5 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 3/11/16

Recency bias could leave Ish Smith underowned tonight. Who else might be overlooked, too?

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.

DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers

FanDuel Price: $8,400

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

DeAndre Jordan is coming off of a sub-par performance and draws a fairly tough matchup on paper.

He'll lose ownership to  Hassan Whiteside, Brook Lopez, and Dwight Howard, all of whom have excellent matchups according to Defense Versus Position (DvP). For more on DvP, check out our Matchup/Game Composite Score tool.

The Clippers are heavy favorites in this one, too, so some will be scared off by blowout concerns.

Why You Should Use Him:

Jordan predictably struggled in his last game against a Thunder team that has allowed the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing centers this season. He had been tearing it up before that, averaging 20 points, 16.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, and 51.1 FanDuel points in the three previous games.

While the Knicks have been average against centers on the season, there are a few areas they struggle to defend. They have allowed the fourth-most points to opposing roll-men in the pick and roll and have allowed the sixth-most points on offensive putbacks.

Jordan thrives in both areas, especially the pick and roll. For more on his dominance in the pick and roll, check out " Finding Daily Fantasy Basketball Matchups That Fit: Pick and Roll."

The Knicks are also the sixth-most blocked team in the NBA, which bodes well for Jordan, whose 2.3 blocks per game ranks third in the NBA.

Ish Smith, PG, Philadelphia 76ers

FanDuel Price: $6,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Ishmael Smith disappointed many drafters when he failed to put up big numbers in an advantageous matchup against Houston on Wednesday. Hopefully recency bias is in effect tonight.

Point guard is loaded tonight.  Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday, Isaiah Thomas all should be higher owned than Smith, and people will find ways to pay up for Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, and Chris Paul, too.

Smith will likely be only the third most popular player on his own team, too, with Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington both likely to be popular plays.

Why You Should Use Him:

Smith has turned it on after a disappointing February. His spike in production can be directly tied to the absence of Jahlil Okafor, whose future availability is very much in doubt. In the five games since Okafor went down, Smith has averaged 34.8 FanDuel points.

A deeper look at his performance without Okafor this season makes that number seem very sustainable.

Check out Smith's splits with and without Okafor this season, according to and

Ish Smith Usage Rate FanDuel Points/Minute FanDuel Points/Game
With Okafor 23.9% 0.86 30.6
Without Okafor 29.3% 1.11 33.2

Smith draws a matchup against Brooklyn, who ranks 27th in Defensive Efficiency and ranks 28th against point guards according to our DvP metrics.

Goran Dragic, PG, Miami Heat

FanDuel Price: $6,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Goran Dragic finds himself in a very similar situation to Smith, as far as ownership is concerned.

Dragic is coming off of his worst fantasy performance in over a month, and is part of a deep point guard pool. He is also likely to lose ownership within his own team to the likes of Hassan Whiteside, Luol Deng, and Dwyane Wade.

Why You Should Use Him:

While many will be targeting other options for the Heat, it has been Dragic who has carried them since Chris Bosh went down -- averaging 35 FanDuel points over their past 11 games.

Dragic's second highest total during that stretch was a 39.3-point performance against Chicago just 10 days ago. The Bulls have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season, largely due to the poor defense of Derrick Rose. Rose ranks 81st of 82 point guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus and allowed Tony Parker to put up 42.8 FanDuel points last night -- his highest total of the season and more than his last three games combined.

Dragic has done well in this matchup historically, averaging 4.1 more FanDuel points per game against Rose over the past two years than his average in all other games.

Trevor Ariza, SF, Houston Rockets

FanDuel Price: $6,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Trevor Ariza is rarely a player that people go out of their way to fit into their lineups, and that isn't likely to change tonight amongst a surprisingly deep small forward pool tonight.

Kevin Durant has seven straight games of over 50 FanDuel points and will continue to be heavily targeted by daily fantasy players on a slate ripe with value. Carmelo Anthony is in a good spot against the Clippers and has been putting up some gaudy numbers as well.

Gordon Hayward has a terrific matchup and will likely be a popular tournament option. Rudy Gay will be a popular play with DeMarcus Cousins out. As mentioned previously, Deng and Covington will be popular mid-price ranged options. Evan Fournier is in a matchup that perfectly complements his skillset, and he should be in line for as many minutes as he can handle with Nikola Vucevic out and Elfrid Payton questionable.

Ariza will also lose ownership to teammates James Harden and Dwight Howard, who will likely be heavily targeted in tournaments.

Why You Should Use Him:

Ariza has been a steady source of production recently, averaging 31 FanDuel points in 38 minutes over his past nine games.

He draws a matchup with the Celtics tonight, who have struggled to defend power forwards all season. Boston has allowed the 5th-most fantasy points to power forwards and the 10th-most to small forwards -- the two positions Ariza plays.

Per, Ariza has posted an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 68.5 percent in transition -- a mark that is much improved from his season average of 52.2 percent. He also has the most transition points among all power forwards and the highest transition points per possession among all players with at least 150 transition field goal attempts.

This game is projected to be very high scoring with a total of 220-plus. It will also be played at a very quick pace, as both teams are in the top six in Pace. Ariza has been one of the most efficient scoring forwards in transition and should thrive in this up-tempo environment.

Zach LaVine, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves

FanDuel Price: $5,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Zach LaVine is coming off of a dud and is part of a fairly deep shooting guard player pool. As mentioned previously, Harden and Wade will be on people's radar. Victor Oladipo may end up being the most popular play on the slate, depending on how injury news shakes out. Klay Thompson will likely be heavily targeted in what is expected to be a high scoring affair against the Trail Blazers. E'Twaun Moore remains very underpriced, considering his role, and should see some love from drafters at his near-minimum price.

Why You Should Use Him:

LaVine disappointed in his last game, but it was a matchup with the Spurs, so I'm willing to give him a pass. In the six games before that, LaVine was crushing value -- averaging 29.2 FanDuel points in 39.5 minutes per game.

While Oklahoma City possesses a solid defense, they have struggled against opposing guards, ranking in the bottom third of the league in DvP against both guard positions. During the past two years, Minnesota has faced the Thunder seven times. In those games, it has been LaVine who has stepped up and taken advantage of this matchup, while Ricky Rubio has really struggled. Westbrook has dominated Rubio during their time in the league, and it is a trend that sharp daily fantasy players have caught on to. Here are the two point guards' splits against the Thunder over the past two season:

MIN PG vs OKC FG% Minutes/Game Points/Game FanDuel Points/Game
Ricky Rubio 27.0% 24.3 5.0 17.7
Zach LaVine 48.0% 28.7 17.0 28.7

LaVine has been even better in three matchups with the Thunder this season, averaging 31.3 FanDuel points while shooting 65 percent from the floor in just 26.7 minutes per game. Considering he has an expanded role and is playing nearly 40 minutes per game, it is safe to say LaVine has tremendous upside in this matchup.