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DraftKings College Basketball: Thursday Picks

Jacob Letarski

RotoWire Editor for College Basketball and MMA. Frequent podcaster, plus radio and video guest. Follow Jake on Twitter at @JakeSki52.

A four-game slate offers DFS players the comfort of fewer matchups to worry about, though it comes with some unique strategy. For example, cash game lineups should have at least a little exposure to all four games in order to protect owners in the situation that one goes into overtime (or multiple overtimes). Take Sunday’s matchup between Northern Iowa and Texas A&M that went to double overtime, for example. On paper, that was the game to fade for tempo reasons, but no exposure to that contest ended up hurting a lot of owners.

Despite a slew of upsets, no team on the Thursday slate is seeded lower than No. 5 Maryland. Also, with all teams coming from major conferences, fantasy owners should should have plenty of reliable data to work with in terms of analyzing matchups and tendencies.

Included Games
Miami v. Villanova
Texas A&M v. Oklahoma
Maryland v. Kansas
Duke v. Oregon


Buddy Hield, OU v. TA&M ($10,900): Hield is going to be a tough fit with that price and will likely mean sacrificing the use of other guards such as Grayson Allen ($10,000), Brandon Ingram ($9,500) or Melo Trimble ($8,300). That being said, Hield has the highest upside of any player on the slate and is playing in the game with the second-highest over/under (146). Even though A&M sports a top-100 perimeter defense, they’re nothing like what Hield faced against West Virginia a few games back. He’s scored 63 points over his first two tournament games, and is a near-lock for 40 fantasy points with 60-point upside. Look for the senior and Player of the Year candidate to keep shining on the national stage.

Grayson Allen, DUKE v. ORE ($10,00): It will be impossible to get both Hield and Allen in a fantasy lineup without essentially punting a few positions, but Allen offers a nice alternative for those unconvinced by Hield. Allen might even be a better play in cash games due to his high floor, as he’s reached 35 fantasy points in six straight contests, and hasn’t scored below 30 since facing Louisville on Feb. 8. This game is projected to be the highest-scoring contest on the entire slate, so the tournament upside is there as well.

Danuel House, TA&M v. OU ($7,600): House’s price has finally surpassed that of Jalen Jones, and with good reason. In his last three games, House has produced 24.7 points and 5.7 boards, good for an average of 35.6 DraftKings points. Another up-tempo matchup could mean more big things for House.

Alex Caruso, TA&M v. OU, ($7,200): I’m not a huge fan of his price, which rose $300 after he scored 39.25 fantasy points Sunday against Northern Iowa. Nonetheless, he’s playing against the fastest-paced team on the slate and tends to spend a lot of time handling the ball at both backcourt positions. The tournament upside is admittedly limited, but the senior has failed to hit 20 fantasy points only once in March, giving him a relatively high floor. Point guard Anthony Collins ($4,200) might also be in consideration for salary relief, though he offers a highly-limited ceiling of 15-20 points.

Ryan Arcidiacono, VU v. MIA ($6,700): Arcidiacono is a solid alternative to the steeply-priced Josh Hart ($8,200), and he has started this year’s tournament with back-to-back 25-point fantasy performances. His minutes are a lock and he should take roughly 8-10 shots, giving him 35-40 fantasy point upside if they fall. Even without collecting a rebound in Villanova’s last game against Iowa, Arcidiacono still had 25 fantasy points thanks to 16 points and four assists.

Davon Reed, MIA v. VU ($5,500): If in need of some exposure to Miami, why not Reed? Angel Rodriguez ($7,600) and Sheldon McClellan ($6,900) both come with hefty price tags that are a bit too rich for my blood, especially against a team as stout defensively as Villanova. With Reed comes a high floor at a safe price. The junior has played at least 30 minutes in four straight games, and has averaged 23 fantasy points per game over his last eight (which includes 6.25 fantasy points against Virginia).

Other Guards: Brandon Ingram, DUKE v. ORE ($9,500); Melo Trimble, MD v. KU ($8,300); Angel Rodriguez, MIA v. VU ($7,600); Frank Mason, KU v. MD ($7,500); Wayne Selden, KU v. MD ($6,900); Tyler Dorsey, ORE v. DUKE ($6,400); Matt Jones, DUKE v. ORE ($5,500); Jalen Brunson, VU v. MIA ($5,200); Ja’Quan Newton, MIA v. VU ($4,800); Adam Gilder, TA&M v. OU ($4,300)


Chris Boucher, ORE v. DUKE ($7,600): This might be the biggest no-brainer on the slate. Boucher, a junior college transfer, is a tremendous athlete who should absolutely wreck Duke on the boards. Brandon Ingram has no chance of boxing him out, and despite the fact that Marshall Plumlee has roughly a three-inch and 50-pound size advantage, Boucher is the much better athlete. Big men with athletic ability such as Brice Johnson and Zach Auguste have each recorded 20-rebound games against the Blue Devils this year, and Boucher has the potential to do just that. An average of 26.3 fantasy points per game over his last five gives him a relatively high floor as well.

Jake Layman, MD v. KU ($6,900): Layman isn’t flashy, but he’s safe, landing somewhere between 20 and 40.25 fantasy points in each of his last 10 games. The shutdown defense of Devonte’ Graham will likely be focused elsewhere, which should leave Layman with a few three-point looks (he shoots 40.7 percent from beyond the arc). Although Kansas has the fifth-ranked defensive efficiency in the country, according to KenPom, they are the second-fastest team on the slate behind Oklahoma, so the Terps should have a few extra possessions as well. It could very well be Layman’s last collegiate game, so look for the senior to come up big.

Kris Jenkins, VU v. MIA ($6,900): Outside of Ben Bentil, Jenkins has a case for one of the most improved players in the Big East. He’s seen his price increase by thousands over the course of the season, but he continues to hit value more often than not. The junior has hit multiple three-pointers in every game since Feb. 17, and at 6-foot-6, should present another matchup problem on the wing.

Diamond Stone, MD v. KU ($6,400): Stone’s price has been on the decline since the start of March, leaving the door open to hit value despite the matchup against a strong defensive unit. He’ll have a size advantage over any regular Kansas frontcourt option, and as West Virginia’s Devin WIlliams showed in the Big 12 championship game (31 points and 10 boards), skilled big men have the potential to put up major fantasy performances against KU.

Dwayne Benjamin, ORE v. DUKE ($4,300): According to KenPom, Duke is the worst defensive team on the entire slate, making all Oregon players in play. If I’m looking for value, I’ll turn to that game, which also has the highest over/under (156.5). Benjamin has a reasonable chance to play 20 minutes, a number that could go up if any member of the Ducks' frontcourt gets into foul trouble.

Other Forwards: Dillon Brooks, ORE v. DUKE ($8,400); Elgin Cook, ORE v. DUKE ($7,700); Tyler Davis, TA&M v, OU ($6,400); Landen Lucas, KU v. MD ($6,300); Jordan Bell, ORE v. DUKE ($5,800); Kamari Murphy, MIA v. VU ($5,000); Tonny Trocha-Morelos, TA&M vs. OU ($4,600)

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. Jacob Letarski plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: rotojakeski, DraftKings: RotoJakeSki.
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