This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
What's turning into a traditional breakdown, DraftKings offers a 12-game main slate Saturday, 11 games in the afternoon and six to wrap things up in the evening. The difference this week appears to be timing, as the main slate has tips as late as 3:30 p.m. EST and the mid-day stretching until 7.
Seven of the 12 games on this slate have a total north of 140 with not a game less than 130, so scoring is going to come in bunches. That creates so many options it's a tad overwhelming. Monitoring availability will be paramount. Villanova studs Justin Moore ($7,000) and Collin Gillespie ($6,900) are priced favorably and expected to play. While oft-injured Memphis could create plenty of value depending on who's available.
Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest ($8,900)
Truth be told, I don't love this salary. And that's never a great way to open a column. There are definitely better values among the top-tier aces Saturday afternoon. But I also think that creates severely low ownership for LaRavia. Miami is severely undersized, starting four guards, which should allow LaRavia to feast on mismatches. The Deacons are flirting with an 80-point total, and even if LaRavia is second fiddle to Alondes Williams ($9,600), there's room for ample production at a reduced rate to Wake's ace.
JD Notae, G, Arkansas ($8,200 DK, $8,500 FD)
Nine players are priced higher than Notae, and when considering his form and the Vegas numbers, that seems asinine. This game comes with a whopping 157-point total, with Arkansas an underdog only by home-court advantage. Notae has two 50-plus DKP outings in his last three with his scoring ability/necessity keeping his floor stable and his ability to distribute and get thefts in this high-tempo situation creating serious potential.
R.J. Davis, G, North Carolina ($6,600 DK, $6,700 FD)
Prices are starting to catch up to the Tar Heels, rightly so as they only play five players real minutes, forcing all to produce amply in their high-tempo offense. A trend that's starting to manifest is that Davis is clearly better as a facilitating point over Caleb Love ($6,900), who can create but remains better off the ball. He's returned 4x in two of three and five of seven, and I'm banking on those trends stretching out another game.
Kario Oquendo, G, Georgia ($6,500)
I'm admittedly surprised to see this game with the slate's third-highest total. Many others likely will feel the same, which could make for a GPP stacking opportunity, especially within an inconsistent Gamecock lineup. But if just taking a piece, it's clearly Oquendo. Since a woeful 0.5 DK points against USC on Jan. 22, Oquendo has averaged 28.9 DKP in his last five games — including at least 39 in his last two — with at least 29.9 percent usage in his last three.
Wade Taylor, G, Texas A&M ($5,200 DK, $5,100 FD)
There are far safer options on this slate, which can all be found by clicking through game logs. And I'm shocked that Taylor's tag is higher than the name below. He's a GPP play only, but there are two paths to a great return: 1) he catches fire for an Aggies' squad that has no clear rotation and usually plays the hot hand; 2) Vegas is correct, the Aggies get blown out and Taylor plays the bulk of the second half. Both paths suggest he'll produce, coming with incredibly low rostered rates.
Elijah Harkless, G, Oklahoma ($5,100 DK, $5,500 FD)
Harkless averages 10.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals as a starter, which he's been in the Sooners' last two games after a three-game stint as a reserve. That equates to about 20 DKP and 4x. Adjust accordingly if the Sooners alter their lineup, but the form paired with expected opportunity and gamescript (142.5 point total), seems to make this an easy return.
This slate is different than the main slate. Of the 11 games featured, seven have a point spread of at least eight points, so there are some very clear favorites. And with only three games claiming totals of 140-plus, it's absolutely time to get weird, trust you're gut and go for the gusto with some lower-tier options who could pop.
Hunter Dickinson, F, Michigan ($8,800)
Given form, it's hard to justify five players priced above Dickinson. 35.2 DKP is 4x, and he's gone for 34.5 DKP or more in five straight and seven of eight, topping 40 DKP five times. Oscar Tshiebwe ($9,600) is a clear anchor but Dickinson's discount seems helpful toward the rest of your build. And while I expect E.J. Liddell ($9,800) to be at his best opposite Dickinson; the high floors and high ceilings between the two aren't as different as the potential $1,000 savings.
Justin Lewis, F, Marquette ($8,200)
I think we can argue for usage on any of 10 top options, and Lewis is the cheapest of that subset. We're seeking 32.8 DKP, something he's failed to reach just once in his last seven games. Lewis' high-point potential, paired with rebounding necessity suggests we can chuck the low 131-point total out of the window, enjoy a discount to top options and build a balanced lineup.
