This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
DraftKings has a three-game afternoon slate that tips off between 3:20 and 5:20 p.m. EST, two of which overlap with FanDuel's afternoon contest, which pairs with DK's early slate. Two games check in with big totals, while Houston (-7) is the slate's largest favorite in a game with the lowest total, setting up for obvious targets, fades and contrarian plays.
JD Notae, G, Arkansas ($6,600 DK, $5,100 FD)
The Hawgs have the slate's highest implied total at 83 points, which gives me greater confidence in using Notae and his score-first mentality. He piled up usage rates of 36.6 and 30.7 percent in two regular-season meetings with LSU, which ranks 211th in defensive efficiency. He's a near must-use at FanDuel and remains the cheapest of Arkansas' big three while also topping 40 DKP in two of his last three.
Javonte Smart, G, LSU ($6,400 DK, $6,500 FD)
Smart appears to offer a slight opportunity to buy a dip. The game features the highest total, and the Tigers have the slate's third-highest implied total at 79.5 points despite being underdogs. He's been priced as high as $7,900 recently at DK, and at this number seems to have an immensely stable floor with ample upside. Smart is a lock for 30-plus minutes, 10-plus shot attempts and peripheral numbers to boot. His form isn't great, but he's the cheapest buy into the Tigers offense. Darius Days ($6,500 DK, $6,000 FD) makes more sense at FD, especially with limited frontcourt values.
Marcus Sasser, G, Houston ($5,500 DK, $5,400 FD)
Sasser profiles as the opposite of Notae above. Both are simply scorers and don't offer a ton in terms of peripheral stats, but the Cougars play at a much slower pace, with a projected total under 70. But in a limited slate, paired with shortened rotations, we're not seeing the easy values we find during the regular season. Sasser has taken at least nine shots in nine consecutive games, which should give him a stable floor. He's gone for 4x at this number in six of his last 10, allowing for spending elsewhere. Truth be told, the options below Sasser price wise fall off quickly.
Luka Garza, F, Iowa ($10,000 DK, $9,400 FD)
Garza is (not surprisingly) the most expensive player on both sites, and his $1,500 difference at DK makes him borderline prohibitive. Maybe that leads to low usage, and we know the immense upside he possesses. But Illinois and Kofi Cockburn ($7,600 DK, $7,800 FD) offer the size to contain Iowa's star. They met just once during the regular season, and Garza provided 28.0 DKP (19 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal), and even if he gets on the glass a bit more, that's not the return on investment needed. Allocating resources more evenly seems the better play.
Boogie Ellis, G/F, Memphis ($5,800 DK, $5,000 FD)
Memphis' total is only expected to be about 63 points, a fair assumption given these two met just last week and the Tigers scored 64 points. While we know we want to stay away from them nearly universally, Ellis is the easy pass given he does next to nothing peripherally, averaging a mere 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists. The shooting volume is there, but nothing else.
Da'Monte Williams, G, Illinois ($4,700 DK, $4,500 FD)
This is a tough slate to handicap, as pro and con matchups are obvious, and rotations are tight given the stakes. Williams may be a reach as a fade as I don't anticipate his usage to be great, but a casual look at his game logs paired with the low cost may have him viewed as a stable, cheap option. I'm not buying it. His minutes were up due to Ayo Dosunmu's ($8,500 DK, $8,600 FD) injury, and yesterday's blowout win. Williams played a season-low 12 minutes in the Illini's five-point win over Iowa during the regular season, and even if he gets to 20 here, a path to 4x is murky.
FanDuel beware: Kamani Johnson, F, Arkansas ($5,700 FD, $3,000 DK)
I just need to vent in the space I'm afforded. FD still lists Johnson at a mid-tier salary despite the fact that he's a transfer from Arkansas Little Rock, and hasn't played all season. Please don't fall for this.
DraftKings' featured contest is a four-gamer, going off between 6 and 9 p.m. EST. FanDuel is offering a four-gamer as well, with Houston-Memphis featured rather than in the afternoon like DK, and North Texas-Western Kentucky omitted.
Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham ($10,000 DK, $8,300 FD) is far more usable at FD thanks to the salary disparity. He looks like a man on a mission, but similar to Garza in the afternoon, it's just hard to use him and find balance at DK due to the tighter pricing across the slate. Charles Bassey ($9,800 DK) arguably has more upside and a higher floor if you're paying up.
Avery Anderson, G, Oklahoma State ($6,000 DK, $6,300 FD)
Truth be told, I wanted to put Anderson in the fades category, as I'm assuming incredibly high usage. But there's good reason for that usage, as he's had a 28.25 DKP floor over his last three games and is playing with a great deal of confidence after scoring 31 as the team's forced alpha in Cunningham's one-game absence. He averaged 28.5 DKP in two regular season meetings with Texas, and with a tight spread and team total hovering around 72, there's no reason to expect less.
Christian Bishop, F, Creighton ($6,100 DK, $5,600 FD)
Creighton has the highest implied total, and while I might not buy that given both sides defensive abilities, Vegas usually knows way more than I. Bishop loves facing the Hoyas, averaging 16.5 points and 9.5 boards in two meetings this season, and I'm banking on that confidence to help buck his current form.
Dante Harris, G, Georgetown ($5,300 DK, $4,500 FD)
The appeal is just about opportunity paired with a low number. The freshman averages 30.0 minutes, playing 36 or more in seven of the Hoyas last nine games. He's provided 4x at DK in seven of his last 10 with a 17.25 point floor, and we can take that to free up dollars to use elsewhere. Georgetown is playing terrific ball at the moment, giving optimism they'll keep this closer than the eight-point spread, giving Harris a puncher's chance to outperform.
Jericho Sims, F, Texas ($6,600 DK, $4,800 FD)
The price disparity should tell us all we need to know at DK. There's just no path to a return there for the 6-foot-10 Sims, whose game isn't best suited for this matchup. He played 20 and 17 minutes in two regular-season meetings with Okie State, which plays the 48th-fastest tempo in the nation. Even if the Longhorns slow things a bit, Sims appears far to volatile despite two double-doubles in his last three outings, as the Cowboys are likely to play a smaller lineup, space the floor and render Sims a liability on both ends.
Jordan Usher, G/F, Georgia Tech ($6,300 DK, $5,500 FD)
At quick glance, you'd see this game has the highest total on the board, and a relatively tight spread. Mix in the Jackets' production comes from a core four, and Usher is the cheapest of that group, and maybe there's some value. But I'm fading all things Georgia Tech. FSU looked terrific and motivated defensively against UNC on Friday and won both regular-season meetings with GT by double-digits, holding the Jackets to 64 and 61 points. Usher averaged 24.5 DKP in those two games, decent enough, but the ceiling is 4x, and the DK price has risen to uncomfortable levels.
Zachary Simmons, F, North Texas ($5,800 DK)
The Mean Green play their starting five almost exclusively and have a mere six-man rotation, so there may be some appeal in guaranteed minutes. But they are incredibly undersized, with Simmons the only option north of 6-6, meaning he'll draw the responsibility of guarding Bassey. That increased defensive responsibility has me worried about fouls. Mix in the low implied total of 64ish points, and North Texas can be avoided outside of star guard Javion Hamlet ($7,600 DK)