5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 2/19/16

Brook Lopez limped into the All-Star break, but don't overlook him tonight. Who else should you target?

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.

Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn Nets

FanDuel Price: $8,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Brook Lopez left daily fantasy players with a sour taste in their mouths going into the All-Star Break, averaging just 24.2 FanDuel points over his final three games.

The Brooklyn-New York game has the third lowest over/under on the slate.

There are several viable center options today, which should come as no surprise on a 14-game slate.

Why You Should Use Him:

While Lopez's struggles were frustrating for daily fantasy owners, they may have been a blessing in disguise. His price has dropped to a point that he is now just the sixth most expensive center on the slate.

While the over/under for this game is low, Brooklyn is still projected to outscore their season average by 2.7 points.

The Knicks have been average against opposing centers this season, but they have really struggled to defend the pick and roll, allowing the fourth most points to opposing roll men this season. Lopez makes his living in the post and in the pick and roll. Per, he has scored the second most points as the roll man in the pick and roll of any player in the NBA, trailing only Anthony Davis.

Lopez also draws an exploitable matchup against Robin Lopez, who ranks 54th among centers in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. Brook has gotten the better of his brother in the past, averaging 38.67 FanDuel points in seven matchups over the past five seasons.

Ish Smith, PG, Philadelphia 76ers

FanDuel Price: $7,000

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Point guard is absolutely loaded today. Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook are always popular options, and many will be on Damian Lillard after his huge performance against the Warriors earlier in the season. Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry also draw terrific matchups. Jrue Holiday will likely be a popular option in a terrific matchup, especially considering he has the revenge narrative working for him. Derrick Rose and Archie Goodwin continue to be underpriced relative to their roles and will be on most people's radar as a result. Expect Ish Smith to get lost in the shuffle.

Why You Should Use Him:

This game has an over/under of 209.5, which is surprisingly high for a Philadelphia game. Vegas expects the Sixers to outscore their season average by 5.2 points tonight. That is largely due to the fact that the Pelicans have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to opposing teams this season, while ranking 27th in Defensive Efficiency.

Smith will draw the defense of Norris Cole in this one, whose -3.41 Defensive Real Plus-Minus ranks 78th among 83 point guards.

In addition to the favorable matchup on paper, Smith also has the revenge narrative working in his favor tonight, as this is his first opportunity to get back at the team that traded him earlier this season.

Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons

FanDuel Price: $6,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

As mentioned previously, there is a plethora of viable point guard options today. Reggie Jackson limped into the All-Star break and likely will not be a popular option tonight.

Why You Should Use Him:

While many have talked about the impact Tobias Harris will have on both the Pistons and Magic, few have talked about the fact that Reggie Jackson no longer has to look over his shoulder at Brandon Jennings. Even though the two point guards didn't share the floor very often, Jackson clearly performed better when Jennings was on the shelf. Check out his splits with and without Jennings healthy this season, per

Reggie JacksonUsage RateMinutes per gameFanDuel Points per Game
With Jennings26.8%30.328.6
Without Jennings30.1%31.533.7

Jackson will also draw the defense of John Wall tonight, who has taken a step back defensively recently. He's fared well in his past three matchups, but they were also against Raul Neto, Jose Calderon, and O.J. Mayo. Before those three games, the past eight point guards to face Wall averaged 25 points, 5.6 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 41.2 FanDuel points per game. Jackson put up 20 points and 9 assists in his one matchup with Wall this season.

D’Angelo Russell, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

FanDuel Price: $5,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Along with being a part of a loaded point guard pool, D'Angelo Russell will fly under-the-radar due to his bench role and a matchup with the Spurs.

Why You Should Use Him:

It's almost never a good idea to target players against San Antonio. If the Spurs defense has a discernible weakness though, it is against point guards, as both Tony Parker and Patrick Mills rank outside the top 20 point guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus.

Russell has been able to take advantage of this matchup in three previous meetings this season, averaging 27.43 FanDuel points per game.

Byron Scott has also said he is going to make an effort to lower Kobe Bryant's minutes in the second half of the season, while also giving more minutes to the younger players, both of which should benefit the rookie point guard.

This is far from a safe pick, but Russell is an interesting dart-throw in large-field GPPs.

Luol Deng, SF, Miami Heat

FanDuel Price: $4,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

The Heat have the lowest projected team total of any team on tonight's slate, and this game carries significant blowout risk, both of which may scare off some drafters.

Luol Deng might end up being the most popular play I've mentioned, due to a weak small forward player pool, but he rarely sees high ownership. His ownership will likely again be lower than it should, considering the role he will take on tonight.

Why You Should Use Him:

Both Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside will sit out tonight's game. Per, Deng has performed much better with those two off the floor this season, as displayed below.

Luol Deng Usage Rate Field Goal % FanDuel Points Per Minute
With Bosh and Whiteside 13.7% 39.7% 0.58
Without Bosh and Whiteside 17.7% 46.5% 0.77

This will also be a big pace-up game for the Heat. Miami ranks 29th in Pace, while the Hawks play at the 10th-fastest Pace in the NBA.

Along with picking up additional scoring opportunities, Deng is more active on the glass with Bosh and Whiteside off the court. His Rebounding Rate is up from 7.3% to 10.3% when he doesn't have to share the court with those two. His matchup should help Deng pick up a few extra boards tonight, as the Hawks have the second worst Rebounding Rate in the NBA.