College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 3/19/21
March Madness is here, and we have an eight-game slate today to kick off the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
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 Friday's slate, which locks at 12:15 p.m EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Relevant injury situation to monitor: The following players are questionable: Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kyle Young, and Tennessee Volunteers forward John Fulkerson. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets forward Moses Wright is out.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Max Abmas, Oral Roberts ($8,000) - Abmas is leading the nation in scoring this season (24.2 points per game). The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles' floor general also posted a 21.2% assist rate. He played 120 out of 120 possible minutes in the Summit League tournament, so he's a good bet to play all 40 minutes against Ohio State. Despite receiving a 2 seed, Ohio State's defense leaves a lot to be desired. The Buckeyes rank 79th in defensive efficiency nationally. Elsewhere, if the Hartford Hawks can stay within striking distance of the Baylor Bears, Jared Butler ($7,700) could have a huge day.
Moses Moody, Arkansas ($7,400) - Moody will likely be the most popular player on the slate. He's eclipsed 40 FanDuel points in four out of the last six games, and that was against SEC competition. The rising freshman owns a team-best 119.3 offensive rating. He's in a dream spot to kick off the NCAA tournament. The Arkansas Razorbacks' matchup with the Colgate Raiders figures to be played at a blazing pace. Both teams rank within the top 25 of adjusted tempo nationally. Additionally, Colgate struggles on the defensive end of the court. They are 139th in defensive efficiency nationally; they're only eight teams in the NCAA tournament ranked worse in defensive efficiency than the Raiders are. Jose Alvarado ($7,300) is in a difficult matchup, but he'll need to be more aggressive as a scorer with Moses Wright sidelined. (Wright leads team with a 25.2% usage rate).
Jaden Springer ($5,700) and Keon Johnson ($5,500), Tennessee - The former five-star prospects have transformed the Vols' offense, and their emergence makes Tennessee a legitimate Final Four threat. Both guys have nearly identical rates and similar salaries. Springer has a 26.4% usage rate while Johnson has a 26.8% usage rate. They both have an 11.0% defensive rebounding rate. Springer is posting a 24.0% assist rate while Johnson has a 21.0% assist rate. Johnson has shot the ball better than Springer as of late. Over the last three games, Johnson has connected on 21 out of 38 field goal attempts while Springer has converted just 11 out of 36 field goal attempts. Johnson logged 66 minutes in the SEC tournament while Springer played 70 minutes (two games). Both guards make for great options. Jordan Burns ($6,700) and Davion Mitchell ($6,700) are solid options with a salary between Moody's and the two Tennessee guards. Despite receiving a salary increase, Duane Washington Jr. ($6,500) is a solid target in a juicy game environment. Ethan Thompson ($5,800) was a key player in the Oregon State Beavers' Pac-12 title run. He's a fine play at his current salary.
Josiah Jordan-James, Tennessee ($5,400) - Triple J was moved back into the starting lineup with John Fulkerson sidelined. I'm assuming after undergoing facial surgery last week that Fulkerson won't be available. Regardless, the Vols' utilize a short rotation consisting of six-to-seven guys (six guys, including Fulkerson, usually play heavy minutes). Jordan-James was limited to 17 minutes against Alabama in the SEC tournament semifinal due to foul trouble. The sophomore can rack up defensive statistics. He leads Tennessee with an 8.9% offensive rebounding rate and an 18.4% defensive rebounding rate. JJJ also leads the Vols with a 3.1% steal rate (ranks second with a 4.5% block rate). Andre Curbelo ($5,300) and JD Notae ($5,300) are tremendous options in Jordan-James' salary range.
Davante Davis, Arkansas ($5,100) - Davis finally received a salary bump, but it was not enough. The freshman is logging heavy minutes and is averaging 0.76 FanDuel points per minute. At that production rate, he should pay off his salary in 26.8 minutes of action (assuming value is 4.0 points per $1,000 in salary). Davis is averaging 32.0 minutes per game over the last five games. As noted above, the Arkansas/Colgate clash should be a track meet. Rollie Worster ($4,500) is back from injury for the Aggies and offers significant salary relief.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): CJ Walker, Marco Anthony, Carlos Jurgens, Santiago Vescovi, Nahiem Alleyne, Rollie Worster, Scottie Lewis, Matthew Mayer, and Zach Reichle.
