4 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays for 3/14/16

The first rule of NBA DFS is don't play bigs against Utah, right? Not so fast.

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.

Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

FanDuel Price: $6,900

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Kevin Love has dealt with poor play and injuries recently. Oh, and he plays against the Jazz.

Why You Should Use Him:

While daily fantasy basketball experts preach to avoid big men against Utah's tough interior defense, I believe there are some instances in which their defense can be exploited and players can be had at very low ownership. In this instance, the Jazz have struggled to defend stretch-fours, including Love, who has averaged 38.7 FanDuel points over his past five games against Derrick Favors, including 38.1 in their one matchup this season.

Favors clearly struggles to keep up with Love, who doesn't play like a traditional power forward. Favors' inability to chase Love around the perimeter was evident in their last meeting, when Love went 4-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc. For a more accurate look at how Utah (specifically with Favors in the lineup) has fared against stretch-fours, I took a look through their game log.

In 19 games that Favors has played against stretch fours that played at least 25 minutes at power forward, the Jazz allowed the opposing power forwards to average 2.5 more FanDuel points per game while shooting 41.2 percent from behind the arc. For reference, the power forwards that fell into that category were Serge Ibaka, Draymond Green, Ryan Anderson, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Markieff Morris, Chris Bosh, Paul Millsap, Dirk Nowitzki, and, of course, Kevin Love. George was playing power forward in both matchups with the Jazz, while only Cousins' first game against Favors was at power forward, so it was the only one I counted.

Love is far from a cash-game option, but his price has fallen significantly, and his ownership will be minuscule. Give him a look in large-field tournaments.

Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

FanDuel Price: $6,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Ricky Rubio finds himself in a terrific matchup, but point guard is loaded tonight.

Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, and Goran Dragic are all in terrific matchups and will likely be popular targets. Many will chase the Grizzlies' replacement point guards Ray McCallum and Briante Weber as value plays against a porous Houston defense.

Why You Should Use Him:

In case you missed it, my article "Finding Daily Fantasy Basketball Matchups That Fit: Transition and Pace" highlights Phoenix's league-worst transition defense. The Suns have allowed the most transition points, points per possession, and the highest Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%). The fact that Phoenix plays at the fourth-fastest Pace in the NBA leads to some huge fantasy performances to players capable of converting transition opportunities into points.

Rubio is a pass-first point guard, so it isn't overly surprising to not find his name atop the transition scoring leaders. He has put up a transition eFG% of 52.9 percent, which is a huge improvement from his season eFG% of 41.5 percent. While he may not score the points himself, he has been very effective from a fantasy perspective in transition this season. In 17 games against the 10 worst transition defenses in the NBA, Rubio has averaged 33.6 FanDuel points, per

Vegas has taken the up-tempo style the Suns play at into account, projecting Minnesota to outscore their season average by eight points tonight. This should lead to a boost in production for all Minnesota players.

Rubio should be able to take advantage of the Suns and their 29th-ranked Defensive Efficiency tonight, and he comes at a very affordable price and low ownership. He makes for an ideal tournament play.

C.J. McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers

FanDuel Price: $6,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

C.J. McCollum has struggled lately and has been under 30 minutes in back to back games.

James Harden, Devin Booker, and Lance Stephenson are all likely to be popular options at shooting guard.

Why You Should Use Him:

While gamelog watchers will be scared off by McCollum's recent minutes, a deeper look will show that three of Portland's past four games have been blowouts. While tonight's game could turn into one as well, it's worth keeping in mind that McCollum's lack of minutes hasn't been a result of poor performance on his part. In fact, McCollum has posted a 47.6 percent field goal percentage and a 42.9 percent three-point percentage over his past four games -- both improvements from his season averages.

This game will be an up-tempo, high-scoring affair, which Vegas has accounted for by projecting a 220.5 point over/under. The Thunder have struggled to defend in transition this season, allowing the seventh-most transition points. McCollum leads Portland in transition points, and his eFG% is up from 51.4 percent on the season to 55.5 percent in transition.

The Thunder have struggled to contain guards all season, ranking 23rd against point guards and 21st against shooting guards according to our Matchup/Game Composite Tool. McCollum was able to take advantage of this matchup in two previous meetings with Oklahoma City this season, averaging 37.1 FanDuel points.

Take advantage of McCollum's discounted price and ownership in tournaments tonight.

Al Jefferson, C, Charlotte Hornets

FanDuel Price: $5,200

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Al Jefferson has been on a minutes restriction and is about the least flashy option available at center.

Why You Should Use Him:

Big Al's 30 minutes on Saturday marked the most court time he has seen since returning from a knee injury. Jefferson was able to turn those extra minutes into 29.5 FanDuel points, which marks the fourth time in his past seven games that he has topped 27 FanDuel points.

Jefferson draws a matchup tonight against the Mavericks, who have allowed the third-most points in the post this season. Per, Jefferson posts up more frequently than any player in the NBA. 46.3 percent of his total points have come via the post up, and Jefferson has converted his low-post opportunities at a higher percentage than the likes of Derrick Favors, Pau GasolDwight Howard, and Anthony Davis to name a few.

Dallas also ranks 25th in Rebounding Rate, so Jefferson may be able to put up a second consecutive double-double. In his one previous meeting with the Mavericks, Jefferson put up 43.3 FanDuel points in just 27 minutes, so his skill-set clearly fits the matchup well.