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March Madness DFS Advice: Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament (March 17)

Matt Gajewski



In our March Madness DFS value column, the NCAA Tournament Round 2 DFS scene is littered with picks players must...

With March Madness fully underway, the tournament continues with a full 16 game slate on Friday, March 17. This column will dive into each game and highlight the top March Madness DFS value plays to target with the help of Stokastic’s CBB DFS projections.

March Madness DFS: NCAA Tournament Round 1 DFS

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Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Purdue

After winning their play-in game, Fairleigh Dickinson will face Purdue as a 23.5-point underdog in a game with a 145 total. Notoriously the shortest team in the country, Fairleigh Dickinson doesn’t have a player taller than 6-6. They’re led by Grant Singleton ($7,200) and Demetre Roberts ($7,800). Both have solid usage rates, but Roberts looks a little more viable behind a 21.7% shot rate and 36.6% assist rate. Ansley Almonor ($6,600) should also be mentioned, but Fairleigh Dickinson should not be considered outside the largest GPPs.

With the massive height advantage Zach Edey ($11,200) might score 100 points. Jokes aside, Edey will likely play around 30 minutes with a 24.8% shot rate and 32.2% rebound rate. A double-double looks likely. With so much usage flowing through Edey, the ancillary players are harder to target. Braden Smith ($6,500) has played at least 30 minutes in three straight games, but he lives through a 32.7% assist rate. Brandon Newman ($5,400) also reached 31 and 32 minutes in Purdue’s most recent games. However, his rates also leave much to be desired.

Providence vs. Kentucky

One of the more competitive games on the board, Kentucky holds a 4-point advantage over Providence in a game with a 143 total. Providence is led by Kentucky transfer Bryce Hopkins ($8.0), who possesses a 16.7% usage rate. Hopkins has a 17.9% shot rate, 21.2% rebound rate and 18.4% assist rate over the last three games in maximum minutes. Providence also has Ed Croswell ($7,900), with a 15.6% shot rate and 32.5% rebound rate.

The only issue is a matchup against Oscar Tshiebwe ($10,500). In the frontcourt, Providence relies on Devin Carter ($7,100) behind a 18.4% shot rate, 13.8% rebound rate and 15.8% assist rate. From there, Noah Locke ($5.0) stands in the corner and shoots 3’s Jared Bynum ($6,200) hasn’t played 30-plus minutes in three straight games.

Kentucky looks healthier than they’ve been all season with C.J. Fredrick ($3,300) and Sahvir Wheeler ($4,900) expected to play. Regardless, this team starts and stops with Tshiebwe. Tshiebwe has a 19% shot rate, 38.7% rebound rate and 12.9% assist rate. Just know that this coaching staff also subscribes to the two foul, auto-benching philosophy. To say it politely, the staff would rather lose to Saint Peter’s than play Tshiebwe with two fouls.

Although many coaches believe this. Aside from Tshiebwe, Cason Wallace ($7,700) has been playing maximum minutes at the point guard position. He has been injured down the stretch but could push for 35 minutes here. The only issue could be Wheeler’s return. Kentucky benched Wheeler for Wallace even before injury, but a healthy Wheeler means they can at least give Wallace a breather from time to time.

Jacob Toppin ($8,400) has been very involved with maximum minutes, a 17.3% shot rate, 20.2% rebound rate and 19.4% assist rate. At some point, he’s simply a good play, regardless of his talent or lack thereof. Antonio Reeves ($6,700) is a pure shooter and nothing else. He and Chris Livingston ($6,400) are the most likely to be affected injury. Lastly, Fredrick will play 30 minutes, if healthy. The problem is he continually aggravates his rib injury and hasn’t be able to eclipse 20 minutes in each of the last two games.

