This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Welcome back to Week 3 of the college basketball season, and another addition of the DFS preview. We have so many games to get through, so sit back and relax. There are exclusive games, as well as games on both slates, so I'll try to do a good job to highlight as much as I can, no matter which platform you play on. With more games being played to this point, there's a better indication of usage rates and how teams will fill out their rotations as the season wears on. As always, we have plenty of useful tools to help you compile your rosters.
North Florida @ Iowa (-18) O/U: 159
Green Bay @ Wisconsin (-17.5) O/U: 142
Utah (-4.5) @ Coastal Carolina O/U:149
Nebraska Omaha @ Washington St. (-7) O/U:143
Tennessee St. @ Texas Tech (-26) O/U:141
Buffalo vs. Connecticut (-3)* O/U:151
Hofstra @ UCLA (-12) O/U:145
Both FanDuel and DraftKings:
Texas (-6) vs Georgetown* O/U: 142.5
Xavier (-10) @ Towson* O/U: 133.5
Toledo @ Notre Dame (-7.5) O/U: 139.5
Duke (-19) @ California* O/U: 136.5
*Game played at a Neutral Site
***Odds provided via FanDuel Sportsbook and are subject to change
On paper, the North Florida and Iowa game looks to be our best bet for fantasy production, considering each team plays at a blazing pace per KenPom. I'll outline the top players, value options and games to target and avoid for Thursday's slate.
Both FanDuel and DraftKings:
Omer Yurtseven, Georgetown, F ($7,600 FD, $ 9,300 DK)
We highlighted Yurtseven as a top option last week in this column, and he produced for us to the tune of 37 points on FD. He's up $600 from where we had him last week on FD, but he still looks appealing, sporting a 31 percent usage rate and has taken 30 percent of shots while on the floor. Once more, Yurtseven has hauled in at least double-digit rebounds in all four contests this season, so expect that trend to continue Thursday. He'll have his hands full with Texas' Jericho Sims, however, as Sims ranks 19th national in offensive rebounding rate this season per KenPom. Regardless, I like Yurtseven to give us a double-double, producing at least four-times his salary in fantasy points.
Tre Jones; Duke, G ($8,000 FD, $ 8,300 DK)
The sophomore has had a phenomenal start to the season, averaging 30 minutes, 17 points and 5.8 assists through the first four games. His average minutes are skewed as well, as he played just nine minutes in the blowout win over Central Arkansas. Jones has been ball dominant for the young Blue Devils this season, sporting a 26 percent usage rate to go along with taking 25 percent of shots while on the floor. Duke has played at the 30th fastest pace per KenPom this year, further pushing Jones into the forefront. Despite being the most expensive option on the slate, I'll be using Jones in cash games, expecting him to produce in all facets of the game.
Marreon Jackson, Toledo, G ($7,300 FD, $7,600 DK)
The MAC is no joke when it comes to basketball, and Toledo is a team to watch in the conference. Led by Jackson, they've racked up a 61.7 percent effective field goal percentage thus far this season. The Rockets play at the 119th fastest pace, with Jackson sporting a 28 percent usage rate through four games. The team has scored at least 70 points in every game, with Jackson leading the way, averaging 18.8 points per game this campaign. He's a nice option Thursday averaging at least 29 minutes per game this season, but while I wouldn't advise playing him on DraftKings, it may be smart to provide a bit of variation on FanDuel with a relatively affordable price.
Christian Vital; Connecticut, G ($9,000)
Vital is the second-most expensive option on the DraftKings slate, and it's a bit of a head scratcher. He does own a 25 percent usage this season, but at a staggering $9,000, I can't justify playing him in my lineups. If you can't help yourself or you're a Connecticut fan, the Huskies do play at the 49th fastest pace this season, and Vital has averaged 30 minutes thus far. Buffalo also plays at an incredibly fast pace, so Vital could be in line for heavy minutes and usage. Again, I won't be playing Vital on DraftKings at that price, but I have no problem using him in a lineup or two if it entices you.
Timmy Allen, Utah, F ($8,700)
Fantasy players should get to know Allen, as he's averaged 22.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and two assists early this season. In the team's two closest games this year, Allen has played at least 37 minutes in both, and Thursday's matchup promises to be tight according to the bookmakers. Allen is also the top option for the Utes, owning a 29 percent usage rate and has taken 27 percent of shots while on the floor. Roll with Allen as a top option in lineups on DraftKings.
