DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks

This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

We've reached the final Saturday of the college basketball regular season, and it's again stocked with a top of options. DraftKings has three slates that cover 30 total games, giving us some 300 starters to sort through to try and find the winning combinations.

Main Slate

We get going with a 12-game main slate, with tipoffs between noon and 3:00 p.m. EST. A $5,000 first-place prize is on the line for a $15 entry, with only 1,568 spots available in the contest.

Only Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe ($10,100) is priced in five-figures. There aren't a plethora of high-end injuries to concern ourselves with either, though Kentucky's backcourt is worth monitoring. And while there are only three games with 150+ point totals, seven more sit at 136 or higher, with only Tennessee-Auburn (131) and Virginia-Louisville (126) looking likely to be ignored. It should make for a diverse slate.

Top Tier

Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette ($9,100)

This game figures to be popular given the total, and I very much have interest in Joel Soriano ($8,700) on the other side. But Kolek checks a lot of boxes. St. John's comes in first in tempo, per KenPom, fresh off giving up 95 points to Connecticut, so we've a great pace boost. Kolek is in terrific form, scoring in double-digits in nine straight, four times going for 20+. He's also ball-dominant, resulting in back-to-back 10+ assist outings while averaging 7.9 dimes over his last nine. There's a very stable floor that has a rising ceiling given the matchup as a result. Marquette beat St. John's 96-85 earlier in the season.

Wade Taylor, G, Texas A&M ($8,600)

I want to believe Taylor will be a low-used option in the top tier that can offer us a way to differentiate. The downside first: Alabama ranks fifth defensively, and A&M will certainly try to slow things down, ranking 251st in tempo. The price has also risen $600 from midweek, and it's pushing my limits with him. But the Tide want to run, coming in fifth, and the Aggies are going to have to try and match points at least on occasion. That leads us to Taylor as the team's anchor. He's averaged 20.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.1 steals across his last seven. I look Taylor to again find his way into the lane, get to the foul line and hand off a few passes for easy baskets for his teammates. 

Middle Tier

Chris Livingston, F, Kentucky ($6,600)

This portion of the column may not have developed as I had hoped. Loyal readers know I prefer to pay up for forwards as the middle and bargain tiers usually aren't for the faint of heart. That couldn't be more the case here, so much so that we only have 15 total forwards priced between $6,000-$7,000. Livingston comes with some volatility but seems to have responded to his one-game removal from the starting lineup. He showed a nice ceiling previously, averaging 31.7 DKP in the Wildcats' previous three games. Keep an eye on other Kentucky player availability. If Sahvir Wheeler ($5,000) and Cason Wallace ($7,900) both remain out, it's going to create some cheaper backcourt options, but it would also boost Livingston's need for heavy minutes, and we certainly see both teams scoring in the 70s.

Jaeden Zackery, G, Boston College ($5,900)

Zackery is likely to be chalky given current form, price and matchup, but if everyone uses him, we can take the free square and be different elsewhere, and he's still priced under roster averages. He's averaged 25.7 DKP across his last four, and Georgia Tech doesn't do much defensively, ranking 143rd. They have however seemingly found some offense, scoring 77 or more in four of their last five, which could boost Zackery's floor and ceiling if this game gets up and down more than expected.

Bargain Tier

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, F, Baylor ($4,800)

As noted, paydown frontcourt options are few and far between. Tchamwa Tchatchoua is actually playing slightly more than he did a year ago but isn't as productive yet as he shakes the rust off, having played only eight games thus far, so perhaps there's room to grow slightly. We need 19.2 DKP for a 4x return, which may be a tall ask given the two team's slow paces (221st and 327th), but we should also see ample missed shots and rebounds available, and Tchamwa Tchatchuoa is likely needed for real minutes to combat the Cyclones' size. He's priced low enough where he likely won't ruin your builds while also freeing up budget.

Jacobi Wright, G, South Carolina ($3,700)

Wright has quietly been a nice fantasy option, especially at this near bottom price. Despite showing a 16.8 percent usage rate over the Gamecocks' last five, he's taken at least seven shots in four straight and hasn't seen fewer than 30 minutes in a month. He's had only one single-digit fantasy point game across his last 11 games, creating a nice floor while opening up your budget amply. Georgia meanwhile comes in 135th in defensive efficiency and are allowing a massive 91.75 points across their current four-game losing streak. South Carolina likely doesn't get there, but these two played to a nice 81-78 final previously, so there is room for upside.

