DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

32 more games come at us across DraftKings three slates Saturday

A little reflection and gloating from the past week; I somehow managed to take down a small 47-team tournament Tuesday night, thanks to a couple of double-overtime games, helping offset some bad Super Bowl decisions! I followed that up Wednesday with being pretty awful. We'll continue to have some hits and misses here, hopefully more of the former, and I'd imagine one of the slates emerges as my preferred option.

Main Slate

12 games get us underway Saturday, with a noon EST tip. This slate doesn't profile as overly high-scoring, with just half of the games expected to go north of 140 and only Miami-Wake Forest (157) looking likely for more than 145 points.

Injuries are a major factor to consider here. Florida will be without Colin Castleton ($10,300), the slate's second-highest priced option. And the Gators, already undersized, don't have a clear replacement, so I'm unsure how their starting five will shake out. Florida State could be without Matt Cleveland ($9,100), which could open up some nice value in Baba Miller ($4,000), who went for 26.5 DKP in a Wednesday start. Finally, I really like De'Vion Harmon ($7,300) here, but if Pop Isaacs ($5,900) is able to return, that could cut into Harmon's usage.

Top Tier

Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana ($11,500)

You don't need me to tell you Jackson-Davis is an elite option every night out; you'd have to go back to January 11 against Penn State to find a game where he wasn't within a 4x return even at the high price. The question is whether or not you can fit him in, and/or whether there are cheaper options that can provide nearly the same return. Outside of Wake Forest's Tyree Appleby in what should be a wide open game against Miami, I don't see anyone else with the same massive floor/massive ceiling in this upper tier. And when you pair it with injuries potentially opening up some value, Jackson-Davis should fit in to most builds. He went for a massive 58.25 DKP against Illinois in a previous meeting.

Jordan Miller, G, Miami ($8,000)

Miami is scoring in bunches, going for at least 78 in five straight, and this matchup with Wake Forest shouldn't prove differently. The Deacons rank 153rd in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and have allowed at least 75 points in nine of 14 conference games. Miller is my preferred option from the 'Canes, as he can score in a variety of ways and is the most likely to provide some peripheral production. He's gone for at least 30 DKP in five of his past six.

Middle Tier

Emanuel Miller, F, TCU ($7,000)

This slate is absolutely gross across the front court, seemingly forcing us to pay up, as noted above in Jackson-Davis, or possibly even just punting the position, taking minutes from some dirt cheap options like Tennessee's Uros Plavsic ($3,600) and hoping for a handful of rebounds while stacking high-end guards. Miller could be the exception against an Okie State team he posted a stable 24.5 DKP against. His last two games leave plenty to be desired, but Miller had previously been a lineup anchor, giving us at least a 3x return in 13 of 14. This game played to a 152 point total in a previous matchup, more than I'd have anticipated, and if we can get the same success, we'll see Miller bounce back nicely.

Connor Essegian, G, Wisconsin ($6,200)

Essegian has been a nice find since being inserted into the Badgers' starting lineup, averaging 14.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in his last nine while playing 33.8 minutes. This game is likely going to be heavily faded, with Wisconsin coming in 27th defensively and 347th in tempo while Rutgers enters third defensively and 230th in tempo, so we'll certainly get low roster percentages. Essegian has been around a 4x return in six of these starts. The minutes will be there, and even if the scoring is down, his ability to rebound decently should keep the floor from bottoming out.

Bargain Tier

Makhi Mitchell, F, Arkansas ($5,700)

See the first sentence about Emmanuel Miller above, and apply it here. This slate is just nasty as it comes to quality forwards. But with Castleton out for Florida, it looks like a spot for both Mitchell twins to see success, unless the Gators go incredibly small, spread the floor and force Arkansas to play small too. Both twins are incredibly volatile, but Makhel has seen his price surge over $1,000 from the Razorbacks' last game. As such, I'll try to minimize risk rather than maximize reward, hoping we get some rebounds, stickback scores and blocks.

