This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
DraftKings is again scheduled for an all-day, 16-game NCAA Tournament slate Saturday. We have some much-needed larger prize pools that we don't always see during the regular season, with $20k as a top prize for a $15 entry. The large slate also leads to a lot of diversity, a lot more lower-rostered options and higher than usual scores needed to cash big.
I'm going to focus my targets on sub $8k players, but if paying up, my preferred choices may be a little surprising, and include Austin Reaves ($8,800 DK, $7,500 FD), Trendon Watford ($8,700 DK, $8,200 FD) Sam Hauser ($8,300 DK, $7,600 FD), Nah'Shon Hyland ($8,100 DK, $7,100 FD) and David McCormack ($8,000 DK, $6,500 FD).
Kyle Lofton, G, St. Bonaventure ($7,500 DK, $7,000 FD)
This game is expected to be tight throughout, and one of the slate's higher scoring contests, so we can feel comfortable grabbing pieces on both sides (more below.) Both sides use a limited rotation, but the Bonnies are exceptionally thin, as all five starters play at least 32.8 minutes, led by Lofton, who averages 38.4. He's not a great shooter, but the one spot LSU defends well is the perimeter, and Lofton doesn't have to score to impact as he's an all-around contributor. A well-rounded stat line is safe to expect, and 4x seems like the floor. Jalen Adaway ($5,800 DK, $5,300 FD) is your value pick if targeting the Bonnies.
Scottie Barnes, G, Florida State ($7,400 DK, $6,100 FD)
FSU has a solid implied total of 78 points, and I don't think the Spartans are up to this task. I don't love this number, but UNCG has some surprising size (even if their two bigs only play about 20 minutes each). That interior size, paired with inconsistent play from RaiQuan Gray ($6,700 DK, $6,300 FD) and Balsa Koprivica ($6,500 DK, $5,600 FD) has me landing on Barnes, who is a matchup nightmare on the perimeter. I hate the cost here as 4x is no certainty, but the bulk of this lineup isn't in great form. Anthony Polite ($5,900 DK, $5,000 FD) is trending favorably however, and could offer some value.
Darius Days, F, LSU ($6,800 DK, $5,900 FD)
We noted the close nature and higher scoring expectancy above. LSU too doesn't play a deep rotation, and while Days is on the back end of its core four, he saw an uptick in run during the SEC tournament as the tension increased. If we assume Bona's Osun Osunniyi ($8,100 DK, $7,800 FD) is matched up with Trendon Watford ($8,700 DK, $8,200 FD), that leaves one of the Bonnies' four guards, none taller than 6-foot-5, to tend with the 6-7, 245, Days. The rebounds provide stability, and this matchup should lead to more offensive opportunities.
Vince Williams, F, VCU ($5,800 DK, $5,200 FD)
The mid-to-lower-tier frontcourt options aren't great, as we're left with reserve options on top teams in blowout spots, or top-end producers from high double-digit seeds that are likely overmatched. Williams doesn't fit into either tier, which gives me hope for some upside. Simply put, when he plays, he produces. In his last 10 outings, he's seen 30-plus minutes seven times, topping 29 DKP (5x) four times, averaging 27.5 in those games. I expect the Rams to trim their rotation a bit, and Williams will see those minutes. He's key to any upset chances, and gives your lineup upside with price flexibility.
Brandon Johns, F, Michigan ($5,300 DK, $3,800 FD)
This game shouldn't be in doubt from the outset, but I think the Wolverines can use this to build some confidence for Johns, who figures to see a key role with Isaiah Livers ($6,300 DK, $6,000 FD) out. A few put back points paired with some rebounds makes for a stable line, and assuming Johns gets extended minutes in the blow out, he's arguably got double-double potential. He was worth 19.5 DKP in 24 minutes with Livers out last game, and that seems like a floor, which works well for the number.
