College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 2/25/21
College basketball season is in the midst of conference play, and we have an eight-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: Utah Utes guard Rylan Jones is likely out while forward Mikael Jantunen is questionable. UCLA Bruins forward Jalen Hill is out. Southern California Trojans forward Isaiah Mobley is questionable after being a late scratch earlier this week. Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Marcus Carr is expected to play while forward Liam Robbins is questionable after not practicing this week. Finally, Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kyle Young is out.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Marcus Carr, Minnesota ($7,900) - Carr is expected to play through a sore foot on Wednesday night as the Golden Gophers host the Northwestern Wildcats. With Golden Gophers big man Liam Robbins unable to practice this week, Carr's 27.6% usage rate figures to increase if Robbins is limited or out (Robbins is second on the team with a 25.3% usage rate). Additionally, Carr has an eye-popping 32.7% assist rate and he will likely play nearly the entire game (averaging 35.0 minutes per game). After a string of tough matchups (three straight games against teams with defenses ranked inside the top-37 nationally, Northwestern is 52nd), Carr is in a good spot against a Northwestern ball club that has lost 13 straight games.
Duane Washington Jr., Ohio State ($5,800) - Washington Jr.'s 25.4% usage rate only trails EJ Liddell amongst the Buckeyes. His 28.3% shot rate leads Ohio State (percentage of the team's shots taken by the player when the player is on the floor). He's also second amongst the Buckeyes with an 18.6% assist rate. While the injury to Kyle Young doesn't affect Washington Jr. directly, he should receive a few extra minutes of playing time with Young sidelined. Additionally, he's averaging 24.3 FanDuel points over the last five games (and that's with a fully healthy Ohio State team). Jaime Jacquez Jr. ($6,900) has seen a spike in playing time recently (played 76 out of a possible 80 minutes over the last two games) and makes for solid play if you need a guard with a salary between Washington Jr. and Carr.
Chase Audige, Northwestern ($5,300) - Audige is intriguing due to his ability to contribute on both ends of the court. He leads the Wildcats with a 27.2% usage rate and 29.5% shot rate. He's also an effective rebounder (10.9% defensive rebounder rate) and passer (15.2% assist rate). I'm expecting a bounce-back game after Northwestern was dismantled by the Wisconsin Badgers in their latest outing. The matchup with Minnesota is a good one. The Golden Gophers play relatively fast (106th in tempo nationally) and are susceptible on defense (70th nationally). Additionally, Minnesota may be without their rim protector if center Liam Robbins is unable to suit up.
CJ Walker, Ohio State ($4,700) - With Kyle Young sidelined, it'll be interesting to see if Ohio State inserts Walker back into the starting lineup. Regardless, the Buckeyes' floor general figures to play a large role at Michigan State. Walker has scored at least 10 points and recorded 3-plus assists in four straight games. His strong play figures to continue as the senior should be in line to play 30-plus minutes against Michigan State (barring foul trouble).
Jamal Mashburn Jr., Minnesota ($4,200) - Mashburn Jr. has been thrust into a starting role with Gabe Kalscheur sidelined. The freshman has excelled in his new role. Through two starts, he's averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 35.0 minutes. As noted above, this is a good matchup for Minnesota. Rocket Watts ($4,300) has also seen a role change and has played 63 total minutes over the last two games. Watts will likely be less popular than Mashburn Jr.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Boo Buie, Mike Smith, Ethan Anderson (only if Isaiah Mobley is out), Rocket Watts, and Tre Williams.
Luka Garza, Iowa ($9,200) - It's my obligatory Garza mention. The likely National Player of the Year has been incredible this season. His rates are simply off the charts. His 31.1% usage rate and 33.6% shot rate both are ranked inside the top-32 nationally. He also has an impressive 10.2% offensive rebounding rate, 17.8% defensive rebounding rate, 13.1% assist rate, and 5.3% block rate to put the icing on the cake. Of course, he'll be popular and there's plenty of value at the guard position in order to comfortably roster Garza. I will note that the matchup with Michigan will be difficult. Michigan has one of the nation's best defenses (12th, to be exact).
Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky ($8,200) - I believe this is the first time Western Kentucky has been included on any college basketball slate. Anyway, Bassey is a bonafide NBA prospect. The junior has a solid 26.5% usage rate and 28.2% shot rate. He's also one of the nation's top rebounders and shot blockers. Bassey is posting an impressive 13.6% offensive rebounding rate, 32.2% defensive rebounding rate, and 12.3% block rate. The defensive rebounding rate and shot block rate are ranked inside the top-10 nationally. Despite the tough matchup with Houston (6th in defense nationally), Bassey is firmly in play. With Garza available, I'm expecting Bassey to (potentially) fly under the radar, which makes him an interesting tournament play.
Aaron Henry, Michigan State ($7,100) - Henry playing nearly the entire game gives the Spartans their best chance of racking up wins in order to find their way into the NCAA tournament. The junior has logged 79 out of 80 possible minutes over the last two games. Considering his seasonal rates, he's significantly under-salaried. Henry has a 26.4% usage rate, 27.3% shot rate, 14.0% defensive rebounding rate, 24.5% assist rate, and 4.4% block rate. When factoring in salary, Henry is my favorite play on this slate. Hunter Dickinson ($7,100) is a solid tournament pivot and/or compliment to Henry. The same can be said about EJ Liddell ($7,600) and Isaiah Livers ($7,500); they're both strong tournament options.
Justice Sueing, Ohio State ($5,600) - Sueing has been terrible lately despite logging heavy minutes (averaging 30.0 minutes per game over the last three games). However, with Kyle Young out of the lineup, we should expect Sueing to provide us with a decent floor. Young and Sueing have nearly identical rebounding rates this season so that's one less player that Sueing will have to fight with for rebounds. Additionally, Sueing has been held to six or fewer real-life points in three out of the last four games. That figures to turn around soon as he's averaging 10.3 points per game. Additionally, Ohio State is will receive the pace-bump as they square off with Michigan State. Michigan State is 143rd in tempo nationally while Ohio State is 243rd. I also like Matt Mitchell ($6,700), whose salary falls between Sueing and Aaron Henry.
Brandon Johnson, Minnesota ($5,000) - Johnson is averaging .77 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 26.0 minutes of action. Johnson is averaging 31.1 minutes per game over the last eight games. His outlook would skyrocket if frontcourt mate Liam Robbins is unable to play. Gabe Brown ($4,300) has seen a major playing time increase (29-plus minutes in two straight games) and is worth a look as a salary relief option at forward.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Branden Carlson, Evan Battey, Miller Kopp, Gabe Brown, Justin Ahrens, Eric Curry (if Liam Robbins is out), and Seth Towns (only if he starts).
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.