College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 2/24/21
College basketball season is in the midst of conference play, and we have an 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?
Relevant injury situations to monitor: Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah Jordan-James is questionable with a wrist injury. South Carolina Gamecocks guard Jermaine Couisnard is questionable with a foot injury. Marquette Golden Eagles forward Justin Lewis is out.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
David Duke, Providence ($7,800) - There's a chance Duke flies under the radar after a subpar fantasy outing in a loss to Connecticut in Providence's last game. However, his rates remain at an elite level. The junior has a 27.8% usage rate, 16.0% defensive rebounding rate, and a 27.4% assist rate while averaging 37.1 minutes per game. Additionally, the matchup with the Xavier Musketeers is a pace-up game for Providence (Providence is 287th in tempo nationally while Xavier is 148th). Finally, Xavier's defense is less than imposing as they rank 68th nationally.
Paul Scruggs, Xavier ($7,000) - Scruggs and teammate Zach Freemantle provided a dynamic duo for the Musketeers. Scruggs, the floor general, has a 23.7% usage rate (trails only Freemantle amongst the Musketeers), 35.3% assist rate, and 3.1% steal rate. If Xavier's win over Butler last Sunday was any indication of the future, expect Xavier to ride their starters and limit their bench players' playing time (only one reserve played more than 10 minutes). Scruggs is averaging 32.3 minutes per game.
Herbert Jones, Alabama ($6,500) - While it's fair to wonder if Jones if is fully healthy, he continues to assume his normal starting role. The lanky guard is intriguing because of his versatility. He has the ability to contribute in every major statistical category. Jones is averaging an impressive 1.06 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 24.5 minutes (assuming value is 4x of a player's salary). Jones is averaging 26.4 minutes per game this season. If the game with the Arkansas Razorbacks stays competitive, Jones has the potential to play 30-plus minutes. Iverson Molinar ($6,400) and DJ Stewart Jr. ($6,100) make for fine tournament options as they'll likely be far less popular than Jones.
Keon Johnson, Tennessee ($4,700) - Typically, we don't see a player with an assist rate and usage rate in Johnson's salary range. The freshman has a 22.0% assist rate and a 26.9% usage rate (leads team). He's also locked into big minutes as the Volunteers have fully unleashed Johnson (averaging 27.5 minutes per game) and fellow freshman Jaden Springer ($6,000). Springer is also a fantastic play and might be less popular after struggling in the Volunteers' latest outing. Caleb Love ($4,700) and Davonte Davis ($4,400) are good plays and will likely be less popular than Johnson.
Colby Jones, Xavier ($4,300) - The freshman's salary hasn't adjusted to his increased role. Jones was inserted into the starting lineup in the Musketeers' last game and tallied 13 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals in 35 minutes. Prior to that game, Jones poured in 20 points, collected 6 rebounds, and recorded 2 steals in a loss to St. John's (NY) Red Storm last week. His recent play should have secured him a large role moving towards the postseason.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Santiago Vescovi (better if Josiah Jordan-James is out), Caleb Love, Caleb McConnell, Jordan Wright, AJ Reeves, Victor Bailey Jr. (better if Josiah Jordan-James is out), Jahvon Quinerly, Davonte Davis, Deivon Smith, Keon Ellis, Kerwin Walton, and Trae Hannibal (only if Jermaine Couisnard is out).
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana ($8,500) - The likely All B1G Ten performer's rates jump off the page. Jackson-Davis owns a 30.1% usage rate, 29.1% shot rate, 10.7% offensive rebounding rate, 21.4% defensive rebounding rate, 10.4% assist rate, and a 5.2% block rate. He truly affects the game in all areas. Did I mention that he usually plays as many minutes as he can handle? Jackson-Davis is averaging 34.5 minutes per game this season. Despite the tough matchup with Rutgers Scarlet Knights (ranked 13th in defense nationally), there is plenty of value on this slate. Jackson-Davis makes for a fine investment on Wednesday night.
Zach Freemantle, Xavier ($7,400) - Freemantle checks all the boxes when it comes to being an elite DFS fantasy play. He's an elite rebounder (7.8% offensive rebounding rate and 21.5% defensive rebounding rate) and a strong rim protector (3.0% block rate), which compliments his healthy 24.8% usage rate (leads team). He's also in a good spot as the Musketeers square off with a struggling Providence squad. The Friars have lost four out of their last six games and check in with the nation's 83rd-ranked defense.
Justin Smith, Arkansas ($5,900) - Smith possesses a solid floor with significant upside due to his ability to contribute on both ends of the court. The senior has recorded at least 22.3 FanDuel points in five straight games. He's topped 34 FanDuel points in each of the last two games. A ceiling game could come on Wednesday night as the matchup with Alabama will be played at a blazing fast pace. Both Arkansas and Alabama are ranked inside the top-30 in tempo nationally. If you're looking for a forward with a salary that falls between Smith and Freemantle, take a look at Keyshawn Bryant ($6,200) (if Jermaine Couisnard remains out) and Tolu Smith ($6,300).
Noah Horchler, Providence ($4,200) - Horchler may be the most popular player on this slate. His salary hasn't adjusted to his starting role. The senior has topped 31 minutes in five consecutive games. Over the last five games, Horchler is averaging 10.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.0 blocks/steals in 33.8 minutes. Yves Pons ($4,900) is a fine play if you need a forward between Horchler and Smith's salaries.
Derek Fountain, Mississippi State ($3,000) - Out of the salary relief options mentioned (Keon Johnson, Colby Jones, and Noah Horchler), Fountain would be my least favorite. However, he does have a starting assignment and has logged 27-plus minutes in three out of the last four games. If he gets off to a slow start, his playing time could be at risk. However, he is averaging .74 FanDuel points. At that production level, he should pay off his salary 16.2 minutes of action (assuming value is 4x of a player's salary). He's played at least 17 minutes in all four of his starts this season.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Yves Pons, Jason Carter, Abdul Ado, Jordan Bruner, and Jaylin Williams.
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.