This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Welcome back to another addition of the Thursday preview. We see another strong slate of games, going steady with a large portion of Pac-12 games. Postseason play is upon us, as this is the last preview until the penultimate month of the regular season. The list of shared games across both platforms includes Iowa/Maryland, Arizona/Washington, Oregon/California, Gonzaga/Santa Clara, Colorado/UCLA and Oregon State/Stanford. DraftKings exclusively features Utah/USC, with FanDuel adding Illinois/Minnesota to their platform. The benches continue to be shortened in conference play, so usage rates and minutes are especially important. 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.
Luka Garza, Iowa, F ($8,900 FD, $9,200 DK)
Garza has been as much of a sure thing as any in fantasy this season, averaging 43.5 DK points per game. His stats are pretty astounding, averaging a 20-point double-double this year, and is leading the No. 3-ranked offense (in terms of efficiency) in usage at 30.1 percent. There are some drawbacks, however, as he has a huge price tag, along with taking on a Maryland team that plays at the 238th-fastest tempo. I would never advise not to play Garza, I would just look elsewhere Thursday with plenty of other front court options to choose from.
Tres Tinkle, Oregon State, F ($8,500 FD, $8,800 DK)
The senior has established a safe floor at 30 DK points per night, however, his ceiling seems limited as he's only eclipsed a double-double four times this year. He continues to pace the Beavers with a 27.4 percent usage rate to go along with taking 28.7 percent of shots while on the floor. Tinkle won't be in my lineups Thursday, as he faces a stingy Stanford defense (ranked eighth in defensive efficiency) and the Cardinal ranks 210th in pace this campaign.
Payton Pritchard, Oregon, G ($8,400 FD, $9,000 DK)
Pritchard is the easiest start for me in my lineups Thursday. The All-American candidate has torched Pac-12 play thus far, averaging 38.5 DK points per game through eight conference matchups. He's been the leading man for the Ducks, as he's been on the court for 87.4 percent of his team's minutes while racking up a 27.5 percent usage rate. I really like Pritchard in this matchup against a struggling California squad that sits with a record of 9-10.
Isaiah Stewart, Washington, F ($7,800 FD, $8,600 DK)
Thursday looks to be another breakout opportunity for the freshman. In a huge matchup against an Arizona team that showcases their own young talent, I'm looking for Stewart to explode for at least 40 DK points Thursday. Stewart has been the key cog for the Huskies this season, leading his team in percentage of minutes (78.3 percent), usage (25.9 percent) and shots taken while on the floor (26.9 percent). I'm looking to play Stewart in most of my lineups, especially at his discounted price on FanDuel.
Jalen Smith, Maryland, F ($8,200 FD, $8,500 DK)
The sophomore has been unstoppable as of late, racking up double-doubles in his past three contests. He faces a tough matchup inside Thursday against the aforementioned Garza and Iowa. The matchup is great for Smith, as the Hawkeyes play at the country's 78th-fastest pace this season. Smith has an opportunity to produce in other areas outside of points and rebounds, as the big man is 51st in the nation in block percentage this season (8.1 percent).
Both Gach, Utah, G ($5,400 DK)
Gach has been on of the No. 2 option behind unquestioned leader Timmy Allen ($8,000 DK), as he's racked up a 21.9 percent usage rate this season. Gach has also started all 19 games for the Utes to go along with seeing action in 74.5 percent of minutes this year. He also gets a great matchup against a USC team that ranks 75th in tempo this season per KenPom. I feel comfortable about filling one of my first guard spots on my rosters with Gach without thinking twice.
Joe Toussaint, Iowa, G ($4,900 FD, $4,500 DK)
Toussaint entered the starting lineup Dec. 21 against Cincinnati and has stuck ever since. The freshman has averaged 18.5 DK points through seven conference games. Toussaint is second on the team in usage at 26.9 percent while taking 23.7 percent of shots while on the floor. I love Toussaint as another bargain guard option with a close Big Ten matchup expected.
Darryl Morsell, Maryland, F ($4,100 FD, $5,200 DK)
Jamal Bey, Washington, G ($4,000 FD, $4,400 DK)
Kareem South, California, G ($4,600 FD, $5,100 DK)
D.J. Mitchell, Santa Clara, F ($4,700 FD, $5,600 DK)
Zach Reichle, Oregon State, G ($4,500 FD, $5,500 DK)
Cody Riley, UCLA, F ($4,400 FD, $4,100 DK)
Bryce Wills, Stanford, G ($4,400 FD, $4,800 DK)
Ethan Anderson, USC, G ($5,000 DK)
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Illinois, G ($4,500 FD)
Game to Target
Gonzaga (-16) @ Santa Clara, o/u 156.5, 10:30 p.m. EST
It's easy to pick the largest total on the slate, but each team plays at a frantic pace, with Gonzaga at the 44th-fastest along with Santa Clara at the 32nd-fastest pace this season. I was wrong a few weeks ago when I said the game would be close, with the Zags taking it at home 104-54. This should be another easy win for Gonzaga, however, both teams have plenty of depth and fantasy options to choose from. The top option for Gonzaga is Filip Petrusev, Gonzaga, F ($6,800 FD, $7,300 DK). He's led the team this season in usage at 30.2 percent while taking 27.5 percent of shots while on the floor. The two other players I have my eyes on are Corey Kispert ($5,700 FD, $6,400 DK) and Admon Gilder ($5,100 FD, $5,800 DK). Kispert has played 80 percent of the minutes this season and has racked up an 18 percent usage rate. Gilder has played in just 61.4 percent of minutes, but has accumulated a 19.4 percent usage rate. Last time against the Broncos, both players saw at least 22 minutes and produced at least 16 points.
On the other side of the court, the first player I like for Santa Clara is Trey Wertz ($5,200 FD, $6,200 DK). He leads the team in usage at 22.3 percent and has been on the court for 70 percent of the minutes. D.J. Mitchell ($4,700 FD, $5,600 DK) is a depth option that has played just 56.5 percent of minutes, but has accumulated a 22 percent usage rate this year. Since a blowout could be likely, a bench option that looks enticing is Jaden Bediako ($4,100 FD, $4,000 DK). Last matchup against Gonzaga, Bediako saw 24 minutes while racking up 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Game to Avoid
Oregon (-11) @ California, o/u 129, 9 p.m. EST
The lowest total on the slate says it all in this Pac-12 matchup. Both teams play at a bottom-30 pace in the country to go along with a double-digit outcome expected. Aside from Pritchard whom I already mentioned, Chris Duarte ($7,000 FD, $7,500 DK) has established himself as one of the top options in the conference. He's coming off a 30-point performance last Thursday against USC and a 24-point performance Saturday against UCLA. He sits just behind Prichard in usage and percentage of minutes played at 23.3 percent and 71.5 percent, respectively. With N'Faly Dante questionable with a knee injury, his absence would open the door for more minutes between Shakur Juiston ($5,400 FD, $6,000 DK) and Chandler Lawson ($4,400 FD, $4,800 DK).
For California, their only real fantasy weapon is Matt Bradley ($6,200 FD, $7,700 DK). He's leading the team by a decent margin in usage at 26.7 percent. He's had at least 20 DK points in his past 10 contests. A depth option that's interesting is Kareem South ($4,600 FD, $5,100 DK). The senior is coming off a 15.3 DK-point performance against Stanford, and he's racked up a 19.1 percent usage rate.
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