DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

Welp, we're here! College football only has their annual service academy matchup Saturday, so DraftKings has responded with three college basketball contests spanning 11 hours of tipoffs. We've got 21 games to sort through and plenty of decent money to be won!

Main Slate

There's no easing into Saturday, as the main slate tips at 12 p.m EST and goes until 4 with a $5,000 first-place prize on the line. 11 games are featured, which means we have 110 starters to sort through and only six players to highlight. Don't fret if you've got a lean on somewhat not mentioned here; odds are I do too. Trust your instincts, just don't be silly.

It's a fascinating slate, with no game listing a total under FSU/USF's 143.5 and three showing pick 'em spreads to suggest viable options on both sides. 

The question on this slate is to find enough value to pay up for Zach Edey at $11,700. It's justifiable given the matchup with Alabama likely being without Grant Nelson, though Edey is $1,900 more than any other available player. He'll come with low usage as a result, and if he doesn't, those lineups seemingly won't have a hint of depth. It's an absolute smash spot, but it's just too expensive for me.

Top Players

PJ Hall, F, Clemson ($9,800)

As we've noted in this column multiple times, you simply can't miss with pay-up options on bigger slates, similar to QBs in DFS NFL contests. Hall is averaging 41.0 DKP with only two games under 37.0 and is in a matchup with a 149-point implied total and an even point spread. He's got a 30.6 percent usage rate over his last five and easy 4x return potential at a solid discount to Edey. Lock and load your anchor.

Jahmyl Telfort, G, Butler ($7,400)

Telfort appears to be the perfect complement to a higher salaried player. He's topped 4x return in three of his last four outings, with his last two being major booms having averaged a massive 46.75 DKP. Cal checks in at 251st in defensive efficiency per KenPom, and Telfort does plenty more than score to create the right ceiling/floor combo. Butler is expected to produce nearly 80 points on Saturday to further justify this selection.

Middle Tier

Skyy Clark, G, Louisville ($6,500)

I'm going to reserve this portion of the column for the Louisville-DePaul matchup. It's two awful teams, but it comes with a pick 'em spread and a projected total of nearly 150 points. Both sides are horrific on D as the Cardinals rank 179th and the Blue Demons 230th. Clark leads the Cardinals in scoring and usage. He's off two poor showings, but has averaged 34.3 minutes and should have ample opportunity to right those wrongs that could keep his roster percentages down. Tre White represents the Louisville play if you're looking for a stable frontcourt option.

Chico Carter, G, DePaul ($6,400)

See above for the plus matchup. Carter rarely comes off the floor having logged a minimum of 31 minutes in all of DePaul's games so far. While Clark is more of a volume scorer, Carter can offer a variety of paths to fantasy production as he's averaged 3.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists. This game is iffy from a real-life perspective, but it sets up as a fantasy goldmine with these two selections being moderately valued while offering safe floors and promising ceilings. 

Bargain Options

Thomas Haugh, F, Florida ($4,900)

Haugh's usage rate is paltry at only 12.7 percent over the Gators' last five, but he's started two in a row while averaging 21.13 DKP and that works at this salary point. He's active and has only finished under four rebounds twice while averaging nine those two starts. Richmond doesn't defend the perimeter well, which results in chasing easy rebound opportunities on defense and stickback scoring.

Zakai Zeigler, G, Tennessee ($4,700)

Free square here. Zeigler is a $6,000 player when healthy, and he looks to be here though the salary hasn't caught up. He's started the Vols' last two games while receiving 28 minutes in both and averaging 22.0 DKP, which is nearly a 4.7x return. Zeigler's scoring has been lacking, but that should improve and the assists are stable. He'll facilitate with ease in a game where Tennessee is expected to top 75 points. Both teams list high defensive ratings, yet neither plays slow.

Afternoon Slate

$1,000 is our top prize in our second helping of games at DraftKings, but there are a varying number of options to suit all types of players. Six games are included in the afternoon, with tips coming between 5:15 and 7:00 p.m. EST. Villanova vs. UCLA is our outlier as it projects a slate-low 128.5 point total. You never want to ignore a game especially with a smaller schedule, though this looks like it will be a grind and not a fantasy-friendly matchup.

Top Players

Hunter Dickinson, F, Kansas ($10,300)

The price point hurts and I'd love to highlight teammate Kevin McCullar as a discounted pay-up option, but the matchup here appears too good to fade Dickinson. Missouri is small with their largest starter likely being 6-foot-8, 205-pound Aidan Shaw. That gives Dickinson six inches and 55 pounds to dominate inside. The game isn't expected to be close, and the Tigers can throw Connor Vanover at Dickinson for occasional bulk and fouls. But this looks like a spot for an easy double-double even if the minutes aren't huge. A 4x return at this salary is a challenge, yet the floor is safe.

Branden Carlson, F, Utah ($8,400)

This game carries the slate's highest total. And while the Utes come in as an underdog, it's a tight spread where they'll need production from their ace. That assumes Carlson plays, which is far from a given. BYU is another undersized squad where we can lean on a veteran forward to dominate inside, which Carlson did last season against the Cougars by going for 20 points and six boards on the way to 34.0 DKP. The injury ambiguity will lead to low usage, and it's very easy to pivot to Ben Carlson (no relation!) if Branden isn't available, which frees up a lot of salary to spend elsewhere. Given that it's the last tip of the slate, be sure to put Carlson in a utility spot and stay active mid-afternoon for news on his availability.

