5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 1/22/16

Kemba Walker has been terrific recently, but a surplus of point guard options may leave him overlooked tonight.

If you have played daily fantasy sports for very long, you realize by now the importance of being contrarian, 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 that 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 that 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.

Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Hornets

FanDuel Price: $8,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked

I expect Kemba Walker will have the highest ownership of anyone on this list. Walker burned the masses in his most recent game, though, so recency bias may keep his ownership to a dull roar.

In addition, there are plenty of point guard options tonight. Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry both have favorable matchups, and Chris Paul has been playing out of his mind lately. Elfrid Payton will see high ownership if Victor Oladipo is ruled out again. Ty Lawson will likely be a popular option in tournaments if Patrick Beverley sits again. If both Oladipo and Beverly suit up, I doubt Walker will go overlooked. He’s a great option regardless, but don’t expect him to be low-owned in that scenario.

Why You Should Use Him

The Hornets have leaned heavily on Walker recently, to the tune of a 37.8% Usage Rate over their past two games. Per, Walker’s Usage is 29.9% without Nicolas Batum and Al Jefferson this season, which is up 3.1% from his season average. Cody Zeller will miss this game, too, and Jeremy Lamb is questionable, so Walker could be looking at insanely high volume in this game.

Orlando defends point guards worse than any other position, ranking 21st in fantasy points allowed to the position. Walker has taken advantage of their poor defense, averaging 43.55 FanDuel points per game in four career games against Elfrid Payton, which is 11 points higher than his average in other games during that span.

Our projections like Walker tonight too, projecting him for 38.04 FanDuel points, making him the sixth best value among point guards and the best value of any player over $8,000.

Serge Ibaka, PF, Oklahoma City

FanDuel Price: $6,000

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Serge Ibaka is almost always overlooked because of his role on the team. Westbrook will be popular tonight, which will make it even less likely people roster Ibaka. There are also several value plays at power forward tonight, leading me to believe many will overlook Ibaka at his mid-range price tag.

Why You Should Use Him

Ibaka hasn’t been spectacular recently, but he has been very consistent, averaging 25.77 FanDuel points per game over his past seven games. A big reason for his consistency is the heavy minutes he has been playing. He has averaged 34.86 minutes per game over his past seven games and has seen over 37 in three of those games.

Ibaka has also abused Dirk Nowitzki historically. His role has slightly been reduced over the past two years, so I took his splits from those two seasons for a more accurate look. In four matchups with Nowitzki during that time, Ibaka has averaged 35.48 FanDuel points. This shouldn’t be surprising considering the Mavericks are ranked 26th in fantasy points allowed against power forwards. Dallas is also ranked 22nd in Rebounding Rate as a team, and Nowitzki is ranked 42nd among power forwards. If Nowitzki suits up tonight, Ibaka is an intriguing contrarian option.

Robin Lopez, C, New York Knicks

FanDuel Price: $5,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked

Robin Lopez rarely sees high ownership, but he’ll likely be the second-highest owned out of the five due to his recent performances. There are a lot of quality options at center, too, and I doubt many people will be rushing to take Lopez when Frank Kaminsky is cheaper and will be starting for an extremely thin Hornets frontcourt.

Why You Should Use Him

Not many have noticed, but Lopez has put up numbers more in line with his brother’s typical level of production recently, putting up 41.4 and 33 FanDuel points in his last two games. He has been very consistent lately, as well, averaging 26.97 FanDuel points per game over his past 10, with only one game under 20 FanDuel points. He’s also averaged 30.6 minutes per game over that span, which is up from his season mark of 25.2.

Since 2012, Lopez has averaged 25.96 FanDuel points per game in 10 games against DeAndre Jordan, which is 3.5 points higher than his season average during that span. This isn’t surprising considering the Clippers are ranked 24th in fantasy points allowed against centers and are 27th in Rebounding Rate this season. More specifically, Los Angeles has allowed opposing centers to average 16.9 rebounds per game against them, the most of any NBA team.

Jared Sullinger, PF/C, Boston Celtics

FanDuel Price: $5,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked

There are many appealing options at both power forward tonight around Jared Sullinger's price point. He has also recently been moved to the bench, which will keep most people off of him. Robin Lopez is a safer option, but Sullinger will definitely be lower owned.

Why You Should Use Him

While Sullinger’s minutes are incredibly hard to predict, nobody can question his ability. He has been easily the most productive frontcourt option for Boston this season, averaging well over a FanDuel point per minute. Sullinger has also reached five times value (at his current price) 44% of the time this season, which is the second highest among centers on this slate at their current price.

Sullinger has averaged 34.38 FanDuel points in six games against Pau Gasol over the past two years -- 9.5 higher than all other games during that span. That should come as no surprise, as the Bulls are 25th in fantasy points allowed against centers this season.

Our projections like his prospects, too, projecting him to be the second best value at center and the fifth best value on the whole slate.

Donald Sloan, PG, Brooklyn Nets

FanDuel Price: $4,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked

As mentioned previously, there is a plethora of usable point guards tonight. Jeremy Lin and Ty Lawson are priced similarly and should both see higher ownership than Donald Sloan.

This game has the lowest over/under on the slate, and players always tend to go under owned in matchups with the Jazz.

Why You Should Use Him

Sloan has taken the starting point guard job and ran with it, averaging 11 points, 9 assists, 5.5 rebounds, while shooting 51.61% and averaging 28.85 FanDuel points per game over his past four.

While most will be scared off by the matchup with Utah, I believe there is reason for optimism. They defend point guards worse than any position, and teams with capable point guards tend to funnel their offense through them. Kemba Walker's 52 point and 75.8 FanDuel point performance (albeit, in double overtime) just four days ago is a terrific example.

Brooklyn’s offense runs through their frontcourt, but both Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young have really struggled in this matchup over the past two years. Lopez has averaged just 25 FanDuel points per game during that span, while Young put up 22.87 per game. If Sloan gets double digit shots for the third straight game, he’s a good bet to reach value at a low price and ownership.