Jahmius Ramsey, Texas Tech, G ($8,500)
The freshman was a heralded recruit for coach Chris Beard this season, and has gotten off to a great start. Through three games, Ramsey has averaged 26.3 minutes, 19.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and two assists. Ramsey has also been leaned upon heavily, logging a 25 percent usage rate, and has taken a staggering 33 percent of his team's shots while on the floor. However, Ramsey has only played 66.5 percent of minutes in three blowouts this season, and with another one on the horizon at home, I won't be paying up for Ramsey on DraftKings.
Luka Garza; Iowa, F ($7,900)
I won't lie, my eyes lit up when I saw that Iowa would be on the slate Thursday. On top of playing at the 57th fastest tempo, they're incredibly unbalanced, slotted at sixth in offensive and 119th in defensive efficiency. Those stats favor fantasy, and Garza is the go-to guy for the Hawkeyes. He's logged a 33 percent usage rate to this point in the season, and is coming off a 30-point output last game against Oral Roberts. He's also averaged 10 rebounds per game this season, and with North Florida running at the 28th fastest pace, I'll be expecting lots of shots, and misses, for Garza to clean up the glass. Despite his likely high ownership, roll with Garza in every lineup you can, expecting him to be among the highest outputs Thursday.
Nate Reuvers; Wisconsin, F ($6,700)
Despite Wisconsin playing at a snail's pace (337th per KenPom), Reuvers looks to be the most appealing option out of all the Badgers. Reuvers has been in double-figures each game this season, and has averaged 6.3 rebounds per contest. His usage rates have been solid also, taking 26 percent of his team's shots, and racking up a 25 percent usage rate. He's second on the team, playing in 76 percent of minutes in the early going, and with Green Bay playing at the 10th fastest pace in the country, Reuvers should have chances to produce from a fantasy perspective. In FanDuel, I'll be paying up for Garza and Yurtseven, so I'll go with cheaper options instead, but I have no problem deploying Reuvers in cash games and providing some variation to your lineup.
Both FanDuel and DraftKings:
Andrew Jones, Texas, G ($5,800 FD, $5,500 DK)
Not only is Jones a great story, but he's also wildly undervalued in the slate Thursday. If you weren't aware, Jones made his return this season after sitting out almost the entire season last year with a cancer diagnosis. After beating the disease, he's emerged as an important piece in the Longhorns' rotation, averaging 25.5 minutes this season. He's been a go-to guy from a usage perspective, taking 29 percent of shots, and owns a 25 percent usage rate. The 6-foot-4 Jones should have little problems against the smaller guards of Georgetown, as Mac McClung and James Akinjo are listed at 6-2 and 6-1 respectively. It was a problem for Georgetown against Penn State last week, and I anticipate Jones will take advantage of the height disparity again this week.
Prentiss Hubb, Notre Dame, G ($5,700 FD, $5,300 DK)
The sophomore looks to be a good option at his price Thursday, especially considering the fact that he leads his team in percent of minutes played with 82.5 this season. The sophomore is off to a solid start, averaging 11.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists. On top of his favorable minutes, Hubb has logged 19 percent usage and taken 20 percent of his team's shots. Top option John Mooney ($7,900 FD, $8,600 DK) missed last game with an illness, and if he misses again, Hubb could be bordering must-start territory at an affordable price.
I wanted to highlight both guys from this game, especially considering the discrepancy in price for South across both platforms. South has played 74 percent of his team's minutes this season, and when he's been on the floor, taken 26 percent of shots. At $4,500 on FD, I love that opportunity to rack up points, as he's averaged 11.5 this season. In what should be a blowout, I don't advise playing South on DraftKings, so that's where Hurt comes in as a slightly cheaper option. Hurt has played at least 22 minutes in each of the four contests thus far, and has averaged 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. His usage sits at 19 percent, and has taken 25 percent of shots while on the floor, so I would roll with Hurt on DraftKings instead of South for the cheaper option.
