This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
After a small slate of games last week, we're back for another edition of the DFS Thursday night preview. It's another light list of games, as both platforms have three similar games with DraftKings adding two Pac-12 games in Prairie View/Colorado and Florida A&M/Washington State. There are some big programs and championship caliber teams in action on both platforms featuring Wofford/Duke, Maryland/Seton Hall and NC State/Auburn. Keep in mind as the season goes on, there's a better indication of usage rates, and how teams will fill out their rotations. As always, we have plenty of useful tools to help you compile your rosters, especially our advanced daily lineups and lineup optimizer. Let's dive into the slate.
Vernon Carey Jr., Duke, F ($8,500 FD, $9,000 DK)
The double-double machine has secured the feat in seven of his first 10 games to start his college career, but faces a slow matchup against the 308th-fastest tempo in the country in Wofford. Carey is certainly assimilated to the college game nicely, and coach Mike Krzyzewski has awarded his strong play with a 30.4 percent usage rate this season. Carey is first in the nation in fouls drawn per game at 8.9, which suggests he could get the Wofford frontcourt in foul trouble, but that he'll be getting to the line for free throw attempts as well. I would anticipate Carey being highly-owned in all formats Thursday, so I wouldn't be opposed to fading the public in a game that features a 19-point spread.
Tyler Bey, Colorado, G/F ($8,800 DK only)
A national Player of The Year candidate for the Buffaloes, Bey has put up less than 25 DraftKings points just once in the first 10 games of the season. He's the go-to guy so far in the campaign, leading his team in usage at 25.3 percent, and has taken 18 percent of shots while on the floor. Bey has averaged 10.4 rebounds this season, and is facing a Prairie View team that has the 53rd-fastest tempo and ranks 285th in offensive efficiency, Bey should have no problem cleaning up the glass. Another attractive stat for Bey is that he's also leading the country in free throw rate this season, which measures a player's ability to get the line relative to how often he attempts to score, per KenPom. I'd prefer Bey over Carey on Thursday, even though a blowout is projected by Vegas in both games.
CJ Elleby, Washington State, F ($8,700 DK only)
Leading a two-headed monster for the Cougars this season along with Isaac Boyton ($6,800), Elleby leads the team in usage at 28.4 percent. He'll draw a solid matchup against a Florida A&M team that plays at the 123rd-fastest pace per KenPom. Despite a lopsided scoreline projected Tuesday, Elleby has taken at least eight shots each game and has averaged 32.2 minutes per night, evidencing Kyle Smith will still play his star player in a blowout. Although it may be risky, I'll be using the Pac-12 front court stack on DraftKings on Tuesday, looking to use both Elleby and Bey in advantageous matchups.
Tre Jones; Duke, G ($7,600 FD, $8,800 DK)
The sophomore has seemed to hand the reins to Carey going forward this season, but still ranks second on the team with a 25.8 percent usage rate. Jones has racked up at least 30 DraftKings points in each of his last five games, and as mentioned earlier, faces a solid matchup against Wofford. Jones features the most opportunity of any Blue Devil this season, playing a team-leading 85 percent of minutes through 10 games. The Terriers are fourth in the nation in three-point attempt percentage, so long rebounds could be nabbed by Jones to start the fast break the other way. I like Jones a lot better at his price point on FanDuel, and can't advise playing him on DraftKings with plenty of other guards to choose from Thursday
Jalen Smith; Maryland, F ($7,900 FD, $8,500 DK)
The Maryland big man has started his season off strong, scoring at least 25 DraftKings points in every game this season. Smith hasn't quite dominated the ball on the offensive end, however, as he ranks second on the team with a 23.4 percent usage rate. Smith should see plenty of minutes Thursday as well, as he's been on the court for 70 percent of his teams minutes this season. Facing the 96th-fastest team in the country, I really like Smith on FanDuel, however, with other high-end front court options on DraftKings I won't be using him on that platform.
Matthew Hurt, Duke, F ($4,600 FD, $5,300 DK)
Opportunity and usage are the name of the game for value options, and Hurt fits the bill in both instances. Hurt has suited up in 52.6 percent of minutes this season, and owns a 20.7 percent usage rate. He's not afraid to defer on offense either, as he's taken 25.2 percent of shots while he's been on the floor, good for second on the team. The freshman has started all but one game for the Blue Devils this year, and will be on my rosters in both formats Thursday.
