This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
DraftKings is one-game lighter Saturday than its normal 10-game main slate, which goes off at a traditional noon EST, but wraps up with 3:30 p.m tip-offs rather than the standard 4 p.m. We're obviously in the thick of conference play, so we're seeing a lot of repeat matchups, but we'll try not to lean on familiarity too much.
Matt Coleman, G, Texas ($6,000 DK, $6,000 FD)
There's just something to be said for consistency. Coleman averages 13.1 ppg, and he's scored exactly 13 points in six of his last seven outings. It's resulted in 4x return in six of the Longhorns' last 10 games with a low of 18.5 DKP. He should get a decent pace boost as this game has the second-highest total, and Coleman went for 34.75 DKP in an earlier matchup with Oklahoma State. Priced just less than the average per slot at DK, Coleman seems as safe as the come.
Isaac Likekele, G, Oklahoma State ($5,900 DK, $6,200 FD)
This play is simply about buying the dip, as Likekele was priced as high as $7,900 at DK the last 10 games. Yes, he averaged just 6.8 ppg across his last four, but that's created this buying opportunity. He's an elite rebounder for a guard, and gets a handful of assists and steals each game. He needs only 23.6 DKP to return 4x, a number he's hit eight times in his last 10 outings. Texas' defense is elite (22nd in efficiency per KenPom), but we noted above the high total of about 148 points, and it's a tight spread.
Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas ($5,500 DK, $5,500 FD)
Another Big 12 option where we can buy the lower tag. Wilson's price spiked as high as $8,200 a month ago, so that alone seems to make him a bargain. He moved back into the starting lineup in the Jayhawks last outing after a brief stint as a reserve due to poor play, and while he went 3-13 from the floor, he had an obscene 37.2 usage rate. Assuming he gets back to a normal 30ish minutes he can flirt with 6-7x if all clicks, and the lower price means we can accept a less than stellar outing.
Dru Smith, G, Missouri ($8,000 DK, $6,400 FD)
For GPPs, I have no real issue with Smith, but this price is hard to justify, even with a boosted pace thanks to Alabama's ninth-ranked adjusted tempo. The Tide, maybe somewhat surprisingly, also come in with the nation's third-ranked adjusted defense. It's a tight spread, and the slate's largest total, so there's certainly a case for Smith to explode. But he's also had five games in his last 10 with less than 18 DKP. That's far too volatile for me.
Trent Frazier, G, Illinois ($6,500 DK, $4,800 FD)
Frazier is on a three-game heater, averaging 18.7 ppg and resulting in a 31.1 DKP average. That looks attractive at this price, but the matchup isn't, and there's no reason to overthink it. Wisconsin checks in eighth defensively and 328th in tempo, additionally allowing just a 31.7 percent clip from 3-point range. There's certainly a path to 4x given form, and he's clearly appealing at FD, but expecting more from Frazier at a near-average price at DK feels like fool's gold.
Pauly Paulicap, F, DePaul ($6,000 DK)
Simply put, no. Paulicap remains overpriced thanks to a 42.0 DKP outburst against St. John's, but he's been held to 16.0 DKP in seven of his last 10, and has seen more than 20 minutes in only four of those outings. Mix in that the Blue Demons are underdogs in a game flirting with the slate's lowest total, and there's no clear path to upside. 3x is the likely ceiling.
Six games are featured at DK mid-afternoon, with tip-offs between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. EST. It includes the best rivalry in college hoops, even if there's no atmosphere and both teams are on the tournament bubble. I could easily see some casual entries simply because of Duke-UNC, and while I won't (I'm a UNC hoops guy), fading because of favoritism isn't wrong.
Matthew Hurt, F, Duke ($7,500 DK, $8,000 FD)
I watch too much UNC basketball, and I know their perimeter defensive rotations are horrible. Further, a proven strategy has been to spread out their bigs and make them defend the outside. Hurt can make them pay on both fronts. He's the team's leading scorer, rebounder and 3-point shooter. He hasn't topped 30 DKP in three straight, a result of a 3-of-14 streak from behind the arch. That changes here in a big way.
