5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 3/4/16

Will Barton has disappointed in two straight games, but he has a perfect opportunity for a bounce-back game 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.

Isaiah Thomas, PG, Boston Celtics

FanDuel Price: $7,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Isaiah Thomas will be under-owned due to the plethora of viable point guard options tonight.

John Wall finds himself in an exploitable matchup against Kyrie Irving, who will also likely be fairly popular in an uptempo game. Damian Lillard and Kyle Lowry also will be popular options in their head to head matchup. The two have both played well recently, and both topped 50 FanDuel points the last time they faced off.

Goran Dragic has been performed admirably for a depleted Heat team and now draws a matchup against the 76ers. D'Angelo Russell has been the chalk recently and has delivered four straight 30-plus FanDuel point performances.

Why You Should Use Him:

Thomas is coming off of a 30-point performance against Portland and has been playing exceptionally for some time now, averaging 37.9 FanDuel points over his past eight games.

New York has struggled to defend point guards recently, allowing the seventh most fantasy points to the position over the past three weeks. While they struggle with all types of point guards, they really struggle to defend point guards who heavily utilize the pick and roll.

I'm currently working on the second part of my "Finding Matchups That Fit" series -- this time focusing on how teams defend the pick and roll. I don't want to give too much away, but I'll use this matchup as a sneak peak.

The Knicks have allowed the sixth most points to opposing pick and roll ball handlers this season, which has predictably led to a boost in fantasy production for opposing point guards who heavily utilize the pick and roll. The point guards examined for the article have averaged 40.5 FanDuel points per game in 22 games against New York this season -- a 3.5 point boost from their season averages.

Thomas has been a major contributor to that number, averaging 42.1 FanDuel points in three matchups against the Knicks. This shouldn't be surprising, considering Thomas has seen the biggest boost in fantasy production among the 29 pick and roll ball handlers examined when facing the bottom-10 pick and roll defenses.

For a look at how Thomas has performed recently in matchups that fit in terms of pick and roll production, just take a look at his last 10 games. Four of those 10 games have come against teams featured in the article for struggling to defend the pick and roll. Thomas averaged 40.6 FanDuel points in those four games, with the lowest total being 32.7 against Minnesota.

Will Barton, SG, Denver Nuggets

FanDuel Price: $5,900

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Will Barton has been the chalk at shooting guard for back to back games and has disappointed in both. Shooting guard isn't loaded tonight, but don't expect many to jump on Barton following consecutive games with under 22 FanDuel points.

Why You Should Use Him:

Most will be turned off after back to back tilting performances from Barton, but I am stubborn and choose to believe in the larger sample size.

Per, Barton has averaged 32.2 FanDuel points in eight games without Danilo Gallinari, as opposed to 26.4 FanDuel points with him -- even with the two recent duds. gives an in-depth look at how much Barton has benefited from not having to share the floor with Gallinari.

Will BartonUsage %FG%FanDuel Pts/Min
With Gallinari20.6%38.6%0.86
Without Gallinari27.5%47.4%1.05

A big reason Barton has such severe splits with and without Gallinari is that they have redundant skill-sets. Barton is first on the team in transition points, while Gallinari is second. Barton also ranks first in points as a spot-up shooter, while Gallinari is second. With Gallinari out of the picture, Barton has the ability to really take hold of the lion's share of such offensive plays.

The matchup couldn't be much better suited for Barton's skill-set either, as Brooklyn ranks in the bottom 10 at both defending spot-up shooters and defending in transition. They also struggle to defend the other area Barton sees most of his usage -- as the ball handler in the pick and roll. The Nets rank dead last in points per possession and Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) allowed to pick and roll ball handlers.

You may not expect it because he primarily plays off the ball, but Barton has been one of the most effective scoring shooting guards in the league as the ball handler in the pick and roll. A big reason for this is the inefficiency of Emmanuel Mudiay, who ranks last among qualified players in points per possession as the pick and roll ball handler. Denver has instead run the pick and roll through Barton and Kenneth Faried or Nikola Jokic recently -- and with terrific results.

Barton's 0.91 points per possession as the ball handler in the pick and roll is almost double Mudiay's 0.59, and ranks 10th among players with at least 150 shot attempts as the ball handler in the pick and roll.

