DFS College Basketball: Thursday Preview

DFS College Basketball: Thursday Preview

This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

Among 11 total matchups on the slate, we have seven teams that feature a top-20 offense, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, giving us a wide assortment of options, possibly too many. In any event, the Big Ten clash in Ann Arbor has the highest point total projection, a good starting point for filling out your lineup. 

Top Players

Hunter Dickinson, F, Michigan ($9,000 DK, $8,500 FD)

I previously picked Hunter Dickinson when Michigan first played Iowa back on Feb. 17, and Dickinson lived up to our lofty expectations, scoring 38 fantasy points in a hard-earned road victory. Similar to two weeks ago, Iowa still has the worst defensive rebounding rate among Big Ten teams during conference play, and Dickinson is still one of the best rebounders in the Big Ten, enough cause for us to go back to the well in round two of this matchup.  Dickinson is taking 31 percent of his team's shots when on the court since conference season started, the fourth-highest percentage among all Big Ten players, while also recording the ninth-highest offensive efficiency rating in the conference, undoubtedly a great combination. He's coming off a career-high 33-point performance against Michigan State, so all signs indicate that Dickinson is locked in and ready for another big performance in a favorable matchup. 

Bennedict Mathurin, G, Arizona ($8,400 DK, $8,200 FD)

Arizona has the highest projected point total on the slate, so it's not a bad idea to take a slice of the action. Bennedict Mathurin has seemingly emerged as Arizona's most consistent player, scoring 27-plus fantasy points (DK) in eight straight games, including a couple of instances of hitting 40-plus fantasy points. Stanford's defense is noticeably vulnerable on the inside, allowing Pac-12 opponents to make over 52 percent of two-point attempts, the second-highest percentage allowed in the conference. Mathurin has attempted the second-most two-point shots on the team during conference season and has the second-highest usage rate on the team, so we can count on him to attack throughout the game. 

Middle Tier

Jaylen Forbes, G, Tulane ($7,100 DK)

UCF's defense isn't awful overall, although it has struggled with guarding inside scoring, allowing AAC opponents to make nearly 51 percent of two-point attempts, the highest percentage allowed in the conference. This means that Jaylen Forbes, in addition to Kevin Cross, will likely see several easy-scoring opportunities, as they lead the team in two-point attempts this season. Tulane head coach Ron Harper recently said that Jalen Cook, the team leader in usage rate, likely won't play against UCF, so Cross and Forbes will likely have a larger workload. Regardless of Cook's status, Forbes has been scorching hot lately, putting up 30-plus fantasy points in five of his last six games. Forbes led the team in scoring in the first matchup between these two teams earlier in the season, and I like his chances at doing it again in Round 2.

Cheikh Mbacke Diong, F, UCF ($5,600 DK)

Tulane is one of the worst rebounding teams in the country, ranking in the bottom 10 percent in both offensive and defensive rebounding rates among all D1 teams. Cheikh Mbacke Diong leads UCF in rebounding, giving us our most likely candidate to benefit in this matchup. During conference play, Diong has the fifth-highest offensive rebounding rate among all AAC players, in addition to posting the eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating and seventh-highest block rate in the conference. UCF previously played Tulane back on Jan. 22, and Diong scored 16 points while collecting 10 rebounds in the winning effort, earning KenPom's "MVP" honors for his dominant performance.

Value Plays

DJ Horne, G, Arizona State ($5,100 DK)

Since conference season started, California has had the fourth-worst defensive efficiency rating in the Pac-12. Arizona State's offense was abysmal for most of the season but has played noticeably better lately, particularly at home, where the Sun Devils have scored 73-plus points in their last four home games, including matchups against three of the top four teams in the conference in Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. Coincidentally, Horne has also thrived at home, scoring in double figures in each of the last four home games. In his two most recent home games, Horne put up 55 total fantasy points (DK), so he's more than capable of having a productive performance. Against Pac-12 opponents this season, Horne is taking nearly 27 percent of his team's shots when on the court, the ninth-highest percentage in the conference. As long as Horne suits up for this game, the Sun Devils' leading scorer shouldn't have too much trouble providing value at his current salary. He missed the team's most recent game against Utah this past Saturday due to a non-COVID-19 illness, but the latest reports indicate he will likely return to the court since he's had several days to fully recover.

Maurice Calloo, F, Oregon State ($5,000 DK)

Oregon State just played Washington State this past Monday, and Maurice Calloo put up 17 points in the losing effort. Calloo wasn't much of a factor early in the season but has solidified his role in the starting lineup over the past month. Calloo is taking nearly 27 percent of his team's shots when on the court during conference play, the eighth highest percentage among all Pac-12 players. Calloo has scored 19-plus fantasy points (DK) in six of his last eight games, giving us a great floor to work with given his modest salary.

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. Steve Peralta plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Buddusky, DraftKings: Buddusky24.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Peralta
Graduated from USC in 2012 while interning for ESPN and FOX Sports. Following graduation, I started working full-time for FOX Sports and been there ever since. Been an avid fantasy player for over fifteen years. In addition to my fantasy teams, you'll also find me rooting for the USC Trojans and New York Yankees.
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