This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
We're nearing the finish line, and have quite the blue blood showdowns awaiting Saturday's Final Four from New Orleans. The two games have reasonably tight and similar spreads around four points at time of submission, but drastically different totals, with North Carolina/Duke coming in at 151, and Kansas/Villanova at 132. There's a severe lack of depth from all participants. Kansas is arguably the deepest, possibly giving seven players meaningful minutes. Duke likely goes six deep, North Carolina may steal a few first-half minutes but otherwise play their five starters almost exclusively, and Villanova is likely down to just five as well following Justin Moore's Achilles' tear. There aren't going to be (m)any deep dives here. It's going to take perfect builds and matchup exploitation to take home some big GPPs.
As was the case most of the season, the tiers below are more geared more towards DraftKings pricing. There are some huge price disparities across sites. FanDuel only has two players priced above $7,000, which allows you to feel confident using the top priced options in Armando Bacot ($8,900 DK, $8,800 FD) and/or Paolo Banchero ($8,000 DK, $8,300 FD) while still building a somewhat balanced lineup. Balance is more of a challenge at DraftKings, which also tells me these top options, especially Bacot, are going to be heavily underused.
Brady Manek, F, North Carolina ($7,300 DK, $6,900 FD)
I won't lie, I'm a tad worried about Manek, who relies on his outside shooting prowess to give us fantasy production, which could play down in the dome, something we've seen regularly in Final Fours. But Manek thrived against Duke in two previous meetings, going for a combined 77.25 DKP, knocking down 11-of-20 3-pointers. He needs 29.2 DKP to return 4x, his tournament low is 28.5 against UCLA, and he's otherwise been below that number only four times in UNC's last 19 games.
Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas ($6,700 DK, $6,500 FD)
Wilson is just 11-of-38 (28.9 percent) from the floor in the Jayhawks last three games, but he's still provided 35+ DKP in two of those outings with a 24.25 point floor. That speaks to his ability to contribute across the board, and also shows the upside at a falling price if his opportunities succeed. He's played 30+ minutes in 20 of Kansas' last 24 games, and if we pair that with exploiting Villanova's lack of size, there's easy double-double appeal.
Wendell Moore, F, Duke ($6,800 DK, $5,200 FD)
Moore may deserve his own section in this column; look at that price disparity! At FanDuel, he's likely a must-use option given his potential and price. At DraftKings, however, he may be the slate's most overlooked option given current form that's seen him post 27.0 DKP or less in four of Duke's last five. We know Duke will score amply, the aforementioned Banchero went 16-of-40 against UNC in two prior meetings, leaving plenty of room for someone to step up. Moore could be a forgotten option.
Caleb Love, G, North Carolina ($6,400 DK, $6,400 FD)
Familiarity is the appeal to Love. He's faced Duke four times in his career, and three of those have returned 30+ DKP. He'll take some puzzling shots, which only increase his scoring opportunities for DFS managers if they fall, and his puzzling decisions at times only detract a few points for turnovers. Love does not care about the last play, and in a game that we expect to shoot out and be back and forth, there's upside in the point, assist and steal columns.
Jermaine Samuels, G/F, Villanova ($6,100 DK, $6,700 FD)
Samuels looks like the one gift DraftKings is giving us, yet FanDuel is taking away. He has elevated his game during the postseason, grabbing seven or more boards in all seven of the Wildcats' postseason contests. Pair that with 15+ points scored in four straight, and the previously mentioned absence of Justin Moore, and the floor here seems pretty high even if Kansas' size creates a challenge.
Jeremy Roach, G, Duke ($5,300 DK, $4,800 FD)
There doesn't appear to be much risk/reward value at the bottom tier pricing, except for perhaps the next name in this column. As such, I prefer to take the surest things as possible and try to differentiate in the upper levels, knowing full well nothing is guaranteed. Roach has completely taken over Trevor Keels' ($4,700 DK, $3,900 FD) starting role, playing at least 35 minutes in all of Duke's last four games, while Keels is seeing 25 or less in every outing. Roach isn't a great shooter, may rely on assists to return and hasn't been great against UNC. But with locked point guard duties, and a high-scoring contest, the opportunity is the buy. And priced in the same tier as teammate A.J. Griffin ($5,400 DK, $5,000 FD), Roach seems likely to be overlooked.
Eric Dixon, F, Villanova ($4,900 DK, $4,400 FD)
The chalky pay down is going to be Caleb Daniels ($5,700 DK, $5,300 FD), as he's expected to absorb most of the minutes vacated by Moore's absence. But 'Nova is going to have to adjust its strategy and minutes, and I expect Kansas to attack with size as well. That should lead to the 6-foot-8, 255 pound Dixon seeing as many minutes as he can handle, barring foul trouble. Dixon failed to play 20 minutes in four games straight leading up to the Tournament, and has seen 21 or more in the 'Cats run to New Orleans. He's averaged 21.6 DKP in that stretch, and with the potential for more minutes, there's room for improvement.