NBA DFS Contrarian Picks: Is Damian Jones Sneaky? (January 24)

The NBA blesses us with a nice eight-game slate on Wednesday. Using Stokastic’s NBA DFS Boom/Bust tool, let’s dive into the player pool to discuss the best NBA DFS contrarian picks on DraftKings this evening, including LaMelo Ball and Damian Jones.

NBA DFS Contrarian Picks — Plays For Today

Contrarian Stud — LaMelo Ball: Charlotte Hornets-Detroit Pistons

The moveable object meets the stoppable force on Monday night as the 10-31 Hornets travel to Detroit to face off with the 4-39 Pistons. While this game might not be great from a real life perspective, it oozes fantasy goodness and LaMelo Ball is the top contrarian stud on DraftKings at $9,600. Coming into tonight’s action averaging 48.0 DraftKings points per game, Ball has monster upside every time he steps on the floor and there’s a lot to like about him tonight matched up with the defenseless Pistons.

Despite his nightly production and easy to see upside at $9,600, the field isn’t prioritizing Ball at all on this slate. As of this writing only 7.00% of lineups on are projected to roster him on DraftKings. Compare that to his 12.60% optimal percentage and it makes sense why Ball stands out as an elite spend up to be contrarian play in tournaments. Although there’s definitely some opportunity cost in roster Ball and not one of the other studs on the board, his upside is undeniable and considering he’s only getting 7.00% ownership it’s relatively easy to get over the field on him in tournaments of all sizes.

Contrarian Mid-Tier — Keldon Johnson: Oklahoma City Thunder-San Antonio Spurs

Keldon Johnson is under $6K for the first time in months and he’s the top contrarian mid-tier play on DraftKings at $5,800. Coming into tonight putting up 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.0 stocks per game, Johnson has been more solid than spectacular in his third season as a pro. With Victor Wembanyama coming to town, Johnson’s role has been inconsistent this season and that’s evident when looking at his box scores. Johnson is now priced for that inconsistency and he looks like one of the best differentiators on the slate.

While these numbers can change as we get more news closer to lock, Johnson is projected to be optimal 11.40% of the time this slate plays out on DraftKings. The field isn’t getting to him at nearly this rate, however, as only 6.50% of lineups are expected to roster him. Although he’s definitely risky considering his erratic recent play, embracing risk is essential in GPP’s and Johnson has legit 8x upside if things break his way tonight.

Contrarian Value — Damian Jones: Cleveland Cavaliers-Milwaukee Bucks

Damian Jones is DraftKings’ top contrarian value play at the flat $3K. With Tristan Thompson suspended for the next 25-games, Jones should immediately fill the Cavs’ backup center role and the field is completely sleeping on him at the minimum price point on DraftKings. Although Jones only averages 3.8 fantasy points per game, he’s barely been in the Cavs’ rotation and he’s proven to be a productive player for fantasy purposes when he’s gotten run in the past.

Despite his $3,000 price tag on DraftKings, the field is uninterested in getting to Jones as he’s only projected to be in 1.90% of lineups. With an optimal percentage of 13.00 it’s not hard to see why Jones is the highest graded leverage play on the entire slate. While these numbers might even out as we approach lock, it would be surprising if Jones doesn’t end up as a really strong leverage play with the masses clearly hesitant to play him. Although it’s still highly unlikely that he puts up a score that’s needed to win tournaments, Jones’ $3K price tag opens up avenues to roster construction that otherwise would be closed.

Looking for more NBA DFS advice? You’ve come to the right place. Sign up for Stokastic’s NBA DFS Premium Package for access to player projections, ownership projections and Stokastic’s state-of-the-art NBA DFS simulation tools.

Matt Belman graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Consumer Behavior. He has been playing and analyzing DFS full time since 2018. He has qualified for the 2023 DraftKings NBA World Championship (5x), the 2023 DraftKings MLB World Championship (2x), the 2023 FanDuel MLB World Championship (2x) and the 2023 DraftKings NFL World Championship. You can find him on X at @fantasytipsmatt.

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