5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 2/10/16

This may be Archie Goodwin's last game as the starting point guard, but he is in position to put up a monster performance in this uptempo game.

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.

Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic

FanDuel Price: $8,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Today's slate is absolutely loaded with viable center plays. DeMarcus Cousins and Pau Gasol both have terrific matchups and will be very popular. It's impossible to ignore Karl-Anthony Towns with the way he is playing. DeAndre JordanAndre Drummond, Dwight Howard, and Rudy Gobert all have exploitable matchups. Gorgui Dieng continues to be underpriced. It is safe to say that nobody will be pursuing Nikola Vucevic in a matchup with the Spurs.

Why You Should Use Him:

Vucevic comes into this game in excellent form, averaging 38.65 FanDuel points over his past six games and fresh off of a 53.6-point performance.

While a good philosophy for daily fantasy basketball is to ignore teams facing the Spurs completely, that hasn't necessarily been the case recently. The Spurs defense  hasn't been the same without Tim Duncan, especially on the interior. San Antonio has allowed four of the past five opposing bigs to put up huge performances. In those four games, they allowed Anthony Davis, Vucevic, Julius Randle, and Kevin Love to combine for 179.4 FanDuel points against them, which is 42.8 points above their combined season averages.

Vucevic has the path of least resistance for the Magic in this one, other than Elfrid Payton, who is not a reliable offensive threat. All of San Antonio's starters rank in the top 10 in Defensive Real Plus-Minus at their respective positions other than Tony Parker, who ranks 27th among point guards, and LaMarcus Aldridge, who ranks 27th among power forwards and 49th among centers, the position he'll actually be charged with defending. That's not to say that Aldridge is bad defender, but he clearly doesn't pose as intimidating of a matchup as Duncan, who ranks first among all positions in Defensive Real Plus-Minus.

The offense will flow through Vucevic in this one, and if the game remains close, he could post a game similar to his 40.5 FanDuel point performance against the Spurs just nine days ago.

Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies

FanDuel Price: $6,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Similar to center, point guard is very deep today. At the top,  Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, and Rajon Rondo all draw favorable matchups and should be popular. In the mid-price range, Kyrie Irving, Ishmael Smith, and Derrick Rose should all be popular options.

In addition to competing with several viable point guard plays,  Mike Conley will be overshadowed within his own team by Zach Randolph, who will likely be a very popular play with Marc Gasol out indefinitely.

Why You Should Use Him:

While Randolph has seen the biggest bump in production with Gasol off the floor this season, Conley has also been a large beneficiary and will be much less popular today.  Per, Conley has averaged 1.15 FanDuel points per minute while maintaining a 25.6% Usage Rate over the past month when Gasol was out of the lineup. During that span, Conley had a Usage Rate of 20.2%, while averaging 0.97 FanDuel points per minute when sharing the court with Gasol.

Conley has been seeing bigger minutes recently, playing 31.5 per game over his past four, after being limited to minutes in the high 20s for most of January. Conley has taken advantage of his extra court time, averaging 31.8 FanDuel points over that four-game stretch.

Conley draws a terrific matchup in this one, too, as Brooklyn ranks 28th in Defensive Efficiency and has allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. Conley will most often be defended by Donald Sloan, who ranks 39th among point guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. In his previous matchup with Brooklyn, Conley put up 37.4 FanDuel points.

Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons

FanDuel Price: $6,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

As mentioned previously, point guard is loaded.

Amid all the great options, drafters will ignore  Reggie Jackson, who is coming off of a 15.7 FanDuel point performance and hasn't topped 35 FanDuel points in over two weeks.

Jackson will also lose some ownership to Andre Drummond and Stanley Johnson, who are both underpriced and in great matchups.

Why You Should Use Him:

Per, Reggie Jackson has run the pick and roll more frequently than any other player, and his 547 points scored as the pick and roll ball handler are 100 more points than any other player. The matchup couldn’t be much better, as the Nuggets have allowed the second most points per possession to pick and roll ball handlers of any team in the NBA. Expect Jackson and Drummond to utilize the pick and roll heavily in this game.

