We didn't have much to choose from yesterday, but we still nailed some of the big names, including Kobe (obvious) and Paul Pierce (maybe not so obvious). But it's always nice to have more of a selection to choose from, and we plan to take advantage 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
Greg Monroe - The San Antonio Spurs have a great defense, especially inside with Tim Duncan. But I expect Monroe to get his looks inside anyway; Monroe has taken at least 13 shots in each of his past five games. Add that to his 10 rebounds in each of his last four games, and he's a great option to lead your Daily Fantasy lineup tonight.
David West - He's been on a bit of a roll scoring-wise recently, averaging over 22 points per game over his last four contests. And the Raptors serve to keep that roll going even faster; they're 26th in overall defensive rating, dead-last in free throw factor (measuring how much opponents get to the line through FTM/FGA), and they allow opposing PFs to shoot .516 eFG%.
Marc Gasol - Want to attack the Warriors? Do it at the center position. Opposing centers are shooting .537 eFG% against them this year, and very few of those centers have Marc Gasol's offensive game. Scoring 20 points in his last two games is an outlier, and it has gotten his cost just low enough where he's an excellent value once again.
J.J. Hickson - But West isn't the only one with a solid big man matchup. Omer Asik may be a good rebounder, but his defensive rating sits at a high-for-a-center 103 on the season. Couple that with the Rockets letting centers shoot .520 eFG% against them this year, and Hickson's in line to add some points to his ever-present rebounds.
Jameer Nelson - Today's Return from Injury Special, Nelson played 38 minutes and picked up 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists against the defensively-tough Clippers on Wednesday. Going against a ten-times-easier Cavaliers defense (27th in defensive rating) in his second game back, Nelson's ceiling is even higher.
J.R. Smith - Those worried about Raymond Felton stealing minutes had nothing to fear: Smith has played at least 35 minutes in four of his past six contests. And going against the Minnesota Timberwolves and their 23rd defensive eFG% of .503, the shots should be there as well. Look for his six game double-digit scoring streak to be extended tonight.
Raymond Felton - But Smith isn't the only Knicks guard that we're high on. He only had four assists in his last game against the Wizards, but I consider that the anomaly; Felton had at least eight assists in each of his previous five games. The T'Wolves are solid at forcing turnovers (eighth in the NBA), but the Knicks as a whole don't give them, sitting first in the NBA with turnovers on only 11.1 percent of their offensive possessions.
Mike Conley - Golden State has seemingly switched defenses with a San Francisco CYO team over their last two games, giving up 140 points to the Rockets and 119 points to the Thunder. And while both those offenses are stronger than Memphis, I would still be worried about the 156 offensive rating surrendered to Jeremy Lin and the 102 offensive rating surrendered to Russell Westbrook in their last two games. Golden State's defense is currently weak in the backcourt, and Conley's primed to take advantage.
Ramon Sessions - The point totals of his last seven games: 27, 23, 7, 20, 20, 18, 14. And he's going against Steve Nash's 111 defensive rating and a Lakers team without Pau Gasol and with a hampered-by-injury Dwight Howard. Am I betting on the Bobcats to actually score some points and Sessions to lead them there? You bet I am.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Robin Lopez of the New Orleans Hornets. The opposing Hawks may be solid defensively, but there are still some holes in the interior; opposing centers are shooting .496 eFG% against them this year. Couple that with Atlanta's 26th-ranked offensive rebounding percentage and 17th-ranked defensive rebounding percentage, and there will be an opportunity for Lopez to pick up some easy stats.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Chauncey Billups of the Los Angeles Clippers. Watch throughout the day to see what is up with Chauncey's status and whether he's going to play for the first time in who-knows-how-long. Yes, the Clippers will want to ease him back into the lineup. But two things point to some easy stats if he does play: a potential no Chris Paul (also questionable), and a Heat point guard situation that does absolutely no guarding of their own. For the minimum $4,000, he could be a sneaky pickup if he does indeed play.
Stay away from Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls today. Forget those recent high-point, high-rebound performances. It means nothing with Joakim Noah now back in the fold for Chicago. In his last game, Gibson only received 17 minutes of playing time, and if he tops 25 minutes in the game tonight, then I'll be surprised. Especially against the tough post defense of Utah, there's absolutely no reason to get anywhere near his $13,800 price tag tonight.
The game to watch today is Lakers/Bobcats. Yes, the Bobcats aren't the most exciting team in the league, but their defense is for all the wrong reasons: the healthy Lakers should be able to score some points tonight. But of course, so should the Bobcats against a Lakers defense that is 16th in defensive rating and 29th in forcing turnovers.