This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Welcome back to another addition of the Thursday preview. We see another strong slate of games, going steady with a large portion of Pac-12 games. We have about six more weeks of the preview before we head into postseason play. For the first time this season, the list of games is the same on both platforms, featuring Michigan State/Indiana, Connecticut/Houston, Washington State/Colorado, USC/Oregon, Utah/Washington and UCLA/Oregon State. College basketball has been as unpredictable as we've ever seen, so it may be wise to think creatively going forward in roster creation. 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.
Tres Tinkle, Oregon State, F ($8,700 FD, $9,000 DK)
It seems like just about every week we're talking about Tinkle, and with good reason. The senior has amassed 30 or more DK points in five of six conference games this season. Tinkle continues to lead the Beavers with his 27.1 percent usage rate to go along with playing in 86 percent of minutes this year. He'll face a tough matchup against a UCLA team that plays at the 312nd-fastest tempo, per KenPom. I'm looking for Tinkle to put up 35 DK points Thursday, which isn't enough to justify playing him in most lineups with his high price tag.
Payton Pritchard, Oregon, G ($8,500 FD, $8,900 DK)
The All-American candidate had a phenomenal week, most notably icing the game with a step-back three in overtime to defeat Washington on Saturday 64-61. Pritchard has been the go-to-guy for the Ducks this season, amassing a 27.4 percent usage rate to go along with taking 27.1 percent of shots while on the floor. In six conference games, Pritchard has racked up 38.2 DK points per game, and with his opponent USC playing at the 55th-fastest pace this year, I'm rolling with the senior in my lineups Thursday.
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State, F ($8,100 FD, $8,800 DK)
It's a bit surprising to see Tillman's price tag this high. He's coming off 31.3 DK points against Wisconsin, and could be stifled again against an Indiana team that is the 13th-tallest team in the country. Tillman is, however, averaging a double-double this season at 13.9 points and 10.0 rebounds to go along with his 22.3 percent usage rate. Indiana plays at a quick tempo of 147th in the country, and with a tight one expected in Bloomington, Tillman could see upwards of 34 minutes Thursday. He's not one of my favorite plays, but I don't have a problem plugging the junior into a few lineups in tournaments.
Isaiah Stewart, Washington, F ($7,800 FD, $8,700 DK)
Stewart has been an absolute load down low this season, and is coming off a 25 point, 19-rebound performance in Saturday's loss to Oregon. The freshman has been the leading man for the Huskies this season, racking up a 26.5 percent usage rate to go along with taking 27.1 percent of shots while on the floor. Utah is currently riding a four-game losing streak, giving up 84 points per game during that span, meaning Stewart could be in line to feast Thursday. One problem for Stewart: foul trouble. He's averaged three fouls a game, including fouling out of last Thursday's game against Oregon State. He's in line to face Timmy Allen of the Utes who is 10th in the country in drawing 7.2 fouls per game this season. Play Stewart and his running mate Jaden McDaniels ($6,300 FD, $7,200 DK) at your own risk.
Onyeka Okongwu, USC, F ($8,300 FD, $8,600 DK)
Another Pac-12 freshman that has been setting the league on fire, as he's averaging 31.2 DK points per game through five conference clashes. Okongwu has established himself as the leading man for the Trojans, leading the team in usage (24.3 percent) and percent of shots taken (25.7 percent). He does face a tough matchup against an Oregon offense that place at a bottom-30 in the country pace this season. On the flip side, Okongwu sits 21st in the country in block percentage at 10.9 percent, facing a team that has seen nearly 10 percent of their shots blocked this year, coming in at 259th in the country in that category.
Will Richardson, Oregon, G ($4,900 FD, $5,600 DK)
On of the sport's unheralded players, Richardson has been a key contributor behind star Payton Pritchard. Richardson has been on the floor for 69 percent of his team's minutes this year, racking up an 18.4 percent usage rate. The sophomore is coming off his first start of the season Saturday, playing in 37 minutes in the overtime win. I'm looking for Richardson to give me production in all facets of the game, as he's averaged 20.2 DK points through the first five conference games.
