5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 2/29/16

George Hill has dominated Kyrie Irving in his career. Will history repeat itself tonight?

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.

Dwight Howard, C, Houston Rockets

FanDuel Price: $8,000

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Dwight Howard will have plenty of competition for attention within his own position, as Brook Lopez, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Marcin Gortat, and Rudy Gobert all draw favorable matchups. DeMarcus Cousins is always a popular option, too, and likely will be again in what will probably have the highest over/under on the slate.

Howard will also have to compete with James Harden for ownership within his own team.

Why You Should Use Him:

It's been overlooked amid trade rumors, but Howard has really been playing at a high level recently. He has now double-doubled in six of his past seven games while averaging 38 FanDuel points per game during that span. His matchup with the Bucks tonight presents a terrific opportunity to continue that stellar production.

While a look at the defense versus position chart will show that Milwaukee has been a below average matchup for opposing centers, there's reason to believe they'll struggle to keep Howard in check tonight.

The Bucks have the ninth worst Rebounding Rate in the NBA, which is great news for Howard, who has the the fifth highest Rebounding Rate in the NBA among qualified players, averaging 15.3 boards per game over his past seven contests. He should have his way on the glass tonight.

Milwaukee's poor Rebounding Rate has resulted in them allowing the fifth most points by way of put-backs. Howard has been one of the most effective players at generating put-back points this season, and should take advantage of this matchup.

Milwaukee is also the sixth most blocked team in the NBA. Howard has swatted away 1.5 shots per game this year, and could easily pile up a few extra blocks tonight.

Another thing going in Howard's favor is the fact that he has dominated Greg Monroe in the past. In his last three matchups with Monroe, Howard has averaged 46.8 FanDuel points per game. Monroe has had his share of defensive struggles this season as well, evidenced by his Defensive Real Plus-Minus, which ranks 42nd among 74 centers.

Also, this game's over/under is one of the highest on the slate, and Houston is expected to outscore their season average by 1.6 points. Give all Houston players a slight bump in their projections tonight.

Khris Middleton, SG, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel Price: $7,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Khris Middleton has played very well recently, but will have to contend with James Harden and Will Barton, who will likely be one of the most popular plays on the slate.

Middleton will also be considered a secondary option within his own team, behind the likes of Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Why You Should Use Him:

Middleton has been playing some excellent basketball recently, averaging 38.9 FanDuel points per game over his past six contests, with no games under 30 FanDuel points during that stretch. He's also coming off of back to back 20-plus point performances, both of which he shot over 50 percent from the field in. A matchup with Harden and the Rockets should help him keep his hot streak alive.

The Rockets rank 26th in Defensive Efficiency and 27th in fantasy points allowed to opposing teams, so it should be no surprise that Vegas has the Bucks projected to outscore their season average by 6.9 points tonight. Middleton, their leading scorer, will play a big role in reaching that projection.

A big reason the Bucks have such lofty projections tonight is the up-tempo pace that this game will be played at. Houston plays at the seventh fastest pace in the NBA, and have struggled to defend in transition all year. They have given up the fifth most transition points of any team this season, as well as the fifth highest Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) in transition. Middleton has been very effective in transition this season, coming in at second in transition points for Milwaukee, while shooting an eFG% of 63.3 percent, a big improvement from his season average of 49.3 percent.

Middleton draws the defense of James Harden in this one, who ranks 52nd among shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. Middleton put up 32.7 FanDuel points earlier against Harden, and could easily eclipse that number tonight.

Gordon Hayward, SF, Utah Jazz

FanDuel Price: $7,400

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Gordon Hayward has played well and draws a terrific matchup tonight, but is part of a surprisingly crowded small forward player pool.

Kevin Durant will be one of the most popular plays on the slate in his matchup with the Kings. As mentioned previously, Antetokounmpo will be a popular target against Houston, and is priced similarly to Hayward. Value plays Robert Covington, Matt Barnes, and Otto Porter are all playing well right now and draw terrific matchups.

