This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Welcome back to the final regular season edition of the Thursday preview. It's been quite an entertaining season with plenty of parity, and I'm looking forward to a great March! We have an excellent seven-game slate with games shared across both platforms, including Illinois/Ohio State, Houston/Connecticut, Washington/Arizona State, Stanford/Oregon State, Wichita State/Memphis, Washington State/Arizona, and California/Oregon.
It's finally the last week of the regular season, so there could be some shake up in starting lineups because of Senior Night festivities, although it shouldn't affect things too much from a fantasy perspective. Teams will surely have their rotations down for postseason play, looking to get their most important players in a groove. 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 ($8,300 FD, $9,000 DK)
The senior has been as consistent as any player in the country this campaign, averaging 37.2 DK points per contest. Over his last five games, Pritchard has averaged 38.3 DK points and 38 minutes per contest over that span. With Chris Duarte (finger) set to miss action through the Pac-12 Tournament, Pritchard could see an even higher usage than his team-leading 28.2 percent. Even though California plays at one of the slowest paces in the country, Pritchard had 39.5 DK points in a matchup earlier this season against the Golden Bears. I'm locking the All-American candidate into my lineups across all formats Thursday. Editor's Note: Fellow guard Will Richardson (ankle) is questionable for the contest as well.
CJ Elleby, Washington State, F ($8,400 FD, $8,800 DK)
Elleby is one of the top players throughout the Pac-12 who doesn't get nearly enough press as he deserves. In his past six games, Elleby has averaged a whopping 43.9 DK points per contest, notching a double-double and at least 20 points four times over that span. He's been the go-to guy for the Cougars this campaign, seeing action in 83 percent of his team's minutes to go along with a 28.2 percent usage rate. He'll face a nice matchup against an Arizona team that plays at a top-half pace in the country. I'm a little weary to play the sophomore Thursday, however, as last time out against the Wildcats he produced just 17 DK points in the contest.
Tres Tinkle, Oregon State, F ($7,800 FD, $8,200 DK)
It continues to be interesting seeing Tinkle valued at one of the highest options on the slate most Thursdays. He's certainly been consistent, averaging 36.5 DK points per game, but in his last nine games, Tinkle has only reached that plateau once. His utilization in the offense hasn't been to blame, as he's racked up a 28.2 percent usage rate while taking 29 percent of shots while on the floor, leading the team in both categories. I'm staying away from the Senior again Thursday in a difficult matchup, although Stanford plays at the 185th-fastest pace, they sit sixth in defensive efficiency this season per KenPom.
Precious Achiuwa, Memphis, F ($8,200 FD, $8,500 DK)
In a season full of highs and lows for the Tigers, Achiuwa has led them to be a consistent driver on offense. The freshman has averaged a double-double this year to go along with 35.5 DK points per game. Achiuwa is coming off his best game of the season from a statistical perspective in Saturday's win over Tulane, racking up 22 points and 22 rebounds in the win. Achiuwa has seen a team-leading 27.3 percent usage rate this season, and with news coming Tuesday that D.J. Jeffries (knee) will miss the rest of the season, that number is likely to remain sustainable. It will be a nice matchup for the Tigers on Thursday, as even though Wichita State is a strong defensive team, the Shockers play at the country's 106th-fastest pace. I like Achiuwa as the top forward option on the slate, owning a slight edge over the aforementioned Elleby.
Christian Vital, Connecticut, G ($7,700 FD, $8,400 DK)
Vital is another top option that continues to perform at a high level towards the end of the season. The senior has averaged 41.4 DK points per game over his past five, and he's coming off an explosive 27-point performance in Saturday's blowout over East Carolina. Although he leads the Huskies in usage at 25.7 percent, he faces some competition for the ball with James Bouknight who's averaged a 25 percent usage rate. It will be a tough matchup for Vital and the Huskies, as Houston sits at one of the best defensive teams in the country while playing at the nation's 301st-fastest tempo.
