This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Welcome back to another addition of the Thursday preview. Another strong slate of games with some of the top teams in the country in action. Believe it or not, there's only seven more weeks left in the regular season before postseason play begins. The list of games on both platforms includes Cincinnati/Memphis, Utah/Arizona, Oregon/Washington State, Colorado/Arizona State, Santa Clara/Gonzaga and Oregon State/Washington. With DraftKings adding UAB/FIU and California/USC. I echo the sentiment that usage rates and minutes are especially important when filling out lineups, as we've seen teams completely shorten their benches late in games, including Buffalo/Ohio on Tuesday that saw just two bench points total in the game. As always, we have plenty of useful tools to help you compile your rosters, especially our advanced daily lineups and lineup optimizer. Let's dive into the slate.
Tres Tinkle, Oregon State, F ($8,400 FD, $8,900 DK): The top option on the slate draws a great matchup Thursday, facing the 124th-fastest paced team in Washington. Tinkle's floor is as high as any player in the country from a fantasy perspective, as he's racked up at least 40 DK points in eight of his 16 games this season. Furthermore, the senior continues to lead his team in usage at 27 percent this season while taking 28.2 percent of shots while he's been on the floor. Tinkle has been averaging 37.3 minutes per game in conference play thus far, so plug him into your lineup and don't think twice.
Payton Pritchard, Oregon, G ($8,100 FD, $8,800 DK): Pritchard is the most expensive guard option Thursday with good reason, as he's averaged 39.8 DK points through four conference games. The senior has appeared in 86 percent of his team's minutes this season, and he's logged a 27.5 percent usage rate. Pritchard should be on the floor much, if not all of the game, drawing a great matchup against a Washington State team comes in at the 71st-fastest pace in the country. The All-American candidate has also racked up a 33.2 percent assist rate and has taken 100 three pointers, making them at a 40 percent clip.
Precious Achiuwa, Memphis, F ($8,000 FD, $8,300 DK): We advised to play Achiuwa in lineups last week and it paid off to the tune of 45.5 DK points against Wichita State. The freshman faces another great matchup this week, as new coach John Brannen has Cincinnati playing at the 124th-fastest pace this year. Achiuwa has been an absolute monster this season, averaging a double-double per contests along with hitting the 20-point plateau in three consecutive games. I like Tinkle a bit more than Achiuwa on Thursday, but I'm looking to plug a variation of two of the top three highest-priced options into all of my lineups.
Timmy Allen, Utah, F ($7,500 FD, $8,500 DK): Allen doesn't get as much hype as some of the more high-profile forwards in the conference, but it hasn't affected the sophomore, as he's leading the Pac-12 in scoring this season at 20.2 points per contest. Allen's stats are pretty favorable from a fantasy perspective, as he's leading his team in usage (29.8 percent) and shots taken while on the floor (30.5 percent) by a wide margin. He's played in 84 percent of minutes for the Utes, and is the go-to option against an Arizona team that plays at a faster-than-average pace this season.
McKinley Wright, Colorado, G ($7,800 FD, $8,200 DK): This game against Arizona State has all the makings of a slugfest, as both teams play at a top-half pace per KenPom. Wright looks to be an outstanding option at the guard position Thursday, as he's averaged a staggering 40.2 DK points in his last five contests. He sits at 61st in the country in assist rate at 32 percent, but is second on the team in usage at 23.1 percent. Wright does lead his team in minutes, appearing in 83.3 percent this year, and I like the junior on DraftKings rather than FanDuel. I'd rather roll with Pritchard with the expensive guard spot on my rosters, but I have no problem fading the public and playing Wright instead Thursday.
Trey Wertz, Santa Clara, G ($5,000 FD, $6,500 DK): Wertz and the Broncos appear to draw a nice matchup against a Gonzaga team that plays at the 40th-fastest pace Thursday. The sophomore has played in 69.7 percent of his team's minutes, has started all 16 games, and has accumulated a 21.3 percent usage rate. Wertz has been efficient as well, coming in at 77th in the country in effective field goal percentage (61 percent). Even though Santa Clara has a pretty balanced attack, I like Wertz to produce some nice fantasy numbers in a game that could be a shootout.
