5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 2/22/16

Despite a terrific matchup, Gorgui Dieng may be overlooked due to recency bias. Who else will fly under-the-radar?

If you have played daily fantasy sports for very long, 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.

Khris Middleton, SG, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel Price: $7,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Khris Middleton will likely be the highest owned player featured in this article due to a matchup with the Lakers, but there are reasons to expect him to be slightly under-owned.

The Bucks will probably be one of the most heavily targeted teams on the slate, but Middleton may only be the third or fourth option. Jabari Parker has been playing out of his mind lately and is still very affordable. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been playing as well as Middleton, and he's cheaper. Michael Carter-Williams draws the best matchup on paper, and is coming off of a big performance. Middleton, on the other hand, is coming off of a slightly disappointing performance, in which he shot 4-16 and was Milwaukee's fifth lowest fantasy scorer.

Shooting guard is far from loaded tonight, but there are enough viable options at Middleton's price point that many people will pass on him for the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, or Andrew Wiggins.

Why You Should Use Him:

The Bucks are 3-1 since moving Greg Monroe and Carter-Williams to the bench. The lineup change has greatly benefited Middleton, who has seen a Usage Rate jump from 22.5% to 25.2% during that span. His FanDuel points per minute are up too, from 0.82 to 0.94, per The end result has been 38.1 FanDuel points per game from Middleton, a marked improvement from his season average of 29.5.

Middleton draws a dream matchup against the Lakers tonight, who not only are ranked dead last in Defensive Efficiency, but have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing teams this season. They've also allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards, which isn't surprising considering Louis Williams has a Defensive Real Plus-Minus of -3.65, ranking 88th among 92 shooting guards.

Los Angeles is shaking up their lineup, which means Middleton may also draw the defense of Jordan Clarkson (-2.37 DRPM), D'Angelo Russell (-1.55 DRPM), or Kobe Bryant (-3.48 DRPM).

Middleton has been able to take advantage of this matchup in the past, averaging 32.8 FanDuel points per game in three meetings with Los Angeles over the last two seasons, which is 7.24 points more than his average in all other games during that span.

Vegas has the Bucks projected to outscore their season average by 8.3 points in this game too, which is good news for their leading scorer.

Al Horford, C, Atlanta Hawks

FanDuel Price: $7,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Like always, center is loaded today. Karl-Anthony Towns and DeAndre Jordan have both played very well lately and are in great spots -- Towns will likely be one of the most popular plays on the slate. Many will be eager to roster Hassan Whiteside after missing out on his monster double-double on Saturday, while Alex Len will likely be a popular value option. Expect Al Horford to be an afterthought for most drafters.

Why You Should Use Him:

Horford is playing in what Vegas expects to easily be the highest scoring game of the night. The over/under for this one is set at a gaudy 223.5 points, and Atlanta is expected to outscore their season average by 5.6 points.

Atlanta plays at a quick pace normally, but tonight's game will be played at a blistering speed, as Golden State is ranked second in pace. Per, Horford has been Atlanta's most efficient player in transition this season, averaging 1.36 points per possession, along with an impressive 66.2% field goal percentage and 73.5% effective field goal percentage. Horford's 1.36 points per possession mark ranks fourth among players with at least 60 shots in transition, while his 73.5% effective field goal percentage ranks second.

The Hawks run their offense through the pick and roll, as evidenced by the fact that they have scored the fourth most points in the pick and roll this year. Golden State has allowed opposing roll men to shoot 53.3% this season, the second highest mark in the NBA, so expect Atlanta to do their best to exploit that weakness. According to, their primary option as the roll man is Horford, who not only leads the team in points as the roll man, but is third among active players in points as the roll man. Horford has also shot a very efficient 54.7% out of the pick and roll.

The Warriors also may be without Andrew Bogut in this one, which would leave them very thin in the frontcourt. In their most recent game without Bogut, they posted a Rebounding Rate of 44.3%, which is the third lowest they've posted this season. That game was against the Clippers, who have the fifth worst Rebounding Rate in the NBA this season. And DeAndre Jordan was able to put up 16 points, 21 rebounds, and 51.7 FanDuel points in that game. Horford can't match Jordan athletically, but he should still be able to take advantage of Golden State's small-ball lineups if Bogut is unable to suit up.

Our projections love Horford today, too, listing him as the best value at center.

Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons

FanDuel Price: $6,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

There are plenty of viable point guard plays today, and there may be even more value if Kyrie Irving is unable to play. Stephen Curry and Goran Dragic will likely be the chalk, but there are several interesting plays at the position.

