5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 1/26/16

Tonight's matchup with the Wizards should be exactly what DeMar DeRozan needs to bounce back from a dud against the Clippers.

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.

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Toronto Raptors

FanDuel Price: $8,400
DraftKings Price: $8,300

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Many people were on DeMar DeRozan in a cushy matchup with the Clippers on Sunday, only to be disappointed by his 6-for-17 shooting performance. Recency bias should be in full effect tonight.

C.J. McCollum draws a dream matchup against Sacramento tonight and has played very well lately. He's cheaper than DeRozan everywhere and should draw a lot of ownership off of him. Khris Middleton will see his fair share of ownership, as will Dwyane Wade, who is coming off of two big performances.

Why You Should Use Him:

DeRozan had been playing some terrific basketball before his dud, averaging 42.52 FanDuel points in 37.5 minutes per game over his six previous games.

Per, DeRozan's Usage Rate in the three games before his off game was a ridiculous 36.6%, and his Usage Rate in three games against Washington this year was 34.8%, which is 5.6% higher than his season average. While that may seem like an anomaly, it makes perfect sense when you consider the matchup. Washington is ranked 6th against point guards, 7th against power forwards, and 12th against centers, while ranking 26th against shooting guards and 29th against small forwards in terms of fantasy points allowed.

Over the past two seasons, DeRozan has averaged 4.54 more FanDuel points against Washington than in all other games. He has been especially effective against the Wizards this season, averaging 41.8 FanDuel points in three games.

Ish Smith, PG, Philadelphia 76ers

FanDuel Price: $6,900
DraftKings Price: $7,400

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Ish Smith hasn't played as well in his last two games, but his price has remained high. Many will likely defer to Robert Covington, Nerlens Noel, or Jahlil Okafor as cheaper ways to get exposure to this game.

Smith will also have to contend with the likes of elite point guard options such as Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, John Wall, Damian Lillard, and Rajon Rondo for ownership, all of whom have been playing well lately. Archie Goodwin will be a very popular point guard option on FanDuel as well.

Why You Should Use Him:

Smith has played against the Suns four times this season, for both the Sixers and the Pelicans. He played a prominent role in three of those games. In those three games, Smith averaged 37.73 FanDuel points per game. Their uptempo style fits Smith's skill set perfectly.

Archie Goodwin will make his fourth start of the season at point guard for Phoenix. In his previous three starts, he allowed the likes of George Hill, Dennis Schroder, and Ray McCallum to average 16.67 points per game on 57.6% shooting. The Suns have had a Defensive Efficiency of 114.83 in those games as well, which is even lower than their 29th ranked mark of 106.2. Phoenix has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season, but their defense against the position may be even worse with the inexperienced Goodwin in the lineup.

P.J. Tucker, SF, Phoenix Suns

FanDuel Price: $4,500
DraftKings Price: $5,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

P.J. Tucker is never a popular play in daily fantasy sports due to his limited role in the offense -- and therefore limited upside. Don't expect that to change tonight with terrific value plays at small forward such as Chandler Parsons and Robert Covington. Some will chase the flashier Derrick Williams (on DraftKings) at a cheaper price too, which will keep Tucker's ownership low.

Many will be on Archie Goodwin, Alex Len, and Tyson Chandler as value plays for Phoenix too, and nobody feels good about drafting more than two or three options from one team, especially the Suns.

Why You Should Use Him:

While this article is primarily geared towards tournament format, this pick is a contrarian cash game option. It's not that Tucker is a bad tournament option but rather that his high floor/moderate ceiling style just profiles more as a cash game play. Outside of the game in which he sustained an in-game injury, Tucker hasn't been below 20 FanDuel points in a game in over three weeks.

He also has been a beneficiary of the litany of injured Suns players, resulting in 42 minutes per game in his past two healthy games. Tucker turned his improved role into 29.35 FanDuel points per game during that stretch.

The matchup with Philadelphia is perfect for Tucker's skill-set. The scrappy small forward garners most of his fantasy value by piling up counting stats. The 76ers have turned the ball over more than any team in the NBA, so there should be plenty of chances for steals. Philadelphia is also the second-most blocked team, 26th in Rebounding Rate, and has given up the most fantasy points to small forwards this season.

Enes Kanter, C, Oklahoma City Thunder

FanDuel Price: $4,700
DraftKings Price: $4,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

DeMarcus Cousins is on this slate and draws another terrific matchup. If people do choose to fade Boogie, there are several enticing value options at center outside of Enes Kanter. Many will be on the Suns duo of Tyson Chandler and Alex Len against the 76ers. Rookie breakouts Myles Turner and Willie Cauley-Stein will both likely be more popular than Kanter too.

Why You Should Use Him:

Steven Adams will miss this game, meaning there are roughly 25 minutes opened up for Oklahoma City's frontcourt. Nick Collison will likely soak up some of those, but Kanter should have much more stable minutes going forward than he has for most of the year. Kanter has played 24 and 30 minutes in two games without Adams, and should see between 25 and 30 minutes again tonight, which should be plenty for the advanced stat anomaly that is Enes Kanter.

New York has been a good defensive team this season but have been below average against centers. They allow the 12th most fantasy points to opposing centers, which is their worst defended position. In one matchup with New York this season, Kanter put up 25.1 FanDuel points. Kanter has also averaged 31.37 FanDuel points in seven matchups against Robin Lopez since 2013, which is 7.58 higher than his average in all other games during that span.

Despite playing some of his best ball of the season recently (24.15 FanDuel points per game over his past four), having an expanded role, and being in a matchup he can take advantage of, Kanter's ownership will likely be very low tonight. If you are gutsy enough to fade Cousins, I encourage you to take a shot on Kanter at a tremendous value.

Salah Mejri, C, Dallas Mavericks

FanDuel Price: $3,900
DraftKings Price: $3,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

To put it simply, nobody knows who Salah Mejri is, despite him starting the last game and posting a double-double. There are many value options available at center too, so I doubt many will feel the need to gamble on an unknown like Mejiri.

Why You Should Use Him:

Mejiri has played over 10 minutes twice this season. In those games, he averaged 13.5 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 27.8 FanDuel points per game. In limited action this season, he has posted near a FanDuel point per minute with a per 36 line of 14 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks. Mejiri also has a Player Efficiency Rating higher than any other member of the Mavericks outside of JaVale McGee, who received a coach's decision DNP in the last game, despite the absence of Zaza Pachulia.

Mejiri should draw another start for Pachulia, who is listed as doubtful. The timing is opportune, as he'll match up with the Lakers, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing teams and the second-most to opposing centers. That should come as no surprise, considering they are last in Defensive Efficiency and second to last in Rebounding Rate.