Jamal Bey, Washington, G ($4,200 FD, $4,200 DK): I wanted to highlight Bey in light of the news that broke last week with Quade Green immediately ineligible for academic reasons. Washington was begging for guard production and with Green out, they're in dire straits. Bey is the guard I want for the Huskies, as he had a solid 22.7 DK-point performance in Saturday's game without Green. He drew the start Saturday on top of already playing in 57.8 percent of his team's minutes this year. If you want to get really deep into the bargain bin, Elijah Hardy ($3,600 FD, $3,900 DK) appears in line for an uptick in minutes as well.
Jaevin Cumberland, Cincinnati, G ($4,500 FD, $4,600 DK)
Boogie Ellis, Memphis, G ($4,200 FD, $4,600 DK)
Riley Battin, Utah, F ($4,600 FD, $5,400 DK)
Chase Jeter, Arizona, F ($4,700 FD, $5,200 DK)
Will Richardson, Oregon, G ($5,500 FD, $5,900 DK)
D'Shawn Schwartz, Colorado, G ($4,900, $5,700 DK)
Jalen Benjamin, UAB, G ($5,500 DK)
Jonah Mathews, USC, G ($5,500 DK)
Games to Target
Santa Clara @ Gonzaga (-20) o/u 155: It may be a bit surprising to see such a lopsided game expected in the targeted games, but this one has the highest total by a wide margin. Both teams play at a sub-50 tempo this season and Santa Clara is no slouch at 15-3 this year. The Broncos are an extremely balanced team, but are led by the aforementioned Wertz and Josip Vrankic ($6,100 FD, $6,800 DK). Vrankic leads the team at appearing in 72 percent of minutes to go along with a 20.5 percent usage rate this season. Big man Guglielmo Caruso has missed the last three games nursing a leg injury, so I'm looking for Donovan Mitchell (4,800 FD, $5,700 DK) to step up in his absence. Mitchell has averaged 22 DK points per game this season to go along with a 22.6 percent usage rate.
Gonzaga also brings plenty of talent and depth to the slate Thursday. Their led by Filip Petrusev ($6,800 FD, $7,800 DK), who's 63rd in the nation in usage rate this season at 29.7 percent. He's a midseason finalist for the Wooden Award for the nations top player, and has averaged a whopping 31.5 DK points per contest. Especially on FanDuel, Petrusev for me is looking to be a must-play in every lineup Thursday. I'm also looking to fit Corey Kispert ($6,000 FD, $6,400 DK) into my lineups when I can. He's started all 19 games while playing in 83 percent of minutes, racking up a 17.1 percent usage rate in the process. Even though it's in Spokane, I really think the Broncos can keep this game within the 20-point spread, keeping it close for at least a half.
Game to Fade
California @ USC (-11.5) o/u 133: This game doesn't set up to be aesthetically pleasing by any means, as it has a relatively large spread along with the lowest total on the slate. California plays at the 319th-fastest tempo this season, so opportunity could be hard to come by for the Trojans. Their led by one of the most talented freshman in the country Onyeka Okongwu ($8,400 DK). He's led the team in usage at 24.3 percent this year and has averaged 27.1 DK points through three conference games. Thursday also sets up nice for the freshman considering he's 25th in the country in block percentage at 10.7 percent, and California has seen 8.9 percent of shots blocked this season on offense. If I had to pick a depth option I like Jonah Mathews ($5,500 DK). He's leading the team in minutes played percentage at 74.8 percent this year and has taken 23.3 percent of shots while on the floor.
California doesn't really appeal to me at their slow pace and the fact that their 190th in offensive efficiency, however, they do catch a nice matchup against the Trojans who play at the 60th-fastest pace. I wouldn't be shocked if both teams barely grace the 60s, but the one player that appeals to me for the Golden Bears is Matt Bradley ($6,900 DK). He's by far the top option with a 26.8 percent usage rate, playing in 83.5 percent of minutes and he's taken 28.2 percent of shots while on the floor.
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