College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 3/28/21
March Madness is here, and we have a four-game slate Sunday to finish off the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
You can get into all the college hoops hype by playing daily fantasy contests at FanDuel. If you've played NBA DFS before, it's fairly similar: 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 Monday's slate, which locks at 2:10 p.m EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga ($7,300) - The future lottery pick has struggled through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. However, that should turn around soon as his rates are exceptional. The Gonzaga Bulldogs' floor general has a 25.7% usage rate, 55.3% effective field goal percentage, 18.2% defensive rebounding rate, 23.3% assist rate, and 3.7% steal rate. Additionally, the Bulldogs have a slate leading 85.0-point implied team total. The Creighton Bluejays' game plan against the Ohio Bobcats was to trap point guard Jason Preston and get the ball out of his hands. I don't expect Creighton to utilize the same game plan against Jalen Suggs. Gonzaga's four other starters all have offensive ratings ranked inside the top 80 of college basketball. Consequently, I believe Suggs will have plenty of chances to make plays. He's my top overall guard play on Sunday. Elsewhere, Franz Wagner ($7,100) is an interesting tournament play who may go overlooked on this slate. He's tallied 24-plus FanDuel points in six consecutive games. The versatility of Herbert Jones ($7,600) is appealing, and his salary has come down for Sunday's slate.
Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton ($6,700) - The Jalen Suggs-Marcus Zegarowski matchup is going to be must-see television. Like Suggs, Zegarowski is a force on both ends of the court. The junior leads Creighton with a 23.2% usage rate and 24.3% assist rate. He also has a 10.3% defensive rebounding rate and 2.2% steal rate. Additionally, the Creighton point guard is a good bet to play as many minutes as he can handle as he logged 38 minutes in each of their first two NCAA tournament games. Further enhancing his viability is that there is a good chance this game turns into a track meet. Creighton is averaging 16.1 seconds per possession, which ranks 42nd. Gonzaga loves to play at a blazing pace (fourth in adjusted tempo). Joel Ayaya ($6,600) is also a solid alternative/complement to Zegarowski.
Johnny Juzang, UCLA ($6,100) - Juzang has been the catalyst behind the UCLA Bruins' deep tournament run. In three games this Big Dance (counting the Bruins' play-in game), the sophomore is averaging 22.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks/steals in 35.7 minutes. While the matchup with Alabama (third in defensive efficiency) will be difficult, it also represents a massive pace-up spot for UCLA. Alabama is 11th in adjusted tempo while UCLA is 337th. Juzang's backcourt mate, Jaime Jacquez Jr. ($6,400), is also a fine play.
Denzel Mahoney, Creighton ($5,000) - Mahoney's salary has declined significantly over the last month. The senior has struggled mightily with his shot, but his role hasn't changed (averaging 30.5 minutes per game over the last four games). He's attempted 48 shots over the last four games. However, he's connected on only 11 of those (22.9%). While the matchup with Gonzaga is difficult (seventh in defensive efficiency), Mahoney has to experience positive regression at some point. He averaged 42.1% or better on field goal attempts in each of his first three years at Creighton. Moreover, Mahoney's peripheral rates are good enough that he should easily pay off his salary if he can knock down a few jumpers. Mahoney has an 11.8% defensive rebounding rate, nearly 10.0% assist rate, and 2.5% steal rate. Teammate Damien Jefferson ($5,900) is also a fine option in tournaments.
Andrew Nembhard, Gonzaga ($4,700) - Nembhard is one of the best sources of salary relief on the slate. The former Florida Gator is averaging 0.67 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 28.1 minutes of action (assuming value is 4.0 points per $1,000 in salary). Nembhard is averaging 33.4 minutes per game during tournament season (two WCC tournament games and two NCAA tournament games).
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Drew Peterson, Chaundee Brown Jr., MJ Walker, Eric Williams Jr., and Tyger Campbell.
Drew Timme, Gonzaga ($8,400) - The Gonzaga center is a difference maker on both ends of the court. Timme is posting a 26.6% usage rate (leads team), 25.8% shot rate (leads team), 11.1% offensive rebounding rate (leads team), 19.2% defensive rebounding rate (tied for team lead), 13.3% assist rate, and 2.7% block rate. If Creighton can keep this game within striking distance, Timme's playing time will likely be extended. Despite beating Oklahoma by 16, Timme played a season-high 35 minutes in the second round of the NCAA tournament. With Gonzaga installed as 13.0-point betting favorites, Timme should be out there for at least 30 minutes. His ceiling is similar to that of Evan Mobley ($9,000), but we're getting a discount with Timme. Consequently, Timme is my preferred high-salary option at forward.
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan ($6,800) - The Michigan offense flows through freshman center Hunter Dickinson. If he can stay out of foul trouble, he'll likely push for 30-plus minutes. That's intriguing since his salary has decreased and his rates are phenomenal. Dickinson has a 26.4% usage rate, 25.4% shot rate, 11.0% offensive rebounding rate, 22.3% defensive rebounding rate, and a 5.4% block rate -- all of which are team-best clips. Corey Kispert ($7,200) is also a good play albeit with a slightly higher salary than Dickinson's. Kispert leads Gonzaga with an 134.2 offensive rating and has the second highest shot rate -- percentage of the team's shots by the player when the player is on the floor -- on the team.
RaiQuan Gray, Florida State ($5,900) - Gray is averaging 0.94 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 25.1 minutes of action (assuming value is 4.0 points per $1,000 in salary). The junior is averaging 28.4 minutes per game over the last five games. Frontcourt mate Balsa Koprivica ($5,400) is also a solid play. He'll likely be tasked with guarding Dickinson. He's coming off a clunker against the Colorado Buffaloes in which he was limited to 11 minutes due to foul trouble. Koprivica had topped 24 FanDuel points in three straight games prior to that one.
Christian Bishop, Creighton ($5,700) - Bishop has been incredible for the Bluejays through two rounds of the NCAA tournament. He's posted back-to-back doubles, and he's topped 30 FanDuel points in each. He should be locked into 30-plus minutes for the third straight game as he'll likely be asked to defend Timme. The foul risk is legit -- Timme is drawing 6.6 fouls per 40 minutes -- but Bishop's production can't be ignored considering his current salary. Isaiah Mobley ($5,700) is a viable alternative and will likely carry a lower draft percentage than Bishop does.
Brandon Johns Jr., Michigan ($4,000) - Johns has made three consecutive starts for the injured Isaiah Livers. His minutes have increased in each game -- 24, 25, and 27. The junior is averaging 18.5 FanDuel points per game in his three starts. He's a great source of salary relief on a slate where we'll want to jam in as many studs as possible. Also, Juwan Gary ($4,400) was inserted into the starting lineup in the Crimson Tide's last game and played 25 minutes. He's an intriguing value option since he's producing 0.96 FanDuel points per minute.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Cody Riley and Juwan Gary.
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.