Lucas Siewert, Colorado, F ($4,800 FD, $4,500 DK)
The slate is packed with Pac-12 games and Siewert looks like a nice play as a deep sleeper. Even though he has yet to start, he's played in all 18 games this year, seeing action in 52 percent of his team's minutes. The senior has been hot as of late, reaching at least 20 DK points the past two games. Him and the rest of his teammates face a favorable matchup against a Washington State team that plays at the 69th-fastest pace this year.
Gabe Brown, Michigan State, F ($4,600 FD, $4,900 DK)
Aljami Durham, Indiana, G ($4,300 FD, $5,100 DK)
Caleb Mills, Hoston, F ($4,600 FD, $5,400 DK)
Jamal Bey, Washington, G ($4,100 FD, $4,300 DK)
Aljaz Kunc, Washington State, F ($3,900 FD, $4,400 DK)
Ethan Anderson, USC, G ($4,600 FD, $5,000 DK)
Tyger Campbell, UCLA, G ($4,700 FD, $5,400 DK)
Zach Reichle, Oregon State, G ($4,600 FD, $5,300 DK)
Game to Target
Michigan State (-2.5) @ Indiana, o/u 142.5, 8:30 p.m. EST
This game has all the makings of a classic Big Ten slugfest Thursday. Both teams play at a sub-150 pace and the experts in Vegas are calling for a tight affair. Michigan State starts as the favorite, but it'll be a tough test, especially considering the well-documented successes of home teams in the conference this season. My favorite play for the Spartans is Cassius Winston ($7,500 FD, $7,900 DK). He's leading the team by a wide margin in usage at 29.9 percent and has taken 30.6 percent of shots while on the floor. The senior has struggled in his past two games, but I believe means he's due for a huge game. I really like Gabe Brown ($4,600 FD, $4,900 DK) at his current prices. He had a phenomenal game Friday against Wisconsin, making all six shots he took. He's been extremely efficient, as he ranks 58th in the country in offensive rating this year per KenPom (122.6).
The Hoosiers face a Spartans team that runs at the 81st-fastest pace this year and have a few solid options. Their top play Thursday is Trayce Jackson-Davis ($7,000 FD, 7,800 DK). The freshman has been outstanding this season, as he's ninth in the country in offensive rating (129.8) and is rolling with a 63.6 percent effective field goal percentage. His 20.9 percent usage rate is good for second on the team. I would suspect this would be a huge opportunity for Devonte Green ($5,100 FD, $5,500 DK) facing the All-American candidate in Winston. Green leads the team with a 24.1 percent usage rate this year, but has had problems with consistency. The senior has averaged 22 DK points per game at home compared to just 16.5 on the road.
Game to Avoid
Connecticut @ Houston (-9.5) o/u 131.5, 9 p.m. EST
The lowest total on the slate is an easy game to avoid for me, and features a Houston team that plays at the 273rd-fastest pace. Connecticut ranks just 136th in offensive efficiency this year and is led by Christian Vital ($6,700 FD, $7,700 DK). The senior is leading the team in percent of minutes played (72 percent), usage (25.8 percent) and percent of shots taken (26.6 percent). A player I may want to take a chance on is James Bouknight ($4,500 FD, $4,800 DK). He's racked up a 24.1 percent usage rate but has played in just 42 percent of minutes. His 16.3 DK points per game look intriguing for me to plug into lineups.
Houston has enjoyed a strong season under coach Kelvin Sampson, sitting at 12th in the country in offensive efficiency. They have a much more balanced attack with seven players playing at least 45 percent of minutes this year. The only real play that warrants a look for me is Caleb Mills ($4,600 FD, $5,400 DK). He's been strong on the offensive end for the Cougars, racking up a 27.8 percent usage rate to go along with taking a whopping 33.1 percent of shots while on the floor.
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