5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 1/19/16

Dwyane Wade is a big name, but injuries in Miami's backcourt could make him go overlooked tonight. Who else should you target?
“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” – Albert Einstein

If you have played daily fantasy sports for very long, you realize by now the importance of being contrarian -- finding under-the-radar plays -- especially in large-field tournaments.

Being able to recognize which players are going to be owned by the majority of the field and finding players who you think have a similar point projection but will come at much lower ownership can really separate yourself from your opponents.

It’s a lot easier in NFL to identify the players who will be low-owned due to Thursday night slates, but the NBA can be much more difficult if you aren’t an experienced player.

The purpose of this article will be to bring you my favorite high-upside players at each position who will likely go overlooked. It can be difficult to find players with low ownership on four-game slates like this, but there are still a few plays who may be able to give you the edge tonight.

Keep in mind when constructing rosters that these are contrarian picks. There is a reason that they will be overlooked by many; they are risky plays. If possible, I’d try to relegate these players to GPP-only use, where their high risk-reward styles make more sense.

Brandon Knight, PG, Phoenix Suns

FanDuel Price: $6,500
DraftKings Price: $7,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Most expected Brandon Knight to go off following the injury to Eric Bledsoe. Instead, Knight has struggled with inconsistency as the Suns have turned into one of the worst teams in the NBA, in large part due to Knight, who has averaged only 27.93 FanDuel points in his last nine games. Knight also draws a tough matchup on paper against an Indiana defense ranked third in against point guards in fantasy points allowed.

Why You Should Use Him

While Indiana has been stingy against points guards this season, that is largely due to the effort of George Hill, who will likely be unavailable for this game. Instead, Knight will draw the defense of Monta Ellis, who is easily the worst defender in Indiana’s starting five. In five starts at point guard this season, Ellis allowed the likes of Derrick Rose, T.J. McConnell, Goran Dragic, Michael Carter-Williams, and Emmanuel Mudiay to average 2.66 more points per game while shooting 12.2% higher from the field than their season average.

That bodes well for Knight, who has averaged 37.7 minutes with a 27.6% usage rate since the Bledsoe injury. Knight has also taken 19 shots per game over that span, which would rank third among point guards. With that type of volume, it’s only a matter of time until the talented young guard has a monster performance. In an up-tempo game, with a relatively easy individual matchup, at a discounted price point and ownership percentage, tonight may be the perfect night to take a shot on Knight.

Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat

FanDuel Price: $7,100
DraftKings Price: $6,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Two words: recency bias. People want what is hot, and right now that is Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside. Over his past four games, Johnson has been crushing value, averaging 5.75 times value over that span. (If a player’s price is $3,000 and they score 12 points, they would have hit “four times value.”) Whiteside hasn’t been far behind, on average hitting 5.33 times value over his past four. Dwyane Wade, on the other hand, has been averaging only 4.03 times value over his past four. Nobody wants to roster several players from the same team, and Wade will be the third or fourth Heat player most people think of today. He also has a questionable tag by his name, which will keep some off of him. When you combine the fact that Ellis and Giannis Antetokounmpo will both be popular shooting guard options and that the Miami game has the lowest over/under by far, you may be able to get Wade very under-owned.

Why You Should Use Him

Both point guards, Goran Dragic and Beno Udrih, have already been declared out for tonight. While the obvious beneficiary is Johnson, Wade also sees a big boost in Usage Rate without Dragic or Udrih, according to With neither point guard on the floor, Wade has seen his Usage Rate spike to 34.2, a number that would top every player not named DeMarcus Cousins. Considering Milwaukee has the NBA’s 29th ranked Defensive Efficiency, I would expect Wade to take advantage of his heavy usage.

C.J. Miles, SF, Indiana Pacers

FanDuel Price: $4,400
DraftKings Price: $5,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked

C.J. Miles is a very volatile player, which scares people off of him. He almost always has low ownership, and with Kevin Durant, Paul George, Khris Middleton, Danilo Gallinari, and Andrew Wiggins all on this short slate at the same position, I wouldn’t expect people to jump on him today. People also really like to roster Monta Ellis when George Hill is out, which will likely result in fewer people taking Miles due to their redundant play styles.

Why You Should Use Him

On the surface, Miles would appear to be a very unpredictable player. For instance, his last six FanDuel point totals read as follows: 20.5, 11.9, 19.4, 34.6, 17.8, 27.4. While his performance certainly can be erratic, I believe taking a closer look will unearth some trends. His six highest fantasy point totals this season have come against teams who almost all share two things: they play at a very fast pace and they allow opposing teams to shoot a high percentage from three against them. Four of his top six games were against teams that rank in the top six in Pace, while five of the six were against teams ranking in the bottom half in terms of three-point percentage allowed.

The Suns fit perfectly into this model of success, playing at the fourth fastest tempo and allowing teams to shoot 38.2% from three against them, second worst in the league. Those factors, coupled with Phoenix’s 28th rank against small forwards, make Miles’ 34.6 FanDuel-point performance against them a week ago seem very repeatable.

Enes Kanter, C, Oklahoma City Thunder

FanDuel Price: $4,300
DraftKings Price: $4,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Similar to Miles, Enes Kanter's production can be very sporadic. Combine that with the fact that he has been under 15 FanDuel points more often than not in his last 10 games, and he should see very low ownership tonight, despite the cushy matchup. There are also many appealing center options, including Nikola Jokic, whose minutes are safer and who comes at a similar price point. This should keep Kanter's ownership low.

Why You Should Use Him

Also similar to Miles, Kanter’s production can be predicted a bit more easily than his game logs would suggest. The reason for Kanter’s lack of stability is his lack of minutes. The reason for his lack of minutes is coach Billy Donovan's lack of trust in Kanter’s defense, which results in fewer minutes in close games. In 18 games the Thunder have been at least 8.5-point favorites, as they are tonight, Kanter has averaged 23.74 FanDuel points per game, as opposed to 18.29 in 25 other games.

Kanter has also averaged 26.55 FanDuel points in two previous meetings with this weak Denver frontcourt this season, which isn’t surprising when you consider they rank 26th in Defensive Efficiency and 23rd against centers in terms of fantasy points allowed.

Gorgui Dieng, C, Minnesota Timberwolves

FanDuel Price: $4,700
DraftKings Price: $4,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Gorgui Dieng’s minutes and fantasy points have been down since the return of Nikola Pekovic. Most have written him off as a fantasy asset at this point. There are also many appealing center options (e.g. Jokic), whose minutes are safer and come at a similar price point. This should keep Dieng's ownership low.

Why You Should Use Him

The Pelicans are a bad rebounding team. They are ranked 25th in Rebounding Rate and rebounding differential but are especially bad at keeping backup centers off the glass. That seems like a bizarre stat, but it is something I have noticed every time I have watched them, so I did some research. Over their past six games, New Orleans has allowed the opposing team’s backup center to average 8 rebounds a game against them in just 19.67 minutes per game.

To put that in perspective, they’ve allowed backup centers to average 19.52 rebounds per 48 minutes over that span, which would rank second only to Andre Drummond, who leads the league with 21.6 rebounds per 48 minutes this season. That’s good news for Dieng, who has topped his season average Rebounding Rate in six of his past eight games and should be looking at some extra minutes in this one due to Pekovic resting.