Neemias Queta, Utah State ($8,600) - The matchup with Texas Tech is rough (24th nationally in adjusted defense), but that should help keep Queta's draft percentage in check. The junior's rates are incredible across the board. Queta leads the Utah State Aggies in usage rate (25.2%), effective field goal percentage (55.4%), defensive rebounding rate (26.6%), and block rate (13.2%). He's also posting a 10.9% offensive rebounding rate and a 17.7% assist rate. The seven footer is one of the nation's most underrated players. He's logged at least 31 minutes in nine consecutive games. Ohio State star EJ Liddell ($8,200) is also a great option at the top of the salary pool. I'm expecting Liddell to be more popular than Queta due to their respective matchups. Keve Aluma ($8,100) and Cameron Krutwig ($7,600) are also fine alternatives who come with lower salaries.
Justin Smith, Arkansas ($6,500) - Smith remains significantly under-salaried for his production. Over the last nine games, the forward is averaging 31.5 FanDuel points per game. He checks all the boxes as an elite fantasy play: efficient scorer (effective field goal percentage of 55.2%), outstanding rebounder (offensive and defensive rebounding rates north of 10%), a willing passer (10.2% assist rate), has the ability to make a difference on the defensive end of the court (block and steal rates are hovering around 2.0%) and plays a ton of minutes (averaging 30.9 minutes per game this season). The anticipated track meet with Colgate is just icing on the cake. When considering salary, Smith is my favorite play on the Friday slate (Moses Moody is my second).
Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts ($6,500) - Obanor is the classic boom-or-bust play due to his propensity to rack up fouls. The Oral Roberts forward averaged 26.3 minutes per game in the Summit League tournament; he was in foul trouble in all three tournament games. If he can manage to stay out of foul trouble, he should play 30-plus minutes (averaging 30.7 minutes per game this season). That won't be an easy task as I'm expecting Obanor to defend Ohio State stud EJ Liddell. Liddell is drawing 4.0 fouls per 40 minutes. However, from a rates perspective, Obanor is intriguing. He has a 26.2% usage rate, 26.5% shot rate, 8.2% offensive rebounding rate, 24.3% defensive rebounding rate, and 2.3% block rate. He's averaging 1.04 FanDuel points per minute. Smith is certainly the safer play, but Smith will also be extremely popular. James Butler ($6,400) is a viable alternative/complement to Obanor and Smith.
Justice Sueing, Ohio State ($5,400) - The Buckeyes will be popular for good reason. They're facing off with an Eagles squad that loves to push the tempo and isn't particularly concerned with playing defense. Oral Roberts ranks 47th in adjusted tempo nationally while they're a putrid 285th in defensive efficiency (worst amongst all NCAA tournaments teams by nearly 40 spots). That brings us to Justice Sueing. He's likely the third option on offense for Ohio State behind Liddell and Washington. However, his salary hasn't moved while the other two players' salaries were hiked up significantly. Sueing is averaging 0.72 FanDuel points per minute. At that production rate, he should pay off his salary in 30.0 minutes of action. The junior is averaging 32.4 minutes per game over the last five games. Frontcourt-mate Kyle Young ($4,900) makes for a fine source of salary relief if he returns from a concussion. Collin Castleton ($5,800) has seen decreased playing time as of late, but his salary has fallen, as well. If he were to recoup his playing time, he could crush value at his current salary.
Yves Pons, Tennessee ($5,000) - While Pons' usage rate is low (15.3%), he makes up for that with his ability to control the paint. The Tennessee center is an elite shot blocker (7.6%) and solid rebounder (14.7% defensive rebounding rate). With Fulkerson's availability in question, Tennessee will likely need Pons' size on the court. I'm expecting him to play as many minutes as he can handle as I do not expect Fulkerson to play. The senior played 36 minutes and 39 minutes in the Vols' two SEC tournament games. He struggled with his shot in those three games as he converted only 8 out of 23 field goal attempts (averages 47.1% from the field). A lot of his struggles had to do with the opposing defenses. All three opponents ranked 37th or better nationally in defensive efficiency. The Vols' opponent on Friday, Oregon State, ranks 117th in defensive efficiency. Keegan Records ($5,200) has a salary between Pons' and Sueing's. He's a viable alternative/complement and provides more exposure to the Arkansas/Colgate game. The playing time for Jalen Tate ($5,100) has been down in each of the last two games (22 and 25 minutes). However, he got up to 37 minutes of playing time prior to that. If his playing time were to rebound, he's significantly under-salaried.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Kyle Young (if he plays), Miroslav Stafl, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Jacob Grandison, Anthony Duruji, and Rodney Howard (only if he starts for Moses Wright).
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.