Jaeden Zackery, G, Boston College ($5,100)

Florida State is woeful defensively, ranking 251st in efficiency. They've allowed at least 76 points in seven straight, giving up an average of 84.7 points. Perhaps that means we should have interest in Quinten Post ($8,500) at the top of this slate, though I do find Makai Ashton-Langford ($8,300) too pricey given recent form. Enter Zackery, who is emerging as the Eagles' third scorer. That suggests some volatility, that we're hoping the matchup offsets. Zackery has scored in double-digits in four of five and chips in enough peripherally that we should feel confident in at least a 3x return.

Afternoon Slate

This should be a juicy, high-scoring slate. 11 games are offered, tipping between 3:30 and 7:30. We've got six games with totals for 148 or greater, and two more sitting at 140 or above. We further don't have a player priced in five figures, immediately opening up our budgets for a few high-priced choices or for building plenty of lineup depth. Injuries don't appear to be of concern either. 

Top Tier

Souley Boum, G, Xavier ($8,600)

I don't normally enjoy targeting the Musketeers, as they have a core that are all capable of going off, but we don't know who it will be game to game. Jack Nunge ($8,900) dominated DePaul in a previous meeting, and is certainly in a great spot again, but he let me down Wednesday so I'll try to think outside of the box. DePaul upset Xavier in their previous meeting but have lost seven straight since, allowing 80+ points five times. Boum was a woeful 1-for-12 in their previous matchup, but I expect a much better showing, with the team avenging that loss in a big way. Boum is averaing a diverse 16.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds across his last six, giving us multiple paths to succes.

Joel Soriano, F, St. John's ($8,600)

This slate is loaded with high-end forwards, so the hope with Soriano is he's equal to the other options, perhaps a little under-priced and comes with low roster percentages. He's posted three-straight double-doubles, and was a board shy of one in a 31.25 DKP outing against Creighton previously. We've got a nice 150-point total here, suggesting the floor should be high enough to justify this price point.

Middle Tier

Terry Roberts, G, Georgia ($7,100)

Roberts is far from a sure thing, as he's only seen 51 total minutes in two games since returning from a concussion. But his upside remains tremendous if he's allowed to return to his prior playing time. On one hand, the last time Alabama lost they came out the following game and destroyed Vanderbilt. On the other hand, they play at the nation's second-fastest tempo, which plays into all of Roberts' strengths. The books aren't expecting this game to be close, but if by chance it is, it will be because of Roberts returning to his elite level of production. It's a boom or bust play that likely isn't necessary on this deep slate, but it merits consideration if you're feeling risky.

LJ Cryer, G, Baylor ($6,400)

Cryer is seeing a big basket, hitting 16-of-23 across his last two. He's averaged 17.6 points across Baylor's last seven, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range in that span. He doesn't do much else, chipping in only 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists, so the ceiling is likely capped. He's not the type of player I'd often target given the lack of statistical upside, but this is the day's marquee matchup, and Baylor will need Cryer to continue to connect to keep with Kansas. With points expected to be plentiful here with the 148.5 total, Cryer flirting with 20 points and just a few rebounds gets us our 4x return.

Bargain Tier

Dariq Whitehead, F, Duke ($4,700)

It's safe to say the year hasn't gone as planned for Whitehead, but I'm not targeting him here for his recruiting pedigree. I'm targeting him because he's arguably Duke's best 3-point shooter, hitting 40.3 percent of his attempts against just 39.4 percent from inside the arch. I always like to target a shooter against the Orange's 2-3 zone, and this looks like a nice spot to take the bargain option. Whitehead doesn't need to do a ton to get us to a 3x return or better, the price gives us nearly zero risk, and there is that potential based on talent alone that he has a signature performance.

Chris Bell, F, Syracuse ($3,600)

Bell has been a starter all season, but he seems to be gaining his coach's confidence of late, playing 34 minutes in consecutive games and in three of the last six. The problem is he saw just 30 minutes total in the other three games, so we've got clear volatility. But that's baked into this low price, to the point that if we get just 10 DKP, we're not sunk. Syracuse should flirt with 70 points in what's expected to be a back and forth contest, and Bell won't have defensive assignments on Kyle Filipowski ($9,500), keeping him out of foul trouble and on the court, providing the opportunity to produce.

