4 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 2/4/16

Stanley Johnson has flashed potential as a reserve this season, but injuries have paved the way for a more prominent role 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, especially on a small slate like this.

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.

Stanley Johnson, SF, Detroit Pistons

FanDuel Price: $4,000
DraftKings Price: $4,400

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Stanley Johnson will likely be the highest-owned player on this list due to a relatively weak small forward pool, but he will still be under-owned considering his potential for extra minutes.

Many will roster Andre Drummond tonight, too, which may keep them from rostering Johnson in an attempt to avoid negative correlation.

Why You Should Use Him:

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is listed as doubtful, which will open up a lot of minutes for Detroit’s wing players considering his 37.4 minutes per game mark is second in the league. With Jodie Meeks out, Detroit has no established backup shooting guard. Brandon Jennings, Steve Blake, and Darrun Hilliard all will likely see a small increase in minutes, but expect Johnson to be the biggest beneficiary of Pope’s absence. 

Per, Johnson’s Usage Rate goes from 18.4% to 23.2% without Caldwell-Pope on the floor, while his FanDuel points per minute climbs from 0.61 to 0.81.

Johnson has been paying off his salary regardless of Caldwell-Pope's status recently, averaging 22.04  FanDuel points in 28.2 minutes per game over his past five games.

Assuming Johnson plays more shooting guard with Caldwell-Pope out (a safe assumption, considering Johnson has played shooting guard 68% of the time when Caldwell-Pope has been out of the lineup, per, he will spend a lot of his court time being defended by Arron Afflalo. Afflalo boasts a Defensive Real Plus-Minus of -2.89, which is ranked 83rd of 92 shooting guards.

Bismack Biyombo, C, Toronto Raptors

FanDuel Price: $4,000
DraftKings Price: $3,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Unlike most slates, there aren't a ton of elite players to spend salary on today. As a result, most drafters will choose to use just one or two value plays. With much more obvious value plays at other positions, expect most to pencil in Andre Drummond at center, who is beginning to resemble the unstoppable force we saw at the beginning of the year again. Therefore, Bismack Biyombo will likely go under-owned, despite a fairly weak center player pool today.

Why You Should Use Him:

Jonas Valanciunas has been playing through a sprained thumb injury, which has caused him to see under 20 minutes in back to back games. Biyombo has been given extra run, most recently, playing 29 minutes and putting up 23.9 FanDuel points against a Suns team ranked sixth against centers.

Biyombo draws a much softer matchup tonight against a Portland team that has allowed the 10th most fantasy points to opposing centers this season. Biyombo will spend a lot of his court time matched up with Portland's backup center Meyers Leonard, who has a Rebounding Rate of 11.6%, which ranks 54th among 60 qualified centers. Leonard also has a Defensive Real Plus-Minus of -1.13, which ranks 75th of 78 qualified centers.

James Johnson will likely miss this game, and Biyombo has performed better with him off the floor, according to

BiyomboRebounding RateFanDuel Points/PossUsage Rate% Dunk/Layup
With Johnson17.70%0.712%62.90%
Without Johnson20.70%0.8312.70%64.90%

Our projections
like Biyombo too, ranking him as the second best value at center today.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, SG, New Orleans Pelicans

FanDuel Price: $3,500
DraftKings Price: $4,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Besides the fact that people shy away from rostering players whose name reminds them of mustard, Bryce Dejean-Jones will go overlooked tonight because of all the terrific values at shooting guard. Barring James Johnson or Jose Calderon returning to the starting lineup tonight, Terrence Ross, Langston Galloway, and Devin Booker will all be more popular value plays at shooting guard.

Many will shy away from Dejean-Jones simply because they have no idea who he is. If you are one of those people, give Omri Casspi a call, because he definitely knows who Dejean-Jones is.

Why You Should Use Him:

Vegas has given the Pelicans a team total of 109.5 today, which is 6.9 points higher than their season average. Their team total is the second-highest on the slate, and their 6.9 point boost is the most any team is projected to receive.

Dejean-Jones has been filling in for the injured Tyreke Evans, who is questionable again tonight. If Evans is forced to miss his fifth-straight game tonight, Dejean-Jones will step in and continue to make his case that he is worth hanging on to after his second 10-day contract is up.

Dejean-Jones has performed well for a minimum-priced player, averaging 19.58 FanDuel points in 29.5 minutes per game while also shooting 41% from beyond the arc and collecting at least one steal in each of his four starts. His only game with fewer than 20 FanDuel points was against the Spurs, so I am willing to excuse him for that one.

He draws a much more appealing matchup tonight against the Lakers, who have given up the most fantasy points in the league to opposing point guards and shooting guards, the two positions Dejean-Jones plays. He'll spend a good portion of his time being guarded by Lou Williams, whose -3.29 Defensive Real Plus-Minus ranks 87th among 92 shooting guards.

Brandon Bass, PF, Los Angeles Lakers

FanDuel Price: $3,800
DraftKings Price: $3,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Power forward is loaded today. Anthony Davis will be very popular in a matchup with the Lakers. Many will be on Markieff Morris after a career high 54.2 FanDuel point performance, especially against the Rockets, who have given up the most points to opposing power forwards. Some will play Josh Smith due to all of the injured Houston bigs. Ed Davis may be a fairly popular option, too, if he draws the start for the injured Noah VonlehBrandon Bass will almost certainly get lost in the shuffle.

Why You Should Use Him:

Per, Bass plays center 94.7% of the time he is on the floor, despite being listed as a power forward. The Pelicans have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing centers. Better yet, their second unit has a Rebounding Rate of 42.7%, which is 6.2% lower than their season average, and 4.4% lower than the Hawks' mark, who are last in Rebounding Rate.

Larry Nance Jr. will be out through the All-Star break, which means Bass' minutes are solidified. In six January games without Nance Jr., Bass has averaged 22.33 minutes and 18.8 FanDuel points per game, which are 4.13 and 3.7 higher than his respective season averages. Bass has flashed upside in those games, too, dropping 34.4 FanDuel points the last time he was recommended in this article.