5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 1/25/16

Rajon Rondo has posted consecutive triple doubles, but he may only be the third most popular option in his game tonight.

If you have played daily fantasy sports for awhile, 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.

Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans Pelicans

FanDuel Price: $10,300
DraftKings Price: $10,000

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

It has now been 19 days since Anthony Davis last put up 50-plus FanDuel points. He has sat out three games with a back bruise since then, which people still haven’t forgiven him for. With the way DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Kemba Walker have been playing recently, paying up for Davis is not going to be a big priority for people.

Why You Should Use Him:

In nine games without Dwight Howard this season, the Rockets have allowed the opposing team’s best big (power forward or center averaging the most FanDuel points per game) to average 19.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks against them. Those numbers are actually a bit deflated due to facing backups in a few of those games. In games without Howard, against talents who profile more similarly to Davis (Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Kristaps Porzingis, and Hassan Whiteside), the Rockets were abused to the tune of 21.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game.

The Rockets have been a below average team when it comes to rebounding and defending this season, ranking 18th in Rebounding Rate and 23rd in Defensive Efficiency. In the nine games without Howard, they posted a Rebounding Rate of 48.8%, which would rank 24th in the NBA, and a Defensive Efficiency of 111.3, which would easily rank last in the NBA.

Houston has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season, which makes it no surprise that Davis has averaged 48.35 FanDuel points per game in their two previous matchups. With Howard out of the picture, The Brow should get whatever he wants down low and could pile up some extra blocks against the eighth-most blocked team in the NBA.

Rajon Rondo, PG, Sacramento Kings

FanDuel Price: $8,300
DraftKings Price: $8,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Rajon Rondo has been stuffing the stat sheet recently, but DeMarcus Cousins has stolen the spotlight. Cousins has averaged 55.4 FanDuel points over his last 10 games and is coming off of a 48 real-points performance. Everyone is going to be on him against a depleted Charlotte frontcourt.

Rondo’s counterpart for this showdown is Kemba Walker, who has also been playing out of his mind lately. Walker has averaged 53.7 FanDuel points over his last four and has two games with over 69 FanDuel points. He also hung 61.7 FanDuel points on the Kings last time they met up. He’s priced similarly to Rondo and will be much more popular.

There are several other elite point guard options available, including Stephen Curry, John Wall, and Isaiah Thomas. There are some nice values at point guard as well, such as Elfrid Payton and Norris Cole. Rondo won’t go completely overlooked in the game with one of the highest over/unders, but these factors will likely keep his ownership lower than it should be.

Why You Should Use Him:

Rondo has seen his scoring dip slightly recently due to the ridiculous scoring binge Cousins has been on, but he's remained a consistent fantasy contributor due to his counting stats. Rondo hasn't scored below 30 FanDuel points in a game in over two weeks. He has also had double-digit assists in every game in 2016.

Rondo also draws a favorable matchup against the Hornets, who have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. Kemba Walker has had to shoulder the offensive load for Charlotte recently, which has led to sub-par performances on defense. Two point guards who can fill the stat-sheet similarly to Rondo (Russell Westbrook and Elfrid Payton) have taken advantage of Walker's defense within the past week. Westbrook put up a 16-point, 15-assist, 8-rebound, 5-steal line, while Payton also nearly triple-doubled with 11 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds, and a steal. Rondo has been able to take advantage of this matchup over the last four seasons too, averaging 14.33 points, 14 assists, 9.33 rebounds, 1.67 steals, and 46.53 FanDuel points, which is 14.33 points higher than his average in other games during that period.

Marcin Gortat, C, Washington Wizards

FanDuel Price: $7,200
DraftKings Price: $7,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Similar to Rondo, Marcin Gortat's ownership will be tied heavily to just how popular Cousins is tonight. You can only roster one center on FanDuel, and I expect everyone to begin their roster with Cousins and try to work around his salary. Gortat will likely be lower owned on FanDuel than DraftKings for that reason, but I wouldn't expect high ownership on DraftKings either. There are also several viable punt options at center, such as Nikola Jokic, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Spencer Hawes.