Afternoon Slate

11 more games come our way here, with tips coming between 3:30 and 7:00 EST, including a North Carolina-Duke rematch that is also available as a showdown option. $10 gets you a one in 705 chance at a $2,000 top prize.

Only one healthy option is priced in five figures (UNC's Armando Bacot, $10,300), but there's a robust six more in the 9k tier. A whopping 10 of the 11 games have a total of 140 or higher, with Colorado-Utah being the outlier at the low 134.5 total. This became a difficult slate to hone in on as the column progressed. We've got a few clear plus matchups, a few clear plus games to target with a plethora or high-priced options (Miami-Pitt says hello), and lots of paths to go down as a result. This is going to be a difficult one to take down, where taking a stand and differentiating will be paramount.

Top Tier

Tyree Appleby, G, Wake Forest ($9,500)

Two season-long themes that I've tried to exploit as often as possible are converging on this slate, and I'll pounce in both instances. First, 3-point shooting against Syracuse's 2-3 zone. They rank 224th in defending the arc, but the opportunity for multiple open looks raises the potential for targets. Appleby has hoisted 22 long balls in the Deacons' two games without Damari Monsanto, and Saturday should be no different. The zone is also terrific for him to penetrate and take mid-range jumpers, and with six assists or more in six of his last seven, Appleby has further potential.

KJ Williams, F, LSU ($9,200)

In four games since Colin Castleton ($10,200) was lost for the season, Florida has been out-rebounded 160-113, allowing 80+ points in their three losses with no rim protection. Williams is surging, and unfortunately so is his price, so he won't be easy to absorb. But he's averaged a massive 29.3 points and 9.7 rebounds across the Tigers' last three. Florida simply doesn't have the size to combat his 6-foot-10, 250 pound frame. 

Middle Tier

Kevin Obanor, F, Texas Tech ($6,600)

The deeper I got into this slate, the more I liked paying up for as many high-end options as possible, and trying to squeeze some 3x returns from the value tier, so perhaps a balanced lineup is going to be contrarian. That seems to be where Obanor fits in. The matchup is less than ideal, with Oklahoma State ranking 15th defensively and 161st in tempo, while Texas Tech sits 50th/170th, respecitvely. But that should boost Obanor's rebounding potential, where he's coming off of a seven-game low. He's been a stable scorer, however, going for double-digits in six of his last seven games. He went for a solid 28.75 DKP against the Cowboys previously, and I like his chances to repeat that Saturday.

Dereck Lively, F, Duke ($6,400)

This is the type of option I so desparately needed in the main slate. Lively's price has fallen slightly, but he's still been between 20 and 29.25 DKP across his last four outings. And with UNC usually playing big, the minutes, rebounds and blocks should be readily available. 22.4 DKP gets us to a stable 3x return, and we saw a 40 DKP ceiling in this last matchup, which was surprisingly low-scoring. Either a repeat of that performance or a boost in scoring would benefit Lively.

Bargain Tier

Tyrese Hunter, G, Texas ($5,000)

This rematch got up and down in their first meeting, with Kansas prevailing 88-80, so we can seemingly throw out some of the metrics that state the two teams rank ninth and 25th in defensive efficiency. Hunter will need that boost, as he's merely a scorer, giving us only seven rebounds and four assists combined in his last three outings. Still, he's scored in double-digits in each of those games, sailing past a 4x return in the process. He was woeful against the Jayhawks previously, giving only six points while turning the ball over three times. That's worked into the price here, and a bounceback is the expectation. Minutes aren't likely to be a concern.

Rodney Rice, G, Virginia Tech ($3,200)

Full disclosure, Rice is the top option on our value report, so perhaps that makes this a tad lazy of me to highlight him. But the price point can't be much lower, and that makes Rice worth considering in GPPs to really open up your options to spend at the top while also getting a piece of some of the higher-scoring games with less obvious choices. Rice has a 23.4 percent usage rate over his last five, so he's busy when he plays. And the 'Noles' defense is one we routinely target, ranking 243rd while also playing at a decent 86th-ranked tempo. I don't anticipate the Hokies having much trouble protecting home court Saturday, which can open up some second-half minutes above what we regularly see from Rice. He doesn't need much more than 10 DKP to return value.

