5 Daily Fantasy College Basketball Studs to Target This Season
Daily fantasy basketball is a lot of fun. To sit down and watch guys pile up stats and points as you watch an eventful night of games is one of life's many joys.
One thing that makes it so much fun -- but at the same time unpredictable -- is the amount of players you can choose from. Whether it's the NBA or college basketball, that double-edged sword remains the same.
A ton of people are into daily NBA games and play on a nightly basis, but college basketball DFS is sure to catch on as the season continues, especially on nights with rather short NBA slates.
If you love college basketball, I can tell you from experience that that already gives you a leg up on the competition. Now, that's not all you have to do. Depending on how serious you are, a small or an extensive amount of research is necessary if you want to find success.
In daily basketball research, there's your basic Vegas lines and game totals, team efficiency ratings (both offensively and defensively), pace and points per game. But also, maybe more key to college basketball than any other DFS sport is knowing the studs -- and targeting them, of course.
Over the past year and a half I've noticed that you shouldn't be afraid to pay up for the big scorers because, on a nightly basis, there's not a whole lot of them. Some players will take advantage of exploitable matchups, pace-up games or injuries; however, there are a select few -- the elite -- worth targeting every night they hit the hardwood, no matter the opponent.
These five players are your college basketball daily fantasy studs.
Kris Dunn, Providence Friars
Last year, Dunn had some crazy production on the stat sheet. In his sophomore season, the do-it-all point guard averaged over 15 points and more than 7 assists and 5 rebounds in 34 minutes per game. His average stat line, with the added bonus of his 2.7 steals per game, amounted to 35.25 FanDuel points per game.
This year, Dunn could've been playing in the NBA but lucky us -- he's not. In his first two games (mind you against decent squads in Harvard and Illinois) Dunn is averaging 44.9 FanDuel points with 21 points per game and a Usage Rate of 34.4% -- more than 6% higher than a year ago. According to our metrics, the Friars play at just a slightly above average pace, but they are just under the 70th percentile in Offensive Efficiency. Dunn will have the ball in his hands a lot, no matter the number of possessions per game.
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma Sooners
Hield wasn't one of the first players that came to mind when considering the top fantasy options this year, and man was I wrong to not think so. Last year, the Sooner combo guard/forward put up 27.83 FanDuel points on average with over 17 points per game on a Usage Percentage of 28.1%. He was the clear number-one scorer for the Sooners in his junior year.
Now Hield enters his senior season in Norman with even higher expectations. He's already proving that he has the capability of meeting or even exceeding all those expectations. In his first game of the year, against a promising Memphis team, Hield accounted for 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 50.1 FanDuel points with a Usage Percentage of 32.9%. A combination of his Usage Rate and the Sooners' fast-paced approach -- which places them in the 81st percentile among all NCAA teams early on -- could make for some huge stat lines as the year continues.
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State Spartans
In 2014-15, Valentine put up a respectable 28.31 FanDuel points a game with 14.5 points and peripherals of 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. But a year ago, with Travis Trice and Branden Dawson still in Lansing, Valentine wasn't the man for the Spartans. He was the second leadest scorer and was second on the team with a Usage Percentage of 24.2%.
Well, it's a new year, and Valentine is now the go-to guy for Tom Izzo and his Spartans. Oh, and he's probably one of the five or so best players in the entire nation. If you think that's jumping to a conclusion, Valentine just had a triple-double in a comeback victory against Kansas of all schools. In his first two contests he is averaging 47.75 FanDuel points and a triple double. On a team already sitting in the top 15 of our rankings, with a super-efficient offense (87th percentile), Valentine is going to flirt with triple doubles on a consistent basis.
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU Cougars
He plays for BYU, so I'm not as certain as the other four guys listed that he'll be on a ton of slates this year, but Kyle Collinsworth is probably the best pure box score stuffer in all the country. Last year as a junior, he totaled six triple-doubles so it only makes sense that he averaged 34.54 FanDuel points per contest. He doesn't show any signs of slowing down either.
Through two games in this year's campaign, Collinsworth is averaging 36.45 FanDuel points a game -- and that's even with 5 turnovers per. How has he managed to improve upon his ridiculous fantasy production then? Opportunity and usage. With superstar Tyler Haws pursuing a professional career, Collinsworth is the primary scorer and playmaker for the Cougars as he's seen his Usage Rate go from 24.6% a year ago to 29.2%. Collinsworth is a reason for BYU's 5th ranked offense (in terms of efficiency) and a product of its extremely high-paced approach (97th percentile in Pace).
Ben Simmons, LSU Tigers
Even before he played his first collegiate regular season game, Ben Simmons was a national player of the year candidate. He possesses a unique skillset that few players have. He has power, athleticism, intelligence and pure, God-given basketball talent. He shoots, passes and rebounds at elite levels while providing elite defense on the other end of the floor. And his numbers back all that up.
In his first two games as a Tiger, Simmons is averaging 16.5 points, 11 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks per game. That equals a monstrous 44.45 FanDuel points. He's been doing it without a super-high Usage Rate either (just 22.7%). The crazy thing is that he's only going to get better. It's also exciting for fantasy purposes because not only does Simmons have all that skill but he's part of a team with a pace of play in the 94th percentile of all college basketball teams. He's a fantasy goldmine to be had.