Jeenathan Williams, Buffalo, F ($5,100)
There were a few ways we could have gone here highlighting this game, but I chose to go with the most cost-effective option in Williams. He's played 68 percent of minutes through three games, and has racked up a 26 percent usage rate in the early going. Williams led his team in shots last game with 12, and get also crash the glass, as he's averaged five boards a game this season. I love Williams here in a game that should be tightly-contested, as well as supporting fantasy production with a high total.
Keishawn Brewton, Coastal Carolina, G ($4,600)
I want to highlight some cheaper options to pair with the top players on the slate, as I feel this gives us the best chance for variation, and to win. At $4,600, I'm a big fan of Brewton to plug into my lineup as a cheap option. Game script shouldn't be an issue, as the total is high, the game is projected to be close, and Brewton has been a go-to guy for Coastal Carolina early. His 29 percent usage and 36 percent of shots taken are tops on his team through the first four games. What I love about Brewton is not only does he take a lot of shots, but a lot of threes. Although he's just shooting 27.3 percent from behind the arc, he has heaved up 22 3-pointers this season, which adds to his value if he can sink a couple Thursday.
Mark Freeman, Tennessee State, G ($4,400)
Trying to capitalize on blowouts isn't easy to do, but we'll attempt to find a hidden gem in Freeman. The Tigers play at the 103rd fastest pace this season, and the freshman has racked up a 20 percent usage rate. The guard can produce in all facets of the game, as he's averaged 5 points, two rebounds and 5.3 assists this campaign. The game should be a blowout according to the oddsmakers, so I would look for Freeman to get some much-needed minutes, as he's averaged 26.5 minutes this season. I'll highlight this game below further, but I love Freeman at his price to get us solid production.
J.T. Escobar, North Florida, G ($4,700)
I love rolling with proven commodities, and the senior has averaged 15 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists early this season. Escobar leads his team in minutes this season, playing in 83.3 percent through the first five games. Game script should help Escobar as well, considering North Florida plays at the 29th fastest pace, and the game features the highest total of any game on the slate for both platforms. I'll highlight this game more below, but Escobar would be my top cheap option for FanDuel out of this high-scoring affair.
Kameron Hankerson, Green Bay, G ($4,500)
We are really getting deep into the bargain bin, but if we want to stack my lineup with top options, we need to find hidden gems. Hankerson qualifies as exactly that, as he's rolling with a 26 percent usage rate, and has taken 28 percent of shots while on the court. In a blowout loss against Purdue, a game with a similar projected game script, Hankerson still played 25 minutes, and led his team in shots with 11. Green Bay plays at the 10th fastest pace in the country, so I would assume the Phoenix want to speed up Wisconsin if they want a chance, further helping Hankerson's chances to produce.
(I've listed a bunch more in other games highlighted below)
Games to Target
Both FanDuel and DraftKings:
Texas (-6) @ Georgetown, o/u 142.5, 7 p.m. EST
Were beating the same drum throughout the article, but with a high total and close game expected, it's no wonder why this is a top game to target. I'll be playing Yurtseven and Jones as I've already outlined, but the game scripts give us more opportunity to utilize both teams. For the Longhorns, I really like mixing Courtney Ramey ($5,700 FD, $5,300 DK) in lineups. He's played 78 percent of minutes thus far, and has racked up a 21 percent usage rate. On the other end, the Hoyas are pacing as the 19th fastest team early in the season, and showcase some bargain buys. My favorite option of which is Mac McClung ($5,200 FD, $5,400 DK). He's been used in 25 percent of possessions, and has taken 28 percent of shots while on the floor. I'm looking to play at least two players from this game in my lineups, and maybe as many as four in the lighter FanDuel slate.
Buffalo @ Connecticut (-3), o/u 151, 9 p.m. EST
This should be an absolute slugfest Thursday, as the Bulls play at the 37th fastest tempo in the country, and the Huskies coming in at 46th in pace. The second-highest total across both platforms is an easy one to highlight for me. On Buffalo's side, I touched on Williams, but their top option in my opinion is Jayvon Graves ($6,800). He leads the team in minutes, playing in 88 percent this season, and has a 21 percent usage rate. For the Huskies, aside from Vital whom I highlighted before, their only other option worth playing is Alterique Gilbert ($6,100). He's definitely an interesting play, especially considering he's played 87 percent of minutes, and has a 24 percent usage rate this season.