Lucas Siewert, Colorado, F ($4,800 DK)
We're really digging deep into a possible matchup that we can exploit Thursday. Prairie View comes in as one of the shortest teams in college basketball, and last time out against a Pac-12 foe, they allowed Arizona State center Romello White to dominate the game to the tune of 14 points and 16 rebounds. Now I don't expect Siewert to post those numbers, however, he's played 51.5 percent of minutes off the bench this season, and with a blowout expected, could get more run than usual late in the game. He and the rest of the Colorado frontcourt should feast on a nice matchup on the glass, especially with the 53rd-fastest tempo.
Myles Powell out special: With news breaking Tuesday that Powell will be out indefinitely with a concussion, I wanted to highlight who will be picking up the slack for the Pirates. Not only is Powell sidelined, but big man Sandro Mamukelashvili (wrist) is also sidelined, taking out the top two highest usages on the team. In steps forward Jared Rhoden ($4,800 FD, $5,500 DK) who is slated to join the starting lineup, and has racked up a 21.4 percent usage rate this year. At guardm the two I like to step into more prominent roles are Quincy McKnight ($5,000 FD, $6,300 DK) and Shavar Reynolds ($4,000 FD, $4,300 DK). McKnight has started every game this season to go along with a 19.7 percent usage rate, and Reynolds looks to see an uptick in minutes having played in 40 percent of them along with a 16 percent usage rate thus far.
Here are a few players not mentioned above who meet the following criteria: they start, play at least 25.0 mpg, are top 2 on their team in usage rate and are priced less than $5,500, per our Advanced Daily Lineups Page.
Game to Target
NC State @ Auburn (-8), o/u 151.5, 9 p.m. EST
With both teams in the top half of pace per KenPom in the nation this season, and a total above 150, this is a solid game to draw from. For the visiting Wolfpack, the team runs through Markell Johnson ($6,800 FD, $8,000 DK), who leads the team with a 26 percent usage rate. There are a few nice depth options as well that come to mind with the first one being Jericole Hellems ($4,800 FD, $5,700 DK). He's played 68 percent of minutes, started eight of 10 games, and has accumulated a 19.6 percent usage rate this year. If you want to dive deep into the bargain bin, I like Braxton Beverly ($4,100 FD, $4,600 DK), as he's started every game for the Wolfpack this season and has played in 71.3 percent of the team's minutes.
Auburn is one of the deepest teams in the nation, featuring a fast tempo and a nine-man rotation for head coach Bruce Pearl. The top fantasy option for the Tigers is Samir Doughty ($6,300 FD, $7,900 DK), as he's played 78.4 percent of minutes and has racked up a 23 percent usage rate. I really like Austin Wiley ($5,900 FD, $7,200 DK) in this matchup, as NC State is more known for their guard play than front court. Wiley leads the team in usage at 26.9 percent, and has started every game for the Tigers this season.
Game to Avoid
Wofford @ Duke (-19), o/u 146, 7 p.m. EST
Although I do like a few players from this game, it's one that's tough to predict. The total and high point spread certainly are cause for pause, and Wofford comes in as the 302nd-fastest team in Division 1 this season. For the Blue Devils, I can't really advise to play any other players on the roster other than the ones mentioned already. If you wanted to take a flyer and hope the game gets out of hand, Alex O'Connell ($3,800 FD, $4,100 DK) is dirt cheap and has not only played in 33 percent of minutes, but also has a 19 percent usage rate this year.
The Terriers just took down Duke's rival in North Carolina on Sunday in a slow and ugly 68-64 win. I would expect Wofford to try to input a similar strategy if they want to pull off another upset, really limiting our fantasy potential in this game. Furthermore, Wofford has had just three games creep above 70 possessions in a game, with two of which coming against non-D-1 teams. There should be a ton of three's put up in this game, and I like guard Nathan Hoover ($4,600 FD, $6,000 DK) at his price point. The senior has played in 86 percent of minutes this season, and is leading the team with a 25.6 usage rate. If you hope the game gets out of hand, Tray Hollowell ($4,200 FD, $4,400 DK) is your guy with a 21.4 percent usage rate this season, suiting up in 47.6 percent of minutes, and has played in all nine games to this point.
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