This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
We continue to move along through conference play after the New Year with another massive Thursday slate. I'd echo that I expect this to be the norm going forward, and I'll likely be touching on some of the same conferences, players and teams I have in the past. The list of games on both platforms includes Arizona/Oregon, Purdue/Michigan, Michigan State/Minnesota, Memphis/Wichita State and Washington/Stanford. With DraftKings adding Gonzaga/San Diego, BYU/St. Mary's and Arizona State/Oregon State. During this part of the season and going forward, teams will start to narrow their rotations in crunch time, so usage rates and minutes are especially important when filling out lineups. 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.
Daniel Oturu, Minnesota, F ($8,700 FD, $9,200 DK)
Oturu was a guy I wrote about last week, but he had an absolute sensational week. In his past three games alone, he's averaged 23 points and 18 rebounds. I'll repeat that, 18 REBOUNDS per game. The sophomore has also played in 81 percent of his team's minutes this season, racking up a 26.2 percent usage rate in the process. Oturu is a must-start for me Thursday, especially considering Michigan State places the 62nd-fastest pace in the country this year. Pair him up with Marcus Carr ($7,500 FD, $8,100 DK) – who's leading the team in usage at 27.3 percent – and you have a phenomenal start to a lineup.
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State, F ($8,000 FD, $8,400 DK)
Tillman has been on an absolute tear this season, achieving at least 30 DK points in his past 10 contests. He looks quite appealing Thursday, especially considering he leads his team in playing 76.3 percent of minutes and has racked up a 22 percent usage rate this season. Not only does Michigan State play at the 62nd-fastest pace that I mentioned, his team currently leads the nation in offensive efficiency this year. I like Tillman at his price point, but I'd rather roll with his teammate Cassius Winston ($7,300 FD, $8,200 DK) at a bit cheaper price in my lineups with so many forward options.
Precious Achiuwa, Memphis, F ($7,600 FD, $8,300 DK)
The freshman has established himself as one of the best in the country, as he's achieved a double-double in nine of his last 10 games. He appears to be the most enticing option for the Tigers this year, leading the team in usage at 26.2 percent, and has taken 26.7 percent of the shots while he's on the floor. Achiuwa also faces a great matchup from a fantasy perspective Thursday, as Wichita State has seen 10 of their 14 games have at least 70 possessions. I like Achiuwa as the top option in a game that should see plenty of points and go down to the wire.
Isaiah Stewart, Washington, F ($7,800 FD, $8,700 DK)
Another freshman that I've touched on previously and continues to tear up college basketball. Stewart has racked up a double-double in six of his past seven games and has averaged 40.3 DK points in that span. He's leading the team in usage rate this year, sitting at 27.7 percent and has taken a whopping 29.3 percent of shots while he's been on the floor. I am a bit nervous for the matchup Thursday, as Stanford plays at the 183rd-fastest pace, and his likely opponent Oscar Da Silva has drawn 6 fouls per game this year. Stewart has had some foul trouble, averaging three per game this year, but he's reached the territory that I would overlook his foul troubles and plug him into lineups without hesitation Thursday.
Yoeli Childs; BYU, F ($8,900 DK only)
Childs injured his finger in Tuesday's practice but is expected to be ready for Thursday's game against St. Mary's. It will be important to check on his status ahead of lineup lock, as he's racked up at least 35 DK points in all seven games he's appeared in. He doesn't quite qualify among the nation's leaders since he's only played in seven games since serving a suspension early in the year, but he'd sit at 29th in the country in usage rate this year at 31.8 percent. I'd be cautious with the senior on Thursday, however, as St. Mary's plays at the 327th-fastest pace in the country and could elect to slow the pace at home in a critical conference matchup.
Daejon Davis, Stanford, G ($6,100 FD, $6,000 DK)
With so many high-priced forward options, Davis is one of the first guards I'm looking to add to my lineup Thursday. He's coming off a season-high 42 DK points while playing 35 minutes in Sunday's win over California. He's been the primary ball handler for the Cardinal this season, playing 80 percent of minutes and racking up an 18.1 percent usage rate. Add the fact that Washington plays at the 103rd-fastest tempo this season, and I love Davis on Thursday against a team that's thin at the guard position.
