The NCAA tournament is finally here, and with it comes plenty of options for college basketball daily fantasy contests.
There are 16 games taking place Thursday, and many of them will feature teams and players who are unfamiliar to most of the country. This could lead to plenty of confusion when trying to pick a perfect fantasy team.
To give you some help, here is a look at the top player picks for Thursday's action.
Tyler Harvey, Eastern Washington ($8,300)
The round of 64 will be difficult to predict from a fantasy perspective because some of the elite teams might end up resting their top players in blowout wins.
That will not be the case with Eastern Washington going up against Georgetown. The Eagles certainly have the ability to pull off the upset with a high-scoring offense, but they will need a great game from the nation's leading scorer, Tyler Harvey.
The guard averages 22.9 points per game this season while shooting 42.8 percent from beyond the arc. This leads to a favorable matchup against the Hoyas, which rank 253rd in the nation at defending three-point shots.
Whether Eastern Washington wins or loses, you should expect the sophomore to take at least 15-20 shots and help your fantasy team.
Karl Cochran, Wofford ($7,300)
You might not know the name, but if Wofford is able to pull off an upset over Arkansas, you can bet Karl Cochran has a lot to do with it.
The senior guard leads his team in points (14.6 per game), rebounds (5.8), assists (2.7), steals (1.8) and blocks (1.1). He's not always the most efficient scorer, but he finds ways to make an impact on the game just about every time out.
More importantly, all of these numbers are accomplished despite playing on one of the slowest teams in the country. A matchup against the fast-paced Razorbacks will give him more possessions and a better chance to shine.
Brandon Ashley, Arizona ($6,400)
This name should be a bit more familiar for college basketball fans compared to the first couple. Brandon Ashley has been one of the top players for Arizona all season, but he has been even better lately.
Evan Daniels of Scout.com breaks down the forward's efforts lately:
After missing last postseason with an injury, Ashley appears ready to make up for it with the best basketball of his career. This is bad news for Texas Southern, which doesn't have the size inside to contend with the Wildcats frontcourt.
Expect a lot of offensive rebounds and easy putbacks for Ashley and others.
Jakob Poeltl, Utah ($5,200)
Although Jakob Poeltl has had an up-and-down season when it comes to production, the freshman knows how to take advantage of a mismatch. This is what the 7-footer will have against Stephen F. Austin, a squad that normally starts a 6'6" center and has no one bigger than 6'9".
Utah's players are clearly aware of the advantage and know it will be a strategy in this game.
“Milk our bigs and establish the post early,” guard Brandon Taylor explained as the key to the game, via Griffin Adams of The Daily Utah Chronicle. “Establish a post presence early in the game and let it go from there.”
Don't be surprised to see Poeltl put up one of his better performances of the season.
Cameron Ridley, Texas ($4,400)
This is a bit of a riskier option, but Cameron Ridley has shown recently that Texas is much better when he is touching the ball. The junior has seen his playing time decrease this season due to the emergence of Myles Turner and others, but he has emerged with a solid average of 9.7 points and 7.7 rebounds over the past three games.
While Butler is a quality rebounding team, no one can match the strength and physicality of Ridley in the post.
Considering his price tag, he doesn't need to do all that much to provide value for your team.
More Top Picks
- Rico Gathers, Baylor ($8,300): One of the best offensive rebounding players in the nation going against one of the worst defensive rebounding teams. Enough said.
- Scott Eatherton, Northeastern ($6,700): Solid upside as the team's best interior scorer against a Notre Dame defense that struggles to guard the post.
- Dee Davis, Xavier ($5,900): Ole Miss clearly can play a fast-paced game with a lot of points to go around. Grabbing a point guard who knows how to dish should be a safe option against the Rebels.
- Dakari Johnson, Kentucky ($3,800): Blowout time for Kentucky should mean plenty of minutes for the bench. A risky option but one with a lot of upside.
For additional advice or info, follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter to discuss anything college basketball or daily fantasy.