This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
The college football season has finally concluded and hoops is ready to take center stage. To celebrate, DraftKings is offer a $10k top prize in a unique Mid-Jan Jumper contest. 11 games headline the Tuesday slate. Lets take a look at implied totals before jumping into today's recommended plays.
Kofi Cockburn, F, Illinois ($9,600 DK)
We have some deja vu because one week ago we selected Cockburn in a similar matchup, and he rewarded us with a monster game. Something tells me the results will be the same, if not better, because Nebraska, alongside Iowa, has the worst defense in the Big Ten (per KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings). If that's not bad enough, Nebraska ranks in the bottom 15 percent of the country in terms of its team offensive and defensive rebounding rates. Cockburn, as most college hoops fans know, is one of the best frontcourt players in the country, so he has a good chance at another monster game.
Jaden Shackelford, G/F, Alabama ($7,500 DK)
Alabama is projected to win the game with the highest point total on the slate, and is a team with several intriguing DFS options. Looking at the matchup on paper, however, I'm targeting Jaden Shackelford because Auburn's interior defense has shown to be elite this season, allowing opponents to make just 42 percent of their two-point field goals, the seventh-lowest percentage in the country. Given this defensive matchup, Alabama will likely need to try making more shots from the perimeter. Shackelford is by far Alabama's best shooter, making nearly 40 percent of his three-point attempts this season (49-of-125), the best percentage and easily the most attempts on the team. Alabama had a similarly tough matchup back on Dec. 4 against Gonzaga, and Shackelford made 6-of-8 three-points as part of a 28-point performance.
David McCormack, F, Kansas ($6,800 DK)
This pick is a slight gamble because David McCormack has been playing up-and-down lately. He started playing from the bench on Jan. 4 against Oklahoma State, and McCormack responded by having his best game of the year, scoring 17 points to go with 15 rebounds. When he plays, McCormack is still a scoring threat, using over 26 percent of his team's possessions when on the court. McCormack currently has the sixth-highest offensive rebounding rate in the country, so he's still an elite rebounder, even though his playing time has been sporadic at times. Iowa State isn't a long team, with its tallest player listed at 6-9. If you're in the mood to roll the dice, McCormack could have a big game, not too far removed from his big performance against Oklahoma State.
Brandon Johnson, F, DePaul ($5,900 DK)
DePaul might not win its game, but it has a clear rebounding advantage entering the contest. The Blue Demons are strong on the glass, as they currently rank in the top third of the country in terms of their offensive and defensive rebounding rates. In contrast, Marquette is the exact opposite, effectively ranking in the bottom third of the country in both offensive and defensive rebounding rates. Brandon Johnson currently has the most rebounds on the team, tied with Javon Freeman-Liberty, so they both should both benefit from the matchup. Johnson has also scored in double figures in 9-of-14 games this season, giving us a reason to believe a double-double is in the cards. All in all, Johnson offers a solid floor while a nice upside given the matchup.
K.D. Johnson, G, Auburn ($4,900 DK)
Auburn's offense appears to have an edge on paper, as its adjusted efficiency rating, No. 18, ranks noticeably higher than Alabama's defense at No. 59. We'll see if the game plays out that way, but either way, the Tigers are projected to play in the highest-scoring game on the slate. Johnson played inconsistently throughout December but is coming off his second-best game of the season, a 23-point performance against Florida. In total, Johnson has scored double figures in 10-of-15 games played this season, so he often provides a solid floor, even though he had a few games in December that came short of expectations. Johnson takes over a quarter of his team's shots when on the court, so we can expect him to continue taking his shots, especially coming off such a strong game against a solid opponent.
Matt Cleveland, G/F, Florida State ($4,600 DK)
Miami has the worst defense on the slate, ranking No. 200 in the country, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, making the Canes a nearly-perfect team to fade. Miami is also noticeably weak at rebounding, ranking in the bottom 30 percent of the country in terms of its team offensive and defensive rebounding rates. Needless to say, the Seminoles shouldn't have too much trouble scoring or rebounding. Matthew Cleveland has the third-most rebounds on Florida State while also using nearly a quarter of his team's possessions when on the court, so he has a good shot at providing value considering his low salary. Cleveland has been heating up since we entered 2022, scoring 13-plus points in three straight games since Jan. 1. And none of the points came easy, as all three games were against conference foes. Cleveland even recorded a double-double on New Year's Day against N.C. State, and based on today's matchup, it wouldn't be surprising if he does it again.