How did our optimized roster do yesterday? Trusting the power of math, our Chief Analyst Keith Goldner played our roster in StarStreet's daily pool and finished in the top 20 percent of all entries. Once again, not a bad showing, thanks to Blake Griffin, Evan Turner, Monta Ellis, and our sweet, sweet numbers. And that's not even counting our sleeper J.J. Redick, who went off for 26 points.
And we're back to do it again. 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 - Do I really need to convince you that Kevin Durant's going to play well? Now figure that this game's going to be a track meet (both teams are in the top eight in pace), and the Warriors have a net Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of -1.2 at small forward when compared to opponents, their weakest position on the floor. This is Durant's time to go off.
Dwyane Wade - Wade comes into this game with a sore toe, but you wouldn't know it by his performance against the Lakers last Thursday: 27 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds, outdueling Kobe. With six days rest, the toe shouldn't be an issue tonight, either. And that's a sizable advantage against a Toronto team that is 26th with a 108.2 defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and dead-last at letting opponents get to the line (.253 opponents' FT/FGA ratio).
Brook Lopez - If you're going to get rebounds as a big man, you want to face a team that bricks a ton of shots. Good thing for Lopez that Minnesota does just that. In their recent 1-7 stretch, the T'Wolves have shot below .500 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in all but one game. That places their yearly average all the way down at .462, 27th in the league. Lopez will have the chance to add boards to his constant points tonight.
Joakim Noah - In speaking of rebounds, you know that Noah's going to get his - he has at least 13 rebounds in five of his past six games. But could there be a block party against Detroit as well? Noah's coming off a season-high six blocks against the Lakers on Monday, and the Pistons have been rejected 231 times this season, 10th-most in the NBA.
Luis Scola - It's becoming a common refrain: if a decent big man is playing the Kings, you should at least take a look. Sacramento is dead-last in the NBA in both defensive rating (111.4) and defensive rebounding percentage (68.4 percent). Since score and rebound is about all Scola can do, the Kings' weaknesses play right into his strengths.
Nene Hilario - Nene is always up and down, but for once, one thing has stayed consistent recently: his minutes. Nene has put up between 28 and 32 minutes in each of Washington's past four games, including a 24 point breakout against Portland on Monday. Can he have another of those games? Playing Utah and its 21st ranked opponents' eFG% can't hurt.
Goran Dragic - The main issue with Dragic and daily fantasy has been the variability of his assist totals - will it be eight assists (as it was three games ago against Chicago) or will it be one assist (as it was two games ago against OKC)? For our money, we're going with the latter: along with being weak against big men, Sacramento is also 23rd at forcing turnovers and should give Dragic plenty of space to work.
Kevin Martin - We picked him yesterday, and he finished with 13 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists against the tough Clippers defense (along with a $5,000 flopping fine that I figure goes directly into David Stern's hush money fund). While the Warriors shooting guards are more skilled than L.A.'s, the overall defense in worse in Golden State - they have a lower defensive rating and a worse overall opponents' eFG%. Given Martin's five straight games in double figures, we're confident he'll get his points.
Jordan Crawford - Need your "Extremely cheap but still might play significant minutes" guy? Jordan Crawford's your man. He played 22 minutes in his last outing, an increase from the 16.5 he had averaged in his first two games back from injury. Our analysis sees him falling somewhere in the middle - we've got him at 21 minutes. But considering Utah's inability to stop the shot (21st in opponents' eFG%) and Crawford's own playmaking (his .477 eFG% is first among Washington guards), he's a worthy risk at $5,600 even with fewer minutes.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Andre Miller of the Denver Nuggets. His supposed role as a bench player in Denver has him down below $9,000 in terms of value. But he's not getting the minutes of a sub $9,000 player - he's averaged 27 minutes per game over his last four contests. And in a battle between the fastest pace in the league (Houston) and the fourth-fastest pace (Denver), he'll have his opportunities for open jumpers and easy assists.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Boris Diaw of the San Antonio Spurs. Tim Duncan has already been ruled out for one of his "Old Man Nights", so it will be Diaw who gets the start at power forward in his place. That's a solid reason enough to play him already - he's averaged at least 20 minutes as a reserve, and he figures to see even more with Duncan inactive. But facing a Hornets squad that is 28th in both defensive rating and opponents' eFG% places him even further over the edge for just $6,500.
Stay away from Carlos Boozer of the Bulls today. His insane run from early January is beginning to dissipate -he only finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds against the Lakers on Monday. Against Detroit, we expect a further regression back to the mean, especially against a Pistons frontcourt that is holding opposing power forwards to .486 eFG% this season.
The game to watch today is Rockets/Nuggets. There are no players from either team on our optimized roster, a fact that surprises even me considering it's a battle between two of the top four fastest-paced teams in the league. But that just means that there's the potential for explosions of value from an unknown place - don't be surprised if Miller, Kenneth Faried, or Omer Asik have big games as the two teams try to exploit the other's weaknesses.