Opening night is finally upon us for the 2015-2016 College Basketball season and this guy is having a hard time containing his excitement! There are a number of games happening this evening to get us started and while the sites (FD and DK) have extremely different slates for their contests, I am going to try and touch on some plays from each game that we have access to tonight. Each day this piece will differ slightly in format as CBB generally does not have a cookie cutter slate day in and day out. Let’s dive right into the 14 games that are offered on DK and/or FD on this Friday the 13th!
This game may be the best one to target of the whole night and it’s the one that tips off late this afternoon as the first game of the season. The Cyclones of Iowa State are a pretty balanced team as their whole starting lineup should put up some solid numbers this season. I am interested in 3 guys from Iowa State for today and those are Monte Morris, Georges Niang and Jameel McKay. Morris will look to take another step forward this year and should thrive in the new coaching staff’s system that gives the PG a ton of wiggle room. Niang has developed into one of those not all too sexy players that just continually gets it done and he is not afraid to shoot the ball. McKay is my choice to lead the Nation in double-doubles this season which makes him really interesting on DK. Plus, with the DK adding in blocks and steals for CBB this season, he becomes a very interesting pick over there.
When it comes to Colorado, they have a lot of unknowns coming into the season as they have position battles going on at PG and SF. With that said, they do return Josh Scott and Wes Gordon and add a transfer player who I really like in Josh Fortune. Scott should be 100% after dealing with back issues last season and should get back to his near double-double ways. He offers more of a scoring punch in this game than his opposite, Jameel McKay. Gordon looks to take a step forward and be more aggressive as he is an athletic PF. I think for the money, Fortune is the player I want as he should have an advantage if he is being guarded by Naz Long. He was a solid player at Providence and I think he brings smarts and dedication to this team.
I will start with my Tar Heels as they just lost Marcus Paige for a few weeks and that may actually help them out in the long run. For the short term, I expect Berry and Britt to split the PG duties pretty equally while the offense should rely on Jackson, Johnson and Meeks. I have heard that the team expects Theo Pinson to take a big step forward and that has me intrigued. If I am using anybody from UNC today, it’s probably going to be Brice Johnson. Jackson is a good bet to get up shots, however he was recently sick and I wonder how that will affect his conditioning to start the season.
Temple loses their all everything in Will Cummings and I expect Quentin DeCosey to become their number 1 option this season. He is definitely underpriced and should be in a great spot against the up-tempo Tar Heels. Josh Brown steps into the lineup this season and I think he is a sleeper for tonight’s slate as he is just too cheap for being a solid starting player in the game with the highest over/under of the night. The other option for Temple is Jaylen Bond. I like Bond a lot for this season, however I have to temper my expectation tonight going up against the size of UNC.
This game has a decently high score projected however there just aren’t a ton of options that stand out to me as I think it’s best to take a wait and see approach with these teams. Guys like Robert Brown, William Lee, Cinmeon Bowers, Jordan Granger and Kareem Canty have some intrigue to me as possible GPP fill in fliers. I know Lee won me over at the end of last season and into the post season and could certainly be a big time play moving forward however the size of Granger and Bowers could make sledding tough for him. Auburn has some turnover in their lineup so it’ll take a few games to see how the offense shakes out.
Shaka Smart makes his coaching debut at Texas and he brings a really athletic roster to Washington tonight. On the other side, Washington has a very young and athletic team taking the court as well. This game could feature a ton of possessions thanks to the athleticism and the game plans of each team. To start the season off, I think we need to look at maybe 4 players from this game and those are Andrew Andrews, Isaiah Taylor, Cameron Ridley and Dejounte Murray. I love the spot that Andrews is in as he moves back to his PG position for this season. Taylor should flourish under Smart’s leadership this season. Each team has a few other wings that could contribute but it is tough to guess as to how the offense breaks down without seeing some real game action. If I were to throw one more name out there I would take a look at Noah Dickerson of Washington.
Cal has an extremely talented starting lineup and they will do some damage this season in the Pac-12 as they might be the favorites to win the conference title over Arizona. With that said, it is really tough to try and pick who is going to go nuts for this offense as you can make a case for taking anybody in their starting 5. My one big worry is that Wallace will not want to share the basketball as he loves to fire shots from everywhere. If I had to choose one, I like Jaylen Brown from the Bears as he should be able to pick up a good number of rebounds and enjoy some easy put backs as well. As far as Rice goes, the two guys that I like are Marcus Jackson and Egor Koulechov. Koulechov lead them in scoring during the exhibition season and Jackson is a point that can do a lot with the ball. This game probably won’t end up extremely close, however somebody on Rice is going to score the basketball.
This game will probably get pretty ugly at some point, which is sad because Albany has some solid CBB players that should be considered at some point should they show up as an option in the future. Peter Hooley is the name from Albany you have heard of before thanks to his miracle shot in last year’s tournament. Evan Singletary and Ray Sanders are two other names that I think deserve to be stashed away from Albany. When it comes to Kentucky, there are always going to be names to know and tonight I find myself really liking Tyler Ulis and Skal Labissiere. Skal is a big time star in the making while Ulis is that pure PG play who can shoot it from deep when left open. The rest of the lineup is a question mark as far as how it is going to work, not on talent. Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray and Marcus Lee are each going to have big games this year. If I was choosing one of them for tonight it’d be the ultra-talented Murray.
