5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 1/27/16

Andre Drummond hasn't posted a big game recently, but there's reason to believe he can do it tonight.

If you have played daily fantasy sports for a while, 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.

Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons

FanDuel Price: $8,200
DraftKings Price: $8,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Andre Drummond has back to back games with fewer than 17 FanDuel points yet is still priced as the most expensive center. He also has played fewer than 30 minutes in three of his past four games.

There are several value options at center, and if paying up, most will prefer to take DeAndre Jordan in a great matchup.

Why You Should Use Him:

Drummond’s overall numbers have been disappointing lately, but advanced stats suggest that not much has changed for the young big man. His Usage Rate over his past 15 games is 3.1% higher than his season average, while he has seen a slight decrease in his True Shooting Percentage (-3.8%) and Rebounding Rate (-0.5%). His Rebounding Rate over that span would still lead the NBA.

Drummond draws a matchup against Philadelphia tonight, against whom he piled up 18 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals in his last matchup. The 76ers have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing centers on the year, which isn’t surprising considering they’re ranked 26th in Rebounding Rate and 21st in Defensive Efficiency. Alex Len put up 16 points and 12 rebounds against the depleted 76ers' frontcourt last night.

Isaiah Thomas, PG, Boston Celtics

FanDuel Price: $8,300
DraftKings Price: $7,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Isaiah Thomas is usually one of the premier point guards on the slate, but there are four options priced above him who have all been putting up huge fantasy totals recently. People are more likely to pay up for Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, or Kemba Walker. Nearly everyone will be playing Archie Goodwin too, which will draw a lot of ownership off of all the point guard options on FanDuel.

Why You Should Use Him:

Thomas’ fantasy totals may not show it due to some recent blow outs, but he has been playing extremely well recently and shooting lights out. Over the past week, Thomas is shooting 50% from the field and 46.2% from the three-point line, which are 7.5% and 11.4% higher than his season marks in the respective categories.

That could lead to a big night against the Nuggets, who have given up the third most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. Denver has allowed point guards to shoot 44.8% from the field against them, which is the fifth highest in the NBA. Point guards also knock down 2.5 three-pointers per game against them, the second most in the NBA.

Emmanuel Mudiay often looks lost on defense and is a turnover machine. Thomas should take advantage of the rookie’s inexperience tonight and has a chance to post a huge performance in this up-tempo game. Boston’s team total is 4.7 points higher than their season average of 104.3 points per game, and Thomas will be a big part of reaching that total.

Our projections like Thomas tonight, too, listing him as the best value of any guard above $7,500 on FanDuel.

LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, San Antonio Spurs

FanDuel Price: $6,600
DraftKings Price: $7,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

LaMarcus Aldridge dropped a complete dud in the most-hyped game of the season. It was bad. Like 22% from the field with the same amount of turnovers as rebounds bad. Like delete your Twitter account after the game bad. It was really bad. It’s safe to say that people won’t be rushing to roster him again tonight.

Why You Should Use Him:

None of the things that we liked about Aldridge’s prospects going into his last game have changed. Tim Duncan is out again, but this time, Aldridge draws a much easier matchup.

Per, in the 500 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 26.9% and has averaged 1.05 FanDuel points per minute, as opposed to 0.94 with Duncan on the floor.

The most enticing factor for Aldridge is the matchup with the Rockets. In two games against Houston this season, Aldridge’s production has jumped 5.07 FanDuel points from his season average. Duncan played both games. Since 2012, Aldridge has averaged 46.08 FanDuel points per game against Houston, which is 8.15 higher than his average in other games during that span. The Rockets have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season.

Their interior defense could be even worse if Dwight Howard, who is questionable with an ankle injury, sits another game. In 10 games without 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 19.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks against them.

The Rockets have been a below average team when it comes to rebounding and defending this season, ranking 19th in Rebounding Rate and 24th in Defensive Efficiency. In the 10 games without Howard, they posted a Rebounding Rate of 48.2%, which would rank 25th in the NBA, and a Defensive Efficiency of 111.7, which would easily rank last in the NBA.

Will Barton, SG, Denver Nuggets

FanDuel Price: $6,200
DraftKings Price: $5,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Will Barton has seen a reduced role over the past month, averaging just 26 minutes per game. During that 11-game stretch, Barton has been under 25 FanDuel points eight times.

Why You Should Use Him:

Barton has shown signs of life recently, topping 29 minutes in three of his past five games and scoring 37.6 FanDuel points on Monday. He’s also had a Usage Rate of over 23% in five of his past seven games while posting a True Shooting Percentage of over 55% four times over that stretch.

Barton has five games with over 40 FanDuel points this season. Four of the five have been against opponents in the top half of the league in Pace, while three were in the top 10. This game should be up-tempo, as the Celtics are third in Pace. This game has the third highest over/under on the slate, and Barton could thrive in a high-scoring, fast-paced game.

Shabazz Muhammad, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

FanDuel Price: $4,200
DraftKings Price: $4,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Shabazz Muhammad comes off the bench and hasn’t posted a game of over 30 FanDuel points this season, so many will write him off as a legitimate fantasy contributor.

There are also several enticing small forward plays on today’s slate. Kevin Durant has played very well lately, and many will pay up for him. Chandler Parsons, Trevor Ariza, and Robert Covington have played well recently, too, and will be popular value plays at small forward.

Why You Should Use Him:

Although Muhammad comes off the bench for Minnesota, he has carved out a prominent offensive role for himself. Playing with the reserve unit allows him to maintain a very high Usage Rate. Over the past three games, he has the second highest Usage Rate on the team and has taken more shots than any Minnesota player.

Kevin Martin will miss this game, marking the fifth game he's sat out in January. In the other four games, Muhammad has averaged 30.25 minutes per game. 

Over his past 10, Muhammad has seen 8.1 more minutes per game than his season average, which has led to improvement in all areas. His Usage Rate is up 1.8% during that span, his Rebounding Rate is up 3.4%, and as a result, his FanDuel points per game is up 6.76 points per game.

Oklahoma City has struggled to defend opposing wing scorers off the bench recently. Derrick Williams, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Troy Daniels have averaged 16 points and 5 rebounds per game against the Thunder over the past week.

Muhammad has been able to take advantage of this matchup, too, playing 34 minutes per game in two games against the Thunder over the past couple weeks and averaging 21.8 FanDuel points per game, which is 7.8 higher than his season average.