This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Welcome back to another edition of the Thursday preview. We have a nice little change of pace from our usual late-night Pac-12 slate, with plenty of Big Ten games to choose from. We have a packed eight-game slate with the list of games across both platforms includes Wisconsin/Michigan, Purdue/Indiana, Illinois/Northwestern, Ohio State/Nebraska, Michigan State/Nebraska, Colorado/California, Arizona/USC, Oregon State/Oregon and Arizona State/UCLA. With FanDuel adding Temple/Wichita State and San Diego/Gonzaga.
It's the penultimate week of the regular season, so I'm looking for teams to shortened benches, especially ones that are in desperate need of a win that are on the bubble. As always, we have plenty of useful tools to help you compile your rosters, especially our advanced daily lineups and lineup optimizer. Let's check out the slate.
Payton Pritchard, Oregon, G ($8,400 FD, $8,800 DK)
We find the senior as one of the more pricey options on the slate for the third straight week, as he continues to move into the conversation for All-American honors. Pritchard played all 45 minutes in Saturday's overtime win over Arizona, racking up a career-high 38 points to go along with 55.5 DK points in the contest. The senior has led the Pac-12 with 20.1 points per contest and has been the go-to guy for the Ducks, raking up a team-leading 28.3 percent usage rate. It will likely be a bit tough matchup from a fantasy perspective Thursday, however, as rival Oregon State plays at the nation's 270th-fastest pace.
Onyeka Okongwu, USC, F ($8,300 FD, $8,600 DK)
The freshman had a solid showing coming out of the concussion protocol last week, racking up 70.8 DK points in two games. Okongwu has been a significant contributor for the Trojans this season, racking up a team-high 23.7 percent usage rate while ranking 33rd in the nation in effective field goal percentage (62.6 percent). It will be a great matchup from a pace perspective, as Arizona sits 60th in the country in average possession length on offense. Okongwu's 2.8 blocks per contest are second in the conference, evidencing his potential for fantasy production in all facets Thursday.
Tres Tinkle, Oregon State, F ($7,800 FD, $8,400 DK)
Tinkle finally broke out late in the season, reaching 38 DK points for the first time since Jan. 23 in Saturday's game against Arizona State. The offense has ran through the senior this season, as he's accumulated a 28.3 percent usage rate while taking 29.4 percent of shots. I'm anticipating some struggles for Tinkle on Thursday, facing an Oregon defense that ranks 73rd in efficiency and plays at the 312nd-fastest tempo per KenPom. I won't be playing Tinkle in my lineups with plenty of other solid options at the forward position.
Tyler Bey, Colorado, G/F ($7,200 FD, $8,100 DK)
Bey has been a modest producer throughout conference play, averaging 28.5 DK points per contest through his last 10 games. He's been a major contributor for the Buffaloes also, averaging 28.3 minutes per game to go along with a 24.8 percent usage rate. I'm tempering my expectations for the junior Thursday, however, as his opponent California plays at one of the 30 slowest tempos in the country. I'm passing on Bey in my lineups Thursday with a low-scoring defensive battle.
Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State, F ($6,900 FD, $8,200 DK)
Finally a top player that looks to draw a favorable matchup. Nebraska has had a tough season, giving up at least 70 points in their past 11 games while playing at the 33rd-fastest teampo. Wesson is the top option by far for the Buckeyes offensively, racking up a 26.8 percent usage rate. Wesson has averaged 32.2 DK points per game this year, riding a streak of four games straight in double figures. I'm looking for the junior to rack up a double-double in the, slotting him in my lineups across both platforms.
Sasha Stefanovic, Purdue, G ($4,500 FD, $5,100 DK)
Stefanovic is nothing but a matchup play for me Thursday. The sophomore has elevated his game at home, and with the Boilermakers playing at home against rival Indiana, I'll be using him in my lineups. The sophomore has shot a staggering 46.7 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from three in 16 home games, up at least 20 percentage points from his road shooting splits. He's seen action in 63 percent of minutes while taking 19 percent of shots while on the floor, evidencing he's a nice value play in an advantageous matchup.
