This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Just when I don't think DraftKings can make the Saturday slates any larger, they tell me to hold my beer. The three slates we're playing this week include a whopping 33 games, 66 teams and 330 starters. This column features 18 of those starters (5.5 percent). Don't fret if you like someone elsewhere that's not listed. We'll likely agree heavily on games to target, and I'm trying to be at least somewhat contrarian at the same time, rather than simply listing the obvious.
This is a great day for me to have no dad commitments and start honing in on teams and players ascending as we head into the latter portion of the year. Lets dive in!
12 at 12 to start off, as we've got a 12-game main slate tipping at noon EST. More than half the games are flirting with 140-point totals, while four others are at 131 or fewer, so we'll have a wide range of options and fades, though the low-scoring contests shouldn't be fully ignored.
Tyree Appleby, G, Wake Forest ($8,900)
Appleby has scored in double digits in 12 straight games dating back to December 2 and has at least five assists in all but one of those outings. I don't love the price point, but he rarely leaves the court and comes at a bit of a discount to adversary Terquavion Smith ($9,500). I expect this game to be wide open, with Wake a decent 77th in tempo and 162nd defensively while North Carolina State sits 51st in tempo and a decent 61st in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Appleby is a perfect high-floor play with the game bringing high-ceiling potential.
Ryan Kalkbrenner, F, Creighton ($8,800)
Loyal readers of my DFS breakdowns know I usually prefer balance over pay-ups and don't find much value in frontcourts, forcing the use of the upper-tier forwards. This slate has no player priced in five digits, so we can pay a tad more for the upper options and still get some balance (I hope). Kalkbrenner is $700 cheaper than 'Bama's Brandon Miller ($9,500) and looks to be in a good spot. The last time the Blue Jays played Xavier, we had a 90-87 final where Kalkbrenner went for 41.0 DKP. I wouldn't expect four assists and three steals again, but Kalkbrenner is also due a double-double, having not posted one since a three-game absence due to illness. With Xavier checking in 16th in tempo, maybe there's more value in a Creighton guard, but again, forwards fall off quickly, so I'll take stability here with the potential for more.
Damian Dunn, G, Temple ($6,500)
This game has a meager 129.5-point total with Temple expected to only provide 60 of those, so we're surely going to get incredibly low roster percentages on Dunn. He hasn't started in eight games since a head injury but is averaging a cool 19.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists across the Owls' last four games, playing 33.5 minutes. He's failed to reach a 4x return just twice over the last eight, and the volume should be there for another nice return despite the expected low-scoring game.
Cormac Ryan, G, Notre Dame ($6,200)
I've highlighted Ryan twice previously, and he's failed me both times, putting up a combined 26.0 DKP in two of his lowest-scoring games of the year. Third time's the charm? He's posted 57.75 DKP across the Irish's last two outings, and the matchup is very soft agaisnt defensiveless Louisville, who rank 258th in efficiency and 247th in 3-point percentage allowed. Ryan averages five 3-point attempts nightly and connects at a 38.9 percent clip. Form and opportunity surely provide a floor, right?
De'Sean Nelson, F, DePaul ($6,200)
Nelson hasn't started in over a month, but is stil averaging 27.0 minutes across his last eight, providing 13.5 points and 5.1 rebounds. The Blue Demons play four forwards, but Nelson comes in the cheapest and arguably has the most scoring potential, even over Javan Johnson ($7,300). We've got a nice 153.5-point total listed, and while Marquette is going to do most of that heavy lifting, their core four on offense is pricey. I like Nelson to get scoring opportunities in an effort for DePaul to stay within striking distance. He may not reach 4x, something he's done twice in his last eight, but a 3x return seems safe with potential for slightly better.
Isiaih Mosley, G, Missouri ($5,700)
The price point is rising, but given current form, it's still got some room to rise before I no longer consider Moseley. He's gone for 28.0 and 34.3 DKP in the Tigers last two outings, most recently moving into the starting lineup. Moseley has seen a 31.6 percent usage rate in four games since returning from a personal absence, and Missouri plays at a 37th-ranked tempo and faces a Cyclone team that will run too, ranking 44th.
