It's difficult to do one of these on a day where there's only two games. You're picking the absolute best players today! Hooray! There's very little strategy whatsoever!
But what strategy there is, we're set to give you. And since everybody's picking the same players, the one or two differences may just be enough to get you ahead today.
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 - On a day where we project exactly four players to even hit 30 fantasy points by StarStreet's scoring, if you don't have Kobe Bryant on your squad, then you're foolish. Your expectations may want to be tempered a bit; the Celtics are seventh in the NBA in defense rating. But even though Kobe's tried to become more of an assist man recently, he's still scored 17 points in four straight games.
Paul Pierce - Usually on our list even when there isn't only two games in a day, Paul Pierce is always criminally underrated. That's not going to change, even against the Lakers' defense. The Lakers have allowed opposing small forwards to shoot .515 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) against them this season, the highest of any position on the floor. Expect the offense to funnel through Pierce and for him to explode, especially if Kobe plays there out of position.
Luol Deng - But that doesn't mean that Deng's not a solid option to have on your team himself. The Nuggets are solid defensively at 13th in overall defensive rating; that's not why we recommend Deng. It's that Deng's value doesn't match his potential minutes output. Deng has posted at least 40 minutes played and 18 shots in each of his last four games, and even if he hasn't played the most efficiently, he's gained fantasy points through pure attrition.
Carlos Boozer - Boozer didn't look the best in his first game back from injury, but he looked well enough that we trust him to be a value play with very few other options. The Nuggets are comparatively weak at power forward, allowing opponents to shoot .491 eFG% from that spot on the year. And the put-back opportunities will be there as well against Denver's 26th overall defensive rebounding percentage, the one real weakness of their team.
Nate Robinson - The only true value in the entire NBA tonight, Nate Robinson was a shoo-in for this list by virtue of simply not being injured. Derrick Rose, not yet. Kirk Hinrich, still likely gone. That means big minutes for Robinson, who has put up 40 of those in each of his past three games. Going against Ty Lawson, he has a good chance to continue his streak of two games with at least 19 points.
Steve Nash - Oh what a world we live in, where Nate Robinson has a higher price tag than Steve Nash. But that's not to say that Nash can't be valuable. Without Rondo guarding him, the former MVP should have all the room in the world to shoot and pass. The trio of Barbosa, Bradley, and Terry hold the three highest defensive ratings on the team.
Metta World Peace - Coming back from his one-game suspension, World Peace is a nice guy to own with Howard and Gasol out of the lineup. Expect World Peace to see both time there and time at power forward in a small lineup, on the floor collecting stats. And that could be a boon for World Peace, as power forwards shoot nine percentage points higher from the field against Boston than do small forwards.
Kosta Koufos - Surprisingly the only Nugget on our roster (or maybe not so surprising, considering their team play that I wrote about earlier today), Koufos is a cheap fix at center on a day where there really aren't eligible ones to choose from. He's the viable alternative to Joakim Noah if you don't trust Noah (and we don't). He might not give you points, but six offensive rebounds in his last game against Milwaukee gives us hope.
Leandro Barbosa - He's seen his minutes shoot up with Rondo out, and his points have shot up in turn: his past three games is his first three-game double-digit scoring stretch all season. Steve Nash isn't the strongest defensively with a sky-high 110 defensive rating, and as long as Barbosa can hit double-digit points like we've projected, then he's solid value for $7,500.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. You never know how much he's going to see the floor with Luol Deng now getting tons of minutes, and Boozer's return doesn't help that problem. But if he plays, the Nuggets have a weakness at small forward, allowing opposing SFs to shoot .497 eFG% against them this season.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Robert Sacre of the Los Angeles Lakers. With Gasol and Howard still both out, the opportunity for some Sacre playing time remains open tonight. And against the criminally small Celtics, that could be a good omen: opposing centers are shooting .517 eFG% against them on the season.
Stay away from nobody. There are four teams playing, and nobody outside of Nate Robinson is an exceptional value. There's simply not enough players to choose from today that nobody can become a no-go instantly. If I had to choose, I suppose it would be Ty Lawson (especially for the price), but even that suggestion comes half-heartedly.
The game to watch today is both. I feel like I can manage two games, and if you're betting cash today, I feel like you can too. Happy Thursday!