College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 3/21/19
March Madness is here. And just because you've had to spend all that time writing, scratching out and re-writing names on your brackets, that doesn't mean the DFS grind stops.
As all year, you can get in on college hoops DFS 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 Thursday's main slate, which locks at 12:15 p.m. EST and consists of seven games. Among the first seven Round of 64 games, we get a potentially high-scoring matchup (157 over/under) between the 14-seeded Yale Elis Bulldogs and 3-seeded LSU Tigers.
|Thursday, March 21st|
|10) Minnesota vs 7) Louisville|
|14) Yale vs 3) LSU|
|12) New Mexico State vs 5) Auburn|
|13) Vermont vs 4) Florida State|
|15) Bradley vs 2) Michigan State|
|13) Northeastern vs 4) Kansas|
|12) Murray State vs 5) Marquette|
Which players should you be targeting and why?
Cassius Winston, Michigan State ($8,900): The 2-seeded Michigan State Spartans will take on the 15-seed Bradley Braves in a Round of 64 matchup Thursday in Des Moines. It's the one game on this slate expected to be a complete blowout with Sparty favored by 18.5 over a Bradley team ranked 165th in KenPom.com's adjusted efficiency margin and 117th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Behind a team getting a 76-point implied total, Winston is the engine that makes it all go. The Naismith semifinalist is first on the team in usage rate (28.4%), while his 46.2% assist rate sits second and his 7.6 assists per game third. A $1,400 pivot from Murray State's Ja Morant, Winston has reached or exceeded 40 FanDuel points four different times this year, and that number is certainly in reach against inferior competition.
Tremont Waters, LSU ($8,200): Michigan State is in a good spot, but LSU is in, by far, the best situation of the 14 teams on the slate. The over/under is the highest on the board, and that helps the Tigers to a very healthy 82.25-point total. That's 5.75 points above the next-closest team, Marquette. The reasoning is simple: their competition encourages fantasy points in bunches. Yale is not only 149th in defensive efficiency, but they are 44th in pace, which is 22 spots in front of the already-fast Tigers. As for Waters, he hasn't been super-efficient (43.3% from the field and 33.3% from three), however, the sophomore guard is averaging 15.1 points. He also draws major upside from his presence on the defensive end, where he average three steals per gave, giving you an easy six FanDuel points just in that category.
Sam Hauser, Marquette ($7,400): Everyone will be looking to pay up for either Morant or Markus Howard in this matchup of high-powered teams, but if you are looking for a big-time guy in the midrange, look no further than Hauser. The junior guard stands 6'8" and brings a versatile repertoire to the floor on a nightly basis. In doing so, he's averaging 27.8 FanDuel points thanks to averages of 14.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 blocks-plus-steals a game. Using 20.2% of the team's available possessions, Hauser's also stepped out for 2.5 three-point makes on an efficient 40.1% from downtown. He has a high of 42.1 FanDuel points on the year, and this contest's 149.5 over/under could help him reach his ceiling in the opening round.
Devon Dotson, Kansas ($5,900): In general, many people are down on the Kansas Jayhawks, and for obvious reasons. They are without two of their top four scorers in Lagerald Vick and Udoka Azubuike, which has taken away a combined 27.5 points per game. However, for fantasy purposes, it has opened up those same scoring opportunities, which amount to 19.5 a game between the two. Dotson, a freshman point guard, has benefited greatly. Since Vick left the team on February 5, he has seen his shots go from 7.7 to 9.8 a game despite playing around the same number of minutes. He has averaged 24.0 FanDuel points over that same span, but that increased by four in three conference tournament matchups. Dotson has now scored 13 or more in four straight, so it appears he's peaking at the right time.
Trevelin Queen, New Mexico State ($4,700): If you are trying really hard to find someone cheap to pair with two elite plays, Queen is as good as it gets. He wasn't utilized very much to start the 2018-19 campaign, and his season-long averages -- 7.5 points and 14.7 FanDuel points per game -- show it. But going back to February 7, he's made his mark for New Mexico State, putting up 13-plus points in six games; he averaged 28.7 FanDuel points in those. He has done so efficiently too, hitting 49.0% from the field en route to multiple games of double-digit points in fewer than 25 minutes. Auburn's pace provides the Aggies a 1.9-possession boost as well, leaving Queen in a nice value spot.
Dedric Lawson, Kansas ($9,200): For Kansas, the matchup is good enough to hold up the value of a guy like Dotson but also someone with much higher expectations like the higher-priced Lawson. The 4-seeded Jayhawks carry an implied total of 74.75 against Northeastern, who are 145th in defensive efficiency and allow 70.3 points per game this season. Oddsmakers don't expect this one to be a blowout, though, with KU just 6.5-point favorites Thursday afternoon in Salt Lake City. That bodes well for Lawson seeing a full compliment of minutes, which makes him reaching value (36.8) even more likely. The junior is already averaging 36.8 -- third on the slate -- and has maxed out at 50.8 FanDuel points, which speaks to his ridiculous upside. While others pay for Morant, there's no denying Lawson all-around production from his forward spot.
Naz Reid, LSU ($6,800): Like Waters, Reid is set to benefit from a very favorable game script against the Bulldogs. The freshman big man is coming off a 26-point, 14-board (45.3 FanDuel points) performance in a loss to Florida in the SEC tournament. He now has seven double-doubles on the year in averaging 13.7 points and 7.1 boards over 26.6 minutes a game. He has hit or exceeded his salary-implied output (27.2 FanDuel points) on 10 occasions this year, including two above the 40-point threshold. At 6'10" and 285 pounds, Reid should have no problem carving out space on the boards, as he has a serious weight advantage over the usual contributors in Yale frontcourt.
Darnell Cowart, Murray State ($5,000): Cowart is a guy whose ownership will go one of two ways. Either DFS players will commonly stack him alongside Morant, or they will overlook him as they pay all the way for his superstar teammate. Either way, Cowart has some serious upside in a game like this. He's a big player that plays a traditional big game, averaging just 19.2 minutes a game but 21.6 points and 13.6 rebounds on a 40-minute basis. He has highs of 23 points and 13 rebounds this year, along with a season-best of 39.6 FanDuel points in late February. So long as he gets the minutes, he's going to be involved, as shown by a 24.9% usage rate for the year. If that plays out, Cowart could be looking at his sixth double-double of the season against a Golden Eagles squad that just gave up one to Seton Hall their last time out.
Aaron Henry, Michigan State ($4,900): In case you missed it, Kyle Ahrens is going to be out the for Spartans barring a near-miracle, so Henry will continue to play a large role for Tom Izzo. After opening in a limited role this year, the freshman averaged 22.6 minutes in Big Ten play and 30.3 in the Big Ten tournament. Without Ahrens and Josh Langford, he should easily play 30 to 36 minutes and produce even if this one is in the bag rather early. Henry has gotten up at least six shots in six straight games, though his peripherals -- 7.1 boards, 2.7 assists and 2.2 blocks-plus-steals per 40 -- is where most of his value lies. He makes for a great stack alongside Winston.
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.