Utah (-4.5) @ Coastal Carolina, o/u 149, 7 p.m. EST
I'm a big fan of this game as I have followed the Utes fairly closely this season. They'll be in for a tough test as the oddsmakers suggest, taking on the scrappy Chanticleers. Aside from Allen, the Utes really utilize just two other players in their offense. Both Gach ($8,000) owns a 24 percent usage rate, with Rylan Jones ($7,800) owning a 23 percent usage rate himself. Along with Timmy Allen, the three players own an incredible 76 percent usage rate this season. At their current prices, I'd roll with Allen but Gach is certainly intriguing. For Coastal Carolina, they've scored at least 75 points in three of four games this year. Along with Brewton, a few players I like include Ebrima Dibba ($5,900) and Tommy Burton ($5,200). Dibba has played in 88 percent of minutes this season, while Burton owns a 23 percent usage rate.
North Florida @ Iowa (-18), o/u 159, 7 p.m. EST
I'll obviously be targeting this game, as I mentioned two players already that can make a difference in your lineup. The Hawkeyes play at the 60th-fastest pace this season, and showcase more than just Garza. Connor McCaffery ($4,900) and Joe Wieskamp ($6,000) should have great games, but I'm intrigued by Joe Toussaint ($4,100). Although he's played in just 30 percent of minutes, he has a 26 percent usage rate this season. The oddsmakers suggest a blowout, so I might take the risk and roll with Toussaint to get some garbage-time minutes a an incredibly cheap price. North Florida also plays at the 29th-fastest pace this season, and has scored at least 80 points three times this season. Their top option is a good one in Ivan Gandia-Rosa ($6,800), who owns a 23 percent usage rate while playing in 83 percent of minutes this season.
Games to Fade
Both FanDuel and DraftKings:
Xavier (-10) @ Towson, o/u 133.5, 7 p.m. EST
Towson was one of my teams to avoid last week against Florida, and the game produced a measly 126 points. With another low total expected, I'll be fading the Tigers again, keeping all their players absent from my lineups. Xavier does play at the 126th-fastest tempo this season, and has some intriguing options. Their top players include Naji Marshall ($7,000 FD, $7,700 DK) and Tyrique Jones ($6,400 FD, $7,200 DK). Marshall would be the preferred option of the two, as he's racked up a 31 percent usage rate to go along with taking 31 percent of shots while on the floor.
Tennessee State @ Texas Tech (-26), o/u 141, 8 p.m. EST
Despite this game looking to be fast-paced on paper (Tennessee State plays at the 100th-fastest pace), I can't look to roll with many players from the game. The huge spread really scares me in this game, and I can't ignore the Chris Beard effect. His teams have been known for their nasty defense, and I could see them really taking it to the Tigers to the tune of 75-48. The type of game script expected really makes our job difficult to pick players to perform, so I'll be avoiding this game for the most part and looking elsewhere.
Green Bay @ Wisconsin (-17.5), o/u 142, 9 p.m. EST
This could be a game where we find some hidden gems on both sides. Even though I normally fade the Badgers for fantasy purposes as they place at the 338th-fastest pace in the country, Green Bay on the other hand plays extremely fast. Kobe King ($5,600) is coming off a solid game against Marquette on Saturday, in which he racked up 10 points, three rebounds and four assists. He should be full of confidence after his nasty step-back three Saturday, and owns a 21 percent usage rate. The Phoenix offer plenty of cheap options aside from Kameron Hankerson. I like Trevian Bell at $4,400, as he's played 69 percent of minutes this season, and owns a 22 percent usage rate.
Nebraska-Omaha @ Washington St. (-7), o/u 143, 7 p.m. EST
This should be a tight contest, with both teams in the top half of tempo according to KenPom this season. The Mavericks were one game away from the NCAA tournament last season, and should prove tough Thursday. Their top option in my opinion is JT Gibson ($6,200). He's played 86 percent of minutes this season, and has taken 25 percent of shots on top of his 23 percent usage rate. For the Cougars, the team runs through CJ Elleby ($8,400). He's off to a great start this season, averaging 17.4 points and 7.9 rebounds. The do-it-all sophomore has averaged 32 minutes a night, and owns a 27 percent usage rate this campaign.
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