Miss us? I know that I missed you. Or more accurately, I missed those sweet, sweet NBA projections. For the first time since Thursday, we're back with yet another Daily Fantasy statistically-optimized roster, and it couldn't feel better.
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
David Lee - All that stuff about this being a match-up between two playoff teams? Well, it's not because of Utah's defense. The Jazz rank 22nd in defensive rating, 18th in opponents' effective field goal percentage (eFG%), and 24th in defensive rebound. Add it all together, and it equals a good value for Lee, even with his high price tag today.
Stephen Curry - It brings me pain to have three different Warriors players on this optimized roster going against my beloved Jazz. Especially for point guards going against them, however, it makes perfect sense. Jamaal Tinsley's 108 defensive rating is among the worst of points guards currently starting in the NBA, and opposing PGs are shooting .506 eFG% against them this season.
Marc Gasol - So much for a late January rebounding slump. With an average of 10.5 rebounds per game over his last four (and at least nine boards in each of those contests), Gasol is back to being a constant double-double threat. Facing Detroit and their 23rd-ranked defensive rebound percentage, that threat could now be DEFCON 1.
Tim Duncan - All together now: trust big men against the Sacramento Kings. That goes double if the familiar refrain props up an underrated scorer in Duncan who hasn't returned to his full cost after injury. Duncan has only played Sacramento once this season - that game ended in 23 points and 12 rebounds for the big man.
Nikola Vucevic - Orlando isn't exactly the strongest offense, but I'll trust them against the Charlotte Bobcats. Given Charlotte's next-to-last defensive rating, next-to-last defensive eFG%, and third-to-last defensive rebound rate, the stars are aligning for a breakout Vucevic game. Vucevic's 12.5 percent offensive rebound rate should mean a few put-backs tonight.
Carlos Boozer - Strangely enough, power forward is one of the strong points of the New Orleans defense. Of course, by strong point, I mean that they still allow opposing PFs to shoot .503 eFG%, collect 1.5 blocks per game, and only collect 3.7 total fouls per game. I'm fine sticking with the criminally low-cost (below $10k?!?) Boozer and his five straight double-digit point games tonight despite the trade rumors.
Klay Thompson - The third of the Warriors trio, Klay Thompson looks to exploit the other key defensive weakness of the Utah Jazz: small forward. Marvin Williams holds a 109 defensive rating on the season, and small forwards shoot .506 eFG% against the Jazz. Sound familiar from Curry's section? The only different here would normally be fewer shots, but at least 14 in each of his four games directly before All-Star Weekend gives me faith that he'll have his chances.
Ramon Sessions - Remember what I said about Vucevic playing for a weak offense but having a chance to shine by going against a weak defense? Well, put it down, flip it, and reverse it Missy Elliott-style. The Magic have a weak defense as well, sitting 24th in defensive rating and having the lowest turnovers forced rate in the league. Especially with Ben Gordon's playing time on a downward trend, the opportunities will be there for Sessions.
Manu Ginobili - Yes, he recently was hampered by injury. Yes, he only played 10 minutes in his first game back. Yes, he hasn't gotten a start all season. No, I don't care. The Sacramento Kings and their dead-last defensive rating provide the perfect platform for Ginobili to get back on track. Stephen Jackson's absence means that they'll likely need to lean on him as well.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Arron Afflalo of the Orlando Magic. Another Magic player going against the Charlotte Bobcats, Afflalo and his 0.1 percent-from-team-leading 22.4 usage rating has the chance to put up some massive points. Opposing shooting guards putting up a .518 eFG% against Charlotte should demonstrate that quite nicely.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Marco Belinelli of the Chicago Bulls. For only $5,000, Belinelli should put up decent minutes tonight for the Bulls. Even with Richard Hamilton back, Belinelli played 19 minutes in each of his past two games and posted an average of 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. The upside is that he's facing an easier defense than he did in those two games when he takes on New Orleans. The downside is whether Kirk Hinrich's return will hamper his minutes even further.
Stay away from Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Hornets today. Chicago can be a tough defense to crack, and that goes double for forwards. Opposing power forwards are only shooting .460 eFG% against them on the season, and their third-ranked offensive rebounding percentage limits opportunities on the boards. In his only game against Chicago this season, back on Nov. 3, Anderson only managed 13 points on 5-13 shooting.
The game to watch today is Golden State/Utah. It's not too often that you can say that a battle between the Warriors and Jazz features four of the eight highest-cost fantasy options on a particular day, but with Al Jefferson, David Lee, Paul Millsap, and Stephen Curry (in that order), that's indeed what you have here. The main issue in this game will be pace - will the game flow more like the Warriors' up-tempo style, or will the Jazz's slow-it-down, get it inside strategy rule the day?