Scoring doesn't seem as available within this second slate, with only five games checking in with totals north of 140, though there aren't any bottoming out options under 130 like the evening presents. We're tipping at 3:00 p.m. EST, with the last game going off at 6:00. Further presenting challenges within the lower-scoring affairs are the deep nature of team rotations (namely Texas and Tennessee), taking a lot of steady yet unspectacular options off our radar.
Kyle Filipowski, F, Duke ($9,500)
Filipowski is on another level right now compared to the other options on this slate. He's turned in four straight double-doubles, averaging 47.6 DKP in that stretch, right at a 5x return. Simply huge numbers. His scoring should benefit from Dariq Whitehead's ($5,200) absence, though it hasn't slumped when Whitehead is healthy. Georgia Tech is severely undersized, with only one option (Rodney Howard) north of 6-foot-7 amongst their regular rotation, so Filipowski should feast on the interior.
GG Jackson, F, South Carolina ($8,200)
We know the volume is there nightly for Jackson, who's taken less than 13 shots just three times all season. After going through a bit of a freshman wall, he appears to be coming out of it over the last three games and those volume opportunities are falling a bit more, going 22-for-59, just 37.3 percent, though an improvement on his 25.8 percent mark from the three games prior. He's had at least seven rebounds in these last three as well, resulting in a 30.75 DKP floor and 47.0 DKP ceiling. He needs only 32.8 DKP for a 4x return, and while he'll get no significant boost from Georgia, who rank 75th defensively and 161st in tempo, there's a nice floor/ceiling comboat a bit of a discount to the other high-end options.
Ricky Council, G, Arkansas ($6,900)
Council is coming off of a diverse 10 point, seven assist, six rebound line and saw his price fall some $400. This slate is really gross in the middle tier, and I like a decent amount of the bargain options, so it really sets up as a stars and scrubs approach rather than my usually preferred balance. We expect this game to be back and forth with both teams reaching the 70s despite decent defensive metrics and Council has shown the ability to play a full 40 minutes, which leads to production by default. There's volatility given the Razorbacks' plethora of options, but Council will be in the mix.
Nijel Pack, G, Miami ($6,800)
Truth be told, I feel like I'm forcing Pack into this column. What I do know is that we want a share of this game, as it's got a nearly 150-point total and an even spread. Pittsburgh remains largely a two-man offense, both priced up, while Miami has a group of four that gets nearly all their production. Pack happens to be the cheapest. He's shooting the 3-pointer better of late, hitting a whopping 52.0 percent across his last three games (13-for-25). There's an incredibly low floor here given a lack of peripherals, but if we get a few shots to fall and the game is close and high-scoring, Pack can flirt with 30 DKP.
Noah Williams, G, Washington ($5,000)
Since a zero-point outing against Stanford, Williams has bounced back to average 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.5 minutes across the Huskies' last four. Arizona is elite defensively, ranking 29th, but they also play at the nation's 10th-fastest pace. Surely he can find his way into a 4x number at this price point, with 6x upside. Teammate Cole Bajema ($4,800) is likely more stable without the potential, and is viable depending on your strategy and/or needs, but I wouldn't recommend both given the Wildcats defensive capabilities.
Dillon Hunter, G, Clemson ($3,000)
Consider this a placeholder more than a pick for Hunter, though he certainly merits consideration. Clemson will be without Brevin Galloway ($5,700) for certain, and we don't yet know the status of either Chase Hunter ($6,700) or Alex Hemenway ($3,900), the latter of which would likely see minutes restrictions if he's to return, playing for the first time since mid-December. If all three are out, Clemson simply has no other options at guard. Hunter started their last game and played 36 minutes. He returned only 13.75 DKP, but that's more than enough at this bottom-tier price. FSU is just 202nd in defensive efficiency, so we could even see an uptick if the minutes are available. Just be ready to pivot if the Tigers are suddenly healthy.
