Talk about an inauspicious debut.
The stars of the night were J.R. Smith and Paul George; we had Smith as a weak value after getting 11 stitches following Monday's game and George as a solid, but not optimal, value for our lineup. We were also high on the Kings big men but simply picked the wrong ones; DeMarcus Cousins led the team in scoring while Thomas Robinson led the team in rebounds.
But we move onward and upward. The good thing about using the numbers is that you win some and you lose some, but you'll have more of a basis for your actions than picking random pieces. And through the power of Math!, we've optimized the best possible roster for your Daily Fantasy needs, using the cost figures and scoring system from our friends at StarStreet as a guide.
As always, the full tables for today's action are available at our Daily Fantasy Projections page. But I'm here to break down the best of the best and tell you why they're so valuable.
The numberFire Optimized Roster
Kevin Durant - The Do Everything Man is also the Elite Efficiency Man. He's projected to have just 1.9 points less than Kobe on over three less shots, a testament to his .567 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) that ranks ninth in the NBA.
Tim Duncan - He's not too old to beat and bang under the boards; his defensive rebound percentage of 28.2 percent of his opportunities is fourth in the NBA. It's also the big reason he's our No. 4 projected rebounder tonight at exactly 10 boards.
Rajon Rondo - The Houston Rockets are doing a lot right, but their two failures this season having been stopping opponents from shooting well (opponents' eFG% is 25th in the NBA) and turning the ball over (14.9 turnover percentage is dead last). It just so happens that those two particular weaknesses play right into the quick-handed Rondo's, well, hands.
Marc Gasol - Right under Duncan with 9.5 projected rebounds, Gasol should be able to collect his boards because of a San Antonio offensive rebounding effort that ranks 28th in the NBA. Added to his 1.9 projected blocks (projected fifth among all big men) and he could have a big night.
Paul Pierce - Say what you want about his age, but the Celtics offense still runs through Pierce. His 28.3 percent usage rate is 11th best in the NBA and four percentage points higher than anybody else on the Celtics. You can guarantee he'll get his looks.
DeMar DeRozan - A cheap, high-potential starting shooting guard against a Charlotte defense that has allowed opponents to shoot a .518 eFG% against them this year, the second-worst in the NBA? Yes please.
Kyle Lowry - Combine everything that's good about Paul Pierce and DeMar DeRozan, and you'll get why we like Kyle Lowry. His 24.5 percent usage rate leads the Raptors, and Charlotte not only can't defend the shot, but they also can't force turnovers (23rd in the NBA). There's a reason Lowry is our top value today.
Ramon Sessions - Charlotte may be poor on defense, but their offense can at least score some points: their 102.7 points per 100 possessions ranks 22nd in the NBA. And who has their leading usage rate (25.9 percent) and offensive rating (110)? Mr. Sessions.
Brian Roberts - Well, if you're going to load up on high-priced options early, you're going to have to deal with the dregs later. The backup to Grievis Vasquez in New Orleans, at least he has a good matchup going against Luke Ridnour's 106 defensive rating and a still-hobbling Ricky Rubio. Roberts is averaging 15.3 minutes per game this season; we have him at 16.1 minutes projected for tonight's game.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns. Playing a backup's minutes in Phoenix behind Luis Scola, he still has an opportunity to pick up some easy numbers against a Brooklyn team that is 20th in defensive rebounding and 23rd in opponents' eFG%. And that plays right into Morris' strengths: he leads Phoenix with an 8.4 offensive rebounding percentage. At only $6000 for 17.7 projected points, he's at least worth a look.
Stay away from L.A.'s Metta World Peace today. $12,500 may seem like a bargain for the presumed second option with DH12 and Gasol out, but you expect the Lakers to also play to their opponent. Durant spends 67 percent of his floor time matched up against the opposing SF, and Durant's 101 defensive rating is the best of his career.
The game to watch today is Toronto-Portland. The Lakers-Thunder matchup would be too easy, but our players with the highest value upside, including Lowry, DeRozan, and Sessions here, will be facing off against each other. When the 25th and 30th best defensive ratings collide, the sparks will fly.