College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 3/25/21
March Madness is here, and we have a four-game slate on Thursday featuring the NIT 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 Thursday's slate, which locks at 6:00 p.m EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Relevant injury situations to monitor: Richmond Spiders guard Blake Francis is questionable, while forward Grant Golden is out. Boise State Broncos guard Max Rice and forward Abu Kigab are both out. Memphis Tigers guard Alex Lomax is questionable. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers forward Carson Williams is out.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
David Roddy, Colorado State ($8,000) - Roddy looks like an elite play on Thursday night. His rates are strong across the board, and he's in a good matchup. The Colorado State guard leads the Rams in usage rate (25.9%), shot rate (24.6%, percentage of the team's shots by the player when the player is on the floor), offensive rebounding rate (9.2%), and defensive rebounding rate (24.4%). He's also a solid ball distributor, as he owns a 17.6% assist rate. Roddy and the Rams meet up with North Carolina State, which ranks 90th in defensive efficiency. Jacob Gilyard ($7,800) is also worth a look if Blake Francis remains out. Gilyard has logged 39-plus minutes in five straight games. The Richmond guard is averaging 9.9 field goal attempts per game this season; he's hoisted up 25 shots in two games with Francis sidelined.
Iverson Molinar, Mississippi State ($6,200) - The Mississippi State Bulldogs guard is averaging 18.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 0.5 steals in 34.4 minutes over the last five games. His stellar play should continue on Thursday night, as the matchup with Richmond is juicy. The Spiders are 93rd in defensive efficiency. Additionally, Richmond is allowing an effective field goal percentage of 52.1%, which ranks 258th nationally. Meanwhile, Molinar is one of the Bulldogs' most efficient players. He is posting an effective field goal percentage of 52.4%. Moreover, it'll be a pace-up spot for Mississippi State. Mississippi State is 297th in adjusted tempo, while Richmond is 159th. Isaiah Stevens ($6,600) is also a solid play (20-plus FanDuel points in seven consecutive games).
Emmanuel Akot, Boise State ($5,700) - As noted above, Boise State is short-handed due to injuries to Max Rice and Abu Kigab. Akot has taken advantage of his new role and has made three consecutive starts. Over the last three games, he's averaging 34.3 minutes per game, which is up significantly from his seasonal average of 24.3 minutes per game. Additionally, the former Arizona Wildcat is averaging 28.9 FanDuel points. Devonaire Doutrive ($5,200) has also been inserted into a large role with Boise State short-handed. He's averaging 30.0 FanDuel points over the last two games (played 68 out of the possible 80 minutes). He makes for a compelling play, as well. On the other side of the ball, Landers Nolley II ($5,800) is worthy of consideration. He's averaging 31.8 minutes per game over the last four games, which is up significantly from his seasonal average of 26.9 minutes per game. I will say that if Alex Lomax returns, that might cut into Nolley II's playing time.
Cam Hayes, North Carolina State ($5,200) - The Wolfpack floor general is an intriguing source of salary relief because he has the ability to contribute in every major statistical area, and he's playing heavy minutes. Amongst the Wolfpack starters, Hayes' 21.1% usage rate ranks third. He's also posting a 10.6% defensive rebounding rate, 23.8% assist rate (leads team), and 3.1% steal rate (ranks second on the team). Additionally, Hayes is averaging 31.8 minutes per game over the last eight games. Lester Quinones ($5,100) and Amorie Archibald ($5,400) are viable alternatives in Hayes' salary range.
Marcus Shaver Jr., Boise State ($4,800) - Despite the tough draw with Memphis (2nd in defensive efficiency), Shaver Jr. feels a tad under-salaried. As noted above, the Broncos are short-handed. Notably, Abu Kigab had the second-highest usage rate amongst the Broncos (23.2%). Shaver Jr. is averaging 0.72 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 26.7 minutes of action (assuming value is 4.0 points per $1,000 in salary). Shaver Jr. is averaging 29.2 minutes per game this season. Also, Kalob Ledoux ($4,500) and Jordan Rawls ($4,300) are also good sources of salary relief. Ledoux has seen his playing time increase, as he's averaging 32.0 minutes per game over the last three (seasonal average is 25.7 minutes per game). Meanwhile, Rawls has logged 34-plus minutes in two straight games. He should continue to see a lot of action with Carson Williams out.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Boogie Ellis, Josh Anderson, JaColby Pemberton, Dayvion McKnight, Kalob Ledoux, Jordan Rawls, Dereon Seabron (better if he starts), Kendle Moore, and Braxton Beverly.
Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky ($8,800) - Bassey is a beast on the glass and one of the elite rim protectors in college basketball. He's also a force in the post on the offensive end of the court. The junior leads the Hilltoppers with a 25.4% usage rate and a 27.8% shot rate. He's incredibly efficient with the ball in his hands, as he's posting an effective field goal percentage of 62.4%. Additionally, Bassey has a 12.7% offensive rebounding rate, 30.8% defensive rebounding rate (fifth in the country), and an 11.6% block rate. While the matchup with Louisiana Tech Bulldogs is challenging (27th in defensive efficiency), Bassey has the highest ceiling amongst the participants on Thursday night.
DeAndre Williams, Memphis ($6,800) - Williams is a difference-maker on both ends of the court for the Memphis Tigers. The versatile forward leads the Tigers in usage rate (24.9%). He's an effective rebounder, excellent passer, and an elite defender. The junior owns a 9.1% offensive rebounding rate, 15.1% defensive rebounding rate, 26.6% assist rate, 2.2% block rate, and 4.5% steal rate. The clash with Boise State is a plus-spot for Williams and the Tigers. Boise State plays with decent pace (127th in adjusted tempo), and they've surrendered point totals of 82 and 84 over their last two games, respectively.
Manny Bates, North Carolina State ($5,800) - The Wolfpack center offers an appealing floor, as he's tallied at least 21 FanDuel points in each of the last four games. Bates' usage rate is rather low (16.8%), but he's a dynamic rebounder (9.5% offensive rebounding rate and a 17.1% defensive rebounding rate) and shot blocker (11.0%). The matchup with Colorado State should also favor the Wolfpack frontcourt. Colorado State is very good at defending the three-point line (19th nationally), but they rank just below the Division I average in defending the two-point shot (allowing 49.9% compared to the Division I average of 49.8%). Consequently, I'd expect North Carolina State to feed the ball into the post on Thursday night. That should benefit Bates and his frontcourt mate, DJ Funderburk ($5,600) (more on him below). I also like Tolu Smith ($6,300) and Isaiah Crawford ($6,100); their salaries fall between Bates and DeAndre Williams.
DJ Funderburk, North Carolina State ($5,600) - Funderburk is the Wolfpacks' top offensive player, as he checks in with an impressive 121.3 offensive rating. He's also a productive rebounder, tallying a 10.2% offensive rebounding rate and a 15.2% defensive rebounding rate. The junior's role has steadily increased in the second half of the season. Over the last eight games, he's averaging 30.5 minutes per game, which is up significantly from his seasonal average (25.5 minutes per game). Funderburk is playing his best basketball of the season as the 2020-21 season draws to a conclusion. In two tournament games (one ACC tournament game and one NIT game), he's averaging 27.0 FanDuel points per game. Mladen Armus ($5,500) is a viable tournament pivot.
Jericole Hellems, North Carolina State ($5,000) - Hellems is logging heavy minutes in the Wolfpack frontcourt. The junior is averaging 0.70 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 28.6 minutes of action. The junior has played 32-plus minutes in seven straight games. When taking salary into account, Hellems is one of my favorite plays on this slate. Moussa Cisse ($4,000) has a wide range of outcomes. On a four-game slate, we have to get contrarian somewhere in tournaments. The freshman was a five-star prospect, but his playing time has been limited lately (19 or fewer minutes in four straight games). Consequently, I'm expecting Cisse to go virtually unnoticed on this slate. Cisse is still starting, and if he's playing well, maybe his minutes get extended. Additionally, If DeAndre Williams or DJ Jeffries were to get into foul trouble, his playing time could also spike. DJ Jeffries ($5,300), Abdul Ado ($5,200), and Nathan Cayo ($5,100) are other viable options with salaries that fall between Hellems and Funderburk. Jeffries' playing time has been trending in a positive direction over the last three games (27-plus minutes in three straight games). Ado has topped 24 FanDuel points in five out of the last seven games. Meanwhile, Cayo is locked into a large role with Grant Golden sidelined.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Adam Thistlewood, James Moors, Derek Fountain, and Moussa Cisse.
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.