A larger than normal nine-game slate is in store to wrap up our Saturday full of hoops. We tip at 7:00 p.m. EST as opposed to 9:00, and it's not our typical West-Coast-heavy nightcap, with only four games featuring Pac 12 battles. It's an anticipated lower-scoring slate, with just four games showing totals of 140+. That to me usually screams take the sure things, the top targets. But with the size of the slate, I think we can still build some balance.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana ($11,000)
The price is huge, but Jackson-Davis is in a class of his own; he's seemingly the 2022-23 version of 2021-22 Oscar Tshiebwe ($10,600), who's also on this slate in a marquee matchup against Kansas. Jackson-Davis has shown a 52.0 DKP floor across his last four games. I'm not sure the price can go any higher, but I'm also not sure I'd fade him at any number barring at least two consecutive down showings, as he's had only two games all season below 30 DKP. The metrics don't suggest a 50+ fantasy point showing, and Ohio State does have the size to battle with Jackson-Davis, but this is the type of tight game where stars shine. Seemingly only foul trouble prevents Jackson-Davis from another 40 DKP outing, something that hasn't plagued him since December 10.
Sean Pedulla, G, Virginia Tech ($7,600)
This may be my favorite play of the entire day given the sliding price. I targeted Pedulla in the Hokies' first meeting with Syracuse due to his 3-point prowess against the Orange's 2-3 zone, and he returned 30.0 DKP despite shooting 3-of-15. Surely the home rematch yields better results. Pedulla has been off the court for all of 12 minutes across Virginia Tech's last eight games. That should lead to ample peripheral numbers and even shooting 40 percent should get us north of a 4x return with the Hokies expected to post around 75 points.
Cason Wallace, G, Kentucky ($6,700)
I'm hoping Wallace offers us a contrarian in to this game. Tshiebwe and Jalen Wilson ($9,700) are the obvious set it and forget it options, while Kentucky's Antonio Reeves ($5,900) recent scoring surge surely will make him a popular pay-down option. None are wrong, just seemingly too trendy. Wallace's game logs certainly leave plenty to be desired but he's still scored in double-digits in three straight while possessing the team's third-highest usage rate over their last five. This is the matchup most people will target to have shares of, if for name value only. We don't need 30 DKP here for ample return, and it likely comes overlooked.
Maxime Raynaud, F, Stanford ($6,600)
This slate is severely lacking players we can bank on for production in multiple categories, seemingly leaving us chasing scoring. Raynaud seems like an exception, as the Cardinal big man has scored in double-digits in four of six and pulled down at least eight rebounds at an identical ratio. He was good for 26.5 DKP in a previous meeting with Cal and is coming off of a big double-double, albeit against an overmatched Chicago State. Still, he's one of the few players Saturday evening with multiple paths to a stable floor while offering at least a glimmer of a 4x upside against a Golden Bears defense that ranks 207th in offensive rebounds allowed and 228th defensively.
Hunter Cattoor, G, Virginia Tech ($6,100)
I didn't intend to suggest a Hokies stack here, but there isn't anything wrong with it when facing an Orange defense that ranks 114th in efficiency. Cattoor has played three games since missing a month and averaged 22.8 DKP since returning, a reasonable 3.7x return. He's a second high-volume 3-point shooter against the Orange's 2-3 zone, taking 23 shots from beyond the arc since returning and connecting 10 times. He too doesn't leave the floor, similar to Padulla above, seeing all but nine minutes in those games. A 3x+ floor is the expectation that is somewhat budget friendly.
Julius Marble, F, Texas A&M ($5,600)
I toyed with Marble in the Aggies' last game but sided with the upside of Henry Coleman ($6,400) instead. I was wrong despite Coleman providing five additional DKP, a number that's not worth the additional cost. Marble has averaged 14.1 points and 3.6 rebounds across A&M's last seven games, playing 26.7 minutes. This is a game where I want secondary shares and prefer the Aggies' side given the higher point probability. He's not a slate-winner, but he's a value forward against a Commodores defense that ranks 166th in efficiency.