This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
DraftKings has eight games to choose from on this Thursday's slate – only three of which tip off before 9:00 p.m. EST. The slate starts with our most attractive game of the night when Memphis travels to Wichita State at 7:00 p.m. EST. There are also only three games that offer a total greater than 140. That's far from the typical amount of high-scoring, up-tempo contests that we look to target, leaving us with only a few standout fantasy options to invest in.
James Rojas, F, Wichita State ($7,900)
At first glance, Rojas doesn't appear like a player worthy of the largest fantasy investment in our lineup. The 6-foot-6 senior has averaged just 9.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this season. However, he's seen a significant increase in production while starting the last 14 contests, putting up 11.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. This matchup against Memphis also benefits his upside, as the Tigers rank 307th in offensive rebound percentage (31.4) and 297th in their ratio of free-throw tries to field-goal attempts per game allowed (36.8), per KenPom. Rojas has grabbed 5.8 defensive rebounds per game while also shooting 80.3 percent on his 5.1 free-throw attempts per game since becoming a full-time starter. His strong potential for a double-double makes Rojas an easy player to ride with in this top-billed matchup.
Tristan da Silva, F, Colorado ($7,700)
USC versus Colorado is definitely our second-best game on Thursday's slate. The over/under sits at a solid 140.5 and both teams are above average in adjusted tempo. The Trojans are slightly worse on defense and also rank 210th in rebounding percentage this season (49.5). Therefore, we'll target one half of the Buffaloes' top-tier duo of Tristan da Silva and K.J. Simpson. The two have had pretty similar production over the course of the entire season. However, Simpson's scoring has been dragging since he missed one game with an illness, averaging 12.3 points while converting 32.2 percent of his 12.4 field-goal attempts per game. Conversely, da Silva is also first on the team in usage rate over the last five games at 28.1 percent, putting up 19.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game over that stretch.
Aundre Hyatt, G, Rutgers ($6,500)
Hyatt went from a solid player off the bench to a high-upside fantasy proposition since stepping up into a starting role over the last four games. The LSU transfer has averaged 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds while playing 30.3 minutes per game during that span. He's also attempting 6.3 three-pointers over the last four contests, including when he splashed 5-of-11 from beyond the arc en route to a season-high 24 points against Nebraska on Feb. 14. With previous starter Mawot Mag set to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, Hyatt will have a prominent role for the Scarlet Knights that DraftKings probably hasn't fully caught up to just yet.
Luke O'Brien, G, Colorado ($5,700)
With so few options to pick from Thursday, I'll double up on Buffaloes with both Tristan da Silva and O'Brien from Colorado's lineup. The junior wing has been a solid contributor off the bench for much of the season with 5.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He now has a chance to blossom with J'Vonne Hadley likely to miss the rest of the season due to a hand injury. O'Brien started the past two games and nearly came away with back-to-back double-doubles against Arizona State last Thursday (nine points, 10 rebounds) followed by Arizona on Saturday (nine points, nine rebounds). If he keeps producing at this clip, O'Brien could easily notch close to 30 DKP versus the Trojans.
Alex Lomax, G, Memphis ($5,600)
Lomax returned to the court Sunday versus Houston after missing the previous nine games with a groin injury. The fifth-year guard went 0-for-7 from the field while coming off the bench against the Cougars, but he still notched seven rebounds while playing 29 minutes. Lomax affected nearly every phase while starting all 16 of his previous appearances, averaging 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.8 steals. Wichita State also has an all-around weak statistical profile, ranking 272nd in opponent steal percentage (10.1), per KenPom, and 231st in assists per game allowed (13.6), per TeamRankings. Lomax's numerous avenues for production give him a very solid floor in a game with a projected total score of 146.5.
Ramses Melendez, F, Illinois ($4,300)
Melendez has started the past two games with team-leading scorer Terrence Shannon (17.0 ppg) out due to a concussion. Melendez floundered while playing just 14 minutes during Saturday's loss at Indiana before posting 10 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes against Minnesota on Monday. Shannon was also still in concussion protocol while at practice Wednesday, so it looks like Melendez should be in line for his third consecutive start, albeit against a much tougher opponent in 20-7 Northwestern. Still, his extremely affordable salary makes him too good to pass up so long as Shannon continues to sit out.