5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 1/20/16

James Harden has struggled recently, but tonight may be the night to buy low on him.

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 find 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 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 and give you an edge.

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.

James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets

FanDuel Price: $9,300
DraftKings Price: $9,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked

James Harden hasn’t topped 50 FanDuel points in a game since before Christmas. He’s played especially poorly recently, averaging just 34.96 FanDuel points per game over his past five games. With several other elite options who are playing at a high level available, Harden will likely go under-owned in a tough perceived matchup against Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Why You Should Use Him

Harden’s FanDuel price has been on a steady decline for over a month. $9,300 is the cheapest you’ve been able to get Harden all season.

While Caldwell-Pope is a solid defender, Harden has his number. The Beard has averaged 9.08 more FanDuel points per game in matchups with him since KCP came into league, including a 49.3-point output earlier this season.

Paul Millsap, PF, Atlanta Hawks

FanDuel Price: $8,700
DraftKings Price: $8,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Paul Millsap put up a stinker last time he played the Blazers. Some will be concerned about the fact that he has averaged only 28.5 minutes per game over his past six games (more on that later). Some will see this game as a blowout risk.

DeMarcus Cousins (on DraftKings), Pau Gasol (on FanDuel), and Nerlens Noel will all be popular options. I’d expect a lot of people to be on Trey Lyles, too, assuming Derrick Favors sits again. Julius Randle should see high ownership, also, assuming Larry Nance Jr. sits out again.

With that being said, Millsap has been playing incredibly lately, and I am a little worried that his ownership will be higher than I expect. No matter the case, I expect the factors I mentioned to keep his ownership lower than it should be.

Why You Should Use Him

If you take a closer look, Millsap’s minutes have been down because five of the past six Hawks games have been blowouts. In the one non-blowout, Millsap put up 54 FanDuel points. Vegas has the Hawks as only two-point favorites in this one, so he should see close to his regular minute allotment.

Despite spending more time on the bench lately, Millsap has remained productive, averaging 40.84 FanDuel points per game over his past five. He’s put up 1.40 FanDuel points per minute over that span. If he averaged 1.40 over the 32.4 minutes per game he normally sees, he’d have averaged 45.32 FanDuel points per game.

Portland is ranked 23rd in Defensive Efficiency and 21st in fantasy points allowed against power forwards.

Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons

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

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Reggie Jackson has averaged only 29.79 FanDuel points per game over his past eight games. His minutes have been unpredictable since the return of Brandon Jennings. There are many appealing point guards on this slate, including Ishmael Smith, who is the same price. Jackson’s ownership should be miniscule tonight.

Why You Should Use Him

While Jackson’s minutes can be unpredictable, his usage when on the court is not. Jackson’s 29.3% Usage Rate is the fourth highest among qualified point guards, and he has taken 40 shots over his last two games.

Eight of Jackson’s 10 highest FanDuel point outputs have been against teams in the top 13 in Pace, including a 51 FanDuel points performance in his most recent game against Houston. Not only does Houston play at the eighth fastest pace, but they also rank 22nd in Defensive Efficiency and have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing teams this season.

Patrick Beverley may sit this one out, which would leave Ty Lawson and Jason Terry defending Jackson. If this is the case, Jackson’s matchup becomes even more appealing.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors

FanDuel Price: $6,100
DraftKings Price: $6,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Lots of people will be on Cousins (on FanDuel) against the Lakers in a game with the highest over/under on the slate. Some will be on Gasol (on DraftKings) with Noah out. Others will be chasing points with Dwight Howard. Brook Lopez is always a popular option. Hassan Whiteside is finally getting minutes. Nikola Vucevic plays the Sixers. Rudy Gobert is criminally underpriced. Many will be on the resurgent Jahlil Okafor. The few who took my advice yesterday may chase Enes Kanter's big game. Wait, Jonas who?

Why You Should Use Him

Jonas Valanciunas is finally seeing consistent minutes following his injury, and he has not disappointed. Over his past five games he has averaged 30.66 FanDuel points per game.

Most of Valanciunas’ value comes from his rebounding. His 19.0% Rebounding Rate ranks 12th in the NBA among qualified centers. He has eight or more rebounds in eight of his last nine games, despite playing only 26.78 minutes per game over that span.

Boston ranks 21st in the league in Rebounding Rate. They’ve rebounded particularly poorly lately, allowing the past seven starting centers they’ve faced to average over 13 rebounds per game.

Brandon Bass, PF, Los Angeles Lakers

FanDuel Price: $3,900
DraftKings Price: $3,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked

While I expect people to target this game heavily, Brandon Bass will likely be the third or fourth option on most players' radars. If Julius Randle sits, Bass will likely be very popular. It looks like Randle is going to suit up though, meaning you can likely get Bass at relatively low ownership.

Why You Should Use Him

Bass is getting healthier and should see plenty of minutes tonight with Nance Jr. out. He draws a matchup against a Sacramento team allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing teams and that ranks 28th in fantasy points allowed against power forwards. This game has the highest over/under on the slate, with the Lakers projected to score eight points over their season average. In his last game against Sacramento, Bass dropped 37.2 FanDuel points.