Devontae Shuler, G, Mississippi ($6,800 DK, $6,300 FD)
This is a tough game to choose a side, with Ole Miss' 309th-ranked tempo and 17th-ranked defense facing Auburn's 36th-ranked tempo and 93rd-ranked defense. The Rebels managed 72 points in an earlier matchup, and Shuler put up 31.25 DKP despite a 3-of-10 shooting performance that led to only seven points. That shows a stable floor, and you'd expect a few more shots to fall, even if it comes at the expense of peripheral numbers. Shuler is certainly capable of a 5x ceiling.
Dawson Garcia, F, Marquette ($5,200 DK, $6,100 FD)
Garcia may be playing through a freshman wall, as he's emerged from a two-game funk to post 52.25 DKP in his last two, including his last outing where he managed to foul out in 18 minutes. He's been priced as high as $6,700, appearing to be discounted as such. He simply needs to stay out of foul trouble to return 4x, and with Creighton ranking 10th in offensive efficiency and this game coming with the slate's highest total, Garcia should outperform his tag out of necessity.
Xavier Johnson, G, Pittsburgh ($7,200 DK, $7,100 FD)
Pittsburgh was surprisingly able to force tempo in its last outing against Virginia Tech (282nd adjusted tempo), but I can't see that happening again against the Cavaliers (357th adjusted tempo, 19th adjusted defense). Johnson is a capable multi-category contributor, but he's only a 32.1 percent shooter from the outside. I expect he'll have to force plenty of shots late in the shot clock, unsuccessfully, and his floor isn't nearly as stable as Justin Champagnie ($9,300 DK, $9,000 FD), having five games of 20.75 DKP or less in his last 10.
Pete Nance, F, Northwestern ($7,100)
There just doesn't appear to be any upside with Nance. He has returned 4x in just three of the Wildcats' last 10 games, and Purdue checks in with a 24th ranking defensively and 287th in tempo. You'd need to drop 1k off the salary for Nance to be appealing in a difficult matchup. I can't legitimately talk myself into Nance being a GPP dart throw, which probably means he's good for 40 DKP, but I welcome that path in the comments section.
This four-game DK slate seems a bit Joes and Schmoes, with the top-tier options very favorable. Lineup construction is a matter of how many of those high-priced guys can we fit.
Cody Riley, F, UCLA ($6,600 DK)
This slate, for GPPs, is going to be won by those choosing the right options in the slate's two lowest total games (UCLA/USC, UT/UK), as it's far too obvious we need to target the other two games. Enter Riley, who is coming off of a 16-point, 10-rebound, 37.0-DKP outing. Both teams are more than effective on the offensive glass, and the hope is that Riley is the Bruins' beneficiary of that.
Nate Laszewski, F, Notre Dame ($6,300 DK)
Two weeks ago, Laszewski was priced 2k higher. He's pulled down 29 boards since, but hasn't been able to find the bottom of the basket, leading to this decreased price and seemingly solid value. This game flirts with the highest total, and Laszewski has 5x upside (three times in last 10) and a 3x floor (10 out of his last 10).
Olivier Sarr, F, Kentucky ($4,600 DK, $5,100 FD)
By and large, I want nothing to do with this game. But Sarr is awfully tempting to open some higher-priced options. He's averaged 18.9 DKP in his last three despite playing just 12 minutes in two of those games. That's 4x as a floor, and his minutes are only limited by foul trouble. The cost makes for minimal risk, and Sarr has proven capable of big nights. He's almost a free square.
Josiah-Jordan James, G/F, Tennessee ($7,000 DK, $5,200 FD)
James has averaged 22.3 DKP across his last three games, yet his price has gone from $6,600 to Saturday's total of 7k. Why? For as much as I want to make a contrarian move for GPP purposes, similar to Riley above, there's no justification for this price. The game has a low 124.5 total, Tennessee ranks 305th in tempo, Kentucky 267th and 13th in defensive efficiency. Hard pass.
Jordan Brown, F, Arizona ($4,900 DK)
Casually skimming prices and DKPPG, you see Brown as a nice value, and a cheap in to the slate's highest total. But Colorado brings decent 46th-ranked defense to the docket, and plays slow enough (266th). The Wildcats have an implied total under 70, and Brown plays less than 20 minutes. I don't hate him as a means to higher-priced options, but if recency holds, he's got a 30 percent chance at a 4x return.