March Madness DFS Picks, Plays & Values Continued

Drake vs. Miami

A game with a 146.5 total, Drake is a 2-point underdog to Miami in a game with a 146.5 total. Drake plays a semi-tight rotation led by Tucker DeVries ($7,700) and Roman Penn ($6,600). These are the only two players who routinely eclipse 30 minutes. DeVries has a 26.8% shot rate and 16.5% rebound rate in the last three games. Penn has a 20.9% shot rate, 10.3% rebound rate and 53.9% assist rate in the last three games. Behind them, Darnell Brodie ($5,900) has a monster rebound rate, but inconsistent minutes. D.J. Wilkins ($4,600) could be a potential value play, but he is more of a wind-sprinter, who plays mid to upper 20’s in minutes.

Miami plays a small ball lineup and lives through their elite shooting. The big question with Miami remains the status of Norchad Omier ($8,800). Omier has been practicing this week and it appears he will give it a go. While the minutes remain uncertain, Omier has elite double-double upside when healthy. Among the guards, Isaiah Wong ($7,700) is an elite buy low. Wong leads the team in usage, behind a 19.4% shot rate and 23% assist rate. Jordan Miller ($8,400) has also been increasingly involved and he played 40, 38 and 39 minutes over the last three games. To round out the lineup, Nijel Pack ($6,400) and Wooga Poplar ($5,500) will play 28-32 minutes. Pack is a pure shooter and Poplar actually does a little of everything. Miami is a strong team to target for DFS overall.

Grand Canyon vs. Gonzaga

An elite game environment, Grand Canyon is a 15.5-point underdog to Gonzaga in a game with a 155 total. With Gonzaga’s Swiss cheese defense, a few Grand Canyon players could make some sense here. Ray Harrison ($6,900) leads the team with a 21.3% usage rate, 22.9% shot rate and 28.6% assist rate. He is one of the better price adjusted plays on the slate. Gabe McGlothan ($6,500) also has double-double upside behind a 26.8% shot rate and 20.9% rebound rate in the last three games. He battled fouls in their most recent game, which could be an issue here. Noah Baumann ($4,400) is available as a potential value play after reaching 30 and 27 minutes in the last two games. However, the rest of the Grand Canyon rotation extends to eight players and creates plenty of volatility.

Gonzaga starts with Drew Timme ($10,100) and his 21.3% usage rate. His awful defense often keeps him out of foul trouble, but Timme accounts for a 21.4% shot rate, 20.1% rebound rate and 19.2% assist rate. Behind Timme, the Gonzaga players appear slightly overpriced. Anton Watson ($7,700) and Julian Strawther ($7,600) are both in play for GPPs. Watson has a 15.6% shot rate, a 20% rebound rate and 25% assist rate in the last three games. The best value play here looks like Nolan Hickman ($5,400). He will play between 25-30 minutes with consistent usage across statistical categories.

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Florida Atlantic vs. Memphis

A complete banger of a game, Memphis holds a 2-point advantage over FAU in a game with a 152.5 total. FAU plays a nasty nine-man rotation, but Johnell Davis ($7,200) plays around 30 minutes. He has a 16.6% usage rate, but he is still unlikely to reach optimals at this price. Alijah Martin ($6,600) is a little more cost effective with a 24.1% shot rate and 19.8% rebound rate. However, his minutes are also inconsistent. For value plays, Jalen Gaffney ($3,800) played 28, 22 and 24 minutes in the last three games.

Memphis has two usage dominators in Kendric Davis ($9,900) and DeAndre Williams ($9,500). Davis has a 25% usage rate, including a 30% shot rate and 32% assist rate. Likewise, Williams has a 27.6% shot rate, 35.2% rebound rate and 16% assist rate over the last three games. Alex Lomax ($5,100) and Chandler Lawson ($4,200) rounded out the Memphis option. Lomax battled injury late in the year, but returned to minutes in Memphis’ most recent game. Lawson is a rotational big, but he has 26, 21 and 21 minutes over the last three games. Overall, Davis and Williams should be the primary considerations.