Denver is projected to outscore their season average by six points tonight. Expect their leading active scorer to be a big part of reaching that projection, especially considering how well this matchup fits his skill-set.

Jabari Parker, PF, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel Price: $5,900

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Daily fantasy players rode Jabari Parker hard for a week there, but his price has risen and his performance has tapered off recently, with two of his past three games resulting in under 23 FanDuel points. Couple that with a few obvious plays at power forward -- Thaddeus Young, Aaron Gordon, and Julius Randle specifically -- and Parker may come at a discounted ownership percentage tonight.

Why You Should Use Him:

Parker has cooled off slightly, but you could make the case that he is still underpriced considering his recent production. He has averaged 34.3 FanDuel points in 39.6 minutes per game since the All-Star Break, and is in line for similar production tonight.

While Minnesota has defended power forwards fairly well this season, they've struggled mightily to defend in transition. For more on that, check out Finding Daily Fantasy Basketball Matchups That Fit: Transition and Pace.

Jabari Parker has more points in transition than any power forward, along with a transition points per possession and eFG% that can rival anyone in the league. His transition eFG% of 65.7 percent is a huge improvement from his season average of 49.9 percent. The last power forward Minnesota faced that thrives in transition was Ryan Anderson, who went for 53.8 FanDuel points against them.

Dennis Schroder, PG, Atlanta Hawks

FanDuel Price: $5,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

I have a feeling a few sharp players will be on Dennis Schroder in what is likely to be a blowout, but he is unlikely to be a popular option on a slate ripe with point guard options.

Why You Should Use Him:

Schroder has flashed big upside recently in limited minutes. Over his past seven games, Schroder has five performances of 27-plus FanDuel points, despite playing just 22.1 minutes per game during that span.

A matchup with the Lakers presents an opportunity to put up huge numbers, even in limited minutes, as they have been the worst team at defending point guards for consecutive seasons now. Los Angeles ranks dead last in Defensive Efficiency and fantasy points allowed to opposing teams.

There is also reason to believe Schroder could be looking at a few extra minutes tonight. The Lakers would already be heavy underdogs against Atlanta, but Los Angeles finds themselves dangerously thin in the backcourt -- with Jordan Clarkson, Kobe Bryant, and Louis Williams all dealing with injuries. There's a very good chance Atlanta gets up big early in this one and rests some starters.

If Schroder gets additional minutes in a blowout, expect him to take advantage. Despite his bench role, Schroder ranks second on the team in FanDuel points per minute and should be very productive in this dream matchup.

Mario Hezonja, SF, Orlando Magic

FanDuel Price: $3,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Mario Hezonja is coming off of the best game of his young career, but one game likely won't be enough to convince the masses, especially with many appealing small forward options on the slate.

Hezonja will also likely lose ownership to Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic within his own team, both of whom figure to be popular GPP targets.

Why You Should Use Him:

Hezonja finally displayed the upside that earned him the nickname "Super Mario," putting up 34 FanDuel points against Chicago on Wednesday. He finds himself in a perfect situation to build on that performance tonight.

Evan Fournier will likely miss tonight's game, opening up as many minutes as Hezonja can handle. Assuming he doesn't get the Scott Skiles treatment, Hezonja should be in store for 30-plus minutes in a matchup tailor-made for his skill-set.

The Suns boast the second worst Defensive Efficiency in the NBA and have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing teams. This is largely due to the fact that they play at the fourth fastest Pace but defend worse in transition than any team in the NBA, which is featured in my previously mentioned article.

Hezonja has been the most efficient scorer in transition among healthy Orlando players, albeit in limited playing time. Hezonja has posted a transition points per minute higher than the likes of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and John Wall, along with an eFG% of 73.3 percent. Hezonja's eFG% on the season is 50.7 percent, so he's clearly seen quite the boost in up-tempo matchups.

Phoenix has also allowed the highest three-point percentage in the league, which is good news for Hezonja. While he has struggled with his shot this season, Hezonja knocked down three deep balls in his last game and has taken 4.5 three-pointers per game in his four games with an expanded role.