DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

DraftKings offers us 30 games across three slates Saturday. Prize pools have dipped some from our mid-week surge without NBA action, but there's still a $5,000 first-place prize there for the taking.

After a relatively successful season overall, I'll admit I'm in a bit of a rut over the last few columns. Let's keep swinging and break out of it!

Main Slate

12 games get us going Saturday, with first tip at a traditional noon EST start. It's a bit of an elongated main slate, stretching all the way to 3:30, and gives us a rare Pac 12 game in this slot, with Arizona-Arizona State included. 

A slumping Azuolas Tubelis ($9,700) is the slate's highest-priced option. Following a 51.0 DKP outing against Cal, Tubelis has posted only 51.75 total DKP across the Wildcats' last three games, making him an interesting option if the majority fade his current form. He's followed by Brandon Miller ($9,300), who somehow took only four shots in an earlier meeting with Arkansas. Pegging his roster percentages given the cloud around him off the court is difficult, but it does look like a plus matchup. 

The metrics don't set up clearly, but nine of these 12 games have totals above 140 points, four of which go above 150 points, so fantasy points won't be hard to come by.

Top Tier

Kobe Brown, G/F, Missouri ($8,700)

This matchup appears to give Brown ample upside, hopefully with low roster usage as an overlooked, less-than-large name. Georgia has ceased playing defense lately, giving up 205 points in their last two games. They rank 122nd in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and with Missouri playing at a reasonably fast 64th-ranked tempo, Brown should take advantage of the Bulldogs here. He's also in great form, scoring at least 17 points in four of the Tigers last five, resulting in a 33.25 DKP floor in those contests. There's also been two games north of 40 DKP, which we can trend towards given UGA's recent struggles.

Hunter Tyson, F, Clemson ($8,400)

All year, I've tried to stress not chasing yesterday's performance. We can use game logs to see upside/downside, but we want to be ahead of the blowup games, not behind. That feels like a reason to fade Tyson, who lit up Syracuse's 2-3 zone during the week. But it's also probable he just has two great matchups in a row. North Carolina State will get up and down despite a modest 88th-ranked tempo, and largely playing a four-guard lineup with big man DJ Burns anchoring the paint, Clemson's lean and mobile frontcourt of Tyson and PJ Hall ($8,200) should both be in favorable spots. That's evident by Tyson's massive 31 point, 15 rebound game against the Wolfpack previously. Perhaps that's again chasing the past, but I like Tyson's size to result in rebounds and quality open looks that give him a nice ceiling in a high-total game. 

Middle Tier

Sir'Jabari Rice, G, Texas ($6,400)

It's not easy to pay this much for a reserve, even more so on a team that rotates bodies as much as the Longhorns do. And with Baylor 229th in tempo, there's further risk. But Rice has emerged as a top option for Texas, averaging 17.4 points across their last eight games, playing 24.3 minutes. That includes a 30 DKP showing against Baylor last time out, putting up 17 points and six boards in a game that saw a solid 147 points scored. With another tight game expected, I'll take a shot here on some upside rather than a safe 20-25 DKP we can find on some others in this price tier. Michigan State's Tyson Walker ($6,300) is a hot hand and reasonable pivot, though likely far more popular.

Alex Karaban, F, Connecticut ($6,200)

Let's get the ugly out of the way first: the matchup isn't perfect, as Connecticut checks in 21st defensively and 206th in tempo. But St. John's counters with the nation's second-fastest tempo, which the Huskies played to in an earlier 85-74 win. And while Karaban is an erratic scorer, when the Huskies score in bunches, he does too. He has only six double-digit scoring outings in his last 11 games, but UConn has scored at least 74 points in all but one of those. There's ample volatility in many of the mid-tier forward options, with Joey Hauser ($6,900) and Nae'Quan Tomlin ($6,400) also meriting consideration. Karaban lands here as the cheapest option conveniently with the best matchup.

Bargain Tier

Nick Smith, G, Arkansas ($5,400)

This is likely chalk city, and/or a lazy pick, but until Smith gets priced over $6,000, there's minimal risk with a ceiling we don't find in this pricing tier. He's played 28 and 32 minutes over the last two games, hoisting 26 total shots. Even with just one assist and two rebounds against Georgia, he was worth 32.25 DKP. Alabama plays at the nation's third tempo, and while they are long and terrific in defensive metrics, ranking fifth, nothing suggests Arkansas doesn't reach 70 points here, as Smith seemingly boosts them from the 69 points they scored in an earlier meeting. It's time for him to show why he was so ballyhooed in the preseason. 

