Friday, March 1, 2024

DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks (Early)

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This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

Six games come our way in DraftKings main/early slate, tipping at 1:00 pm EST, spanning until 5:30 pm. A $5,000 top prize is available to one of a reasonable 1,568 entrants.

Lineup builds should vary decently. We’ve got three players priced in five figures, so choosing whether to deploy one will be the first question. We’ve also got a massive 160-point total in Tulane-Memphis, as well as a 157-point total in Alabama-Missouri, at least 17 points higher than the other four games on the slate. Finally, the Big 10 games have relatively early start times of 1:00 and 3:15, after Penn State, and moreso Indiana, played Friday evening. Indiana specifically is looking at roughly a 16-hour turnaround. Could we start to see some tired legs?

Top Tier

Kendric Davis, G, Memphis ($9,200)

There’s no fading this game Saturday afternoon. Memphis and Tulane played twice, and we saw 396 total points scored with each team reaching at least 89 both times. Davis feasted in these up-tempo matchups, posting a 31-point, seven-assist, six-rebound, three-steal line initially, following it up with a 26-7-5-4 line. He’s posted two 50+ DKP outings in his last three games, and looks like a lock for high points, assists and steals in this up-and-down game.

Kevin Cross, F, Tulane ($8,400)

We’re staying in the same game, and it’s for the exact same reasons. Cross posted 30.0 and 38.25 DKP in two matchups with Memphis during the regular season. Not elite, but stable. Yes, there could be more upside in the backcourt, but we have to also consider forwards here, and unless you’ve got the budget for Trayce Jackson-Davis ($10,900) or Zach Edey ($11,100), it makes sense to consider Cross at the discount in a game that will offer better scoring opportunity. He’s off a massive 24 point, 13 rebound outing against Wichita State, and hasn’t been under 34.0 DKP in his last three. 

Middle Tier

Viktor Lakhin, F, Cincinnati ($6,900)

I personally don’t think this is a slate that calls for getting cute, as I want multiple shares from Tulane and Memphis. But the forward depth drops off rapidly after Lahkin, falling to Missouri’s Noah Carter ($6,300) and Tulane’s Tylan Pope ($5,800), both of whom are in positive spots but are far from consistent. Perhaps that makes Lakhin someone we’re forced to squeeze in as a result. He averaged a decent 15.5 points, 5.5 boards, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals against the Cougars in two regular season meetings. Lakhin hasn’t returned to big minutes since missing three games in February due to an ankle issue, but this seems like a game where Cincy needs him to stay out of foul trouble and on the court. He hasn’t scored in double figures in three straight, so there’s certainly risk. But he also managed seven blocks and three steals last night, so there’s upside.

Jahvon Quinerly, G, Alabama ($5,800)

Ride the hot hand, or fade the surging price? Quinerly is averaging 15.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals across his last four games, and moved into the starting lineup Friday for the first time all season. It’s unfortunately (but justifiably) led to a $1,700 price increase, no longer making Quinerly a must-play. But with Alabama being third in tempo, per KenPom, and Missouri 77th, often seeing ample scoring despite that modest ranking, the interest in this game is obvious. Maybe using a higher-end option is a bit less obvious, so don’t sleep on Noah Clowney ($7,600) or Mark Sears ($6,700), but Quinerly helps balance our budget while being in good enough form.

Bargain Tier

Nick Honor, G, Missouri ($4,800)

Bad stuff first; Honor was worth only 10.0 DKP in a regular-season matchup against Alabama. The good news, however, is he took nine shots and played 31 minutes. He’s in a nice groove, earning 20+ DKP in four of his last five despite not scoring in double-figures in three straight. His 5-foot-10 frame isn’t as much of a concern against ‘Bama’s length, as the Tide’s guards are only two inches shorter. And with the expected high-scoring total, there’s every reason to expect Honor to provide ample assist and steal totals to keep a stable floor, and if his scoring opportunities remain, he could give us a 4.5x ceiling.

Quentin Millora-Brown, F, Vanderbilt ($4,300)

The Commodores have a core three that are all surging, and Ezra Manjon ($5,700) certainly merits consideration as the cheapest of the group, but this isn’t a must-target game given A&M’s 35th-ranked defense and 247th-ranked tempo that held Vanderbilt to 66 points during the regular season. Vandy’s frontcourt rotations remain volatile since Liam Robbins‘ ($9,500) season-ending injury, but Millora-Brown has played 31, 26 and 28 minutes in their last three. There’s nearly no upside, as his best game resulted in 18.75 DKP. But with double-digit fantasy points in four of five, and minutes increasing, there looks to be a decent floor with a reasonable 3x expectation while freeing up spending elsewhere.

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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