Duane Washington, Ohio State, G ($4,300 FD, $5,100 DK)
With a D.J. Carton (personal) still not at practice and Kyle Young (ankle) a game-time decision, Washington could be in line for increase usage Thursday. Although he's started just 11 games this year, the sophomore has collected 52.7 percent of minutes while producing a 22.7 percent usage rate. Washington has even averaged 17.9 DK points per game without starting across his past 10 games. In a nice matchup against a struggling Nebraska team that plays at the nation's 33rd-fastest tempo, I'm looking for Washington to produce at least 20 DK points Thursday.
Devonte Green, Indiana, G ($4,800 FD, $5,000 DK)
Yvan Ouedraogo, Nebraska, F ($4,700 FD, $5,200 DK)
D'Shawn Schwartz, Colorado, G ($5,500 FD, $5,500 DK)
Grant Anticevich, California, F ($4,700 FD, $5,200 DK)
Dylan Smith, Arizona, G ($4,700 FD, $$4,700 DK)
Cody Riley, UCLA, F ($4,500 FD, $5,300 DK)
Zach Reichle, Oregon State, G ($4,400 FD, $4,400 DK)
Braun Hartfield, San Diego, G ($5,000 FD)
Erik Stevenson, Wichita State, G ($4,900 FD)
Cam Mack (illness), Nebraska: Mack fell ill ahead of Monday's game against Illinois and is uncertain for Thursday. Should he miss another matchup, Jervay Green and Dachon Burke would be in line for starts at the guard positions.
Game to Target
Arizona State @ UCLA (-3.5), 11 pm ET, o/u 141
It's not the most prolific slate from an offensive and pace perspective, but this Pac-12 matchup is quite intriguing. UCLA has played itself into tournament contention after some questionable losses early in the season and has another great chance against a surging Arizona State team. The total is the second highest on the slate, and the Sun Devils run at the 18th-fastest pace in the country. Arizona State features prolific guards in Remy Martin ($6,900 FD, $7,800 DK) and Alonzo Verge ($6,500 FD, $6,400 DK). Both players have racked up at least a 29 percent usage rate and have taken at least 30 percent of shots while on the floor. Rob Edwards ($4,100 FD, $5,300 DK) and Romello White ($6,400 FD, $7,200 DK) are also worth a look at their current prices. Edwards has started 24 of 27 games while racking up a 20.4 percent usage rate, and White has seen action in 68 percent of minutes, producing a 60.6 percent effective field goal percentage.
For the Bruins, junior Chris Smith ($6,500 FD, $6,500 DK) has established himself as the top option this season. He's leading the team with a 25 percent usage rate while starting the past 16 games. He's averaging 24.8 DK points per contest, and with the Sun Devils blistering pace in store, I really like Smith on Thursday. Guard Tyger Campbell ($5,000 FD, $6,100 DK) has enjoyed a breakout of sorts as of late. He's seen at least 30 minutes in the past seven games, averaging 27.5 DK points per game over that span. Both teams feature plenty of nice fantasy options in a close contest expected Thursday.
Game to Avoid
Colorado (-9) @ California, 9 pm ET, o/u 128
With Colorado playing at a bottom-half pace, and the Bears at one of the slowest in the country, this is an easy game to avoid for me. Even for the top options Bey and McKinley Wright ($7,000 FD, $8,100 DK), I'm not expecting to get upwards of 30-35 DK points from either to justify their large salaries. California is a slow-paced club that sits at a respectable 138th in defensive efficiency compared to 214th in offensive efficiency. Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz ($5,500 FD, $5,500 DK) is a nice depth option at his price tag, as he's the clear No. 3 option with a 17.6 percent usage rate this season.
The only player I would really advise to play for California would be Matt Bradley ($6,400 FD, $7,100 DK). He's been the leading man for the Golden Bears, leading the team in percent of minutes played (82.8 percent) and usage (27.2 percent). The struggles are well documented this season on offense, so I'm looking to avoid this game on both sides Thursday.
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