This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
Thursday's early slate tips off at an uncharacteristic 11:30 a.m. EST, but there's 12 games to pick from available on DraftKings, which is offering a $3k top prize in its Heating Up contest. If you missed out on the early lock, six of these games are separated into an Afternoon slate. We'll try to highlight some picks from both here.
With the slate happening so early, not all all odds are available at the time of posting, so I'd advise double-checking our Daily Matchup Info charts to help decide which games/teams have projected totals that are desirable to build around. Editor's Note: Here's today's chart:
Joe Girard, G, Syracuse ($7,700 DK, $6,200 FD)
Girard has averaged 14.3 field-goal attempts per game over his last four contests, and that's been with Buddy Boeheim taking 16.3 per game over that same span. Buddy is officially suspended due to a literal gut punch in the ACC Tournament opener, so there will be a lot of looks to go around. Fair play if you think lightning strikes twice with Cole Swider ($7,800 DK, $7,100 FD), or perhaps the logical pivot is Buddy's older brother Jimmy ($7,300 DK, $7,200 FD). But I'll roll with the usage rate leader of the bunch who will also be bringing the ball up the court – especially if you're playing FanDuel.
Paolo Banchero, F, Duke ($8,800 DK, $8,100 FD)
Banchero already has games of 39.3 and 40.8 DK points against Syracuse this season, so the freshman clearly has the zone figured out. He's also scored 21 or more points in three consecutive contests, which includes the recent loss to UNC in which he took an incredible 26 field-goal attempts. Provided the Orange can keep this close without Buddy Boeheim (suspension), Duke should continue to turn to Banchero when in need of offense. The quest to solidify his No. 1 position in next year's NBA Draft begins Thursday.
Jacob Young, G, Oregon ($6,700 DK, $ FD)
Despite a much more difficult matchup against Colorado and a $600 salary increase, I'm riding the hot hand Thursday and going back to the well. Without Will Richardson (illness) in the mix, Young has taken over at point guard and is coming off a 53.0 DK game. That would be tough to match, but given the usage bump, 4-5x is surely in play.
Isaiah Wong, G/F, Miami ($6,400 DK)
Wong's price has surpassed $8k on multiple occasions this season, so it's a bit odd to see him this low coming off performances of 43.25 and 28.25 DK points. The former happened to be against Boston College, Thursday's opponent. BC will be playing its third game in row, while Wong and the Canes are coming off a double bye. The Eagles' biggest weakness also happens to be perimeter defense, where they check in at 320th nationally, allowing opponents to cash 36.6 percent of their threes. That's exactly Wong's strength, as he leads Miami with 53 three-pointers made. Charlie Moore ($6,700 DK) is another strong option for similar reasoning.
Chuck Harris, G, Butler ($4,800 DK)
Since getting shut out Feb. 26 at Marquette, Harris has bounced back with games of 27.0 and 32.0 DK points. The only knock is that 29 of those 32 points Wednesday came from real-life points, so you aren't getting much in terms of peripheral stats. Still, Harris managed this while going just 2-for-10 from distance, so a case can be made there's some unrealized ceiling. Even though it's a much better defense in Providence, Harris did put up 22.0 DK points (on 21 real-life points) in a matchup against the Friars earlier this year.
Remy Martin, G, Kansas ($3,300 DK, $3,200 FD)
There are plenty of safer value plays if you go check out our Daily Matchup Info page, but let's go ahead and swing for the fences here. Maybe I'm crazy and stayed up too late refreshing for salaries. But here me out. Martin missed a seven-game stretch with a knee injury and has returned in a very limited capacity. He did start Saturday, but that could be nothing more than a senior day nod. The season has largely been a letdown after Martin started the year priced higher than $8k. Whether it's a lack of defense or too many ill-advised threes (probably mixed in with injury trouble), Martin has gotten on the bad side of coach Bill Self. But let's not forget that Martin was a 19.1 ppg scorer for back-to-back seasons in the Pac-12, and the Jayhawks potentially have three consecutive days of games ahead. Martin should get some run here in what's essentially his last call for contributing this postseason.