Middle Tier

Kanye Clary, G, Penn State ($6,500)

Clary is valued at his highest point of the season, but I still find it low given what he's shown and is capable of. He's got a massive 29.5 percent usage rate of the Nittany Lions' last five games, and that includes a night where he only shot once in nine minutes before leaving with injury. We only need 26.0 DKP for a 4x return, and that's a number Clary has been around or far exceeded five times in seven fully healthy appearances. He saw 41 minutes against Maryland last time out, and Penn State's pace should help alleviate concerns of Ohio State's decent defense. Simply, Clary's a top player under 7k.

Patrick Cartier, F, Colorado State ($5,400)

This looks like a nice opportunity on Cartier, who seems undervalued after battling a back issue around Thanksgiving and was previously as much as $600 higher. He lists a team-high 25.1 percent usage rate, the Rams are expected to score at least 70, and he's provided at least 20 DKP from five of eight. Cartier has also been super efficient since his brief absence having shot 15-of-21 over his last two.

Bargain Options

Jizzle James, G, Cincinnati ($4,700)

For the price, James has been a remarkably consistent performer having posted between 13.0 and 21.0 DKP. The floor may be a bit lower than we want as he flirts with a 5k salary, though he's been good for 21 and 20.75 in his last two appearances and comes with a 26.1 percent usage rate across five. This matchup has the second-highest total on the slate and is a pick 'em. And when paired with Xavier's pushing tempo, James should push 20 or more minutes and be active while on the court.

Brendan Hausen, G, Villanova ($3,500)

We noted this was a game we largely want to stay away from, though there's a key injury to Justin Moore that's going to create minutes elsewhere. Jordan Longino seems likely to draw the start, but I like other options due to his salary and I also think he'll be fairly popular given the opportunity. Hausen looks like a nice punt play Saturday. He hasn't shown much, including a paltry 2.75 DKP in 20 minutes against Drexel. Heck, he's only shooting 31.4 percent from the floor. But given Moore's absence, Hausen will likely be forced into more opportunity and usage and only needs to produced 10 DKP to match his salary. I don't hate Hakim Hart if you have an additional $1,200 as his minutes are trending upward and he's proven capable while at Maryland.

Late Slate

We've got a four-game night cap to conclude a full day, with $500 up for grabs for first place. Two matchups come with spreads of at least nine, and three of the four project totals lower than 140. We know everyone is going to want shares of Gonzaga and Washington, so the key to winning will be how you attack that one. High-end or lower options as anchors, and be different but not silly elsewhere.

Top Players

Jaedon LeDee, F, San Diego State ($10,100)

LeDee profiles almost identically to Dickinson in the afternoon slate above. He's a double-double lock, and his opponent has no chance at matching his size on the interior. It's certainly fair to take both of Gonzaga's Graham Ike and Anton Watson and build a deeper lineup or trying Clifford Omoruyi to be different, but LeDee is by far the safest choice and there should be enough value to cover this large salary.

Sahvir Wheeler, G, Washington ($7,400)

Wheeler has taken double-digit shots in all of his first seven games and there's no reason for that to stop with an expected 160-point total. He's also averaging a career-high 6.9 assists and flirting with a personal-best in rebounds at 3.7. Wheeler is tied with Keion Brooks in usage of late, and the up-and-down nature of this game suggests he's undervalued for the potential 30-plus DKP I'm expecting.

Middle Tier

Tae Davis, F, Notre Dame ($6,000)

We wouldn't normally target a player on a team not expected to score 60 points, but Davis seems to offer us a decent mid-tier frontcourt option. He's quietly posted consecutive double-doubles, falling two rebounds shy in a third, and the Irish produced 53 or fewer points in two of those. Davis has logged 28 or more minutes in five of six and is honestly all they have on the glass, which makes him a safe play. I expect he'll struggle offensively against Marquette's experienced bigs. But if Davis can stay out of foul trouble, we just need volume rebounds to provide a fair return.

Justin Hohn, G, UC Irvine ($5,000)

Irvine is an interesting team to consider across the board Saturday night. They're expected to score just 65 points and they spread their minimal production across four healthy double-digit players, yet none are valued above $5,500. There's minimal upside, but perhaps stable floor plays throughout the rotation. Hohn is the team's leading scorer and third in rebounds, so he can get to 20 DKP and a 4x return if he can find space to shoot against the Aztecs' 28th ranked defense. Dean Keeler is a fair option if you need cheap frontcourt help.

Bargain Options

Chase Ross, G, Marquette ($4,600)

We need 18.4 DKP to get a top-end return, which is something Ross has been around in four of nine games. This matchup isn't expected to be competitive, which should give him enough opportunities and he's already averaging north of 20 minutes. Notre Dame wants to play slow and Marquette doesn't. So given the Irish's 106th ranking in defensive efficiency, look for the Golden Eagles to get this done in the first 30 minutes and create opportunity for their bench to produce. Ross offers decent size to grab some boards and should flirt with double-digit scoring if the game script goes accordingly.

Jun Seok Yeo, F, Gonzaga ($3,600)

Yeo represents an awesome punt play because he'll produce if he plays. In two games where he's received double-digit minutes, he's averaged 18.8 DKP and that's great potential at this salary. The problem is those minutes have come against Arkansas Pine Bluff and Eastern Oregon, and Saturday's opponent is clearly not in that tier. Yeo's played 23 total minutes in the Bulldogs' other six outings, including four times where he provided fantasy managers goose eggs. It's incredibly fair to think he gets minimal time just before media timeouts to spell the team's top options, but it's also fair to think even a 1x return opens up enough budget elsewhere. So if Yeo receives 15-plus minutes, it's because he draws a second straight start and plays well and that sets us up for tournament success.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Bennett plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: k30kittles, DraftKings: k30kittles.
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Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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