Sahvir Wheeler, G, Kentucky ($6,400)
Wheeler has posted an 18.25 DKP floor in his last three games. That's a bunch of yuck, or just 2.1x return. But there's no way he can remain this bad, as he hasn't hit a field goal in this stretch, going 0-for-17. We know he'll get assists, rebounds and steals, and it would seemingly be shocking if a bucket or three doesn't finally fall. This dude was priced as high as $8,700 as of late December. He's not a scorer, but can be serviceable there enough to post a double-double.
Justin Minaya, F, Providence ($6,300)
Minaya does next to nothing well — except play. Since Jan. 1, he's averaged 38.0 minutes. That's led to 9.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 blocks. That lends itself to an unsexy floor and ceiling that could tick upward against an injured and undersized Blue Demons' front court.
Chase Hunter, G/F, Clemson ($5,200)
With David Collins ($7,000) suspended, Hunter will see huge minutes, and be a popular value as such. If playing to simply cash, you use him as everyone else does and take the production. He's played 30-plus minutes in three straight even when Collins was available, showing a 15.5 DKP floor. This outing is Clemson's third this week thanks to rescheduling, and with the Tigers being shorthanded, I'd target some Irish players despite nothing standing out. And if looking to really save and hopefully be different, Ian Schieffelin ($3,600) is your man, having put up 40.0 DKP in the Tigers' last two.
Frank Anselem, F, Syracuse ($3,100)
I prefer freshman Benny Williams ($3,000) as a GPP dart, but it's unlikely Anselem is heavily used and is a free square as such. With Jesse Edwards ($7,700) now out for the year, this seems like a plug and play, though similar body types won't equate to similar production. Still, Anselem had five points and six boards in 23 minutes after Edwards' injury, which is more than enough at this price. And if we push 30-35 minutes at that production rate, 7x or better is within reason.
This six-gamer is the tightest packed of the three slates. Only one game has a spread north of seven, and only one has a total less than 134.
Penn State-Minnesota is the slate's outlier. It has an even point spread, but a paltry 125 point total. If the game plays true to the tight nature the spread suggests, it seems worth paying up for the top options and the low total should make players lightly used. Payton Willis ($9,000) anyone?
Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga ($8,400)
The Zags blow out conference teams every game, which makes it difficult to choose who to use as all have high ceilings and low floors when compared with how priced up they are. But we know we need to, as the Bulldogs have the highest implied total by far. Timme had usage rates of 27.2 and 28.8 in two matchups with the Gaels last year, and worst case seems to be 3.5x. And if we pick right from this lineup, the sky is the limit.
Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA ($7,800)
At the top of this slate, I'm looking for stability, and Juzang seems to offer just that. He's returned better than 4x in consecutive games and in six of the Bruins last eight. I expect this rivalry game to lead to more tempo than the total suggests, which further boosts Juzang's appeal. He posted a double-double against USC in their only meeting last year, finishing with 13 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. I'm banking on more points, less peripherals and still a safe return.
Garrison Brooks, F, Mississippi State ($6,500)
I'm a tad worried about foul trouble against LSU's front line, but Brooks has only six fouls in his last three games, and with Tolu Smith ($5,700) back and occupying the post, Brooks is functioning a bit more outside the paint, at least defensively, limiting his hacks. He's averaged 31.8 DKP in the Bulldogs' last three games, scoring in double-figures every time with at least eight rebounds. He's played at least 30 minutes in six straight, keeping the floor up.
Logan Johnson, G, St. Mary's ($6,200)
Johnson is on a four-game heater, showing a 29.75 DKP floor and 43.25 DKP ceiling. It's been a bit boosted by some defensive prowess, as he's managed three or more steals in four of his last five, something we can't anticipate against Gonzaga, which turns the ball over only 15.9 percent of the time. But the Zags also play at the nation's second-fastest pace, which should aid Johnson in scoring and assists, even if (when) the game gets out of hand.
Glenn Taylor Jr., F, Oregon State ($4,700)
I noted my budding affection for Taylor in this week's waiver column, which is often a decent spot to find changing roles and DFS bargains. Taylor isn't setting the world on fire, but he's started each of the Beavers' last two games, playing a total of 67 minutes. He needs only 18.8 DKP to return 4x, and he's averaged 21.6 DKP in those two starts. I'm surprised by this game's relatively high total, but if we trust it, it seems to boost Taylor enough where I'm very comfortable expecting a safe floor for the price.
Abdul Ado, F, Cincinnati ($4,300)
The more I viewed this slate, the more I wanted as many top-end pieces as possible, and Ado emerged as a means to that end. He needs 17.2 DKP to reach 4x, and averaged 17.7 in his last four. It's all hustle stats, so we'll need minutes, blocks and rebounds to get us to that threshold. The Golden Hurricanes don't have the size to match Ado, who seemingly needs to just avoid foul trouble to provide ample return.