How many times do I have to say it: Always take big men against the Sacramento Kings. I mean, that's why Nene was on our optimized roster yesterday, and he finished with 30 minutes played, and... wait, Emeka Okafor got the fantasy points with 23 points and 15 rebounds? Well, that's unfortunate. It was a night of so close, yet so far for our fantasy projections.
But that's why Daily Fantasy is great: even if one day doesn't work out, you can always try again the next day. And with our numbers, you'll be right more than you're wrong.
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
Kobe Bryant - Heeeeere's Kobe! And there's the Hornets, who are 27th with a 108.8 defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and 28th in defensive effective field goal percentage (eFG%). The only reason they allow so few points per game is because of the second-slowest pace in the NBA, but the Lakers' second-fastest pace should balance that out nicely. Expect Kobe to go off, again.
LaMarcus Aldridge - Scared that Aldridge is going up against Dirk? He's not the same Dirk you once knew. Nowitzki's 108 defensive rating is the third highest on the Mavericks (behind Dahntay Jones and O.J. Mayo) and is tied for the highest defensive rating of his career. Aldridge should have no trouble maintaining his 21.4 point per game average over the past five games.
Greg Monroe - The center position is the easiest place to attack the Milwaukee Bucks - their overall Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is 2.6 points lower than their opponents at that position, the largest net PER loss of any of the five spots on the floor. But what if Monroe slides to power forward while playing alongside Andre Drummond, as he has done often recently? There's still no issue there - opposing PFs are shooting .504 eFG% from the field, the best shooting percentage of any position.
J.J. Hickson - About the only strength Portland has, their 10th-best defensive rebound percentage, matches up perfectly with Dallas's main weakness: a third-worst offensive rebound percentage. It'll be Hickson that is the primary beneficiary, as he is projected to have 10.0 rebounds this game to go along with 12.7 points.
O.J. Mayo - Remember how I said that Portland's only strength is their defensive rebounding? Well, that's because they are 22nd in defensive rating, 19th in defensive eFG%, and 21st in forcing turnovers. O.J. Mayo and his 23.1 percent usage rate (third on the team behind Chris Kaman and Dirk) is one of the prime candidates to take advantage.
Steve Nash - His assists may be down - he hasn't had double-digit assists since Jan. 15 - but his points are up with at least 15 points in four of his past five games. Similar to Kobe, the Hornets should provide an excellent recipe to get both of those numbers on top, as opposing point guards are shooting .501 eFG% against them and dishing out 9.5 assists per game in total.
Dion Waiters - A recent mainstay in our optimized roster, Waiters has been getting the minutes and will be the starter over C.J. Miles for the time being. The question for Waiters is: when will he shoot well, and when will he be in Brick City? Our best guess against the Warriors is the former. Golden State's fast pace often leaves guards more open than big men, and opposing SGs are shooting .487 eFG% against them on the year.
Mike Dunleavy - Now, presenting the most treacherous name on this list: Mike Dunleavy! Ersan Ilyasova has been playing out of his mind recently - there's a recent he costs $12,500 in most leagues. And as a result, Dunleavy's chances for playing are tenuous at best. Will he actually reach the 28.1 minutes we projected him at? He didn't last game but did reach 28 minutes the four games prior, so we're going with him. If he does, it seems like a smart choice - Dunleavy's .563 eFG% leads the team among qualified players.
Alonzo Gee - Gee's always a gamble, but for the low price of $7,500, there aren't many better gambles. Gee has guaranteed playing time with at least 27 minutes played in each of his past eight games, and he's likely to pick up stats just through sheer attrition. The matchup isn't the greatest - small forwards are the one strength of the Warriors defensively - but pairing the seventh-quickest pace of the Warriors with the 11th-quickest pace of the Cavaliers means that there will be more opportunities than normal.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Chris Kaman of the Dallas Mavericks. Need a center and don't trust Greg Monroe? Kaman provides good value for only $7,800. He leads the Mavericks with a 25.4 percent usage rate, and the Trail Blazers allow opposing centers to shoot .529 eFG% from the field, the highest of any position. The only downside to Kaman is the inconsistent minutes due to foul trouble - he'll put up 23 minutes one day and 11 the next. Do you feel lucky?
Your deep sleeper of the day is Shaun Livingston of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Watching the injury wire is never fun, but today, it could pay off big-time. Kyrie Irving is a game-time decision for the Cavs, and if he can't play, recently-named backup Livingston will be the beneficiary. He's already proven his worth in limited minutes since being named the backup in early January, and Irving's injury could mean his first chance to show his worth with 30+ minutes in a fast-paced game against Golden State.
Stay away from Tristan Thompson of the Cavaliers today. I've talked about seemingly everybody else in the Cavs' lineup today as a potential good play, but Thompson's not one of them. The Warriors allow opposing power forwards to shoot only .464 eFG% from the field, they don't miss that often (10th best offensive eFG%) which leaves limited opportunities for rebounds, and they're sixth-best at defensive rebounding as well which limits put-back opportunities.
The game to watch today is Lakers/Hornets. This isn't just for the Lakers' scoring chances with the Hornets' terrible defense, though: Grievis Vasquez and Al-Farouq Aminu are solid sleeper candidates as well as the Hornets prepare to run the floor to match the Lakers' pace.