Dante Harris, G, Georgetown ($5,200 DK, $5,000 FD)
Harris might be better suited for cash lineups, but he looks like he can provide low-end stability regardless of your lineup philosophy. He just never comes off the court, averaging 36.0 minutes across the Hoyas' last 10, where he's averaged 24.0 DKP and topped 4x at this number eight times. He's a terrible shooter (35.4 percent from floor, 26.8 from 3-point range), but contributes peripherally and should find a way to impact the box score even in a game I expect to be low scoring.
Umoja Gibson, G, Oklahoma ($4,500 DK, $4,600 FD)
We know De'Vion Harmon ($5,800 DK, $4,500 FD) is out, and the expectation is Alondes Williams ($3,800 DK, $3,800 FD) will start in his absence. Williams has shown potential, going for at least 15.5 DKP in nine of 13 games as a starter before missing three games and not reclaiming his spot. That certainly works, but I expect that will be trendy, leaving me to pivot to Gibson. He's ice cold (2-13 FG, 31.25 total DKP in his last three), but had taken at least eight shots in his previous nine games. I expect Austin Reaves ($8,800 DK, $7,500 FD) to play more on the ball, and for Gibson to absorb much of Harmon's shooting volume, hopefully showing previous form where he averaged 25.44 DKP across eight games in January and February.
Herb Jones, G, Alabama ($8,900 DK, $8,100 FD)
I faded Jones throughout the SEC tournament quite unsuccessfully, but I'm going back to the well. I absolutely love Jones as a player, and think he'll be a valuable DFS option after this round. But the Tide are the slate's biggest favorite, and I expect them to spread the wealth. Jones has as many games at 25.5 DKP or less (five) as he does with 34.25 or more DKP in has last 10, and if we assume a blowout, I see Jones getting ample rest for Round 2.
Joe Wieskamp, G, Iowa ($7,300 DK, $6,400 FD)
I'm certainly not putting Iowa on upset alert, but the implied 79.25 point total seems a little high. Grand Canyon ranks 314th in adjusted tempo, sixth in effective field-goal percentage defense and 15th in 3-point defense, allowing just 29.7 percent from long distance. The Antelopes faired OK early in the year against high-tempo Arizona State (71 points allowed), Nevada (77) and Colorado (74), and the Hawkeyes aren't going to run up and down. Wieskamp has scored more than 12 points just twice in his last seven, and while a 3x floor seems fair, a 4-5x upside doesn't appear likely.
Kai Jones, F, Texas ($6,300 DK, $4,700 FD)
Jones' recent play hasn't been elite, it may not even have been average, but he's somehow seen his price rise to an unsubstantiated level, up nearly $2,000 in his last 10 games despite averaging 18.0 DKP in that span. This game worries me a bit for the Longhorns. The spread is single-digits despite the 3-14 seeded matchup, and the Wildcats can really defend. They rank 12th in effective field-goal percentage, first in turnover percentage and 30th in defense overall. They did allow 85 points against Arkansas earlier in the year, their only battle against a Power conference team, but they also have reasonable size for a mid-major, with Kolton Kohl ($4,600 DK, $5,100 FD) going 7-feet, and Joe Pleasant ($4,500 DK, $4,800 FD) at 6-8.
Kobe Brown, F, Missouri ($6,100 DK, $5,400 FD)
This is a game where Brown and Jeremiah Tilmon ($5,600 DK, $5,700 FD) should have their way as the Sooner are undersized. Maybe that leads Brown to a stable floor thanks to continued work on the glass, where he's averaged 9.3 across his last three games. But the fade here is the price, as Brown has been as low as $4,300 in the last 10 games, playing 25 minutes or less seven times. We can deal with that volatility at a lower number, but not here. I'd personally side with guys who are priced down like Alabama's John Petty ($6,100 DK, $6,300 FD) if searching this tier.
Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga ($5,800 DK, $5,300 FD)
This salary just seems to be begging you to take a piece of the Zags on the cheap. They are huge 33-point favorites, and it seems like a game where they don't and won't use their starters as heavily as they normally do. Nembhard has returned 4x at this number just three times in his last 10 outings, and if I'm right in predicted limited minutes, 2x may be the ceiling. I don't mean to be rude, but he just seems like a lazy play.