This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Welcome to Day 3 of the college basketball season. If today's your first day playing, I'd recommend taking a good look at Wednesday's preview, which runs down all of the most popular CBB-centric tools on RotoWire. Today we'll be covering two DraftKings slates – early and main. Time to jump in for another full day of action.
1. Kofi Cockburn, F, Illinois ($8,500 DK)
Cockburn has potential to be one of the best big men in the country, and has already recorded double-doubles in his first two games despite playing just 17 and 22 minutes. While Ohio is the best rebounding team of the trio he's faced, and it's also projected to be the closest of the three games, Cockburn could get more run here after being used conservatively in the two earlier blowouts. The seven-footer is by far more physical and athletic than anyone the Bobcats can throw at him.
2. Jordan Walker, G, Tulane ($5,900 DK)
Lamar is a glorious early-season matchup, projecting to be top-100 in tempo but No. 238 in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. The Cardinals gave up 89 points in the opener to a slow-paced Houston, so really anyone is in play here. I'll take last year's point guard, Walker, over newcomer Gabe Watson at ($7,900). Nebraska transfer Kevin Cross ($4,700) is also very much in play, with potential to lead the Green Wave in rebounding this year.
3. Xavier Johnson, G, George Mason ($5,200 DK)
George Mason escaped with a one-point win in its opener against D-2 Queens Royals, so the box score hopefully can shed some light on the actual rotation. In this contest, Johnson had more minutes (32) and field-goal attempts (9) than Javon Greene, the highest-priced George Mason player on the slate at $8,200. Belmont plays at a projected top-30 pace, and when attacking the Bruins, I'm going after the new-look backcourt instead of the experienced frontcourt. Josh Oduro ($3,800) is still in my player pool after he started and attempted 10 shots in the opener, and while I expect tougher sledding here, that price is tough to beat.
4. JaCobi Wood, G, Belmont ($3,100 DK)
Wood was tied for the most minutes (34), points (21) and field-goal attempts (14) in Belmont's 95-78 win over Howard in the opening slate. Hard to tell if that was a fluke or not, but you can't do much better for basically minimum price.
1. Ryan Daly, St. Joseph's ($9,100 DK)
Kansas gave up a whopping 102 points in its opener against the No. 1 team in the nation, but that's far, far from what to typically expect from this team defensively. I'm taking a flier and guessing reigning defensive player of the year Marcus Garrett will get some time defending the Hawks' best player, but either way, expecting 4x here seems like a long shot.
2. WKU Backcourt
This is really a PSA to exercise caution with the Hilltoppers after a lightning-fast start. I couldn't in good conscience recommend an outright fade of Charles Bassey ($8,400), but do note his price has jumped $3k since opening day and he now gets his toughest post matchup of the year. These aren't two-stars or freshman we're talking about – it's Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver, a pair of grown men. I worry more about the backcourt, however, especially if guys like Tavion Hollingsworth can live up to a $7,700 price tag when Press Virginia will constantly be in their face. It just feels like you're buying high all around here.
The Bruins were without both Jalen Hill (knee) and Johnny Juzang (stress reaction) in the opener. Riley went for a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards, and while Smith had a bit of a off game with just 10 points and three assists, it's Smith who's considered the NBA-caliber talent. These plays are a bit contingent on Hill sitting once again, but once that's confirmed, both Smith and Riley are again in play for a pace-boosted matchup against Pepperdine – a far cry from an SDSU team with exceptional defense and a grudgingly-slow tempo.
2. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine ($6,300 DK, $7,100 FD)
Sticking to this fast-paced matchup, Edwards is the Pepperdine player to target if Hill does end up sitting. He had 20 and 7 in the opener, and averaged 13.8 ppg and 7.5 rpg a season ago. Edwards was the usage and shot rate leader (among starters) against UC Irvine on Wednesday and can get you Colbey Ross production without the Colbey Ross price tag ($7,600).
3. David Johnson, G, Louisville ($6,900 DK, $,6,000 FD)
Carlik Jones ($8,000) stole the show on opening night, but a closer look shows Johnson only needed 23 minutes to rack up seven boards and five assists. He was whistled four times and the game was a blowout, so I'm not too concerned about four points on 2-of-7 shooting. I expect Louisville to also get a lot more shots up Friday, with Evansville ranking No. 355 in tempo, while Seton Hall cracks the top-100. The Pirates are also replacing their starting PG and SG from a year ago. Furthermore, Johnson was the only Louisville player with preseason accolades of note, getting a second-team all-conference nod. He won't be under $7k for long.
BONUS: Mladen Armus, F, Boise State ($4,600 DK, $5,400 FD)
Here's your wild-card salary relief play. The 6-10 Armus averaged 8.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2018-19 season at ETSU and is fresh off a year on the sidelines due to NBA transfer rules. Nothing about the pace or overall defense of Houston is attractive, but Armus will have a two-inch height advantage over anyone the Cougars can throw at him in the frontcourt. He's also a projected starter, according to CBS Sports Insider Jon Rothstein. He only needs 23 DK points for that 5x you're looking for to have a shot at GPPs, but the ceiling is seemingly higher. He has career highs of 21 points and 17 rebounds, plus can chip in a few steals and blocks.
1. Caleb Mills, G, Houston ($6,300 DK, $7,700 FD)
Mills missed the season opener after tweaking his ankle and he's no lock to play here. Point forward DeJon Jarreau ($6,900) seems to benefit most from his absence. Marcus Sasser gets a usage bump as well, but you have to pay up for it at $7,900.
2. Jared Rhoden, G/F, Seton Hall ($7,300 DK, $6,400 FD)
No hate here (and there never is in the "fades" in case any players stumble across these), but I'm just not sure I'm seeing $2,800 difference between Rhoden and Myles Cale ($4,500). Rhoden's numbers were a bit better across the board last season after Cale fell off a bit, but Cale has 98 appearances (64 starts) with the program. Cale's scoring dropped from 10.2 ppg to 6.0 ppg between his sophomore and junior year, but between the two, the usage and shot rates weren't much different. The Pirates are now tasked with replacing a ton of production from Myles Powell and Quincy McKnight. While Rhoden may have more room to grow, I'd rather see that play out against a weak mid-major opponent than KenPom's No. 25-ranked defensive team in Louisville.