Montana State vs. Kansas State

A middling game environment, Kansas State is an 8-point favorite over Montana State in a game with a 139.5 total. Montana State plays a tight rotation, consisting of Darius Brown ($7,000) and Raequan Battle ($5,400). Both easily eclipse 30 minutes, but both score in different ways. Battle has a 32.3% usage rate and does little else. Brown only has and 11.4% shot rate, but he also has a 22.3% rebound rate and 50% assist rate. Caleb Fuller ($5,300) has also played at least 34 minutes in three straight games, with a 13.9% shot rate, 14.9% rebound rate and a 8.3% assist rate. The same goes Robert Ford ($4,800) with slightly less consistent minutes.

Kansas State plays through two usage dominators in Keyontae Johnson ($8,700) and Markquis Nowell ($9,800). Both play every minute, barring fouls. Nowell has a 23.1% shot rate and 44.2% assist rate in the last three. Johnson has a 24.7% shot rate, 17.8% rebound rate and 13.5% assist rate in that same span. Desi Sills ($6,300) is purely a pay up to be contrarian play with little upside. Cam Carter ($4,400) is a potential value play, but he does cardio and little else.

Editor Note: March Madness DFS picks is all the rage, but if you are looking for other college basketball best bets, OddsShopper’s college basketball shop pages are a great resource.

Kent State vs. Indiana

Two elite offenses, Indiana has a 4.5-point advantage over Kent State in a game with a 140.5 total. Kent State plays a hyper condensed rotation led by Sincere Carry ($8,900). Carry will legit play 40 minutes with a 25.9% shot rate and 39.4% assist rate. Miryne Thomas ($6,200), Malique Jacobs ($8,100) and Jalen Sullinger ($4,500) will all play 30+ minutes. Sullinger is a solid value play behind his minutes and rates. Jacobs also possesses elite double-double upside with a 22.2% shot rate, 20% rebound rate and 30.3% assist rate in the last three games.

Indiana has one of the top players in the country Trayce Jackson-Davis ($11,000). TJD plays every minute with a 22.1% shot rate, 27.7% rebound rate and 24.2% assist rate. They also rely on Jalen Hood-Schifino ($7,500) to play every minute. He has a 20.7% shot rate and 16.7% assist rate over the last three games. Indiana also has a couple of potential value plays in Race Thompson ($5,700) and Miller Kopp ($4,800). Kopp is a glue guy, but he plays 32+ minutes consistently. Thompson dealt with injury late in the year and often cannot keep his hands to himself. He played 30+ minutes in two of the last three games and comes in underpriced, if he hits 30 minutes.

Arizona State vs. TCU

TCU is a 5.5-point favorite over Arizona State in a game with a 141.5 total. Winner of their play-in game, Arizona State limited the minutes of their starters in a blowout. They still play a wide rotation, but some value could potentially be mined here. Desmond Cambridge ($7,000) leads the team with a 20% usage rate, which includes a 22.9% shot rate and 16.3% assist rate. D.J. Horne ($6,100) also plays a ton of minutes, but he is a bit more shot reliant than Cambridge. Frankie Collins ($5,700) runs point, but he lost a few minutes recently with players like Devan Cambridge ($5,000), Warren Washington ($6,800) and even Jamiya Neal ($4,500) playing consistent minutes. Neal has played 27, 23 and 19 minutes in the last three games and could be used as a potential value. The same goes for Alonzo Gaffney ($3.0) at the stone minimum.

TCU lost Eddie Lampkin for the tournament, but they still have three elite players in Emanuel Miller ($7,400), Damion Baugh ($8,700), and Mike Miles ($7,200). Miller has the most double-double upside with a 17.7% shot rate and 23.1% rebound rate. Baugh has the best overall usage with a 16% shot rate, 22% rebound rate and 30.6% assist rate. Miles has taken a backseat to Baugh and Miller, but he could be a buy low option here. The rest of the bench rotates, creating little value here.

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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.