Gabe Brown, Michigan State, F, ($4,600 FD, $4,800 DK)
I wanted to highlight Brown because I really like this game against Minnesota. It seems as though all the most expensive options are at forward, so finding one from the bargain bin is essential to stack the top options. The sophomore has started the past seven games for the Spartans, and although he's only accumulated a 14.5 percent usage rate this year, Brown has averaged 18.6 DK points in that seven game span.
N'Faly Dante, Oregon, F ($4,400 FD, $4,200 DK)
Another bargain-bin forward that looks too cheap to pass up Thursday. Dante finally made his collegiate debut Dec. 18 and has suited up in the past five games for the Ducks. The freshman appears to be a vital addition for the team that was lacking front-court depth, especially with Shakir Jusiton (lower leg) banged up recently. I have no problem taking a flyer on Dante at his price, as he's racked up a 24.2 percent usage rate this season and could be in line for at least 20 minutes Thursday.
Eric Hunter Jr., Purdue, G ($5,200 FD, $5,700 DK)
Eli Brooks, Michigan, G ($4,900 FD, $5,300 DK)
Jamarius Burton, Wichita State, G ($5,800 FD, $5,800 DK)
Chase Jeter, Arizona, F ($4,900 FD, $5,200 DK)
Anthony Mathis, Oregon, G ($4,700 FD, $4,600 DK)
Braun Hartfield, San Diego, G ($5,900 DK)
Alex Barcello, BYU, G ($5,600 DK)
Tommy Kuhse, St. Mary's, G ($4,500 DK)
Zach Reichle, Oregon State, G ($5,100 DK)
Game to Target
Memphis @ Wichita State (-4), o/u 140.5, 7 p.m. EST
I'm hoping for another hectic American matchup between two up-and-coming powers Thursday. The two teams combine for one of the highest totals on the slate, with both teams playing at fast paces. Starting with the Tigers, outside of Achiuwa whom I've already touched on, they seem to be incredibly balanced. Damion Baugh ($5,300 FD, $5,000 DK) missed Tuesday's practice will illness, but if he plays, I'm adding him to my lineups. He's started all 14 games for the Tigers this year while racking up a 20.9 percent usage rate. I would attest that Boogie Ellis ($4,600 FD, $4,300 DK) is almost a must-start for me Thursday. He's started every game, played in 59 percent of the team's minutes this season and has racked up an 18.6 percent usage rate this year. Wichita State plays at the 103rd-fastest pace per KenPom so many Tigers will be a trendy lineup choices.
Wichita State draws a great matchup against the ninth-fastest paced team in Memphis on Thursday. The Shockers appear quite balanced on paper as well, but their top option from a fantasy perspective is Erik Stevenson ($6,800 FD, $7,500 DK). He leads the team in minutes played (72.1 percent) and usage (21.6 percent) as well as racking up 30.2 DK points per game. The depth option I like for the Shockers comes in the form of Jamarius Burton ($5,800 FD, $5,800 DK). He's started the past seven games while averaging 22.5 DK points per game this year. I like both teams to reach the 80's on Thursday, and with Burton sitting at 93rd in the country in assist rate (29.7), I like him to see production in all facets of the game.
Game to Fade
Purdue @ Michigan (-5), o/u 128.5, 7 p.m. EST
This is an obvious pick with the lowest total on the slate, as it appears to be a defensive battle on paper. Purdue sits at the 327th-fastest pace per KenPom while coming in at 10th in defensive efficiency, matching up with a Michigan defense that ranks 29th in efficiency. Purdue really doesn't have a dominant offensive player on their team in terms of usage and minutes, but Jahaad Proctor catches my eye ($4,800 FD, $5,900 DK). He's second on the team in minutes played at 73 percent this season and has racked up a 20.1 percent usage rate. His guard partner Eric Hunter Jr. ($5,200 FD, $5,700 DK) leads the team in minutes played at 76.6 percent and has averaged 21.8 DK points per game this year.
On the other side of the court, are led by their senior leader Zavier Simpson ($7,000 FD, $7,800 DK). He's leading the team in percent of minutes played and usage at 79.1 and 25.6 percent, respectively, and is fifth in the country in assist rate (47.2 percent). He'll be relied upon heavily. My favorite depth option is Eli Brooks ($4,900 FD, $5,300 DK). He's started all 14 games for the Wolverines, playing 77.3 percent of minutes and racking up an 18.3 percent usage rate.
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