College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 11/19/18
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 9:00 p.m. EST and consists of five games. A Pac-12/Big 12 clash between Arizona and Iowa State gets the action started and should be a fantasy-friendly environment with a 147.5 over/under and a mere 1.5-point spread in favor of the Wildcats.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Shizz Alston Jr., Temple ($8,200): Paying up at guard should be a key to tonight's slate. There are four big-time volume-scoring guards all at or above $8,000, but for my money Alston's the guy against VCU. Frankly, the opponent just hasn't mattered for him this year. The 6'4" senior is averaging 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals en route to 36.0 FanDuel points per game. And possessing a 25.7% usage rate (per Sports Reference) to go along with a 30.1% assist rate and 25.1 player efficiency rating (PER) backs up the fantasy-friendly combo of volume and efficiency that makes a guy like Alston completely worth his high price tag.
Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga ($6,800): The Arizona/Iowa State game has a high total, but it's nothing compared to the slate-high 161.5 over/under between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the visiting Gonzaga Bulldogs. But we're definitely not targeting Illinois players against the NCAA's 3rd-ranked team and KenPom.com's 15th-ranked defense. There's no reason to, just like there's no reason to go crazy targeting Bulldogs. Instead of paying up for a Brandon Clarke or Rui Hachimura, settle for mid-range value on a team with an 88-point total. It's not really settling anyway, as Norvell is averaging 29 FanDuel points with two games of at least 34, which comes on 11.0 shots a game and a 24.8% usage rate. He's a guy to target without hesitation until he's up above $7K.
Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State ($5,900): The last time we got the Cyclones on a main DFS slate, we rolled with Horton-Tucker due to the team being shorthanded with suspensions and injuries. Those suspensions remain, but now Iowa State will be without last year's leading scorer (16.9 points per game) Lindell Wigginton. Wigginton missed the last two games and is expected to miss extended time with a foot sprain. In his absence, Horton-Tucker -- a freshman -- has played 33 minutes in each of the last 2 games after just 21 in the opener. He has tallied 15.6 and 39.5 FanDuel points in the last two, totaling 38 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 1 assist. His 26.0% usage is second on the team, so he should be heavily involved in the Cyclones' 73-point total tonight.
Matt Mooney, Texas Tech ($5,800): After a run to the Elite Eight a year ago, Texas Tech had to deal with losing two of its top three scorers and look to replace that type of production in order to get anywhere close to that type of success this year. Well, they seem to have found somewhat of a replacement in grad transfer Matt Mooney. A 6'3" senior, Mooney transferred from South Dakota, where he averaged 18.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in 2017-18. The big production hasn't been there quite yet, but he is first on the team in assist rate (34.1%) and has a high usage rate (23.4%). He's also second on the team in shots per game, so when they start to fall more often his 23.2 FanDuel-point average should be more of his floor. His opponent, USC, rank 66th in adjusted defensive efficiency, which is nothing to shy away from on this short slate.
De'Riante Jenkins, VCU ($4,200): There might be a lot of people staying away from Rams players tonight, as their total ranks 9th of the 10 teams on the slate. But that lacks context in that their 71.75 total is only 4.75 points short of Mississippi State's 76.5, which ranks second to the Zags. There's no reason to go out of your way to avoid VCU, especially with this type of punt play. Jenkins, a junior, has played 32 and 29 minutes in the two games he's played in this year. He has dealt with an injury that's limited the sample, but just last year he put up 12.9 points and 21.4 FanDuel points in 29.5 minutes a game. He's the perfect punt play to help get you a couple of studs on tonight's slate.
Nick Rakocevic, USC ($8,900): Speaking of high-priced studs, Rokocevic's salary checks in at the top of the list this evening. And there is good reason for that, as the 6'11" junior's averaging 43.3 FanDuel points, making him the only player on the slate to eclipse the 40-point mark. He's averaging a double-double -- 17.7 points and 15.3 rebounds -- with 3.0 blocks and 1.0 assists in 32.7 minutes. His 23.3% usage is the highest of all Trojans, too. The issue, however, lies in the matchup and overall breakdown of the slate. I'd limit him to tournaments as he faces a Texas Tech rated eighth in KenPom's adjusted efficiency marks. Therefore, generally paying down at forward is the way to go with no other player at the position priced at or above $8,000.
Michael Jacobsen, Iowa State ($6,400): As I alluded, we're living in the mid-range at the forward spots tonight -- and that starts with the versatile Michael Jacobsen. At 6'8", the junior has done a bit of everything early on this season, averaging 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.7 threes through three games. His 68.3% true shooting percentage is off the charts, and it's helped him to a healthy 26.9 FanDuel points over 29.3 minutes a game. Arizona -- 68th in defensive efficiency -- will present a stiffer test than Texas Southern and Alabama State, but Jacobsen had 15 points and 22.7 FanDuel points against a Missouri team that ranks 36th defensively. He's got the experience and workload to be a safe play in any and all formats.
Chase Jeter, Arizona ($6,400): Let's run it back with a member of the Arizona frontcourt in Chase Jeter, who's having a good start of his own to tip off the season. In his first three games as a Wildcat, after transferring from Duke, the 6'10" big man is averaging 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds (1.7 offensive) and 1.0 steals (24.1 FanDuel points all total) in just 22.7 minutes. In case you're not doing the math, that's 1.06 FanDuel points per minute, and considering Arizona's early-season opponents he's due for more court time going forward. 'Zona hasn't won a game by fewer than 21 points, making a projected close game a buy-low opportunity for a big-ceiling due like Jeter.
Isaac Vann, VCU ($6,200): We round out this truest of mid-range trios with junior forward Isaac Vann. At first glance, Vann's per-game numbers -- 10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals -- are really solid, as they amount to 25.8 FanDuel points, or over 4.0 points per $1,000 at this price. But when you dig a little deeper, you see that he's actually third on the team in usage (25.3%) and first in field goal attempts per game (12.0). He's shooting just 33.3% from the floor after hitting 42.5% of his shots last year, too, which could tell us there's more scoring to be done, and therefore more fantasy points to be had.
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.