College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 1/21/21
College basketball season is entering conference play, and we have a four-game slate today.
March Madness is a ways off at this point, 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: Penn State guard Myles Dread injured his shoulder in the Nittany Lions' last game. His status for Thursday's game is unknown. If he plays, he makes for a fine source of salary relief. Memphis guard Damion Baugh missed the Tigers' last game due to concussion protocol; he is questionable for Thursday's game. There is a good chance Arizona State forward Jalen Graham returns to the lineup while Taeshon Cherry will likely miss Thursday's game.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
Tyson Etienne, Wichita State ($7,900) - The Wichita State Shockers' leading scorer rarely leaves the court and hoists up a ton of shots which makes him an intriguing DFS option. The sophomore guard is averaging 38.0 minutes per game over the last four games while averaging 15.8 field goal attempts per game. Etienne has also been a willing rebounder as he's corralled an average of 5.3 rebounds per game over the last six games. The matchup with Memphis is difficult (ranked 11th nationally) but it's also a pace-up game for Wichita State. Wichita State is 194th in tempo nationally while Memphis is 50th. Etienne is my top overall guard on this slate.
Myreon Jones, Penn State ($6,400) - The junior leads Penn State in offensive rating (116.0), usage rate (23.8%), and percent of shots taken when on the floor (27.8%). He's also second amongst the Nittany Lions with a 2.9% steal rate. Jones has tallied at least 20 real-life points in four straight games. He's also seen an increase in playing time over the last three games. Jones has logged 34-plus minutes in three straight games which is up fairly significantly from his seasonal average of 30.0 minutes per game.
Benedict Mathurin, Arizona ($5,500) - The freshman has emerged as one of the Arizona Wildcats' top weapons. Over the last four games, Mathurin is averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists, and 1.8 blocks/steals in 27.8 minutes. Additionally, there's one less mouth to feed with Arizona losing starting shooting guard Jermarl Baker Jr. for the season. Mathurin is one of the best value plays on this slate.
Terrell Brown Jr., Arizona ($5,300) - Brown Jr. has seen a role increase with Jermarl Baker Jr. lost for the season. The senior is Baker Jr.'s direct placement at the shooting guard position. Brown Jr.'s 15.6% usage rate should only go up while his 25.5% assist rate ranks second amongst the Wildcats. Additionally, he's posting an impressive 128.1 offensive rating this season. Brown Jr. and the Wildcats will also receive a pace-bump as they face off with Arizona State. Arizona State 17th in tempo nationally while Arizona is 137th.
Ricky Council, IV Wichita State ($4,600) - Council IV will likely fly under the radar because his playing time is usually limited. Despite the limited playing time, the freshman has been fabulous as of late. Over the last two games, Council IV is averaging 17.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 blocks/steals in 20.5 minutes (26.9 FanDuel points). If his playing time gets extended past 20 minutes for any reason, he should smash his current salary.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Caleb McConnell, Dalen Terry, and Myles Dread (if he plays).
Luka Garza, Iowa ($9,300) - While Garza hasn't approached his ceiling lately, he's still averaging an incredible 1.44 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, the Iowa Hawkeyes' star should pay off his salary in 25.8 minutes (assuming value is 4x of a player's salary). The National Player of the Year candidate is averaging 32.3 minutes per game in B1G Ten play.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana ($8,700) - This should be an entertaining game as Jackson-Davis leads the Indiana Hoosiers against Luka Garza's Iowa Hawkeyes. Indiana has been counting on Jackson-Davis to play as many minutes as he can handle (34-plus minutes in four out of the last five games). The sophomore owns an eye-popping 30.8% usage rate while also leading the Hoosiers in total rebounding (9.5% offensive rebounding rate and a 21.2% defensive rebounding rate). Throw in a 6.4% block rate, and Jackson-Davis makes for a great option.
Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona ($6,300) - Tubelis has the ability to rack up fantasy points in a hurry due to his ability to contribute in every major statistical category. The freshman is averaging .90 FanDuel points per game. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 28 minutes of action (assuming value is 4x of a player's salary). Tubelis has logged at least 28 minutes in four straight games. DeAndre Williams ($7,600) is a fine play if you need a forward priced between Jackson-Davis and Tubelis.
John Harrar, Penn State ($4,700) - On the positive side, Harrar played 25-plus minutes for the third straight game in Penn State's 79-65 loss to Illinois on Tuesday night. On the negative side, Harrar struggled shooting the ball as he only connected on 20% of his field goal attempts. I'm expecting him to bounce back against the struggling Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has lost four straight games and they're allowing opponents' to connect on 49.1% of the two-point field goal attempts which ranks 141st nationally.
Christian Koloko, Arizona ($4,400) - Koloko entered the starting lineup for the injured Jermarl Baker Jr. in the Wildcats latest game. The sophomore center racked up six points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, and one steal in 17 minutes (26 FanDuel points). His playing time was limited due to a 34 point blowout win. Koloko should push for 20-plus minutes on Thursday night and makes for one of the better sources of salary relief. I will note there is some risk here if he's not in the starting lineup.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Moussa Cisse and Clifford Omoruyi.
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.