Erik Stevenson, Wichita State, G ($4,800 FD, $5,600 DK)
Even though Wichita State has used a balanced attack this season, the matchup looks too good for me to pass on Stevenson. Although Memphis has performed admirably defensively, the Tigers have sped their tempo up to the 20th-fastest pace this campaign. Stevenson himself has started 21 of 29 games, averaged 24.3 DK points per game and leads his team in usage at 24 percent. I love the matchup and Stevenson as my top value option for Thursday's slate.
Rob Edwards, Arizona State, G ($4,300 FD, $5,500 DK)
The senior has been the No. 3 option for the Sun Devils this season, racking up a 20.1 percent usage rate along with appearing in 71.1 percent of his team's minutes. Edwards has averaged 24.7 DK points over his last five games, and at his current price Thursday that looks to be a nice bargain to fill out lineups. It will be a nice matchup as well against a struggling Washington team that has just three wins in conference play and plays at the nation's 102nd-fastest pace. Edwards is my second favorite depth option on the slate and will be deployed in most of my lineups Thursday.
Marcus Tsohonis, Washington, G ($4,400 FD, $5,000 DK)
Spencer Jones, Stanford, F ($4,400 FD, $5,400 DK)
Zach Reichle, Oregon State, G ($4,000 FD, $4,400 DK)
Lester Quinones, Memphis, F ($4,900 FD, $5,200 DK)
Jeff Pollard, Stanford, F ($4,400 FD, $4,700 DK)
Dylan Smith, Arizona, G ($4,700 FD, $4,700 DK)
Kyle Young (ankle), Ohio State: Young remains day-to-day with a sprained ankle, as he's missed the past two games. Another absence for the junior would mean an uptick in minutes for EJ Lindell.
Josh Green (back), UCLA: Green is questionable to play in Thursday's game after sitting out the last two contests. Should he miss more time, his minutes would likely be dispersed across Jemarl Baker, Ira Lee and Stone Gettings at the forward position.
Will Richardson (ankle), Oregon: Richardson is set to be a game-time decision after turning his ankle in last Thursday's game against Oregon State. His absence could grant more minutes to Addison Patterson and Anthony Mathis.
Games to Target
Washington @ Arizona State (-6), 9 pm ET, o/u 142.5
Although this slate failed to produce a dynamic up-and-down contest that is advantageous from a fantasy perspective, this Pac-12 game features the highest implied total Thursday. Arizona State continues to play at the 21st-fastest pace this season with the Huskies sitting at 102nd in that category. The Huskies are led by freshman Isaiah Stewart ($7,200 FD, $7,900 DK) and Jaden McDaniels ($6,200 FD, $7,000 DK). Both players sit atop the team with at least a 25 percent usage rate and have seen at least 74 percent of the team's minutes this season. One cheap option that looks intriguing at the guard position is Marcus Tsohonis ($4,400 FD, $5,000 DK). He's started six of the past seven games and has averaged 28 minutes per game over that span. With a 19 percent usage rate and a bargain price, I'm looking to take a chance on Tsohonis in some lineups in order to play higher-priced options.
The Sun Devils play fast and continue to be led by Remy Martin ($6,900 FD, $7,900 DK) and Alonzo Verge ($6,200 FD, $6,200 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. Those two along with the aforementioned Edwards look to be top options in the game.
Game to Avoid
California @ Oregon (-15.5), 11 pm ET, o/u 131.5
The lowest implied total with a wide spread expected is an easy game to avoid for me. Both team's play at the bottom-50 this season in pace this season. I've avoided the Golden Bears plenty of times this season, as their only option worth a look from a fantasy perspective is Matt Bradley ($6,400 FD, $7,300 DK). He's been the leading man for the Golden Bears, leading the team in percent of minutes played (83 percent) and usage (27.1 percent).
For the Ducks, I'm looking to avoid all other players except Pritchard. He's been their leading man, but with the team's lineup in flux due to injuries, I can't advise to use any other options Thursday.
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