - Carr is always in consideration even in tough matchups since he rarely leaves the floor and takes a ton of shots. The senior leads the Golden Gophers with a 27.9% usage rate and a 28.9% shot rate (percentage of the team's shots taken by the player when the player is on the floor). Carr also has an eye-popping 33.8% assist rate and he's averaging 35.2 minutes per game to top it off. The matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers will be challenging as the Hoosiers rank 24th in defense nationally. As mentioned above, Minnesota may be without Liam Robbins and his 25.7% usage rate (second-best on the team). His absence could send Carr's usage rate through the roof.
Carlik Jones, Louisville ($8,200) - Similar to Carr, Jones is always on the court (averaging 37.4 minutes per game) and isn't afraid to shoot. The senior owns a 27.2% usage rate and has a 28.2% shot rate to lead the Louisville Cardinals. He also has a 12.9% defensive rebounding rate and a 27.9% assist rate. The matchup with Syracuse is a good one. It'll be a decent pace-up game for Louisville (the Cardinals are 300th in tempo nationally while Syracuse is 111th) and Syracuse's zone defense has sprung some leaks this season (ranked 85th nationally). Jones and backcourt mate David Johnson ($7,100) figure to operate as zone busters. Jones is connecting on 31.1% of his three point field goal attempts (second-best amongst the Cardinals) while Johnson is nailing 42.6% of his three point field goal attempts. Johnson is also worth a look at a slightly reduced salary.
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. As noted above, South Carolina will be short-handed so expect Lawson to be aggressive on the offensive end of the court and play as many minutes as he can handle.
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). Teammate Josiah Jordan-James ($5,900) is also a great play albeit with a higher salary.
Keon Johnson, Tennessee ($4,500) - While's been overshadowed by fellow freshman Jaden Springer, Keon Johnson has also had a successful first year in Knoxville. The freshman is a factor on both ends of the court for the surging Volunteers. Johnson leads the Volunteers with a 26.4% usage rate and a 24.3% shot rate. He also has a 12.2% defensive rebounding rate, 20.0% assist rate, 2.1% block rate, and 2.5% steal rate. Take advantage of his low salary now because it will inevitably increase. We typically don't see players with rates like Johnson's listed below $5,000 (maybe even $6,000). I will also mention that he does receive a good amount of playing time (27 minutes or more in four straight games).
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Samuel Williamson, Maxwell Evans, Santiago Vescovi, Davion Mintz, Jordan Wright, and Jamal Mashburn Jr..
Evan Mobley, Southern California ($8,500) - If you haven't seen Mobley play, you're missing out. The future lottery pick is a beast on both ends of the court. He leads the Southern California Trojans with a 23.1% usage rate. While that's not as high as many of the high-end players on Wednesday night, Mobley is extremely efficient (effective field goal percentage of 60.5%). He also has a 10.2% offensive rebounding rate, 18.8% defensive rebounding rate, and an eye-popping 9.8% block rate. Throw in a matchup with an Arizona State team that loves to push the tempo (13th in tempo nationally) and Mobley becomes my top overall play on this slate.
Keyshawn Bryant, South Carolina ($5,500) - As mentioned above, the matchup is rough and the Gamecocks will be short-handed as they travel to Tennessee. Bryant can rack up fantasy points in a hurry and he's averaging an impressive .92 FanDuel points per minute. The lone drawback has been that Bryant usually doesn't play a ton of minutes (averages 25.2 minutes per game). However, Bryant should take on a featured role with both Jermaine Couisnard and Justin Minaya sidelined. He's under-salaried for his expected role increase.
Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky ($5,200) - Coach Cal has been reluctant to play Jackson alongside fellow big Oliver Sarr. However, that changed on Saturday and both players were a huge reason why the Kentucky Wildcats were able to beat Auburn. I'm expecting Jackson to push for 30 minutes on Wednesday (provided he stays out of foul trouble). When he gets a ton of playing time, watch out! Jackson is averaging 1.05 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, Jackson should pay off his price tag in 19.8 minutes of action (he played 31 minutes in the last game). Frontcourt mate Keion Brooks Jr. ($5,200) is a fine alternative.
Brandon Johnson, Minnesota ($5,000) - The senior is an intriguing play before we even consider the availability of the Golden Gophers' center Liam Robbins (questionable). Johnson is a solid rebounder and a decent rim protector. His 8.3% offensive rebounding rate, 18.2% defensive rebounding rate, and 2.5% block rate trail only Robbins amongst the Golden Gophers. Those rates figure to rise dramatically if Robbins is sidelined. His usage rate should also increase if Robbins is unable to suit up (Johnson has a 16.1% usage rate). I should clarify that, even with Robbins, Johnson projects as one of the better sources of salary relief on Wednesday night.
Olivier Sarr, Kentucky ($4,900) - Sarr is the one post player for the Wildcats that is guaranteed to play a ton if he stays out of foul trouble. The seven-footer is averaging 27.0 minutes per game over the last three games. The bottom line is he's under-salaried considering his seasonal rates. The senior owns a 23.4% usage rate (second on the team), 9.6% offensive rebounding rate, 15.6% defensive rebounding rate, 12.4% assist rate, and a 4.9% block rate. I should also mention that the matchup with Vanderbilt is phenomenal. The 'Dores are atrocious defensively as they check in with the 161st-ranked defense nationally. If you're desperate for salary relief, check out Vanderbilt's Clevon Brown ($3,800). He appears to be fully healthy after missing most of the season. Brown has started each of the last two games and logged 27 and 31 minutes, respectively (recorded 18.8 FanDuel points and 25.4 FanDuel points in those two games).
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Wildens Leveque, Jalyn McCreary, Kimani Lawrence (if Marcus Bagley is out), Clevon Brown, and Isaiah Ihnen (if Liam Robbins is out).
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.