This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
The last Saturday in 2018 has a kind of strange lineup to it. Some leagues, such as the Big East, are starting conference play. There are still a few big non-conference games to spectate. The Kentucky-Louisville game should be interesting, but won't have quite the flavor that the Calipari-Pitino match ups did (not that I miss Rick Pitino). There is also a great deal of overlap between the two sites in terms of available games. The early slate is the same with DraftKings adding Southern Mississippi at Louisiana Tech. The DraftKings late slate has a couple of extra games, as is their wont.
Dylan Winder ($10,300 DK, $8,700 FD): It may be somewhat worrisome to take a player from the Ohio Valley going on the road against a Big Ten team, but Winder may be worth the risk. The 6-foot-8 senior has double-doubles in four of his last five games. He had 12 points and 15 boards before fouling out of the Dec. 15 win over UCLA in the Bruins' only game against Tier 1 competition. Winder has accrued at least three fouls in his last five games, so that may be a point of concern, particularly on the road.
Shamorie Ponds ($10,800 DK, $8,600 FD): You can complain that the Red Storm are untested after beating an embarrassing slate of opponents in the non-conference. Ponds was slowed a bit at the start of Big East play last year, but had a dominant February. Don't expect him to take so long to warm up as conference play starts against Seton Hall. The 6-1 guard only played against the Pirates once last year, but had 25 points (despite not shooting well, 9-of-22 on field goals and 0-6 on 3-pointers) with six assists and two steals.
Ethan Happ ($11,300 DK, $8,900 FD): It is worth noting that the Badger game is not among those to avoid. That speaks to Western Kentucky giving up its fair share of points and there being a bunch of really, really slow games. Happ is undeterred by the Badger's glacial pace. His stats have been diminished the past two games because Wisconsin has blown out its two opponents. The Hilltoppers should offer more resistance than Savannah State and Grambling. Happ had 17 points and six assists in the one-point win over WKU last year.
Zach Hankins ($5,200 DK, $5,200 FD): Tyrique Jones (head) is a game-time decision against DePaul on Saturday afternoon. Hankins and Jones have been platooning as the Musketeer center. As of Friday, Jones had not been cleared to practice. In his first game as a starter, Hankins had 12 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks and four assists in the win over Detroit. The Blue Demons are better than Detroit, but do not have an interior presence to deter Hankins, particularly if he gets at least 30 minutes.
Makol Mawien ($4,400 FD): With Dean Wade (foot) out, the onus is on Mawien to give the Wildcats some offensive support. He was able to score at the end of last season when Wade was hurt. Last Saturday, Mawien put up 15 points, including his first 3-pointer of the season. George Mason is not a defensive-oriented squad. The Patriots may give center A.J. Wilson, their best shot blocker, more minutes against Kansas State, but he won't stop Mawien.
Jordan Tucker ($4,600 DK, $3,000 FD): As noted below, there will not be a lot of possessions in the Butler-Florida struggle. It makes sense to find a player who can actually score on either team. While Tucker is being brought along slowly, the Duke transfer can definitely put the ball in the basket. He has averaged 9.0 points in 11.3 minutes through three minutes. With his bargain-basement price and the possibility that he gets up to 20 minutes, he is a nice value.
GAMES/TEAMS TO TARGET
Belmont (+9.5) at Purdue (o/u 159.5), 3:30PM EST: The Bruins are not going to be intimidated by playing at Mackey Arena with road wins at Lipscomb and UCLA already under their belt. Purdue does provide some unique challenges, including one of the best scoring guards in the game. Carsen Edwards ($9,700 DK, $8,600 FD) has averaged 32.3 points over his last three games and has shot relatively efficiently. Ryan Cline ($6,500 DK, $6,600 FD) appears to be coming out of his 3-point shooting slump. He had made eight treys in his last two games. Matt Haarms ($4,300 DK, $5,100 FD) is huge, but has only played a combined 24 minutes in his last two games. The Bruin freshmen – Nick Muszynski ($8,600 DK, $8,200 FD), Grayson Murphy ($8,300 DK, $8,000 FD), and Caleb Hollander ($6,600 DK, $7,000 FD) – have been productive, but could get in foul trouble on the road.
