College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 2/20/20
College basketball season is in the middle of conference play, and we have a 10-game slate tonight.
March Madness is a month 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 main slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Relevant Injury Situations: CJ Fredrick (Iowa), Xavier Tillman (Michigan State), Onyeka Okongwu (Southern California), and Killian Tillie (Gonzaga) are all questionable. Akok Akok (Connecticut) is out.
Payton Pritchard, Oregon ($8,300) - Pritchard is one of the best two-way players in all of college basketball. The Oregon Ducks' points guard is averaging 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.6 steals in 36.5 minutes. Throw in a massive pace-up game for Oregon as the Ducks travel to Arizona State, and this is a great spot for him. Pritchard should have plenty of opportunities to make plays. Quinton Rose ($8,000) is a slightly cheaper alternative to Pritchard.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State ($7,400) - The Spartans' leader owns a 30.% usage rate, and he's taking 30.5% of the team's shots when he's on the floor, per KenPom. Both of those numbers lead Michigan State. On tap is a mouth-watering matchup with the fast-paced (32nd in KenPom's adjusted tempo ratings) and defense-optional Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Cornhuskers are 159th in KenPom's adjusted defense ratings. Winston is my favorite overall guard play on this slate, and he should have to do a ton if Xavier Tillman sits. Tyler Bey ($7,300) and Christian Vital ($7,200) are also worth a look in Winston's price range.
Chris Smith, UCLA ($6,500) - While the UCLA Bruins' rotation is wildly unpredictable from game-to-game. However, Smith appears to be one of the players who Mick Cronin trusts most. Over the last two games, Smith is averaging 21.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.5 steals/blocks in 37.0 minutes (equates to 38.85 FanDuel points). Smith provides monster upside as he's recorded 47-plus FanDuel points in two out of his last six games.
Chris Duarte, Oregon ($5,900) - Duarte is averaging 0.84 FanDuel points per minute. At that production clip, he is expected to pay off his price tag in 28.1 minutes of action. Duarte has played 28-plus minutes in 12 consecutive games. I also like the following players in Duarte's price range: Nico Mannion ($6,200), Joel Ayayi ($6,200), Ethan Thompson ($6,100), James Bouknight ($6,000), Ryan Woolridge ($6,000), and Will Richardson ($5,800).
Dexter Dennis, Wichita State ($4,400) - I'm not sure what Dennis has to do for his price tag to rise. In the meantime, we should continue to take advantage of his dirt-cheap salary. Over the last four games, the Wichita State guard is averaging 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.8 steals/blocks in 30.3 minutes.
Other guards to consider (below $5,000): Rylan Jones, CJ Walker, Jaime Jacquez Jr., Erik Stevenson, Tyger Campbell, Thorir Thorbjarnarson, and Rob Edwards.
Luka Garza, Iowa ($9,000) - Garza is arguably the front-runner for the Naismith Award. The junior big man is a dominant force on both ends of the court. He owns a monster usage rate of 31.0%; he's also taking 35.1% of the Hawkeyes' shots when he's on the floor, per KenPom. As a result, Garza has a tremendous floor as he's topped 30 FanDuel points in 18 straight games. I also like Xavier Tillman ($8,700) -- who is questionable -- as a viable alternative in Garza's price range.
Filip Petrusev, Gonzaga ($7,300) - Petrusev has been unstoppable as of late for the second-ranked Bulldogs. Over the last five games, Petrusev is averaging 24.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.33 blocks/steals in 31 minutes. He'd instantly become one of the best plays on the entire slate if frontcourt mate Killian Tillie sits out for a second straight game (ankle injury). Regardless of Tillie's status, Petrusev is one of my favorite plays on the slate. Timmy Allen ($7,100) and Kaleb Wesson ($7,000) are slightly cheaper alternatives to Petrusev.
Drew Timme, Gonzaga ($5,600) - Timme is averaging 0.98 FanDuel points per minute. At that rate, he is expected to pay off his price tag in 22.9 minutes of action. Timme has logged 23-plus minutes in four straight games. Like Petrusev, Timme would also benefit if Killian Tillie is unable to play. Up next is a matchup with a brutal San Francisco Dons defense. San Francisco is 126th in KenPom's adjusted defense ratings. Gonzaga's Corey Kispert ($5,900) is also a good play at a slightly more expensive price than Timme.
Aaron Henry, Michigan State ($5,100) - Henry is the X-factor for the Spartans as he was a key member in their deep NCAA tournament run a season ago. It appears that he's finally entered Tom Izzo's good graces once again as he's logged 35 minutes in each of the last two games. Henry is averaging 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 blocks/steals over the last two games. Throw in a juicy matchup with Nebraska's atrocious defense, and it looks like a great time to take advantage of Henry's cheap price tag.
Ryan Kriener, Iowa ($4,400) - This is contingent on CJ Fredrick missing his second straight game. Kriener received the start in Iowa's last game and played a season high 34 minutes. The senior scored 10 points, collected seven rebounds, assisted on two baskets, and blocked four shots (28.4 FanDuel points). He's underpriced if Fredrick is out of the lineup. UCLA forward Cody Riley ($4,400) would be the player to pivot to if Fredrick returns. Riley is averaging 26.2 FanDuel points over the last two games.
Other forwards to consider (below $5,000): John Carlton, Kyle Young, Andre Wesson, Daniel Utomi, Stone Gettings, and JP Moorman II.
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.