Most daily fantasy players will likely go with two of the previously mentioned small forwards, and get their exposure to Utah via Derrick Favors or Rudy Gobert, leaving Hayward underowned.

Why You Should Use Him:

Hayward has really stepped up his offensive game recently, scoring 20 or more points in seven of his past nine contests, while averaging 33.8 FanDuel points per game over that span. He showed a tremendous floor during that time too, topping 30 FanDuel points in every game that wasn't against Kawhi Leonard.

This game will be a huge pace-up game for Hayward and the Jazz, who rank dead last in pace. Boston, on the other hand, plays at the third fastest pace in the NBA. Hayward has been very effective when Utah has been forced to push the pace this season, which should come as no surprise considering his 67.1 percent eFG% in transition on the season.

Utah has been forced to play at a pace above 95 in only five games this season, and Hayward averaged 35.8 FanDuel points in those games. Five of Hayward's top seven FanDuel point totals have come against teams that rank in the top 12 in pace. Look for Hayward to take advantage of his extra possessions tonight.

George Hill, PG, Indiana Pacers

FanDuel Price: $5,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

More and more sharp players are catching on to the George Hill versus Kyrie Irving narrative, so Hill may get some love tonight, but there are enough viable options at point guard to keep him slightly underowned.

Most daily fantasy players will attempt to spend up at point guard, as Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and John Wall are all in terrific matchups. Mike Conley will be popular too, as will Darren Collison if Rajon Rondo misses a consecutive game.

The Pacers have one of the lowest over/unders on the slate, and daily fantasy players know to avoid matchups with Cleveland if possible.

Why You Should Use Him:

If you've read my "Under-the-Radar" series for long now, you realize that I love attacking the Cavs with point guards when the time is right. I called Hill's 39 FanDuel point performance last time he played Cleveland, as well as Kyle Lowry's 68.5 FanDuel point performance against Cleveland on Friday.

The reason this matchup keeps appearing in my articles is that daily fantasy players are terrified of rostering players against Cleveland, even though they cannot defend point guards. They've allowed the eleventh most fantasy points to opposing point guards on the year, which is largely due to the individual defense of Kyrie Irving. Irving boasts a Defensive Real Plus-Minus of -3.2, which ranks 76th among 84 point guards.

Since 2012, Hill has played seven games against Irving. In those games, Hill has averaged 34.4 FanDuel points.

Similar to Lowry, Hill is one of the most efficient point guards in the NBA when it comes to spot-up shooting. Among players with at least 100 spot-up shot attempts, Hill ranks eighth in points per possession (second among starting point guards) and 11th in eFG% (third among starting point guards). Hill's 61.6 percent eFG% as a spot-up shooter is a big improvement from his 51.7 percent season average.

According to, Cleveland has been the 11th worst team at defending spot-up shooters. Once again, their defense against point guards was their primary weakness, as Kyrie Irving has allowed his man to maintain a 63.6 percent eFG% against him. Among players with at least 50 set-shots defended, Irving's 1.25 points per possession allowed is the sixth highest in the NBA.

D.J. Augustin, PG, Denver Nuggets

FanDuel Price: $3,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

In addition to competing with a deep point guard player pool, D.J. Augustin will likely go overlooked on his own team, as many will lock in on Barton.

Why You Should Use Him:

There are several appealing studs tonight, and if you are going to roster one or two of them, you're going to have to find some value. Let me introduce you to D.J. Augustin, who is just $200 above minimum price despite playing a major role for the Nuggets.

Jameer Nelson is listed as doubtful, meaning Augustin should be locked into the 25 minutes per game and Usage Rate of 20.9% he has sustained in his time with Denver.

There is reason to believe Augustin may have an expanded role in this game, though.

In their most recent game, the Nuggets went with a small-ball lineup that featured Augustin at the point. As a result, Augustin saw 36 minutes, a 22.4% Usage Rate, and 27.9 FanDuel points. Denver could very well go small-ball again tonight against a Memphis team starved of frontcourt depth. If they do so, Augustin would likely see 30-plus minutes and a Usage Rate near 25% with Danilo Gallinari out of the picture.