St. John's (+3.5) at Seton Hall (o/u 153.5): It is not hard to imagine this game devolving into a shooting contest between Ponds and Myles Powell ($9,000 DK, $8,400 FD). Both guards are in the top four in scoring in the Big East. Ponds has more help in the scoring department. Marvin Clark ($6,800 DK, $7,600 FD) has been playing well of late with five straight double-digit scoring games, including two 20-point performances. Clark averaged 18.5 points against the Pirates last season. Mustapha Heron ($7,300 DK, $7,700 FD) and LJ Figueroa ($8,400 DK, $8,000 FD) are both capable of big games, and are both shooting well from the perimeter. The secondary option for Seton Hall is not quite as clear. Sandro Mamukelashvili ($6,700 DK, $6,700 FD) may have the highest ceiling. The 6-10 sophomore will get rebounds, but his scoring is hit or miss. He had a combined 38 points in wins over Sacred Heart and Rutgers, but scored just three points in his two other most recent games.
Buffalo (-14) at Canisius (o/u 153.5): The bubble burst for the Buffalo Bulls a bit in the lost to Marquette last Friday. Like most teams, they simply could not stop Markus Howard. They have had eight days to sulk and will likely put their frustrations against the Golden Griffins. The Canisius player to consider is sophomore guard Takal Molson ($7,400 DK) who scores 16.5 points, despite doing so inefficiently (39.2 percent on field goals, 22.2 percent on 3-pointers). Canisius does not guard the tin particularly well which will leave them susceptible to forays to the basket by CJ Massinburg ($9,300 DK). The senior has scored in double digits in eight straight games and is a strong rebounder for a guard. Nick Perkins ($7,500 DK) should also find success in the paint. Fouls could be an issue on the road, but the 6-8 senior has a pair of double-doubles in his last three games. Jeremy Harris ($7,200 DK) has averaged 20.0 points in his last two games, but is only hitting 28.6 percent of his 3-pointers.
GAMES/TEAMS TO FADE
Butler (+4.5) at Florida (o/u 129): To put it simply, these teams are in no hurry – don't try to rush them. Both teams are in the lowest 10 percent in pace and prefer to rely on their defenses. Florida, in particular, is a relatively hard team to find a decent DFS players. There is value in the Gator lineups, but it is not obvious. Kevarrius Hayes ($6,100 DK, $6,100 FD) works on the boards and blocks. His scoring is inconsistent and he has only scored in double digits three times. Jalen Hudson ($3,800 DK, $4,100 FD) has had a terrible senior season, but scored 14 points last Saturday in the win over Florida Gulf Coast. The price is right, but there is a risk that he won't put up any points. For the Bulldogs, Kamar Baldwin ($7,900 DK, $7,400 FD) is a do-it-all guard, who has been shooting less often of late. The price tag is probably too high for his production in this game. Sean McDemott ($4,800 DK, $5,700 FD) is a 3-point sniper, but he has only scored a combined 10 points in his last two games.
Oregon (-2) at Boise State (o/u 132.5): Oregon centers beware: injuries are coming for you. Bol Bol is out with a foot injury and Kenny Wooten broke his jaw in the Ducks' last game. This presents opportunities for low-priced players to get playing time. Paul White ($4,500 DK, 5,300 FD) and Louis King ($4,200 DK, $4,200 FD) will be counted on for more and freshman Franciso Okoro ($3,100 DK, $3,200 FD) and Miles Norris ($3,000 DK, $3,000 FD) will get minutes. White fouled out after scoring just five points in the loss to Baylor last Friday. The Georgetown transfer score 19 points in the Dec. 15 win over the Broncos. King, a five-star freshman, is still finding his way after recovering from a torn ACL. He has not scored more than nine points in his last four games, but took 20 shots over his last two. The 6-9 Okoro may not be ready for a bigger role and has only played double-digit minutes four times. The team may rely on Payton Pritchard ($7,100 DK, $7,500 FD) to a greater degree. He has scored in double digits in four straight games and adds a handful of assists. The last time these teams met, Roderick Williams ($7,600 DK, $8,100 FD) and Justinian Jessup ($6,900 DK, $7,400 FD) combined for four points on 1-of-15 from the field. They will probably shoot better at home.