The Pistons also draw a tough matchup against the Cavs. They're currently listed as nine-point underdogs, and one of only two teams on this slate projected to score under their season average. Many will be scared off and opt for safer options at point guard.

Reggie Jackson may not go completely overlooked following a 43.8 FanDuel point performance last night, but he will still be under-owned considering his upside at this price point.

Why You Should Use Him:

Jackson has played much better this season when he has had complete control of the offense, so his outburst last night should come as no surprise. With Brandon Jennings out of the picture, expect more of the same going forward. 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 Jennings30.2%31.533.8

While Cleveland has the best defense on this slate, their defense against point guards has been far from elite. Kyrie Irving is ranked 76th among 84 point guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus, which explains why the Cavs have given up the eleventh most fantasy points to opposing point guards.

Irving has struggled to defend the pick and roll this season, too, allowing 0.85 points per possession on the season, the fourth worst mark among starting point guards. That bodes well for Jackson, who leads the NBA in points scored as the pick and roll ball handler by a large margin. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that Jackson has had his way with Irving in the past, averaging 35.5 FanDuel points per game in his last four games against the Cavaliers.

If Irving is unable to go, slightly downgrade Jackson, as he'll instead deal with the defense of Matthew Dellavedova.

Gorgui Dieng, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

FanDuel Price: $6,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Gorgui Dieng was fun to ride for a couple weeks there, while he was grossly underpriced. His price has now risen to a much more appropriate level, and he is coming off of a complete dud. Expect recency bias to be in full effect tonight.

There are several plays at power forward that could potentially detract from Dieng's ownership. At the top, expect both Draymond Green and Paul Millsap to be popular as people chase that huge over/under. Julius Randle will be a popular option in the mid-price range. And value plays Jabari Parker and Tristan Thompson will more than likely be heavily owned, too.

As if that wasn't enough to scare people off of Dieng, he'll also lose ownership to Karl-Anthony Towns, as most won't want to pair the two.

Why You Should Use Him:

Before putting up a stinker against the Knicks, Dieng enjoyed a nine game stretch in which he averaged 35.7 FanDuel points per game and 36.6 minutes per game. He displayed a solid floor, reaching 29 FanDuel points in every game but one, as well as an elite ceiling, with one game over 50 and four games over 36. Due to injuries, the Wolves still have no semblance of frontcourt depth, so Dieng should again be in store for all the minutes he can handle.

Per, the Celtics have allowed the third most points in the post this season. Most would guess that Towns would be the main beneficiary, but Dieng has actually been the most effective post player for Minnesota this season. Dieng has averaged more points per possession in the post, while also shooting a higher percentage in the post than Towns. Since Dieng entered the starting lineup, 63.5% of his shots have come from the post, as opposed to 52.1% for Towns. Both are awesome plays tonight -- Dieng is just the primary beneficiary of a team that struggles to defend the post.

Boston has also allowed the third most points on put-backs this season, which is good news for Dieng, who has averaged 3.5 offensive rebounds per game over his past 10 contests.

Boston has struggled against bigs all season, but since losing Kelly Olynyk and waiving David Lee, opposing posts have abused Boston's thin frontcourt. In their past two games, they've allowed Rudy GobertDerrick Favors, and Nikola Jokic to average 19 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 42.5 FanDuel points per game.

Dieng has averaged 28.37 FanDuel points per game in three games against Boston over the past two seasons, which is up 4.49 points from his average in all other games during that span.

Jared Sullinger, PF, Boston Celtics

FanDuel Price: $6,000

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Similar to Dieng, Jared Sullinger is part of a deep power forward player pool with more attractive value plays.

Sullinger has played well lately, but daily fantasy players are always hesitant to roster Boston bigs, especially in a matchup with Karl-Anthony Towns.

Why You Should Use Him:

Sullinger has played exceptionally recently, averaging 33 FanDuel points per game over his past six. With Kelly Olynyk and David Lee out of the picture, Sullinger's minutes are much more secure. Assuming he stays out of foul trouble, he should get extended run tonight against the physical frontcourt of the Timberwolves.

Many are afraid to use bigs against Minnesota due to the shot blocking ability of Towns, but the numbers suggest it is actually a favorable matchup. The Timberwolves have allowed the seventh highest points per possession in the post this season and the sixth highest score frequency. Karl-Anthony Towns has been beatable down low, allowing the third most points in the post among all players.

This game isn't quite as fun to target as the Warriors-Hawks, but a 216.5 over/under certainly offers plenty of potential fantasy goodness. Sullinger has played in 13 games in which the over/under was at least 210 this season. His average in those games is 32.5 FanDuel points.