DFS College Basketball: Thursday Preview & Picks (Early)

DFS College Basketball: Thursday Preview & Picks (Early)

This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

While much of the focus is on NFL on Thanksgiving, there are several misplaced players and opportunities to capitalize in college basketball DFS. Let's take a look at the top plays by salary tier.

Top Tier: 

Armando Bacot, F, North Carolina ($9,600)

The Tar Heels have the highest implied total on the slate at roughly 83 points, so who better to use the bulk of your salary on that arguably the top fantasy asset in all of college basketball. Portland is just good enough that a total blowout isn't a major concern, as KenPom has this as a 12-point game. Bacot has scored in double digits in each game this season, is averaging 10.8 field goals attempted per contest and is coming off a 19-point, 23-rebound effort, which would have been good for 51.8 DK points.

Caleb Love, G, North Carolina ($8,400)

While Colin Castleton ($10,400) is on his way to an All-American bid and should be in your player pool for mass entry, he's facing an experienced Xavier frontcourt featuring a pair of upperclassmen in Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle. That may not matter for a player of his usage level and scoring ability, but I'll take the cost savings here and stack up Tar Heels instead. Love has a near-equivalent but slightly higher usage rate than Bacot and is second on the team in minutes played while attempting 14.3 shots per contest. He's also averaging a career-best 5.5 rpg, so the floor should be high even if the shots don't fall. Multi-entry players may also want to take a look at R.J. Davis ($7,900) as a lower-owned pivot, as he's served as the primary point guard with Love in an off-ball role.

Middle Tier: 

Dereck Lively, F, Duke ($6,600)

This one might be best left for GPPs, as Lively has yet to live up to his potential as the No. 1 recruit in the country (per multiple publications). He's heading in the right direction, however. After missing the first game of the season and coming off the bench in the next two, Lively has started back-to-back games. So far, the promotion has only resulted in 15.5 and 13.3 DK points across 15 and 23 minutes, respectively, but each of those were lopsided contests in Duke's favor, with Lively fouling out of the former. While KenPom projects another 20-point Duke win here, Oregon State checks in at a dismal ranking in defensive efficiency (No. 245), while its rebounding stats are nothing to write home about. It's worth rolling the dice on Lively in hopes of a breakout game, as this might be the lowest his price gets all season.

Tyler Robertson, G, Portland ($5,900)

Robertson and the Pilots may be in line for their toughest matchup all season against North Carolina, but Portland still has the fifth-highest implied total of the slate, and the junior guard leads the team in both usage rate and minutes per game. He's also averaging 17.5 ppg after reaching double figures in all six games this season, including a 32-point effort. Most players with this type of early-season resume check in at $7k+, so I'm buying a relatively safe floor in an up-tempo matchup. That being said, this play may become slightly less attractive if Michael Meadows (11.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.3 apg) makes his return from a two-game absence. If that were to happen, a pivot to Moses Wood ($5,400) might be in play, as his role would be less affected by a prospective Meadows return.

Value Plays: 

Juwan Gary, F, Nebraska ($4,100)

Here's your free square of the day. Gary leads Nebraska's starters in usage rate while logging 27.0 minutes per contest. He's also coming off games with 27.8 and 35.8 DK points. Oklahoma is a slow-tempo, defensive-minded opponent, but it won't take much to hit value here. The only risk is the potential return of forward Derrick Walker, but he has yet to suit up this season, and Nebraska has offered very little regarding the nature of his injury.

Kristian Sjolund, F, Portland ($4,200)

I was tempted to toss Rodrigue Andela ($3,700) in this spot given his strong production and recent entry into the starting five, but Duke is an incredibly tough matchup for opposing big men, and Andela is also dealing with an undisclosed injury that limited him to 10 minutes Nov. 19 against Portland State. A showdown against UNC isn't a much better matchup for Sjolund, but at least it's up-tempo, and the junior forward is a high-major transfer with 83 collegiate games under his belt. At this price point, Sjolund would have hit 4x in four of six games this season, with three 6x performances as well. His ability to play four positions also means he'll likely avoid a head-to-head matchup with Bacot.

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. Jake Letarski plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: rotojakeski, DraftKings: RotoJakeSki.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jake Letarski
RotoWire Editor for College Basketball and MMA. Frequent podcaster, plus radio and video guest. Follow Jake on Twitter at @RotoJake.
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