Evening Slate

Our nightcap gives us seven games to sort through, tipping between 7:30 and 11:00 EST, so we'll have a late night before this is settled. Somewhat surprisingly, only three of these games featuer West Coast schools, so there should be some flavor for all. $10 gives us a one in 588 chance at a $1,000 top prize. 

Arizona's Azuolas Tubelis ($10,000) broke out of his funk last time out and is the only five-figure priced option we have to consider. Four of the seven games feature a total of 140 or higher, with Oregon State-California's low 123 point expectation being the lowest of the entire day, seemingly making that game one to completely ignore, as it's lacking major star power as well as budget options likely to flirt with a safe return.

Top Tier

Baylor Scheierman, G, Creighton ($8,600)

I don't see how we can avoid using at least one Blue Jay, as DePaul is woeful defensively, ranking 175th in efficiency, having lost 11 straight while allowing 80+ points eight times. I want to back Ryan Kalkbrenner ($8,500) just to have a top forward, but he struggled in an earlier meeting between these two and didn't have to contend with surging big man Nick Ongenda, who's averaging five blocks since returning five games ago. As such, I look for Creighton to play on the perimeter, giving Scheierman volume scoring potential. He's also pulled down 13 boards in two of his last three outings.

Tolu Smith, F, Mississippi State ($8,000)

Smith's appeal is nearly identical to KJ Williams' above. Vanderbilt will be without Liam Robbins ($9,600) and doesn't have the talented bigs to combat his that absence, as evidence by the 21 points and 20 rebounds they allowed to Oscar Tshiebwe during the week. Smith isn't that player, but he isn't priced to be. He's scored in double-digits in every game since January 11, and Robbins' absence surely leads to more regular rebounding. I look for Smith to break his two-game stretch without a double-double here.

Middle Tier

Tyger Campbell, G, UCLA ($6,900)

Campbell isn't super affordable, but he isn't budget breaking either, and gives us a nice entry point to this marquee matchup. He's volatile for sure, posting three straight DKP outings of 30+ which were preceded by four under 20 DKP. But we've got a very attractive 148.5 point total which should keep him from bottoming out. For $3,000 less than UCLA's top option, Campbell appears to offer more appeal.

Justin Moore, G, Villanova ($6,200)

Perhaps Moore's return to action and form has been better for Villanova, winners of six of their last seven, than it has been for fantasy players, as he's topped 30 DKP only once. But he's coming off of a season-high 23 points against Seton Hall and has failed to play 30 minutes just once since coming back to health, setting up a decent floor at a contest-average price. He somehow had no assists in the Wildcats' last outing, something that surely won't repeat itself Saturday. Villanova should flirt with 70 points, which means Moore will have his hand in most production in route to 4x safely.

Bargain Tier

Marcus Hammond, G, Notre Dame ($4,600)

Hammond comes with a few caveats. First and foremost, we must confirm JJ Starling ($4,200) is absent from the active roster, as his return clearly cuts into Hammond's playing time. I also think Notre Dame lays a complete egg here coming off of their upset win over Pittsburgh in head coach Mike Brey's final home game. But Hammond did score 20 points in that game against Pitt thanks to some additional minutes. He's also sneakingly posted double-digit fantasy points in every game since January 10, so there's quietly at least a 2x return coming while freeing up capital. And five times he's gone for 4x or better, so there's potential for a slate winning showing.

Quentin Millora-Brown, F, Vanderbilt ($3,200)

Digging deep here, but finding value frontcourt options is a vile process. Millora-Brown was better than decent in an expanded 20 minutes against Kentucky following Robbins' exit, posting 10 points and six rebounds across 19 minutes, ending with 20 DKP. It was just his fourth game all season with 20+ fantasy points, so even if he's moved into the starting lineup, there's a low floor. But what do we expect for this price? There's elevated opportunity rarely found in this tier, which is all we can ask for.

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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