March Madness DFS Advice: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Day 1 (March 25)

The NCAA Tournament continues with a two-game slate on Saturday, March 25 — the first of two Elite 8 March Madness DFS slates. This column will dive into each game and highlight the top March Madness DFS picks and value plays to target with the help of Stokastic’s CBB DFS projections.

March Madness DFS Picks | Elite 8

Florida Atlantic vs. Kansas State | March Madness Elite 8 DFS

The first of two Elite 8 games on Saturday, Florida Atlantic takes on Kansas State as a 1.5-point underdog in a game with a 143.5-point total. While this total comes in lower than the second game, it still provides multiple DFS options. FAU defeated Memphis, Fairleigh Dickinson and Tennessee on their path to the Elite 8. On the other side, Kansas State defeated Montana State, Kentucky and Michigan State in an all-time Sweet 16 matchup.

On the Florida Atlantic side, the Owls run a tricky nine-man rotation. The top two players from this rotation remain Johnell Davis ($7,500) and Alijah Martin ($6,600). At first glance, both come in a little overpriced, considering they both only played 28 minutes in a competitive game against Tennessee. However, the duo eclipsed 30 minutes in the prior game, but it’s not safe to assume they’ll draw a similar workload.

Davis has elite rates over the last three games, including a 19.9% shot rate, 19.7% rebound rate and 16.7% assist rate. He makes for an interesting contrarian spend-up option. Martin is a little more shot reliant, but his price tag reflects that reality.

Big man Vladislav Goldin ($5,600) likely eclipses 20 minutes here in order to defend Kansas State’s larger lineup. He played 28 minutes in a similar spot against Tennessee. While he depended on his 16.5% rebound rate, he has an outside shot at a double-double.

Bryan Greenlee ($4,200) and Nick Boyd ($5,700) round out the starting five. Boyd has played 23, 26 and 24 minutes over the last three games, while Greenlee logged 27, 28 and 25. Boyd is more involved with a 15.6% shot rate, 14.5% rebound rate and 26.2% assist rate in that span. Greenlee has a 10.2% shot rate and 14.3% assist rate, making him a viable punt play here.

Off the bench, Brandon Weatherspoon ($3,800) and Michael Forrest ($3,400) will play somewhere between 10-20 minutes, which also puts them into the value conversation. Giancarlo Rosado ($4,600) will log similar minutes, but he comes in slightly more expensive with inferior rates.

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On the Kansas State side, Markquis Nowell ($9,600) is expected to play after turning his ankle in the Sweet 16. Speaking to the media yesterday, Nowell said he is around 85-90% health-wise. At an expensive price tag, he should draw lower ownership due to a risk-averse field. His 21.6% usage rate paces the team, and he still offers elite upside at less than full health.

Keyontae Johnson ($8,100) should draw more ownership at a cheaper price. Also playing almost every minute, Johnson has a 26.6% shot rate, 24% rebound rate and 11.5% assist rate over the last three games. His high usage gives him plenty of double-double upside.

Nae’Qwan Tomlin ($6,500) and Desi Sills ($5,500) are the next most involved players. Sills fouled out in 19 minutes last game, which makes him an interesting buy-low candidate. Tomlin has played 35 and 30 minutes over the last two games, providing a 14.7% shot rate and 18.7% rebound rate. Likely to be contrarian, he also offers GPP upside.

The final starter here will be Cam Carter ($4,500), who logged 37 minutes due to Sills’ foul trouble last game. Carter doesn’t draw much usage, but on a slate short of value, he remains in play.

Off the bench, David N’Guessan ($4,400) and Ismael Massoud ($4,000) could also be options. Both should play between 15-20 minutes with N’Guessan providing more peripheral upside. Massoud is a sharpshooter coming off the best game of his career. Going back to the more involved N’Guessan could be an interesting contrarian pivot.

Gonzaga vs. Connecticut | March Madness Elite 8 DFS

In the second game of Saturday’s Elite 8 doubleheader, Gonzaga takes on Connecticut as a 2.5-point underdog in a game with a 153-point total. Gonzaga knocked off Grand Canyon, TCU and UCLA to reach this point. UConn took down Iona, Saint Mary’s and Arkansas to punch their Elite 8 ticket.

On the Gonzaga side, the Bulldogs flow through veteran Drew Timme ($9,100). Although Timme draws a tough individual matchup, he still stands out as a strong price-adjusted play behind his elite rates and minutes. Over the last three games, Timme accounts for a 31% shot rate, 21.4% rebound rate and 24.4% assist rate.

Behind Timme, Anton Watson ($8,000) and Julian Strawther ($7,800) both grade out as strong plays. Both will play almost every minute with double-double upside. Watson has a 12.3% shot rate, 25.4% rebound rate and 22% assist rate in the last three games. Strawther accounts for a 21.4% shot rate, 23% rebound rate and 12.2% assist rate in that same span.

The starting lineup rounds out with Nolan Hickman ($5,100) and Rasir Bolton ($5,000). Both play inconsistent minutes and will need an outlier game to have value for GPPs. Bolton has a solid 16.1% usage rate, but that has declined over the season along with his minutes. Off the bench, Malachi Smith ($4,300) and Hunter Sallis ($3,200) will play between 12-20 minutes, offering options as punt plays in the better game on the slate.

On the UConn side, a more competitive game and matchup against Timme could push Adama Sanogo ($7,900) closer to 30 minutes. On the year, Sanogo still accounts for a 19.8% shot rate and 19.2% rebound rate, giving him double-double upside against Timme.

Among the guards, Jordan Hawkins ($6,300) and Andre Jackson ($6,800) still stand out as elite price-adjusted plays. Both will easily eclipse 30 minutes without fouls. Hawkins comes in as a more shot-reliant guard behind his 19.2% shot rate and reduced peripherals. Jackson offers elite peripheral upside but owns a shot rate of only 11.7% this year.

Alex Karaban ($6,000) and Tristen Newton ($6,200) also find themselves in this price range. Both lag behind Hawkins and Jackson in terms of usage, but they make for acceptable contrarian pivots. Off the bench, Donovan Clingan ($4,800) provides some elite rates but simply doesn’t play enough minutes. Joey Calcaterra ($3,300) and Nahiem Alleyne ($3,500) will play between 12-20 minutes, offering more GPP punt viability for those hitting tournaments.

Matt Gajewski
Author
Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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