For the Spartans two names stand out as fantasy plays and that is the triple double waiting to happen Denzel Valentine and Eron Harris who transferred in from West Virginia. Harris does not play a ton of defense and that is why he might be serving as the teams 6th man. Valentine might be the top overall play of the night, however this game could get out of hand and he could have his minutes limited, it’s kind of a tossup. It might shock you that I am going to list more names from FAU than I did for MSU, however its really price driven as they have a number of interesting pieces. Marquan Botley and Solomon Poole return and offer some upside, while Adonis Filer transferred in and played really well in the exhibition season. My favorite play from FAU is the ultra-athletic freshman wing who stands 6’7. That player is Jeantal Cylla. Cylla lead the team in scoring during exhibition play.
This game should not be close as Maryland is a legit national title contender and have a ton of talent in their lineup led by soph PG Melo Trimble. I think Trimble is a little over priced to start the season, however he is capable of paying off that salary. I really like Diamond Stone and Robert Carter down low for the Terps as they should dominate the glass in this one. When it comes to MSM’s, I look at BK Ashe as the guy that I am going to have a lot of as he is just too cheap for the amount of shots he puts up. If I was going to use another player from MSM’s it would be Gregory Graves, however I think he could have a hard time down low in this one.
This is a game that has my interest as the Zags are an extremely potent team and a lot will depend on how their backcourt plays as their front line is ridiculously good as they have Wiltjer, Sabonas and Karnowski. Sounds like Sabonas is going to miss this game which can only bump up the other two. Wiltjer is being looked at as the guy that may lead CBB in scoring this season and I have little reason to doubt it. As far as Pittsburgh goes, they return their best two players in Artis and Young while adding an intriguing transfer in Sterling Smith who is extremely cheap on DK. Another Pitt name to pay attention to is Alonzo Nelson-Ododa at min salary.
Generally Duke is a team we want to target, however I think a wait and see approach is going to fit best with the Blue Devils as they have a very talented team and it might take a few games to figure out their rotation and shot distribution. If you feel like you must play a Duke guy tonight I would look at Amile Jefferson, Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen tonight. Plumlee, Matt Jones and Ingram are expected to start alongside Allen and Jefferson tonight. Ingram may be the best player going forward and I could certainly see giving him a shot, however he is their most expensive player to start out this season and there are guys near his price that I prefer more. As far as Siena goes, I think you can safely stay away from them tonight. If you wanted to take a GPP flier, look at Marquis Wright.
I really like this game for fantasy purposes which is really shocking considering Wojo slowed Marquette down quite a bit last season. Marquette has the best player in this game as Henry Ellenson should have his way down low against Belmont and should control the glass with ease. Ellenson is a big time freshman and should be their number 1 option on the offensive end. Fischer, Wilson, Johnson and even Cohen are interesting for one reason or another, however if I had to choose one other Marquette player it would be Duane Wilson as he generally does everything on the floor. Belmont is a really good mid-major team and they offer three guys that I could see using, but only one that I feel like I NEED to have in a lot of places and that player is Craig Bradshaw. Bradshaw is extremely active and wants to fire up double digit three point attempts while he is also willing to chip in on the boards. I think Bradds and Barnette are usable options, however I think Bradds has a tough time down low with Fischer and Ellenson.
LSU is going to be a really good team this season as they landed the #1 recruit in the country who brings immediate start appeal. Ben Simmons does everything from his PF body and is a willing passer, ball handler and scorer. He is the most expensive guy on the slate and I generally want to wait and see, however if you are doing multiple lineups I think you need some exposure to Simmons. The rest of the LSU squad is usable as I think Tim Quarterman is going to be a big time player for the Tigers this season as he gets to slide in at the PG position. Blakeney, Patterson and Sampson are other options that will get plenty of opportunity especially with Hornsby out. As far as McNeese St goes, this game could get ugly however they have one of my favorite plays as Craig McFerrin returns from an injury that forced him out all of last season. He is a double-double type of player for way too cheap. Two other names that could be of interest are Jamaya Burr and Jarren Greenwood.
This game should be over quickly as Pacific has suspended a couple players for this game. Those players are Elarky, Thompson and Kobre. With that said, Pacific’s backcourt of Taylor and Wallace are ones that could be of interest to you as somebody has to score the basketball. When it comes to Arizona they have a lot to replace from last year’s squad and I look for Ryan Anderson to step in after transferring from BC. He dominated during their exhibitions and should be their number 1 option. Allonzo Trier is a uber-talented freshman who could push for a starting position after a handful of games. He is a steal at just 3900 on DK. Kadeem Allen could surprise a bit at min price as he may end up as the starting PG for this team.
There are 4 names that I like in this game, however Baylor is expected to slow it down more this year and that has me a little worried. From Baylor you have to LOVE Rico Gathers and his massive rebounding ability along with Taurean Prince’s overall skills. I prefer Prince to Gathers if I have to go with one in a lineup as he is more dangerous on the offensive end. For SFA, Thomas Walkup is STILL around and he is their main focal point on offense. I think he is a little too expensive for this match-up however. I really like Ty Charles at just 3800 on DK for SFA and think he could easily return value. Baylor should dominate this game inside and SFA is going to need some outside shots to fall, which may require a hot hand from Charles.