This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
A robust eight-game slate awaits DraftKings main contest Wednesday, with four games doubling up and being featured on the late slate. Conference play is upon us! Half of the main slate features SEC schools, while the Big East and AAC round us out. Slate depth is going to lead to low usage, and high scoring requirements for tournaments.
Managers are faced with two critical decisions on this slate. 1) Are we paying for Oscar Tshiebwe ($10,100) at nearly $1,000 more than the next priced option, knowing we need 40 DKP to flirt with 4x, something he's done only five times to date. 2) How do we attack the Xavier/St. John's game, and it's 160+ point total knowing that each team has four starters priced at $7,300 or greater?
Joel Soriano, F, St. John's ($9,100)
I have severe reservations with Soriano, which isn't likely an ideal lead in. He was dominant at Fordham as an unknown and has been more of that since transferring, but foul trouble has always been an issue. That could be an issue against Xavier's size. I'm very intruigied by 'Bama's Brandon Miller ($9,000) for GPPs, but I can't bring myself to fully fade Soriano. He's rebounding at an elite rate, just once all season failing to record 10+. He's off four straight 40+ DKP outings and doesn't need that for 4x.
Tolu Smith, F, Misissippi State ($7,900)
This is a matchup play only, but the price point isn't so great to where we can still squeeze out some value. Smith comes with a 27.3 percent usage rate, a robust number at this price. He'll face a 'Bama defense that ranks fourth in adjusted tempo, hopefully providing a boost against their 19th-ranked defensive efficiency. Smith has four fouls in consecutive games, limiting minutes, and has topped 30 DKP only five times. He's volatile, but at a sub 8k price, he doesn't need 40 DKP upside, which he has.
Noah Clowney, F, Alabama ($7,000)
Low usage is the thought here. Clowney missed the Tide's last game but didn't see a price decrease, so hopefully he goes overlooked. He's provided nine+ rebounds in four straight and seven times overall. It's a clash of styles here with 'Bama ranking fourth in tempo, per KenPom, and Mississippi State 341st. As such, I'm backing a stable defensive contributor who will add putbacks en route to 4x or better.
Jaykwon Walton, G, Wichita State ($6,900)
I never write this column as it's read in order, so I apologize when it reads a tad disjointed. As this came together, I feel I've found some obvious bargains below, some minimal must-use options in the top tier where you can pick and choose your poison, and some mid-tier options that seem volatile but have potential with low usage almost certain. This UCF-Wichita game seems like one most want to avoid; we've got a total of just 123.5 and the Shockers are eight-point dogs. They may not score 55 points with the Knights coming in 35th in defensive efficiency and 352nd in tempo. But Walton is an elite rebounding guard, creating a nice floor in this defensive battle. And if Craig Porter (ankle) is sidelined, he'll shoulder ample offensive burdens too. It's a GPP play only, but Walton can easily slide into 5x return with a double-double and I'd bank on less than five percent usage.
Kyle Lofton, G, Florida ($3,800)
It's plays like these on deep slates that seem so obvious to me, but perhaps aren't? Normally in the sub-4k price range, we're hoping for a lightening bolt off the bench. Lofton gives us a starter with 30+ minute likelihood, and a diverse contributor that doesn't need to do much to provide a stable 4x return. The game logs and past success speak for themselves. He's struggling at his new home and against better competition, but he has a proven history and ample nightly opportunity rarely seen at this price.
K.D. Johnson, G, Auburn ($3,700)
I'm a little over the Tiger coaching staff's inconsistent use of Johnson, but at this price point, he can be erratic, highly used and still return ample value. He's got a robust 26.2 percent usage rate, and needs a mere 14.8 DKP to return 4x, something he's hit in all but three games to date. League play has me believing we'll see tightened rotations here, which gives Johnson a high ceiling to boot. The only concern for me is high usage, but even still, the low price point opens up so many other options for you to differentiate.