This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
DraftKings has pulled back a hair this weekend, as we have just 23 games playing across their three slates; that's six games and 30 starters fewer for us to digest that last weekend, where picks faired decently. I entered tournaments on all three slates using all players listed here, rounding out each lineup with two options as budgets allowed, and I managed to cash in two of those. All small stakes for entertainment/bragging rights with my kids showing them I at least sort of know what I'm talking about. I'll take that success rate all day, even if there weren't any huge winnings.
It's an interesting combination of games to start Saturday off. We have two games with totals around 155, two more at 145-148 and then nothing north of 137. It suggests we know the games/names to target, but also what sets up as clear chalk. The upper-tier names can absolutely pop off, but I'm really digging the 7-8k tier. Maybe I'm circumventing the top and middle tier with selections, but so be it!
Jabari Smith, F, Auburn ($7,800)
Smith is the cheapest of five players in this contest priced higher than 7k and appears to offer a nice blend of floor and ceiling. This looks like a game where Auburn will need to tighten rotations, which should allow Smith to flirt with 30-plus minutes for the third time in four games, but just the sixth time all season. He's a multi-category guy who has consistently provided the Tigers with 25 percent or more of their offensive production.
Kameron McGusty, G, Miami ($7,800)
McGusty needs 31.2 DKP to hit 4x. He's gone for 30.75 DKP or better in six of his last eight, with that lowest number coming against these 'Noles just 10 days ago in a surprisingly low-scoring game. Vegas is suggesting this rematch sees some 15-plus more points, potentially raising McGusty's output. He's so stable as a volume shooter who rebounds well, and if the shots fall, there's 40-plus DKP upside.
Dylan Addae-Wusu, G, St. John's ($7,300)
With a slate-high 156.5 point total, we want as many pieces as affordable from these two sides. Unfortunately, six of the 10 starters are priced $6,900 or higher, so we'll have to choose wisely. Addae-Wusu gets my nod as a high-level multi-category contributor. He's averaging more than four boards and assists to go with stable scoring. With the Red Storm sixth in adjusted tempo, I love Addae-Wusu's ability to facilitate in this game and create 30-plus DKP potential in the process.
Jordan Wright, G/F, Vanderbilt ($6,100)
This certainly wasn't the game I expected to feature two players in given the slate's depth, but here we are. Wright continues to see big usage, taking more than 11 shots in five of his last six games. It's resulted in a 21.5 DKP floor, a shade less than 4x, but he's also gone for 81.75 DKP across the Commodores last two outings. Neither of these teams play with much pace, so the upside likely isn't there, but I like the form and price to not hurt our lineups.
Anthony Duruji, F, Florida ($5,000)
I don't want to overreact to Duruji's most recent showing, but it's hard not to. With Colin Castleton out, he posted 38.75 DKP but scoring a season-high 22 points while collecting five steals. That shows the huge upside he has thanks to new-found opportunity. But he averaged 19.1 DKP in his prior four games with Castelton, which suggest we'll see a 4x floor at worst.
Jeremy Roach, G, Duke ($4,100)
Duke has failed to reach 80 points against the Orange just once in their last five meetings, so taking their top-priced options may be the safest play on the board. But with Trevor Keels ($7,900) unlikely to play, I expect Roach sees 30-ish minutes with Wendell Moore ($8,600) playing more off the ball. Roach doesn't shoot it well, so maybe he struggles against the 2-3 zone. But the price is so minimal, he only needs to repeat the 18.75 DKP he posted in 29 minutes against FSU to be a nice value. That the 6-foot-2 ball handler has forward eligibility just makes things sweeter.
This mid-day slate runs 4 p.m. EST until 6:30, and doesn't present as high-scoring as the main contest above. Only two games have a total north of 140, and only three games have a spread of less than four points. There are also ample injuries to concern ourselves with across the top priced names, with LSU's Darius Days ($8,200) and DePaul's Javon Freeman-Liberty both uncertain, just to name a few. Tari Eason ($8,500) and Jalen Terry ($4,900) look great if either of the aforementioned options miss, respectively.
Isaiah Mobley, F, USC ($9,100)
I don't see a way around paying up for one of the 9k options. Dereon Seabron ($9,200) will be underused given the low-tempo matchup with UVA, and his rebounding ability gives a stable floor. I question Keegan Murray ($9,600) due to price, team form and matchup (more below). Mobley is my fallback. He has the lowest ceiling, but arguably the highest floor, failing to reach 31.5 DKP just four times all season. The Utes are only 169th in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and are likely to be without F/C Branden Carlson due to an appendectomy. Mobley should be unguardable on the interior.
Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee ($7,500)
Call it a hunch, but I think this game goes over the total despite the nation's first- and sixth-ranked defenses, according to KenPom's efficiency. I expect many to force Kansas' Ochai Agbaji ($8,500) or Christian Braun ($8,400) into their lineups, but paired with price, they also have a bad matchup with KSU 203rd in tempo and 23rd defensively. Chandler's matchup should be a higher contested one, giving him the opportunity at 35 minutes, double-digit shots, multiple steals and some dimes to boot.
Reece Beekman, G, Virginia ($7,000)
Beekman has gone for 29.5 DKP in four straight and faces a Wolfpack team that ranks 206th in defensive efficiency. He'll get no pace boost, but he'll offset that with likely five-percent ownership, as the price has gotten uncomfortable.
Alex O'Connell, G/F, Creighton ($6,400)
Flirting with the highest total on the slate, and with the Jays being big favorites, we know we want some shares of this offense, and O'Connell seems to come in as a bargain over much higher priced Ryan Kalkbrenner ($8,400) and Ryan Hawkins ($8,000). O'Connell has knocked down 10-of-15 3-pointers in his last two and topped 30 DKP in three of four and faces a defense allowing a 35.0 percent connection rate from behind the arch, ranking 250th nationally.
Filip Rebraca, F, Iowa ($4,800)
What on earth do we do with the Hawkeyes on this slate? They are the biggest favorite (-9.5) at opening and the game has a slate-high 143 point total, which should be targeted. But they also just scored 46 points against Rutgers and face a team in Penn State that ranks 348th in tempo. Rebraca is two points shy of consecutive double-doubles and has gone for at least 22.25 DKP in four of seven. Not the model of consistency regardless of price, but I'll trust his recent minutes and rebounding for a decent return.
[LOGO] Sydney Curry, F, Louisville ($4,400)
The Cardinals are an interesting case. They're favored, have an implied total of about 70 points, yet have one player priced higher than $5,000. Enter Curry as a nice upside play. He posted 22 points and 10 boards against North Carolina State before suffering an ankle injury that cost him one game. It was still good enough to earn him a start against Boston College, where he earned 13 points and seven rebounds. That was good enough for 22.75 DKP, which is more than enough at this price.
A limited four-game slate is our nightcap. The east coast options come with far higher expected scoring totals, but the west coast games have reasonably tight spreads. It's always hard to differentiate on the smaller slate, but I think this one sets up nicely to take the chalk to the bank, and hope for some luck in the middle to lower tier.
Armando Bacot, F, North Carolina ($9,200)
I absolutely love Wake's Alondes Williams ($9,000); he's a triple-double threat and UNC cannot keep guards in front of it defensively. And I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from stacking Wake players. I just think they have more viable mid-tier options than UNC. As such, give me Bacot as an anchor to all builds Saturday night. He's posted eight consecutive double-doubles and 13 overall. There isn't a safer 4x option.
JD Notae, G, Arkansas ($8,100)
Surging teammate Jaylin Williams ($7,600) is likely to be less used, but he's a scoring liability, which creates bust potential. Notae is surging in his own right, going for at least 19 points in four straight, including a 31-point eruption against these Aggies two weeks ago. It will be interesting to see if A&M can slow things down in this rematch, something they couldn't do previously. Even if they do, Notae's usage is so high his scoring potential remains stable, as will his opportunities to contribute across the board.
Caleb Love, G, North Carolina ($6,400)
Love can't find his shooting stroke, hitting only six of 22 in the Heels' last two games for 33 DKP total. It's also forced his price down, making for a nice buying opportunity. He's taken 10-plus shots in five straight, and with the ball in his hands regularly in the slate's highest-scoring game, 4x would be considered a disappointment.
Jaime Jaquez, G/F, UCLA ($6,200)
I expect heavy usage, but at this number, Jaquez is almost a free square. He's been priced as high as $8,900 this season, which speaks to the upside. He's in poor form and coming off an ankle injury, but still managed 35 minutes in his first game back. It's difficult to find more opportunity from a player in this pricing tier.
Jay Heath, G, Arizona State ($5,900)
Heath put up a double-double against San Francisco and has started all three games since. It's resulted in 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals. This game seems to be a whole lot of yuck, but if forced to go in, Heath is my preferred choice for stability. The Sun Devils desperately need a second scoring option, and averaging 10.0 shot attempts across his last eight, Heath at least has the volume to be that.
Isaiah Mucius, F, Wake Forest ($5,400)
There are plenty of paths to go down with the Wake secondary options. Dallas Walton ($5,200) can be a fall back option, and Damari Monsanto ($5,700) is an unknown with only one game under his belt. But Mucius seems to present the matchup problem for the Heels. He's a long, rangy option who Bacot, Brady Manek ($6,800) and/or Dawson Garcia ($4,600) can't cover on the perimeter. He lit the Heels up for 27 and seven last season, and has been within a point of 4x in six of his last eight outings.