5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 3/7/16

Circumstances could leave Steph Curry underowned tonight, despite a terrific matchup. Who else is going to go overlooked?

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.

Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors

FanDuel Price: $10,900

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are coming off the worst regular season loss in NBA history -- a game in which Curry shot 1-10 from three and had as many turnovers as assists. He had below 30 FanDuel points for the first time in over a month. 

Hopefully there's some recency bias in effect tonight.

The Warriors are 14.5-point favorites in this game, too, which will scare many daily fantasy players away from dedicating nearly 20 percent of their salary to one player.

If that isn't enough to scare off drafters, point guard has plenty of viable options, and there are lots of studs to pay up for tonight, which may leave Curry under-owned. Chris Paul and Kemba Walker fit both criteria, and Jrue Holiday is likely to be very highly owned as well.

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both should be popular options in their head to head matchup, as will Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo as they face off. There's only so much money to spend, and there are enough reasons to believe many will pass on the most expensive player on the board.

Why You Should Use Him:

While the blowout concern is real, Curry's upside in this game is worth the risk in GPPs.

These two teams met up just two weeks ago, and it did not go well for Orlando. Curry put up 51 points and 68.4 FanDuel points, while hitting 10 of 15 three-pointers. Curry can go off on any given night, though -- so what about Orlando's defense makes this repeatable?

For one, Orlando has defended point guards poorly all year. More specifically, they have defended transition very poorly. As noted in part one of my series, "Finding Daily Fantasy Basketball Matchups That Fit," Orlando has one of the worst transition defenses in the league.

Russell Westbrook, the only point guard with more transition points than Curry, has destroyed Orlando both times they've faced off this season -- scoring 71.2 and 69.8 FanDuel points in those games.

In addition to struggling to defend in transition, Orlando has done a poor job of limiting perimeter scoring, allowing the eighth most made three pointers per game. The Magic also have allowed the second most points to opposing spot-up shooters, which would explain the 10 threes they surrendered to the Baby-Faced Assassin last time.

I wouldn't force Curry into your cash lineups, but he is definitely worth a gamble in tournaments -- as he has legitimate 70-point upside tonight.

Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks

FanDuel Price: $6,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Dirk Nowitzki has played well recently, but David Lee has played just as well and is $2,100 cheaper. Anthony Davis and Jabari Parker figure to be popular power forward options as well.

Why You Should Use Him:

Nowitzki has performed admirably recently, averaging 33 FanDuel points over his past six games. He has shown some upside too, with three games of 39-plus FanDuel points during that span.

A matchup against the Clippers appears tough for power forwards on paper, but they've struggled to defend the position recently. The past five power forwards to play at least 20 minutes against Los Angeles have averaged 37.9 FanDuel points, which is up 6.1 points from their combined average in other games. Four of those power forwards were stretch-four types who face up a lot, similar to Nowitzki (Paul Millsap, Draymond Green, Thaddeus Young, and Serge Ibaka).

Nowitzki has fared well in this matchup in two previous meetings this season, averaging 36.6 FanDuel points.

Nowitzki has also played better with David Lee than with Zaza Pachulia, who appears to be losing minutes to the newly acquired Lee. Check out Nowitzki's splits while sharing the court with each of the two bigs, per

Dirk NowitzkiUsage %FG%FanDuel points/minRebounding Rate (%)
With Lee26.458.11.0312.7
With Pachulia25.644.11.0011.0

Evan Fournier, SG, Orlando Magic

FanDuel Price: $5,300

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Evan Fournier only played 26 minutes and scored 16.4 FanDuel points in his first game back from injury, which will scare most off of him. He's also in the same price range as Zach LaVine, who is likely to be a more popular option at shooting guard.

Why You Should Use Him:

Fournier saw limited minutes due to an unforeseen blowout, but before that game, he was seeing consistent minutes and production. In the seven previous games, he averaged 41 minutes per game. Fournier put those minutes to good use, averaging 30.9 FanDuel points per game, including 31.7 against Golden State. He also topped 27 FanDuel points in eight straight games before his injury. Assuming the game stays relatively close, his minutes should be secure.

The Magic find themselves in a big pace-up game tonight, as Golden State plays at the second fastest pace in the NBA. Their game is projected to be played at the second fastest pace on the slate, and consequently the over/under is set at 222.5 points -- the highest on the slate.

While all of the Orlando players deserve a boost in this up-tempo, high-scoring affair, none more than Fournier. Fournier has easily been Orlando's most effective player in transition, leading the team in scoring and sporting a scorching hot 74.7% Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) in transition. Among NBA players with at least 75 transition field goal attempts, Fournier ranks first in eFG% and points per possession.

Golden State has been one of the ten worst transition defenses in the NBA this season. For a closer look, check out the article I linked previously.

Tim Duncan, C, San Antonio Spurs

FanDuel Price: $5,100

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Tim Duncan never plays big minutes, and as a result, is generally overlooked by the daily fantasy community. Expect that trend to continue tonight with options such as DeMarcus Cousins, Pau Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, and Nikola Vucevic on the slate.

Why You Should Use Him:

Part two of my "Finding Matchups That Fit" series will debut this week, so be sure to check back in later. Part two focuses on how players and teams have performed in the pick and roll, and how it affects daily fantasy players. As noted in the article, the Pacers have been tough against bigs this year on paper, but they actually rank out as the worst team at defending opposing roll-men out of the pick and roll.

While Duncan hasn't played enough to put up numbers voluminous enough to merit examination for the article, he has been the most effective post for San Antonio in the pick and roll. Duncan has been used as the roll-man in 23.8 percent of his offensive possessions, which is more frequently than any other Spurs player. His 0.99 points per possession as the roll-man is the highest on the team, and is higher than the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Pau Gasol, who rank third and seventh among centers in points as the roll-man.

LaMarcus Aldridge may miss this game too, which would lead to more minutes for Duncan, along with more productivity while on the court. Per, Duncan has averaged 1.06 FanDuel points per minute without Aldridge, as opposed to 0.93 with him.

Cody Zeller, PF, Charlotte Hornets

FanDuel Price: $4,800

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Similar to Nowitzki, Cody Zeller is part of a deep power forward player pool, and is in a tough matchup on paper.

Why You Should Use Him:

Zeller has put up three straight productive games, averaging 26.9 FanDuel points in 25.3 minutes per game.

He will face the Timberwolves, who rank out as the second-worst team at defending opposing roll-men in the pick and roll, despite Defense Versus Position ranking them as a top ten team against power forwards and centers.

Zeller has been the most effective option for Charlotte in the pick and roll this season, leading them in points as the roll-man, while also ranking first in points per possession (1.16) and second in eFG% (54.1 percent).

Zeller should be locked into pretty big minutes tonight too, to contend with the physical frontcourt of the Timberwolves. Expect him to use those minutes to his advantage against Minnesota's 28th ranked Defensive Efficiency, just as he did when he scored 25.7 FanDuel points in 24 minutes against the Wolves earlier this season.

Vegas has Charlotte outscoring their season average by 8.2 points in this one, which should give a nice boost to all Hornets tonight.