College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Final Four (4/3/21)
March Madness is here, and we have a two-game Final Four slate.
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 5:14 p.m. EST. Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Relevant injury situations to monitor: None.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga ($7,500) - After struggling in the Gonzaga Bulldogs' first three NCAA tournament games, Suggs exploded for a near triple-double in the Zags' Elite Eight win over the USC. Going by rates, Suggs is an elite play. The freshman has a 25.4% usage rate, 55.7% effective field goal percentage, 18.5% defensive rebounding rate, 23.8% assist rate, and 3.6% steal rate. With the Bulldogs carrying a slate high implied team total of 80 (nearly 10 points higher than any other team's), Suggs makes for an excellent option.
Quentin Grimes ($7,800) - Grimes makes for interesting tournament play. He's averaging 0.90 FanDuel points and will likely play 35-plus minutes if he can stay out of foul trouble. Meanwhile, across the floor, Jared Butler ($7,400) hasn't posted a slate-breaking score in a while. However, he leads the Baylor Bears with a 27.3% usage rate, 27.7% assist rate, and a 3.9% steal rate.
DeJon Jarreau, Houston ($7,000) - Jarreau is one of the best two-way players in college basketball. He has a 23.5% usage rate, 16.7% defensive rebounding rate, 30.1% assist rate, 2.5% block rate, and 2.8% steal rate. Basically, he's a threat to stuff the stat sheet since he can rack up numbers in all of the major categories. The senior is averaging 31.1 FanDuel points over the last three games.
Johnny Juzang, UCLA ($6,600) - Juzang has been the catalyst behind the UCLA Bruins' improbable Final Four run. Through five tournament games (includes the play-in game), Juzang is averaging 21.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 1.0 blocks/steals in 34.8 minutes. While I'm expecting Gonzaga to focus their defense on Juzang, it's clear that UCLA's best hope is to ride his hot hand. The sophomore is averaging an eye-popping 17.6 field goal attempts per game in the Big Dance.
Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga ($6,300) - Ayayi is an efficient scorer, willing passer, and an excellent rebounder. While his usage rate is rather low (16.4%), he's making the most of his opportunities on the offensive end of the court as he owns an effective field goal percentage of 63.8% (32nd nationally). Additionally, Ayayi is posting a 12.9% assist rate and leads the Bulldogs with a 19.1% defensive rebounding rate. The junior is one of the safer options on this slate; he's cleared 20 FanDuel points in six straight games. Fellow Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard ($5,300) is also worth consideration. He's logged 36-plus minutes in three straight games.
Jules Bernard, UCLA ($5,800) - While he's been overshadowed by Juzang during UCLA's tournament run, Bernard has put together several solid performances. In the month of March (eight games), Bernard is averaging 25.6 FanDuel points per contest. He has rarely left the court in that time, averaging 36.8 minutes per game over the last eight. While the matchup with Gonzaga is tough (fifth in defensive efficiency), it's also a massive pace-up game for UCLA. The Bruins are 338th in adjusted tempo while Gonzaga is 6th. The salary for Tyger Campbell ($4,900) has fallen below $5,000. He's a great source of salary relief as the Bruins' floor general.
Mark Vital, Baylor ($4,800) - Box-score watchers will likely discard Vital because he's logged only 41 out of 80 possible minutes over the last two games. However, he struggled with foul trouble, which limited his playing time. Vital should be able to avoid foul trouble since Houston's quartet of big men (Justin Gorham, Fabian White, Reggie Chaney, and Brison Gresham) all draw 4.1 fouls or fewer per 40 minutes. Vital rarely gets mentioned by the national media as the Bears are led by a trio of standout guards. He's not a big factor on the offensive end of the court, and that's reflected by his rather low usage rate of 15.4%. However, he is the player who does all the dirty work as an exceptional rebounder and elite defender. He is posting a 14.1% offensive rebounding rate, 19.5% defensive rebounding rate, 4.2% block rate, and 2.6% steal rate.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Tyger Campbell, Matthew Mayer, and Tramon Mark.
Drew Timme, Gonzaga ($8,300) - Timme and the Bulldogs are easily in the best spot on Saturday night. While the Bruins' defense is improved, they're still ranked 45th in defensive efficiency (the other three teams on the slate rank 28th or better). The experienced Timme should be able to exploit UCLA's thin frontcourt; UCLA has only one starter who is taller than 6'6". Timme leads Gonzaga in usage rate (27.0%), shot rate (26.5%), and offensive rebounding rate (11.0%). He ranks second amongst the Bulldogs in defensive rebounding rate (18.8%) and block rate (2.5%). He's easily my top overall play on Saturday night.
Corey Kispert, Gonzaga ($7,200) - The sharpshooter is knocking down an eye-popping 45.3% of his three-point field goal attempts this season. Meanwhile, UCLA is only slightly above the Division I average in defending the three-point shot. The Bruins are allowing opponents to convert on 33.7% of their deep balls while the national average is 33.8%. Kispert also leads Gonzaga in offensive rating this season (132.7, which is ninth overall). Finally, the senior paces the Bulldogs in minutes played, averaging 31.2 minutes per game for the year.
Justin Gorham, Houston ($5,600) - While Gorham's usage rate is rather low, he's efficient, sporting an effective field goal percentage of 54.1%. He leads the Cougars with a 129.6 offensive rating, and he's an excellent rebounder, pacing the Cougars in both offensive rebounding rate (15.5%) and defensive rebounding rate (19.2%). He's one of five forwards on this slate who owns a starting assignment (Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, Cody Riley, and Reggie Chaney). Fabian White Jr. ($4,300) may be worth the dice roll in tournaments (averaging 0.92 FanDuel points per minute) as a way to get contrarian on this slate. He's logged 19-plus minutes in five straight games. White also provides plenty of salary relief, which is needed in order to roster as many studs as possible.
Cody Riley, UCLA ($4,800) - Foul trouble is a major concern for Riley as he'll be going nose-to-nose with Timme, who draws 6.4 fouls per 40 minutes. If Riley can manage to stay out of foul trouble, he's the best source of salary relief on the slate. He leads the Bruins in usage rate (25.4%), offensive rebounding rate (8.0%), defensive rebounding rate (20.3%), and block rate (3.6%).
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Adam Flagler, Fabian White Jr., Anton Watson, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and Reggie Cheney.
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.