So let me get this straight. The Rockets go for 140 points in regulation against the No. 14 most-efficient defense, Samuel Dalembert goes off for 35 and 12, and Jerryd Bayless gets 29 points on the same night. This is the sport that I'm supposed to be projecting?
Sometimes, things happen in the NBA that we just can't project. But if you have the numbers behind your reasoning, you'll be further ahead than most.
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
Paul George - The Sixers may have a decent defense, coming in at 11th in defensive rating with 104.7 points allowed per 100 possessions. But somebody didn't get the memo at small forward. Opposing SFs are shooting a .519 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) against them at that spot this season. George - who has 50 points combined in his last two games against better defenses in Atlanta and Chicago - is a good bet to take advantage.
Brandon Jennings - One of three repeat players from yesterday's optimized roster, Jennings couldn't buy a bucket yesterday. Despite shooting .468 eFG% on the season, Jennings shot just .333 eFG% against the Nuggets yesterday. But the Jazz are a good bet for Jennings to return to normalcy: opposing point guards shoot .502 eFG% against them on the season, and their team defensive shot percentage of .503 eFG% ranks 22nd in the NBA.
David West - The Sixers' strongest opponents' eFG% comes at power forward, but scoring isn't the (main) reason we're high on David West tonight. It's all about the rebounds, especially with Thaddeus Young out for three weeks with an injury for Philadelphia. The Sixers are 19th in offensive eFG% and 25th in offensive rebound percentage, leaving West plenty of opportunities to clean up on the boards.
Brook Lopez - Unlike Brandon Jennings, I'd say our call to pick up Brook Lopez yesterday was a success: 30 points, 11 rebounds (seven offensive), and 3 blocks against the Lakers made him one of the top fantasy players of the night. The Pistons shouldn't offer much more of a challenge for more points and offensive boards. Centers shoot .529 eFG% against them, and the team is 24th in defensive rebound percentage.
Monta Ellis - Consider he and Jennings Team Rocket: Jennings had trouble, and Ellis made it double. And by double, I mean an atrocious .286 eFG% on the night. But the fact that he had six rebounds and six assists as well made it an overall not-half-bad night fantasy-wise, and if he shoots the ball 21 times again tonight, I can guarantee that more will fall against the Jazz (see: Brandon Jennings).
Nikola Pekovic - He claims that he's limited by a groin issue; four straight games of at least 13 points and 7 rebounds tells me otherwise. I have no qualms about using him moving forward, even against the Spurs tonight. They're strong across the board defensively, but one small crack in the armor may be at center. There, opposing centers have a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 15.8, barely above average and the highest of any of the five positions.
George Hill - The high assist totals you expect from a point guard may not be there, but the 13 straight games of at least 11 points is surely comforting. And while opposing point guard Jrue Holiday may be an All-Star, I'm not sure that the selection committee took defense into account. His 106 defensive rating is the second-highest among Sixers players with significant minutes, only behind Nick Young.
Eric Gordon - Injuries? What are those? All I see is an undervalued shooting guard that hasn't played in five days saying that he's never felt better. And that guard just happens to have at least 16 points in five of his past seven games, most of which came against tougher defenses than the 24th in defensive rating and 26th in defensive eFG% Phoenix Suns. I'm fully on board with our best overall value today.
Alonzo Gee - Alonzo Gee, however? Meh, I'm not so sold. But on such a guard-heavy lineup, he's the best cheap forward available; points (if not stats) at a cheap cost. But if you're ever going to believe he's going to pick up some stats, tonight's your night. The opposing Bobcats are last in defensive rating and 29th in defensive eFG% and defensive rebound percentage. Do your thing, forward. Please?
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Tayshaun Prince of the Memphis Grizzlies. I wouldn't stop riding the value train of the newest Memphis Grizzlies player yet. In his first start yesterday against Phoenix, Prince picked up 37 minutes on the court, 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. I figure that to be about par for the course going forward; not bad value for only $8,000. Tonight against the above-average, but not exceptional, defense of the Atlanta Hawks, he should have another big opportunity for some stats before his value shoots up.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Ben Gordon of the Charlotte Bobcats. The Cleveland defense isn't exactly what I'd call strong; in fact, they're dead-last in defensive eFG% percentage at .522. And who has the highest usage rate, and thus one of the best chances to break out against this weak shooting defense? Why, that would be Mr. Ben Gordon, whose 28.6 percentage usage rate indicates that he'll be putting up his fair share of shots tonight.
Stay away from Jrue Holiday of the 76ers today. As if going against the Indiana Pacers and their top-ranked defensive rating wasn't hard enough, Holiday's going to have to do it without his main assist option, Thaddeus Young, in the game. As Brett Weisband mentioned this morning, the Sixers' team offensive rating goes down by nine points without Thad in the lineup. Especially for their first game without him, it may be a bit much to bear.
The game to watch today is Thunder/Warriors. I refuse to believe that the Warriors are going to give up anywhere near 140 points again; a regression to the mean is likely in order here. But then again, the Thunder are the top NBA team in terms of offensive rating...