Why You Should Use Him:

Since returning from a knee infection, Gortat has averaged 16.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 35.9 FanDuel points per game. He has also played 35 or more minutes in each game.

Gortat has played 10 games against Jared Sullinger since Sullinger came into the league in 2012. These contests have resulted in a 5.67 FanDuel point boost to Gortat's average in other games over that span. This shouldn't be surprising considering the Celtics have allowed the 12th most fantasy points to opposing centers this season and are ranked 20th in Rebounding Rate.

This game is projected to be played at the fastest pace of any game on this slate, and the Wizards have the second-highest projected team total on the board at 107.5. Gortat has averaged 37.5 FanDuel points in games the Wizards have had a team total of 107.5 or higher this season.

LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, San Antonio Spurs

FanDuel Price: $6,900
DraftKings Price: $7,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

LaMarcus Aldridge has been disappointing from a fantasy perspective this season, averaging below 30 FanDuel points and just 15.9 actual points, which is lowest mark since his rookie season in 2007. He has two games below 20 FanDuel points in his last three and draws a matchup against Golden State, who is ranked second in Defensive Efficiency and has defended posts well.

There are several interesting top options at power forward, including DeMarcus Cousins (DraftKings), Anthony Davis, Pau Gasol (FanDuel), and Paul Millsap. Cousins and Millsap should both be very popular, as will value power forward options, like Jared Sullinger (FanDuel), Aaron Gordon (FanDuel), and Josh Smith.

Why You Should Use Him:

There are two things really going in Aldridge’s favor tonight. The first is the absence of starting center, Tim Duncan. The second is the fact that this game should actually remain close, which has been a limiting factor for the starters on the team with the largest point differential in the NBA.

Aldridge has played in 15 games that were decided by 10 points or fewer this year. In those games, he played 32.7 minutes per game. In the other 25 games, he has averaged only 27.6 minutes.

Per, in the 475 minutes LaMarcus Aldridge hasn’t had to share the floor with Duncan this season, he has seen his Usage Rate jump from 24.5% to 27.3% and has averaged 1.08 FanDuel points per minute, as opposed to 0.94 with Duncan on the floor. Assuming Aldridge plays 32.7 minutes in this one (the number he has averaged in close games), Aldridge could be projected for 35.32 FanDuel points at a 1.08 FanDuel points per minute pace.

Golden State is a solid defensive team, but they have struggled to defend Aldridge in the past. In five games against the Warriors since the 2013-14 season, Aldridge has averaged 43.78 FanDuel points, which is 5.38 points higher than his average in other games over that span.

Darrell Arthur, PF, Denver Nuggets

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

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Darrell Arthur got the start for Kenneth Faried on Saturday against Detroit and didn't do much with it, putting up just five points and four rebounds. Arthur hasn't played well lately, regardless of Faried's status, averaging just 4.75 points per game while shooting 42% over his past four games, despite playing over 27 minutes per game.

There are several viable power forward options tonight, including more flashy value plays such as Jared Sullinger (FanDuel), Aaron Gordon (FanDuel), and Josh Smith.

There will also be a lot of people on Nikola Jokic if Faried sits again, which will pull some ownership off of Arthur, as people don't like to roster two posts from the same team.

 Why You Should Use Him:

This pick is assuming that Faried will again sit out, resulting in another start for Arthur. In nine previous starts this season, Arthur averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.0 combined blocks/steals in 28 minutes. I'm going to buy into the nine-game sample size rather than the one game that most will look at.

The matchup is also considerably better in this one, as the Hawks just allowed a combined 29 points and 39 rebounds to the likes of Tyson Chandler and Alex Len. The game before that, they gave up a combined 36 points and 26 rebounds to Cousins and Cauley-Stein. Atlanta is also dead last in Rebounding Rate.