This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
The Nov. 19 college hoops slate is defined by a stack of mid-major "values" that should have success based on our previous criteria for finding low-priced gems – the player is a starter, plays 25.0 mpg, and is top-2 on the team in usage rate. The downside here is that each player is facing his toughest matchup of the season, so it becomes a challenge to predict if his projections will hold up when many of his stats were accumulated against lesser opponents. We'll list as many as possible here, and I'll do my best to identify a few that stand above the rest.
Before proceeding, I had the list below in my preview for opening night, but I wanted to remind subscribers once more of the various features we offer here at RotoWire — whether there's a write-up like this for a given slate or not.
- CBB Injuries, which can be viewed via our news updates or in grid form (tip: sort by date to see anyone injured for that specific day).
- Subscriber Discord: Included with your subscription, you can join our Discord server to share ideas with other subscribers and root for your collective plays.
- CBB Team Pages: From our Team Stats page, click on any team for an in-depth breakdown of various factors related to the team. Here you can see depth charts, starting lineups over the last five games, a full schedule with results/box scores and various other metrics calculated by RotoWire.
And here are a few more that are DFS specific:
- Lineup Optimizer: Your general lineup-building starting point. Here, you can edit our mathematically-based projections to your liking and use customizable features such as lock/exclude to build lineups that have your own personal touch. "Like" a player to boost his projection by 20 percent. And NEW this season, generate up to 150 lineups for a given slate.
- Daily Matchup Info: This tool organizes the entire slate with sortable columns for things like implied point total and pace. It's a great starting point for figuring out games/matchups to target.
- Advanced Daily Lineups: This feature displays a team's recent starters alongside their usage rates. It shows bench players as well. A high usage rate, reasonable minutes total and below-average price tag typically signals a good DFS play.
Without further delay, let's dive into the Tuesday slate.
Nick Rakocevic, F, USC ($8,800 DK only)
Rakocevic may have gotten off to a slow start, but he's produced 61.0 and 44.8 DraftKings points in his last two games against South Dakota State and Nevada, respectively. He's the highest-price play on the DraftKings slate, but is arguably a must-play given the matchup. Pepperdine is No. 51 in KenPom's adjusted tempo rating and 175 in adjusted defensive efficiency – a golden fantasy combination. The Waves also don't regularly use any frontcourt players taller than 6-foot-9, are ranked No. 311 in opponent effective field-goal percentage and let opponents convert 45 percent of two-point baskets (No. 290). Rakocevic comes with a bit of foul trouble risk, as seen in the first game, but that's basically the only downside to playing him.
Skylar Mays, G, LSU ($8,600 DK, $8,000 FD)
Mays is surprisingly just second on his team in usage rate (we'll discuss that value below), but he's been far more productive and consistent, collecting a minimum of 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists in each game this season. He goes up against a UMBC program famous for upsetting Virginia as a No. 16 seed in the opening round two years ago, but also one that sits outside KenPom's top-200 and is without a senior in the rotation. An adjusted tempo rating of 249 is a slight cause for concern, and perhaps why LSU only has the third-highest implied total behind Maryland and Gonzaga on Tuesday. Mays is still a fine foundation play.
Jalen Smith, F, Maryland ($8,400 DK, $7,400 FD)
Smith is an absolute lock on FanDuel given all the other values that are out there, but the competitive pricing on DraftKings (and the inclusion of Rakocevic) results in a difficult decision to make when building lineups. Maryland had an implied total 2.5 points higher than that of USC at the time this article was posted, but while Fairfield will be drastically over-matched, its adjusted tempo rating of 343 makes me lean towards Rakocevic if you have to choose between the two.
Trendon Watford, G, LSU ($4,900 DK, $4,440 FD)
Watford has 21 or more DK points in two of three games this year, and the only one he didn't reach that mark was a contest in which he played 33 minutes against VCU. He's the pride of LSU's freshman class and a top-20 recruit according to ESPN, so he should continue to get better with each passing game. Buy low while you can.
Admon Gilder, G, Gonzaga ($5,500 DK, $4,900 FD)
It's more of a "value" with FanDuel's softer pricing, but Gilder misses our below usage rate requirement by just 0.4 percent. He plays roughly half his time at shooting guard, but works in his fair share of ball-handling as well. Gilder played the revenge game narrative perfectly with a season-high in DK scoring Nov. 15 against Texas A&M. His Zags have the second-highest implied total on the slate.
Here are a few players not mentioned above who meet the following criteria: they start, play at least 25.0 mpg, are top 2 on their team in usage rate and are priced less than $5,500, per our Advanced Daily Lineups Page.
