NBA DFS Contrarian Picks Today: Against the Grain Ausar Thompson (February 26)

The NBA features a small four-game slate on Monday that tips off at 7:00 p.m. EST on DraftKings. Using Stokastic’s NBA DFS Boom/Bust tool, let’s dive into the player pool to discuss the best NBA DFS contrarian picks for today’s action, including Tyrese Haliburton and Ausar Thompson. One of the keys to a winning NBA DFS lineup is differentiation, so without contrarian picks like the ones below, you’ll struggle to separate from the pack in tournaments. Subscribe today for access to our industry-leading resources, including our lineup generator (available for NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA), our DFS simulation tools (available for NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA and MMA) and our industry-leading projections for every sport.

NBA DFS Contrarian Picks Today: Monday, February 26

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NBA DFS High-Priced Contrarian Pick

Raptors-Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton

Stokastic’s Optimality Projection
DraftKings: 22.40%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,500

With only four games on tonight’s docket, there are limited spend up options to begin with, and most of them are projected to be either correctly or over owned. Tyrese Haliburton is the odd man out, however, as he grades as one of the top leverage plays on the slate. Haliburton is averaging 49.1 fantasy points per game, and although his numbers have dipped a bit since injuring his hamstring on Jan. 8, he looks primed for a big-time second half run.

While he had been playing with a minutes limit since the injury, Haliburton finally seems to be getting back to his old self, and that’s evident in his playing time. Averaging 33.25 minutes played over the past four games, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see that number continue to rise as Haliburton gets more and more comfortable. Despite his obvious upside at $9,500, Haliburton isn’t getting nearly the love he deserves on DraftKings.

Haliburton is projected to be in 16.20% of lineups on DraftKings, but his optimal percentage is 22.40%, making him one of the best differentiators on the slate and an elite tournament core play at $9,500.

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NBA DFS Mid-Priced Contrarian Pick

Pistons-Knicks: Ausar Thompson

Stokastic’s Optimality Projection
DraftKings: 12.50%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $5,300

Pistons rookie Ausar Thompson’s first season in the NBA has undoubtedly been filled with a ton of ups and downs. While he’s almost impossible to trust on a nightly basis, Thompson is the second-highest-graded leverage play on tonight’s slate, and there’s a lot to like about him in tournaments. Although he is probably priced fairly for his median outcome at $5,300 on DraftKings, Thompson has clear upside at this salary, and the field isn’t getting to him enough.

Despite numerous signs pointing to value here, Thompson is a forgotten man on DraftKings and grades out extremely well from a leverage perspective. He is projected to be in just 6.00% of lineups but has a 12.50% optimal percentage. While his floor might be lower than other players in his price range due to his volatility as a 21-year-old rookie, Thompson’s upside is massive at $5,300.

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NBA DFS Low-Priced Contrarian Pick

Raptors-Pacers: Jalen Smith

Stokastic’s Optimality Projection
DraftKings: 15.20%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $4,200

Going back to the Pacers, Jalen Smith is the highest-graded leverage player in Stokastic’s tools. The oft-injured Pacers big man comes into tonight with another questionable tag after playing in just his first game since Feb. 8 this past Sunday. While he will presumably be limited if he does indeed play, Smith is still falling through the cracks in a big way on DraftKings, and he’s emerged as arguably the top differentiator on the entire slate.

Stokastic’s tools currently have Smith optimal 15.20% of the time this slate plays out on DraftKings, but only 6.70% of lineups are projected to roster him.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Contrarian Picks Today

Check out Stokastic’s NBA Process Show with Josh Engleman on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements for today’s slate. Brought to you by BetMGM – new users, use this link to receive $150 in Bonus Bets when you bet $5! Full details here.

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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