This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Two Elite Eight games await Saturday, with Villanova-Houston tipping at 6:09 p.m. EDT and Duke-Arkansas following roughly two and a half hours later. Tight spreads are present, at two and four points, respectively, but there's a huge disparity in totals, with the first game at 128 and the night cap at 147.5. So, we clearly know where we want to go for guaranteed production; and so does everyone else.
Villanova and Houston are comfortable playing at their slow-paced, defensive style. And I find Arkansas' defensive metrics a bit of fluff. They were willing to run with Gonzaga whenever the opportunity presented itself. I saw a lot of open looks the Zags failed to knock down. If that manifests similarly against the Blue Devils, I don't know if the Razorbacks can keep up.
We write these columns skewed toward DraftKings pricing. You'll notice ample ebbs and flows, which obviously creates opportunities across sites.
Paolo Banchero, F, Duke ($8,100 DK, $8,300 FD)
Yeah, yeah, he's the highest-priced option, so no duh. But because of the limited slate, he's still priced very favorably given form alone, having gone for 4x in seven of his last nine games, including each tournament game. Then we can examine the matchup and ask how the Razorbacks defend. Assume Jaylin Williams ($7,200 DK, $7,800 FD) gets Mark Williams ($7,700 DK, $7,500 FD), who's left to match up with Banchero? Arkansas doesn't have another regular taller than 6-foot-6 or heavier than 220. Banchero should get whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. No reason to fade.
Kyler Edwards, G, Houston ($7,500 DK, $7,600 FD)
We're forced to be a little different somewhere on this slate, and I assume many will skip Edwards in favor of JD Notae ($7,600 DK, $8,500 FD) given the nearly identical prices at DraftKings. There's no arguing against Notae's huge volume, and the seemingly plus game script. We're simply rolling with the less-used option with similar potential. Edwards has taken double-digit shots in eight consecutive games, has at least four rebounds in nine straight and at least three assists in eight of his last nine. It's led to at least 33.25 DKP in seven of eight. Notae is an interesting option at FanDuel. His high price could lead to limited usage.
Jamal Shead, G, Houston ($6,500 DK, $6,700 FD)
Shead just seems like another rock solid option. I jump around in writing this column; he's the third name you'll read, but the sixth and final I'm adding to this column, which seems to be pretty chalky and much more high-used, cash game options. The pricing is just so favorable for stable mid-tier production. Shead has at least 27 DKP in four straight and seven of 10. You can worry slightly that he needs assists to reach his ceiling, something that might be harder to come by against Villanova's 24th-ranked defense and 345th-ranked tempo. But minutes aren't in question, nor should be the floor. Arkansas' Stanley Umude ($6,100, $5,700 FD) or Duke's A.J. Griffin ($5,200 DK, $5,000 FD) are intriguing GPP pivots with substantially lower floors.
Jermaine Samuels, F, Villanova ($6,200 DK, $6,600 FD)
I don't feel confident I'm offering too many discerning opinions in this column. Collin Gillespie ($6,900 DK, $6,200 FD) will have ample opportunity, as will Justin Moore ($6,000 DK, $5,900 FD), but neither is the reason Villanova has reached the Elite Eight. Samuels has elevated his game, going for at least 30.5 DKP in three straight and four of his last five, averaging 16.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals. He's not likely to score 20-plus against Houston's elite defense, as he's done in two of these last five, but given how the Cougars crash the glass, Samuels will need to be active to combat that. A low-scoring double-double wouldn't surprise, and would far exceed his price.
Jeremy Roach, G, Duke ($5,400 DK, $5,400 FD)
I assume most who watched the game Thursday saw Trevor Keels ($5,500 DK, $4,200 FD) was essentially out of the rotation, providing zero fantasy points in 14 minutes while Roach saw 35 minutes and produced 27.5 DKP. Maybe that makes Keels the ideal low-used GPP target in a potentially high-scoring affair. But Roach's price hasn't risen to the level of his current form or opportunity. He's seen 35-plus minutes in three straight, going for at least 4.3x in those outings. He's another player I expect high usage from, but for good reason.
Davonte Davis, G, Arkansas ($4,400 DK, $4,400 FD)
Perhaps Davis offers an opportunity to differentiate? He couldn't throw it in the ocean against Gonzaga, but I saw Davis coming off curls and getting consistent open looks, taking at least six shots for the fourth consecutive game. His 26 minutes were the fewest in that short stretch, so the opportunity is clear. If the game is played as wide open as expected, Davis could score double-digits while contributing peripherally en route to 4x-plus, while opening your budget as well.
Note: Duke's Wendell Moore ($7,000 DK, $6,400 FD) is the a big name not mentioned. The form is beyond poor. The GPP appeal is very high as a result.