This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Before we dive into the slate, here's a quick overview of some of the other lineup-building tools we have to offer here at RotoWire:
- DFS Lineup Optimizer
- Advanced Daily Lineups (for usage rates)
- Recent Trends
- Daily Matchup Info (odds & pace stats)
- Injury Report
Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina ($9,700 DK, $8,500 FD)
Anthony sat at 7k on FanDuel for his first two outings, but the price increase now still isn't as dramatic as it is at DraftKings, where he debuted at $7,600. He's taken 24 shots in each of the Heels first two, leading to a ridiculous 37.8 percent usage rate, while grabbing double-digit rebounds in the process. The price point at DK doesn't feel right given the slate's depth, and this seems like a game where Anthony gets others involved. Locking him in for cash purposes at FD makes sense, but outside of that, I'm inclined to spend elsewhere.
Kira Lewis, G, Alabama ($9,100 DK, $8,000 FD)
Tempo figures to be key here, with the Tide checking in seventh nationally, and the Rams just 158th. Rhode Island isn't great defensively, however, and we think Lewis can force the issue here. He's played 37.5 minutes in Alabama's first two games, but somewhat surprisingly has a moderate 26.6 percent usage rate. Lewis is averaging seven 3-point attempts, seven rebounds and seven assists nightly however, and will be heavily involved in whatever the Tide produces in what looks like a tight contest.
Filip Petrusev, F, Gonzaga ($8,500 DK, $8,100 FD)
Petrusev has been incredibly efficient, scoring 15 points or more in three straight despite playing 23 minutes or less. Therein lies the problem with him at this price tag; there's a ton of risk, especially with the step up in competition. Six other Zags are playing more minutes, and that doesn't include Killian Tillie ($4,900 DK, $4,500 FD) whose status for Friday is TBD. For me, he's a GPP target only, as I'm simply not a complete believer in his early production.
Daniel Oturu, F, Minnesota ($8,800 DK, $7,900 FD)
With at least 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in each of his first three games, Oturu looks to have a very safe floor Friday. The Utes do have plenty of size and depth they can throw at Oturu, but I don't find them athletic enough to deal with the Gophers' talented big man. He's a bit pricey at DK, though justifiably given he's topped 40 DKP in every outing. A FD cash lineup centered around Oturu and Anthony looks like a great start.
Xavier Johnson, G, Pittsburgh ($5,700 DK, $6,100 FD)
This is largely based on the form Johnson showed last season, as his sophomore campaign hasn't gotten off to a hot start. But he was a triple-double threat nightly as a freshman, and at this price point, you can't find someone with higher upside. West Virginia will force tempo and Johnson will have the ball in his hands often. Call it a hunch, but I expect the best game of Johnson's season tonight. He had 21 points and six boards in 33 minutes against WVU last year, and while the scoring may decrease, I expect the peripherals to increase. He'll have no trouble providing 3x value here, with the potential for much more.
Jeff Dowtin, G, Rhode Island ($5,600 DK, $6,000 FD)
Dowtin's usage rate isn't particularly high at just 20.2, but playing 37.5 minutes simply leads to stable production. He's the team's leading scorer in the early going, though his numbers are slightly down from a year ago. He is hitting 41.7 percent from long range and there's slight upward mobility in his production. This is a big step up in competition for Alabama, so I'm not putting much stock in their defensive numbers.
Andre Gordon, G, Texas A&M ($4,600 DK, $5,100 FD)
Gordon stepped into the starting lineup with T.J. Starks suspended, and his price simply doesn't reflect that. He played 28 minutes, resulting in 24.5 DKP/22.9 FDP thanks to a team-high 25.6 percent usage rate. If he can simply duplicate that performance, he's flirting with 4x value.
Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga ($5,200 DK, $5,800 FD)
There are a few variables in play here, such as the aforementioned questionable availability of Killian Tillie, as well as seeing how much HC Mark Few trusts Timme in a game against a Power 5 opponent. But Timme is the team's third-leading scorer despite not starting, putting up 14.0 points in 25 minutes. He's more the type of risk I'm willing to take over Petrusev above simply due to the decreased cost. I'm also continually underwhelmed with the mid-tier forward options, which seem to fall off quickly south of 7k.
Games to Target
Duke (-28) vs. Georgia State, O/U: 150.5, 7 p.m. EST
Maybe because their freshman class isn't as good as expected, but the Blue Devils are incredibly deep in the early going, and it's reflected in the affordability of their players in a game with the highest total. Vernon Carey ($7,200 DK, $6,200 FD) is coming off of his first double-double and looks like a great buy at FD. Cassius Stanley ($6,100 DK, $6,500 FD) has been the most consistent rookie and brings appeal at DK. But veteran Alex O'Connell ($5,700 DK, $6,000 FD) has been an unsung producer early. Freshman Matthew Hurt ($5,300 DK, $5,700 FD) responded well to his removal from the starting lineup, and Wendell Moore ($3,900 DK, $4,000 FD) has shown to be a volume scorer. The real value comes from the status of point guard Tre Jones ($7,900 DK, $8,000 FD). A concussion limited him to nine minutes in their last game, and Duke simply doesn't need him to prevail here. As such, he'll be unfairly ignored if we receive word he'll play. And if he doesn't play, Jordan Goldwire ($3,700 DK, $3,800 FD) will see all the minutes he can handle as the only other floor general. If flirting with the Panthers' side of things, Justin Roberts ($6,800 DK, $6,600 FD) feels risky against an athletic backcourt, and if Jones plays and matches up here, it's an even worse spot. Josh Linder ($5,100 DK, $6,800 FD) comes at a significant discount at DK.