Brandon Horvath, F, UMBC (
$7,200 DK, $5,400 FD)
Darnell Rogers, G, UMBC (
$7,300 DK, $5,400 FD)
L.J. Owens, G, UMBC ($5,300 DK,
Stef Smith, G, Vermont ($4,600 DK, $4,500 FD) – very bad matchup
Landon Taliaferro, G, Fairfield ($4,700 DK, $4,400 FD)
Brian Warren, G, UT-Arlington ($4,900 DK, $4,400 FD)
Game to Target
LSU (-17) vs. UMBC, o/u 144.5, 7 p.m. EST
I love the USC/Pepperdine game on DraftKings, but for this section, I'll pick a game that's featured on both slates. Both Gonzaga and Maryland were favored by more than 27 points at the time of article posting, and while each team has its studs worth considering, I'll take a slightly tighter projected matchup here. I already mentioned Mays (top players) and Watford (value play), but don't overlook Javonte Smart ($5,100 FD, $5,900 DK), who is third on the team in usage with a mark nearly identical to that of Mays. A potential return of Marlon Taylor ($4,000 DK, $4,000 FD) from a foot injury could complicate the guard rotation, but I'm not optimistic he plays, and even if this is his first game back, there should still be plenty to go around. Emmit Williams ($7,000 DK, $6,600 FD) might be in play after earning his first start of the year last week against Nicholls State and had his second out of 30 or more fantasy points. I'd like to see the price come down, even if the player has double-double potential.
For the Retrievers, Brandon Horvath ($7,200 DK, $5,400 FD) is basically a lock on FanDuel, though the more competitive DraftKings pricing makes him tougher to use there. He's started every game and has 47.8 and 39.0 DraftKings points in his last two. Horvath has also stayed clear of foul trouble too, making him a relatively safe bet for 32 minutes in his toughest matchup of the year. Usage leader Darnell Rogers ($7,300 DK, $5,400 FD) is essentially in the same boat with a $1,900 price difference. The one player I might consider on DraftKings is William & Mary transfer L.J. Owens ($5,300 DK, $5,600 FD), who has a similar usage rate to Horvath and plays more minutes – he just isn't quite as efficient with them.
Game to Fade
Virginia (-14.5) vs. Vermont, o/u 113 7 p.m. EST
Those who have played college DFS hoops for a while know to fade all Virginia opponents due to the team's elite defense and hideously slow pace. It's only been three games, but the Cavaliers are tops in the country in KenPom's adjusted efficiency, and absolutely dead last among 353 teams in adjusted tempo. While Anthony Lamb ($8,000 DK, $7,800 FD) might be a fun option to use in March Madness, I'm not touching him or any other Catamounts here. I'd consider Kihei Clark ($6,900 DK, $5,300 FD) and Braxton Key ($7,100 DK, $5,800 FD) on FanDuel only due to the massive price breaks. Jay Huff ($7,500 DK, $6,900 FD) is pretty productive off the bench and Mamadi Diakite ($7,900 DK, $7,100 FD) is a good player, but both are priced too high for my liking in a game in which the over/under is only 113.
USC (-11) vs. Pepperdine, o/u 150, 9 pm. EST
With Gonzaga and Maryland likely to cruise to blowout victories, this is one of the most appealing matchups on the DraftKings slate from a fantasy perspective. Mentioned above, Rakocevic has the highest ceiling of the group. But senior shooting guard Jonah Mathews is priced at just $4,900, as the team's third-highest usage rate and 20 or more DK points in three consecutive games. He's alternated in and out of the starting five for reasons unknown, but once he's confirmed as a starter he's close to a lock for me against a Pepperdine team ranked No. 340 in the country in three-point field goal defense. Onyeka Okongwu ($8,300) is second on the team in usage, but has decreased his fantasy production in each game since scoring 53.3 in the opener. To me, he's merely a GPP pivot from Rakocevic. Rounding out the presumed starting five are Elijah Weaver ($4,700) and freshman Ethan Anderson ($4,700).
For Pepperdine, you're going to have to pay up for Kameron Edwards ($6,500) or Colbey Ross ($7,500), and that's fine by me against a USC team that isn't exceptional defensively. Slight lean towards Edwards at the cheaper price tag, as he has the higher usage. He's fouled out in consecutive games, but the senior forward could catch a ceiling game if he avoids the whistle. Kessler Edwards ($7200) is intriguing with 28.5 or more DraftKings points in each game, though he's fourth on the team in usage. The problem is he gets most of his playing time at center, where he'll have to deal with Rakocevic all night. The starting lineup is rounded up by Keith Smith ($3,700) and Skylar Chavez ($4,200), experienced but not exciting options.
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