College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 11/14/18
College basketball season is back! And this year, with it comes the return of college basketball DFS.
March Madness is still four months 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 daily NBA contests.
Now that you're in the know, we can attack today's slate, which locks at 6:30 p.m. EST and consists of five games. Heading the slate is a rematch of last year's national title game, as 8th-ranked Villanova hosts 18th-ranked Michigan at Finneran Pavillion.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
RJ Barrett, Duke ($8,700): As it pertains to Duke and their four amazing freshmen, all eyes have been on Zion Williamson -- and in a way, that makes sense with the way he's played. But RJ Barrett might actually be the better player and pro prospect, and he is showing it on the floor early on. Through two games (most notably an opener against Kentucky), the 6'7" guard is averaging 28.0. points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists, all total putting up 37.5 FanDuel points a game. That's in large part of playing the lead dog role, as his 37.4% usage and 22.5 field goal attempts per game lead the team in both categories. The floor is high and the sky is the limit with Barrett against an inferior opponent. If you want to play off the blowout narrative, though, Marquette's Markus Howard ($8,300) -- averaging 42.6 FanDuel points -- is a worthy tournament pivot.
James Palmer Jr., Nebraska ($8,100): The public will flood to Barrett and Howard at higher prices, or even 'Nova's Phil Booth at a discount, but Palmer seems like the best point-per-dollar guard play above $8K. Last year, the now-senior averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and, after all was said and done, 27.8 FanDuel points across 31.0 minutes. It's early, but he's averaging 17.0 points and 35.3 FanDuel points in just 22.5 minutes, while posting a massive 30.0% usage and assisting on 30.2% of his team's field goals when he's on the floor. The minutes are going to go up against a more worthy opponent in Seton Hall, so expect the production to follow, putting Palmer's fantasy upside in the low-to-mid 40s.
Brandon Williams, Arizona ($6,100): Outside of Duke and the highly anticipated national title rematch, Arizona is in the same bucket as pretty much every other team on this slate. They have a great implied total (82.25 points) against a UTEP ranked 279th overall and 263rd in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom.com. The issue is deciding between three mid-priced guards, but taking the middle man, Williams is the play. Not only is he averaging the most FanDuel points (25.1) to date, but he's played 29 and 30 minutes in the first two games, which shows that he's basically blowout-proof. As long as he remains in the game, he's going to run the show, as Williams' 33.3% assist rate is tops on the team. You probably won't be tuning into this one, but you have to get exposure on a five-game slate.
Tre Jones, Duke ($5,900): Tre Jones is the unsung Duke freshman. At 17th in his class, he was the lowest ranked recruit of the four, but he has great talent at the point guard spot, and the production is coming. While Barrett and Williamson do a ton of scoring, Jones has been the beneficiary of easy assists, with a team-high 14 across 2 games, bringing his assist rate to 24.4% despite a lowly 10.1% usage rate. The first-year college player has also limited his turnovers to one per game, which limits the negative downside and raises his floor. It helps that he's a cheap stacking option as part of the team with the highest implied total of the night.
Thomas Allen, Nebraska ($5,200): This Nebraska team is one to target this evening. Their 75.75 implied total places them fourth on the slate, as they're 7.5-point favorites at home. But that's a mere point behind the Indiana Hoosiers for third, so don't sleep on them, and particularly starting guard Thomas Allen. Through a pair of games, Allen is averaging a solid 8.0 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds (22.5 FanDuel points) over 22.0 minutes, and he possesses a 27.3% assist rate and 66.9% true shooting percentage.
Zion Williamson, Duke ($8,900): There's no way around talking up Zion. All the hype comes with ridiculous production, in the form of 27.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Over just 27.5 minutes per game, he's averaging a slate-best 53.8 FanDuel points, which comes to a mind-blowing 1.96 FanDuel points per minute. Yes, that means that he would need just over 20 minutes to reach 40 FanDuel points if he keeps up this pace. The only thing that might keep him from eclipsing 40 is a complete blowout, as the Dukies are 25.5-point favorites over Eastern Michigan. Still, the floor is about 35, so don't get cute in cash games.
Eric Paschall, Villanova ($7,200): In last year's second straight title campaign, the then-junior forward averaged 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 29.8 minutes per game. Paschall was the fifth-highest scorer on the team and sat sixth in usage rate (16.9%). The 2018-19 season is his, though, and he's showing that early on. After two wins to open the season, Paschall is using a team-high 29.0% of his team's possessions, and he's averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 23.0 minutes. He is averaging 1.07 FanDuel points per minute going into a matchup with a familiar foe in Michigan. If there's one player to fit in from this game, it's Paschall, a NCAA All-Tournament performer a year ago.
Justin Smith, Indiana ($6,300): While Juwan Morgan is the first Hoosiers forward to catch the eye, it's Smith who should provide the most bang for your buck as he takes on the Golden Eagles. He's played just 17 minutes in each of Indiana's first two games, but they've won those by 49 and 45 points, respectively. Marquette checks in four spots behind Indiana in KenPom's adjusted efficiency margin, so to say they're a tougher opponent is an understatement. Expect Smith to start once again and play closer to 25-plus minutes, and if so, his efficient game should help him blow past four-times value. To date, he's averaged 1.34 FanDuel points with a nice 28.8% usage rate and a 35.4 player efficiency rating (PER). At a $400 savings, i'ts him over 'Zona's Chase Jeter ($6,700) for a mid-range forward play to round out your lineup.
Damezi Anderson, Indiana ($3,200): Anderson is another Indiana player to target. Based on recent reports, the Hoosiers have a pair of injuries in the backcourt, most notably to Zach McRoberts, who has started the team's first two games. Both he and Devonte Green are game-time decisions, but they didn't do much at practice, which puts their statuses in serious question. If they sit, Anderson stands poised as the top candidate for more minutes. The 6'7" forward is fifth on the team in minutes per game (18.5) and has put up 10.4 FanDuel points through two matchups. If his playing time is up for this one, he's an easy punt to help fit in a pair of high-cost studs.
Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his 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.