North Carolina (-25) vs. Gardner-Webb, O/U: 147.5, 9:00 p.m. EST
The beauty of targeting North Carolina is the exact opposite of targeting its rivals above. UNC has little-to-no depth, so even in a game where they win going away, their core will see plenty of run. Garrison Brooks ($7,400 DK, $7,600 FD) looks like a better bargain on DK, where he comes at a significant savings to the previously mentioned Anthony. Justin Pierce ($7,000 DK, $7,200 FD) looks too rich for my liking, as he struggled mightily against Notre Dame in the opener before feasting on UNCW after Armando Bacot ($5,000 DK, $4,800 FD) departed with a concussion. Bacot is expected back, and assuming no minutes restriction, he hamstrings Pierce while offering a clear value play. The rest of the Heels rotation includes Leaky Black ($5,300 DK, $5,800) FD) Andrew Platek ($4,500 DK, $4,200 FD) and Christian Keeling ($4,800 DK, $5,000 FD). Black hasn't looked for his own offense much, but can contribute in multiple categories, while Platek has seen steady minutes while producing just because he on the court. Those minutes have come at the expense of Keeling, who has struggled. He looks like a great GPP target at this price, as the Charleston-Southern transfer averaged at least 17.3 ppg in three seasons there, and Gardner-Webb offers a soft opponent for him to gain confidence. If we're looking for the Bulldogs to help this game reach the total, Jose Perez ($6,600 DK, $6,700 FD) is the focal point of the offense. UNC has a history of allowing inferior opponents to light them up from the perimeter, and if Perez isn't the one to do so, Nate Johnson ($5,400 DK, $5,300 FD) or Jaheam Cornwall ($4,800 DK, $4,900 FD) would be the GPP dart throws.
Houston (-11) vs. BYU O/U: 142, 9:00 p.m. EST
This may be a less than obvious answer, as the total isn't huge, and the spread suggests it won't be highly competitive. But there just looks to be plenty of value based on price and usage rates on both sides. BYU offers TJ Haws ($6,600 DK, $6,300 FD) and Jake Toolson ($6,700 DK, $6,800 FD), who sport usage rates of 28.6 and 27.4 percent, respectively. The Cougars are harder to decipher having played just one game, but the bulk of the rotation is priced to use. Quentin Grimes ($6,300 DK, $6,400 FD) is the highest-priced option, while Fabian White Jr. ($4,100 DK, $4,800 FD) and DeJon Jarreau ($5,100 DK, $5,800) both played 25 minutes in the opener and had at least 25 percent usage. I'm certainly not suggesting stacking this game, but it looks like a great spot to grab a couple secondary options for cheap.
Games to Avoid
This seems like a rare instance where the two games that are site specific can be avoided as best we can, as they come with the lowest totals, with at least one expected to be a one-sided affair.
Xavier (-14.5) vs. Missouri State O/U: 129, 7:00 p.m. EST (FanDuel Only)
This seems almost too obvious to avoid. Xavier checks in at 25th in adjusted defense and 185 in adjusted tempo, while Missouri State sits at 325th in adjusted tempo, allowing 56.3 ppg in their first three. With an implied total of 58.5, we can completely punt anything that has to do with Missouri State. I do find the Musketeers' front court somewhat appealing, as Tyrique Jones ($6,800) should have his way on the glass, while Naji Marshall ($7,400) should lead them in scoring.
UCLA (-6.5) vs. UNLV O/U: 135, 11:00 p.m. EST (DraftKings Only)
A low total, and a tipoff way past my East Coast bedtime have me overlooking most everything here. I'm somewhat intrigued by the Rebels' Amauri Hardy ($7,500) as he's got the green light to shoot, taking a whopping 43 shots (17 3-Pt) in the last two games while playing 83 minutes. He's connecting on 42.0 percent from long range, and the Bruins struggle to defend the 3, allowing opponents to hit 39.0 percent. Cheikh Mbacke Diong ($7,600) is offensively challenged, and may not return the normal rebounds and blocks against UCLA's talented big Jalen Hill ($7,000). Hill is the best bet for UCLA, but the Bruins have five players averaging double-digits, with seven playing at least 16.5 minutes. There's just too much depth with low upside to feel confident targeting any one option.