So, for fun, I decided to use StarStreet's offered freeroll to enter numberFire's optimized roster into a tournament. And out of the 369 entries, numberFire's optimized roster placed 80th. 78th percentile? I'll take it. May O.J. Mayo and Carlos Boozer feel shame for not performing better.
But because sports is your real Valentine, we're back to do it again for the final time before the All-Star Break. 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
Dwyane Wade - LeBron may be getting the headlines recently, and rightfully so. And he also costs $4,500 more than his Heat running mate, which makes him an incredibly poor value, even for the stats. Wade, meanwhile, has scored 20 points in six straight games and faces a Thunder team that allows opposing shooting guards to shoot .478 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) from the field, higher than any other position except center. I'll take that one.
Blake Griffin - His second straight day on our optimized roster, Griffin proved his meddle yesterday with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and an incredible 4 steals. It's those steals that are truly underrated for Griffin; his 2.4 percent steal rate is surprisingly high for a forward. And who comes into town tonight but a Lakers team that is 23rd in offensive turnover percentage.
Chris Paul - What would a team of Clippers be without its leader? If you thought steals were a boost for Blake Griffin, then check out Chris Paul's opportunities: his 4.2 percent steal rate is tops in the entire NBA. With his average 9.7 assists over his last three games, he may not even need the points... except facing Steve Nash and his 110 defensive rating means he'll probably grab them, too.
Chris Bosh - 13-of-16 shooting, 32 points, and 11 rebounds? Yes, his numbers against Portland look amazing, but don't expect those same types of stats against the Thunder. But then again, the center position does shoot .012 eFG% better than any other spot on the floor against OKC, Kendrick Perkins' rebound rate is a pedestrian 13.7 percent, and the Thunder have a Net Player Efficiency Rating (Net PER) of -4.5 at center...
Earl Clark - His projected minutes are knocked down a tiny bit due to a sore foot and the beckoning call of All-Star weekend rest, but even at 31.6 projected minutes, Clark's projected stats are still solid enough to be on our optimized roster. Clark has the duel threat of consistent points and consistent rebounds; he has double-digit points in six of his past seven games and double-digit rebounds in four games over the same span.
Steve Nash - Chris Paul may force turnovers, but it'll be tough for him to stop Steve Nash's assist prowess. In the only L.A. Battle this season with both Nash and Paul healthy, the Lakers guard finished with 12 points and 10 assists. That alone would be enough to warrant his inclusion on this list, but with at least 15 points in two of the four games with Pau Gasol out, his potential for points is even higher.
Jamal Crawford - It's not too often that the Clippers secondary players get to shine, but today, we have a cavalcade of them. First up is Jamal Crawford, who has been slightly hampered by a shoulder injury... to the tune of a 17.7 PPG average over his last four contests. Well then. Facing off against Kobe is never easy, but then again, Kobe's 107 defensive rating is his highest mark allowed since the '06-07 season.
DeAndre Jordan - The rebounds are usually there, and will be tonight - even with Dwight Howard, neither their offensive nor defensive rebound percentage is in the top ten. But what about the points? Well, don't let Jordan's shotless game against New York on Sunday fool you, he attempted at least six shots in each of his other previous five games. And there's a good chance they'll go in against the Lakers and their .510 eFG% allowed to opposing centers.
Matt Barnes - He's usually hit or miss, solely depending on how he shoots from the field. But on a day without many lower-middle range options, he's a better chance to hit than everyone else. The Lakers allow opposing small forwards to shoot .506 eFG% from the field, and even with Caron Butler playing an unexpected (and likely not duplicated) 29 minutes against Houston, Barnes still put up 9 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds in fewer minutes.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Kevin Martin of the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's tough to have sleepers when they are only four teams playing on a particular day, but Martin may be worth the flier. Dwyane Wade's 105 defensive rating is actually his highest amount given up since '07-08, and the Heat as a team are only slightly above average (13th) in opponents' eFG%.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Caron Butler of the Los Angeles Clippers. Can't get enough of your Clippers fix? Well, what if I told you that perhaps his 29 minutes and 19 points against the Rockets wasn't a fluke? Indeed, the Rockets' top-ranked pace influences higher stats, but the Lakers are the fourth-quickest pace in the NBA themselves. And as already discussed with Matt Barnes, the Lakers do have a weakness at SF. He's boom or bust, but if you're going for the win in a large tournament, his potential production for $5,400 could be just the break you need.
Stay away from Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers today. Despite all of the talk about Chris Paul's amazing season, the key to the Clippers' stellar defense may just be down low. Centers are only shooting .486 eFG% against them this season and power forwards only .485 eFG%. Couple that with a team that is 10th in offensive rebound percentage and has been blocked the eighth-least in the NBA, and I don't trust Howard today.
The game to watch today is both of them. If you're not doing Valentine's Day things, as I did not last year, then do as I did last year: sitting down with a few beers and watching the best the NBA has to offer sounds like an excellent night by me. Fantasy-wise, seeing whether the Clippers can top the 106 they posted against Houston should be entertaining, especially with the point distribution against Kobe and gang.