This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
It's Selection Sunday, but before turning the field over to the committee, several automatic bids must be clinched via conference championship games. Both DFS sites are offering a four-pack of games that tip at noon EST, featuring championships in the Atlantic 10, SEC, American and Big Ten Conferences. DraftKings is even celebrating the occasion with a $30k At Large Finale, featuring $10k to first place. These teams have all seen each other before, so there should be plenty of data to help us make today's selections.
1. Herb Jones, G/F, Alabama ($8,400 DK, $8,200 FD)
Josh Primo sat out the SEC Tournament Semifinals due to a sprained MCL, so it's tough to imagine he'll be back with such a quick turnaround. Keon Ellis ($4,700 DK) got the start in his stead and put up 21.5 DK points, his highest total since Feb. 20. That's a fine play too for salary relief, but with a tournament title on the line, it seems like at least part of Primo's 22.5 mpg will go to Jones. The SEC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Jones had his best fantasy day of the year, and it's no coincidence that came with one of his highest minutes totals. LSU plays at a fast pace, with a defensive efficiency mark that sits at No. 125 (per KenPom). It's a matchup to take advantage of. Also note that Jones played through injury in the earlier two matchups against LSU this year, so don't take those games into account too much.
2. Kofi Cockburn, F, Illinois ($8,500 DK, $7,100 FD)
Cockburn's point-per-minute numbers have been off the charts, as he's put up scores 38.0 and 39.5 across 27 and 24 minutes, respectively, to begin the Big Ten Tournament. The conservative usage indicates to me that he'll be available for more time in the championship game, and he'll face a Buckeye frontcourt that's short-handed in the presumed absence of Kyle Young (concussion). Cockburn doesn't have the greatest track record against this opponent, but if there's ever a time to shine on the national stage as Sunday's final game, it's right now.
3. David DeJulius, G, Cincinnati ($4,200 DK, $5,700 FD)
This one is definitely a long-shot play, as DeJulius – who originally opted out for the year – decided to return to for the AAC Tournament. He saw 23 minutes in the semifinal matchup, with the boost likely due to the early exit of Keith Williams. The non-verbals of Williams did not look great while he was on the bench Saturday, but Cincinnati will likely be secretive with his status. Should he sit, a wild card like DeJulius might be worth consideration as a flier, even against a brutal defensive matchup in Houston. The junior transfer from Michigan does have a usage rate north of 20 percent, and saw fantasy days in the 30s with regularity back when he was a full-time starter. Note that I limit this recommendation to DraftKings, as there are several better options in his price tier on FanDuel.
1. Nah'Shon Hyland, G, VCU ($8,600 DK)
"Bones" Hyland has a chance to impress many in the big dance, but St. Bonaventure is one of the only teams to keep him under 5x at his current price in both meetings this season. A player with this type of ceiling certainly belongs in your GPP pool when there's only a four-game slate, but I'll fade the hype in favor of the aforementioned options in my single entries. The Bonnies play at a bottom-40 pace and top-20 defense, so there will be better games to target and spread out the salary.
2. Keith Williams, G/F, Cincinnati ($7,200 DK, $6,500 FD)
I touched on the Bearcats earlier, specifically the fact that Williams looked to suffer a potentially-serious injury in Saturday's semifinal game. Even if Williams does get cleared to play, this is an undesirable matchup against a Houston team that limits opponents to the lowest effective FG percentage in the country. Williams had just 10.8 DK points in their first meeting anyway, so I'd probably be fading even if he were healthy.
3. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU ($7,600 DK, $7,000 FD)
At first glance, the Tigers have a high implied total due to Alabama sporting the seventh-fastest adjusted tempo in the country (per KenPom). However, the Crimson Tide also happen to have the most efficient defense. Rebounders are usually one way to take advantage of this matchup, and Trendon Watford ($7,800 DK) has a good enough history against the Tide to merit some consideration. But Thomas has been under 4x in both Alabama games this year, so I'm not particularly interested, especially with a $600 price increase. Thomas gets just about all his fantasy points from scoring and has also logged a combined 79 minutes in the last two games, so I've got a hunch the shooting might slow down on the third game of a back-to-back-to-back.