AJ Storr, G, St. John's ($5,100)

We touched on the tempo variation of these two teams above, so we'll consider the player only here. Storrs earned 19 DKP in that outing thanks to 14 points and four rebounds, and a repeat performance works just fine at this price. Further, he's surging in the scoring category, averaging 13.3 points across his last four. Storr has also taken 10+ shots in eight of his last nine games, usage we don't normally find for 5k.

Afternoon Slate

11 more games are here for our picking in a late-afternoon slate, tipping at 4:00, spanning later than usual as well to include 7:30 starts. Unlike on the main competition, Saturday afternoon has five players priced heftily, led by a battle of elite bigs in Purdue's Zach Edey ($11,600) facing off against Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis ($11,500). They went for 63.5 and 45.75 DKP against each other previously, with Eddy at least clearly justifying his price. Needless to say, you'll have to find some 4k value to fit either into your builds.

Points again figure to be plentiful, with seven game totals north of 140 points and four going above 150 points. Pair that with the elite individual talent, and it's likely we'll need to be as aggressive as possible to win a tournament.

Top Tier

Liam Robbins, F, Vanderbilt ($9,500)

Robbins is one of a whopping 11 players priced at 9k or above, so we're not getting any price break whatsoever. But he looks like the one at a moderate discount from the top top end that can provide the same slate-breaking upside. He's averaged 47.3 DKP across Vanderbilt's last six, three times crossing the 50-point barrier. Florida remains easy pickings without Colin Castleton ($10,300) on the interior. While Oscar Tshiebwe ($9,600) had "only" 37 DKP against the Gators in their last outing, he was 12-of-13 from the floor. The only worry to Robbins' ceiling is that the Gators are so undersized, they don't challenge him, yielding lower than usual block totals, where he garners much of his fantasy upside.

Blake Hinson, F, Pittsburgh ($7,500)

See Syracuse's 2-3 zone opponent, find their opponent's best 3-point shooter, rinse and repeat. There are some potential values in the Panthers rotation based on shooting percentage, but we want volume and upside, so Hinson is the play. He's taken 192 3-point shots to date, 37 more than anyone else on this roster. Further, he posted a massive 25 points and 13 rebounds against Syracuse previously despite going just 2-of-9 from long range. We only need roughly two-thirds of that production for a 4x return here.

Middle Tier

Kameron Jones, G, Marquette ($6,600)

Jones' season averages are a bit better than the perception I have of him as simply a scorer, averaging 15.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals for the season. He hasn't been great of late, scoring in double-figures just three times in his last seven, which could create a nice buying opportunity. DePaul checks in 170th defensively, and Marquette put up 89 points against them in an earlier meeting. They did so with Tyler Kolek ($8,400) and David Joplin ($5,100) combining for 52 points, 30.6 points more than their combined scoring averages. Do we think that's replicable? I don't which should elevate Jones into a 3.5x or better return with room for more.

Armaan Franklin, G, Virginia ($6,300)

Franklin profiles for me as contrarian to a potentially more trendy Kedrian Johnson ($6,100) from West Virginia, who is not much more than a scorer in a game I'm surprised the Mountaineers are expected to top 70 points in. We know Virginia's games can be a grid, further leading to lower usage. But we've seen time and time again North Carolina's lack of defense. They allow dribble penetration often, which sets Franklin up for open looks from outside. And averaging 4.2 rebounds, Franklin doesn't necessarily need to score 10+ to provide an ample return. He posted 31.75 DKP against North Carolina in a previous outing thanks to 12 points and nine rebounds. The points should be there with open looks, and while the boards may not be with Armando Bacot ($10,400) likely to play more than one minute in this game, we only need half to get to a 3.5x return or better.

Bargain Tier

Nisine Poplar, G, Miami ($5,000)

I went to this well unsuccessfully during the week, as Poplar tied a six-game low with 13.5 DKP, but I'm right back aboard the train Saturday afternoon. We know we want shares against Florida State; they rank 254th defensively, have allowed at least 75 points in eight straight (five times more than 80), and Miami hung a cool 86 on them in a prior meeting. Poplar was worth 29.75 DKP in that outing thanks to a diverse 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. There's a clear 3x floor at a price that helps open up the slates higher-end options, and there's also a potential 5-6x ceiling.

