College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 2/18/21
College basketball season is in the midst of conference play, and we have a six-game slate today.
March Madness is a little more than 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 NBA contests.
Now that you're in the know, we can attack today's slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga ($8,000) - The Gonzaga Bulldogs freshman point guard is an intriguing option due to his ability to stuff the stat sheet. As a result, he provides a solid floor (has tallied at 29.5 FanDuel points in three straight games). Suggs has a 25.4% usage rate, 57.7% effective field goal percentage, 19.1% defensive rebounding rate, 24.0% assist rate, and 4.2% steal rate. I think he'll be fairly popular since high-end guards are mostly unappealing on this slate.
Johnny Juzang, UCLA ($6,600) - Juzang seems to be settling into his new team after transferring from Kentucky in the offseason. The sophomore has emerged as the Bruins' primary scoring option as of late. Over the last five games, Juzang is averaging 20.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks/steals in 37.6 minutes (one game went to overtime). Additionally, he's averaging an eye-popping 18.4 field goal attempts per game. The bottom line is Juzang is under-salaried for his increased role.
D'Mitrik Trice, Wisconsin ($6,600) - Trice is the one Wisconsin Badger that will consistently play extended minutes (averaging 32.7 minutes per game). While it's a small sample (two games), Trice appears to have gained some extra usage with Micah Potter (leads team with a 28.5% usage rate) moving to a bench role (averaging 12.5 field goal attempts over the last two games which is up from his season average of 10.9). Further enhancing his appeal is a matchup with the fast-paced and defensive optional Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes are 102nd in tempo nationally (Wisconsin is 321st) and own the nation's 102nd-ranked defense.
Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona ($5,200) - Mathurin is averaging .79 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 26.3 minutes of action (assuming value is 4x of player's salary). The freshman has logged 30-plus minutes in three straight games. I will also add that Mathurin leads all Arizona Wildcats with a 125.1 offensive rating.
Caleb McConnell, Rutgers ($4,700) - McConnell's salary hasn't quite adjusted to his starting role and increased playing time. The junior has played at least 28 minutes in three straight games. He's also hoisted up at least 10 field goal attempts in all three of those games. Additionally, he's an active rebounding guard and a solid passer. McConnell has a 14.6% defensive rebounding rate and 13.9% assist rate (3.8% steal rate too). Mike Smith ($4,700) is also worth a look at the same salary.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Terrell Brown Jr., Mike Smith, Jamari Wheeler, Brad Davison, Myles Dread, Jonathan Davis, and Alex Ducas.
Luka Garza ($9,200) - The case can be made to fade the Hawkeyes' big man as the matchup with the slow-paced Wisconsin Badgers (321st in tempo nationally) isn't ideal. The Badgers are also a solid defensive team as they check in with the nation's 10th-ranked defense. With that said, his rates are impossible to ignore despite the tough draw. Garza has a 31.0% usage rate and a 33.3% shot rate (percentage of the team's shot attempts by the player when the player is on the floor). He also has a 10.5% offensive rebounding rate, 17.6% defensive rebounding rate, and a 5.5% block rate. While I expect Garza to be popular, perhaps his rostership level comes down a bit from normal on Thursday night. Gonzaga star Drew Timme ($8,500) is a fine option if you can't find the savings to roster Garza.
Isaiah Livers, Michigan ($7,300) - After a two-week COVID-19 pause, Livers and the Michigan Wolverines promptly took care of the Wisconsin Badgers last Saturday. Livers managed to score 20 points and collect 7 rebounds in that contest. More importantly, his playing time has skyrocketed. Over the Wolverines' last two games, the senior has played 77 out of a possible 80 minutes (averaging 31.7 minutes per game). He is Michigan's leading scorer (15.0 per game) and third-leading rebounder (6.1 per game). He's also averaging 2.2 assists and 1.4 blocks/steals this season. Ohio State Buckeyes' emerging star EJ Liddell ($7,000) is also a fine alternative. Livers' teammate, Hunter Dickinson ($6,900), makes for an interesting tournament play on this slate.
Justice Sueing, Ohio State ($5,600) - Sueing's salary has fallen back into the playable range. That's good news since his playing time and role haven't changed (averaging 29.9 minutes per game over the last 10 games). I suspect his salary took a hit after he was limited to 17 foul-plagued minutes against Maryland last week. Including the Maryland game, Sueing is averaging 27.4 FanDuel points per game over the last five games. Looking across the court, John Harrar ($5,900) is also a solid forward selection.
Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona ($5,300) - The Arizona Wildcats center is averaging .82 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 25.9 minutes of action (assuming value is 4x of a player's salary). The freshman is averaging 30.8 minutes per game over the last 12 games. He's one of the better sources of salary relief on Thursday night. Jack Nunge ($5,100) is also worth considering if CJ Fredrick remains out.
Aleem Ford, Wisconsin ($4,400) - From a rates perspective, nothing sticks out for Ford. However, he does a little bit of everything, which keeps him viable for DFS purposes. The senior has a 19.1% usage rate, 21.9% shot rate, 15.7% defensive rebounding rate, 8.4% assist rate, and 2.7% block rate. He also rarely turns the ball over which is important for FanDuel's scoring system. As mentioned above, this a great spot for Wisconsin, which further enhances Ford's appeal. Frontcourt mate Tyler Wahl ($4,300) is also a compelling source of salary relief.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Kyle Young, Trey Wade, Keegan Murray (if CJ Fredrick is out), and Tyler Wahl.
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.