Denver also ranks 22nd in Defensive Efficiency and has given up the fifth most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. That is largely due to rookie Emmanuel Mudiay, whose Defensive Real Plus-Minus of -2.31 ranks 66th among point guards.

Our projections like Jackson tonight, too, ranking him as the best value among point guards over $5,500.

Archie Goodwin, PG, Phoenix Suns

FanDuel Price: $5,400

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

If you haven't yet caught on, point guard is pretty deep today.

Archie Goodwin will likely see higher ownership than Jackson and Conley, but it should be held in check with all the viable point guard options.

Why You Should Use Him:

The Suns are huge underdogs tonight, but that is a result of the offensive firepower of the Warriors, not a stifling defense. The Suns are actually projected to outscore their season average by 1.5 points.

The Suns have been listed as at least nine-point underdogs in six of the 10 games Goodwin has started this season. In those games, Goodwin has averaged 38.6 minutes per game and played at least 30 minutes in each game, so the blowout concern tonight really doesn't affect his prospects much. Goodwin has also played a ridiculous 40.5 minutes per game since Earl Watson took over as interim coach and hasn't seen fewer than 37 minutes during that time.

Golden State has a terrific defense, but their uptempo style often leads to big fantasy games for opposing point guards. On the season, the Warriors have allowed the seventh most fantasy points to opposing point guards.

This game is projected to be played at the fastest pace of any on the slate, which isn't surprising considering both teams are in the top five in Pace. In four games against teams in the top 10 in Pace, Goodwin has averaged 34.6 FanDuel points per game.

As a result of playing at the second fastest tempo in the NBA, Golden State has allowed the seventh most points in transition this season. While his raw point totals aren't as voluminous as some of the league leaders, Goodwin has been as effective on a per possession basis as about anyone in the league  in transition, as shown below.

Player Transition FGA/
Total FGA
Points/Poss FG% Score Frequency
Archie Goodwin 18.50% 1.17 63.60% 61.90%
Russell Westbrook 22.90% 1.16 60.70% 57.70%
James Harden 19.80% 1.07 49.50% 49.00%
Stephen Curry 20.50% 1.25 56.30% 52.80%
John Wall 24.70% 1.06 58.50% 53.10%

Robert Covington, SF, Philadelphia 76ers

FanDuel Price: $4,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Small forward is the shallowest position today, but there are still enough usable options that Robert Covington's ownership should remain subdued.

Kawhi Leonard is very underpriced and has turned it on recently. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gay both draw favorable matchups. Matt Barnes, Stanley Johnson, and Al-Farouq Aminu all are in cushy matchups and priced similarly to Covington.

Covington also has seen sporadic minutes all season and was recently subjected to a three-game stretch in which he averaged just 22 minutes per game. That may have been due to an unreported wrist injury, but it will likely be enough to keep many off of Covington. 

Why You Should Use Him:

While Covington's shot has been off recently, he has shown the ability to  get hot in an instant and has immense upside for a player at his price range. On the season, Covington has one game with 57.8 FanDuel points and eight games of 34-plus.

Covington also is a player who feeds off of his defense, as evidenced by the fact that six of his top seven fantasy point totals have came in games he had multiple steals. Covington's opponent tonight, the Kings, give up 9.1 steals per game, the second most in the NBA.

The Kings are possibly the most favorable matchup in daily fantasy sports. Their combination of playing at the fastest pace in the NBA while ranking 24th in Defensive Efficiency has resulted in the second most fantasy points to opposing teams, behind only the Lakers. Sacramento normally keeps their games close though, which makes them a more favorable target, as starters' minutes normally are secure.

Sacramento has allowed the seventh most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season, which is largely due to the individual efforts of Rudy Gay. Gay ranks 45th among small forwards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus.

Sacramento has also allowed a whopping 10.7 made three-pointers per game this season, which is 1.2 more than the second highest average. That bodes well for Covington, who chucks over six threes per game. If anything will get him back on track, it is a matchup with the Kings.

Our projections love Covington tonight, listing him as the best value at any position.