Oregon F Chris Boucher has been a one-man wrecking crew at the defensive end of the floor, helping the Ducks check in with a respectable 64.1 points per game (PPG) allowed. Boucher is second in the nation with 3.9 blocked shots per game (BPG), trailing only Florida International C Adrian Diaz (4.4 BPG). Boucher has gotten better as the season has progressed, too, recording his first two double-doubles in the past two games. That includes a 14-point, 14-rebound effort in the Pearl Harbor Classic against Navy on Dec. 7. While it’s not necessarily a performance that will live in infamy, he was also able to swat three shots and post two steals for another huge Fantasy line. Over the past four outings he is averaging 14.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.8 blocks during the impressive span.
In the same state, Oregon State G Gary Payton II is playing great basketball. He is third in the nation with 3.3 steals per game, and he ranks first among all Power 5 Conference teams. He is making a huge impact like his dad once did, averaging 16.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.3 steals with 1.1 blocks per game. There aren’t many players in the nation with five-category potential, but the senior Payton certainly fits the bill.
The Wichita State Shockers finally welcomed back PG Fred VanVleet (hamstring), and not a moment too soon. The preseason Top 10 team was in disarray with the senior on the sidelines. VanVleet returned to the lineup Saturday in St. Louis, and the Shockers returned to their winning ways. They followed that up with an impressive win against UNLV, with VanVleet leading the way with 17 points. He is still not quite 100 percent back up to speed, but he is averaging 14.0 points, 5.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in two games since returning, so it appears safe to get him back in the DFS lineup.
When setting your Fantasy lineups, be sure to pick on teams that struggle defensively. While all of the headlines have been for Louisiana State freshman phenom F Ben Simmons, the overlooked story has been how bad LSU’s defense has performed. The Tigers allow 78.1 points per game, worst among all Power 5 conference teams, tied with fellow SEC team Arkansas.
Other teams to pick on for their leaky scoring defense are Auburn (77.2 points per game), Florida State (74.3 points per game) and Tennessee (74.3 points per game). North Carolina State (74.1 points per game) is the worst ACC team in terms of scoring defense, so remember that when conference play starts up. See below.
Best/Worst Scoring Defenses (Power 5 Conferences)
|TOP SCORING DEFENSES||WORST SCORING DEFENSES|
|1. Louisville (55.7 PPG)||1. Wake Forest (80.0 PPG)|
|2. Purdue (57.1 PPG)||2. Louisiana State (78.1 PPG)|
|3. Virginia (57.1 PPG)||3. Arkansas (78.1 PPG)|
|4. West Virginia (59.1 PPG)||4. Auburn (77.2 PPG)|
|5. Clemson (59.6 PPG)||5. Mississippi State (76.7 PPG)|
|6. Florida (59.6 PPG)||6. Illinois (75.7 PPG)|
|7. Michigan State (59.8 PPG)||7. Minnesota (75.7 PPG)|
|8. Vanderbilt (60.6 PPG)||8. UCLA (75.4 PPG)|
|9. Baylor (61.3 PPG)||9. Florida State (74.3 PPG)|
|10. Oklahoma (61.3 PPG)||10. Tennessee (74.3 PPG)|
For more recommendations from me throughout the week, plus tips from other top industry analysts like Drew Dinkmeyer, check out DailyRoto.com for comprehensive free and premium DFS content.
(DraftKings.com salaries listed in parentheses)
Shep Garner, G, Penn State ($7,300): Garner has rolled up 35.5 or more Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) in each of his past three outings, averaging 22.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game during the impressive span. Garner will have a huge opportunity Thursday against Canisius, a team that allows 83.7 points per game, 331 of 346 in the nation in scoring defense.
Stefan Moody, G, Mississippi: Moody will take to the court Saturday against Southeast Missouri State, and he will be a strong DFS play. Moody is averaging a career-best 23.0 points per game through eight outings, posting 21 or more points in six of the outings. Moody ranks 10th in the nation in scoring average, and first among those in Power 5 conferences. He has buried at least one 3-pointer in each of his first eight, and he has two or more triples in six of the outings Moody is also averaging 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game while turning it over two or fewer times in six of his eight appearances. He takes great care of the basketball, and contributes in a multitude of scoring categories.
Jakob Poeltl, F, Utah: Poeltl will face VanVleet and the Shockers of Wichita State Saturday in an underrated showdown. Poeltl is shooting a robust 69.2 percent from the floor, dropping in 10 or more buckets in three of his past four games. Since a season-best 32 points against Temple Nov. 22, Poeltl is averaging 24.5 PPG over the past four games. He has five double-doubles in eight outings, and he has blocked three or more shots on four separate occasions. The 7-foot-0 Austrian can do it all, especially when it matters most. His best games this season have come against Brigham Young, San Diego State and Temple.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ja’Dante’ Frye, F, Nicholls State ($7,300): Frye’s skill set will be on full display Thursday at San Diego State in a marquee game. Frye ranks 19th in the country in scoring average at 21.5 points per game, but he is much more than a one-trick pony. The junior has scored 21 or more points in five straight games, and he is also averaging 7.2 rebounds with 1.8 steals per game during the impressive span. Frye isn’t available very often, so take advantage when he is on the DFS board. He will not disappoint.
Malcolm McMillan, G, Canisius ($7,400): McMillan can fill up the stat sheet with the best of them, ranking 20th in the nation with 21.3 points per game while averaging 2.1 3-pointers per contest. The senior already has a pair of 30-point games, and he has shot 50 percent or better in five of his seven outings. You can use him in DFS Thursday at Penn State, so be sure to take advantage.
Duncan Robinson, G, Michigan: Robinson is playing just 22 minutes per game this season, but that could change if the sophomore continues to shoot lights out. He is shooting 56.5 percent from the floor (35-of-62), while hitting 58.8 percent from behind the arc. He is averaging 3.3 3-pointers per game, averaging 11.9 points per contest. The Wolverines perimeter specialist will grab his share of rebounds for a guard, and he’ll chip in with occasional steals, but his real value to Fantasy owners is from behind the arc.