Bobi Klintman, F, Wake Forest ($4,900)

There are a decent amount of injuries to sort through on this slate, but most fall into a GTD territory. Wake's loss of Damari Monsanto ($7,500) is different however, as he's now out for the season. He plays larger than his listed 6-foot-6 frame thanks to his length, and it remains TBD as to who replaces him in the starting five, but this looks like a great opportunity for Klintman regardless, as he's shown the most of the available options. They aren't the same type player by any stretch with Klintman going 6-foot-10, but he's shown at least a willingness to play on the perimeter, and any extended minutes surely lead to a boost in rebounding as well. He's averaged 17.75 DKP across his last six while Monsanto was healthy, which works at this price without what could be a new found role. Wake could flirt with 80 points and while Notre Dame has been competitive of late, it's a must-win game for the Deacons, setting up a stable floor with nice upside.

Evening Slate

Seven games wrap up our Saturday evening, tipping at 8:00 and spanning to 10:00. While predictably West Coast heavy, three games aren't which should prevent some regional bias. Further, four games have totals of 140 or more, led by New Mexico-San Diego State's 147.5 points. Only two players are priced north of $9,000, which should lead to plenty of balance.

I never want to write teams off, but Oregon State and East Carolina come in with expected point totals under 60. It'll take great effort to find fantasy appeal from those attacks, seemingly giving us 12 teams in which to build from.

Top Tier

Kyle Filipowski, F, Duke ($9,400)

It's been since January 23 since Filipowski has had a monster fantasy day; that game conveniently came against Virginia Tech, Saturday's opponent, whom he posted 29 points and 10 boards against. He hasn't been awful since, averaging 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in eight games, but that's not enough to justify this pay up. The intrigue is the potential to exploit Virginia Tech's front court, with neither Justin Mutts ($8,800) or Grant Basile ($8,600) capable of bodying him on the interior. He's the clear contrarian pay up option to a heavily favored Drew Timme ($9,900).

Jaelen House, G, New Mexico ($8,000)

Sometimes, there's no substitute for volume. House averages 12.1 shots nightly, and hasn't taken single-digit shot attempts since December 31. He's not always efficient, but averages 3.7 boards, 4.7 assists and 2.7 steals to go with said volume scoring chances. It's just his third game back since missing two outings with a hamstring issue, so there's still a minor price decrease. I personally love a plethora of players in this $8,000-$8,500 range on this slate, and want as many as I can possibly fit in, but with this game featuring the highest total and a narrow 1.5-point spread, House is an easy stable floor play with room for expansion, as shown by the 45.5 DKP outing he had against the Aztecs previously.

Middle Tier

Hunter Cattoor, G, Virginia Tech ($6,500)

Cattoor continues to be the straw that stirs the Hokies drink. He's now played a full 40 minutes in two of three, scoring in double-figures in three straight and six of his last eight. He produced 24.0 DKP in a previous matchup with Duke with minimal peripherals, putting up only two rebounds and two steals. VT doesn't defend particularly well, so they'll be forced to push the issue offensively, setting Cattor up for ample production across big minutes.

Russell Felton, G, East Carolina ($6,100)

Maybe the intro here is a big psych out? East Carolina has next to nothing with Javon Small ($8,300) out, which makes Felton the end all, be all for the Pirates. His usage rate over the last five (27.9 percent) isn't as big as the opportunities suggest; he's averaged 16.1 field goal attempts since Small's injury (nine games), posting 17.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He's not going to approach that in a lopsided contest against Houston's seventh-ranked defense and 347th-ranked tempo. But at this price, he doesn't need to. Despite the disgusting matchup, a 3x return seems reasonable, at worst.

Bargain Tier

Rasir Bolton, G, Gonzaga ($5,400)

Across his last seven outings, Bolton has provided a solid 12.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists across 28.0 minutes. Simply put, those numbers are rock solid and difficult to find at this price point. He gives us a cheap in to Gonzaga, who are expected to post nearly 74 points here, and he can't be worse than the 9.25 DKP he posted against St. Mary's previously. The Gaels aren't an ideal matchup, checking in sixth defensively and 359th in tempo, but the Zags seem to be surging, scoring at least 88 points in their last five, setting Bolton up for at least some potential in a revenge spot for them to reclaim the conference.

Keshad Johnson, F, San Diego State ($4,900)

If I roll with as many of the 8k guys I like on this slate, we're going to have to take some chances in this lower tier that have upside because as much as we can lock in 30+ DKP across as many as four roster slots, we need some 20+ DKP potential for cheap. Enter Johnson as a starter on a team with the slate's highest implied total. He played 20+ minutes in nine straight and 10 of 12, giving us a 4x return five times in those nine outings. Rebounding provides us with a floor, and the expected point total suggests he can flirt with usable scoring totals to not bottom out.

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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