Evening Slate

Nine games wrap up our Saturday, with tips between 8:00 and 10:30 EST. Despite the later starts, we're not entirely Pac 12 heavy, with a few Big 10 and an SEC games sprinkled in. Just four games have a total north of 140, my magic number for interest, headlined by Tulane's high-paced style against South Florida, which checks in at 155.0. It makes for an obvious stacking opportunity, perhaps too obvious. Get some shares, but don't go overboard, is my humble opinion.

Top Tier

Tristan da Silva, F, Colorado ($7,800)

I want to build around da Silva's adversary in Azuolas Tubelis ($10,100), but the appeal in this game is there on both sides, and look at this massive price discount. Arizona is 39th defensively, but ninth in tempo. Paired with Colorado not playing slow (69th) and there's at least a thought that the Buffaloes can get to 70 points even with a lopsided loss. And that's where da Silva shines, scoring 20+ points in six of seven. His rebounding isn't elite, and to be honest, it's a bit disappointing, but the volume of opportunities will be there.

Tyler Harris, G, South Florida ($7,600)

Harris is far and away the Bulls' go-to guy and isn't priced quite as highly as you'd expect given the aforementioned plus matchup. Tulane comes in fifth in tempo, and the Bulls don't defend much, ranking 168th. Yet we're expecting a narrow three-point shootout, which tells me Harris will need to be at his best. He had 10 assists in his last outing, and previously averaged 21.8 points in a five-game stretch before a recent two-game dip in scoring. He seems to give us a stable piece in this game with ample upside and allows us to avoid Tulane's offense that has four players priced at $7,100 or greater.

Middle Tier

Courtney Ramey, G, Arizona ($7,000)

I want to be clear: I love some of this slate's higher end options. But if we squeeze some value out of the top tier, we can build an incredibly deep lineup where Ramey can factor in. I've touched on the high-scoring potential of this game above, further building Ramey's appeal. He's scored 39 points across the Wildcats last two, and is averaging a diverse 12.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals across his last six. With Arizona expected to score 80 points, there are multiple paths to a 30 DKP+ game.

Aidan Mahaney, G, St. Mary's ($6,700)

Like most slates, I'm not fully digging this mid tier, as I'm struggling to find anyone under 7k that has 30 DKP potential. Mahaney may not get there, but he seems one of the safest bets at this price point thanks to his huge usage, which sits at 27.1 percent over the Gaels last five. He's taken at least nine shots in all but one game all season, and that was St. Mary's second outing of the season on November 10. He's had at least three assists and three rebounds in the last three games too, giving us some hope for upside. St. Mary's is expected to hit my 70-point threshold, and it seems safe to plan for Mahaney to be the leading cause. If you need to save a few bucks and still want in on this game, Alex Ducas ($6,300) offers reduced price and position flexibility.

Bargain Tier

Tylan Pope, F, Tulane ($5,500)

I'm not going to completely ignore the Green Wave on this slate. Pope comes with risk, but it is a clear plus matchup and he offers value into a lineup that otherwise has none. He's started three straight and has averaged a decent 9.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks across his last five, playing 27.8 minutes. It's resulted in a 24.5 DKP average with a 12.25 floor. We need a little more from that bottom number, but the average certainly works at the price.

Will Tschetter, F, Michigan ($3,000)

This seems like low hanging fruit, but with Terrance Williams ($5,300) still not practicing, Tschetter looks poised for his second-straight start. He played 26 minutes in his first opportunity, giving fantasy managers 12.25 DKP. My math tells me that's better than a 4x return. We'll need to confirm Williams' absence, but if he does indeed miss again, there's literally no risk here. Yes, there's no upside either, but Tschetter should find his way into enough rebounds and/or other peripherals with a few points to make his managers happy while freeing up a ton of cap space to splurge elsewhere.

Auburn's K.D. Johnson ($4,600) looks like he'll be a pretty popular surging target as well.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Bennett plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: k30kittles, DraftKings: k30kittles.
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Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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