Once you've done the Daily Fantasy thing for a while, you start to see the same names popping up over and over. For me, there's only so many ways that I can write "Dwyane Wade is good, trust him" or "You know, that George Hill guy might be kind of undervalued". It's a lot of the same players over and over.
That's why it's so refreshing to see a roster like today's optimized list. Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday, Shawn Marion, Jared Dudley; these are guys that I'm not sure whether they've been on our optimized roster yet this season. But for one reason or another (trade rumors!), their value is down to the perfect level to use them 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 - Last night, facing one of the worst offenses in the league, Charlotte still allowed Orlando to score 92 points and a 95.9 offensive rating. That was highlighted by Nikola Vucevic's 18 points on 9-of-16 shooting against Byron Mullens. So what's going to happen when a real offensive center like Monroe gets in there to face the next-to-last defense in defensive rating? Domination, I'd say.
Kyrie Irving - Irving can be a little bit inefficient at times. His 110 offensive rating is solid, but not spectacular. His 30.0 percent usage rating is high, but the Cavs as a team are only 18th in offensive rating. So what makes him worth the price tag tonight? The opposing Hornets do, as they are 27th in defensive rating, 22nd in percentage of turnovers forced, and allow opposing point guards to shoot .502 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) this season.
Chris Bosh - Atlanta's a surefire playoff team, but you wouldn't know it with their defensive production at center. Opposing big men shoot .505 eFG% against them at that spot (highest of any position) and collect a total of 13.3 rebounds per game. Those aren't staggering numbers, but considering Atlanta's strength elsewhere, Bosh should be a bigger option in Miami's offensive scheme tonight. Assuming that Coach Spoelstra reads numberFire, of course. (Hi Coach!)
Jrue Holiday - 37.6 projected minutes is a large proportion of the game, but Holiday may be the one player most up to the task. The point guard has played at least 38 minutes in nine of his past ten games, all except for one 29-minute outlier against the Clippers and Chris Paul just before the All-Star Break. There's no reason to expect Minnesota to give him Paul-type troubles. In fact, with Rubio's 105 defensive rating and 24.7 percent turnover rate, I expect the opposite.
Nikola Vucevic - How much do you think Dallas would like Tyson Chandler back right about now? After seeing a .510 eFG% and 13.8 rebounds per game to opposing centers, I have to figure that the answer is, "Please, for the love of God, give us a post presence!" One night after tearing up Charlotte, Vucevic is a solid bet to do it again facing Dallas's 28th-ranked offensive rebound rate.
Roy Hibbert - They're known as the defensive monsters for a reason - the Pacers are first in defensive rating and 24th in offensive rating. But it's defense that could help Hibbert fantasy-wise tonight as well. With a 6.8 percent block rate, Hibbert's 2.5 projected rejections are only behind Serge Ibaka for the most projected blocks today.
Shawn Marion - The man can do it all - his 15.3 rebound percentage is second on the Mavs, his 13.2 percent assist rate is only 0.8 percent Dirk for third, and his 108 offensive rating is fourth behind Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, and Brandan Wright. Even if his usage rate isn't that high, playing the Orlando Magic and their 108.0 defensive rating (25th) guarantees some points.
J.R. Smith - As mentioned above, the Pacers have a tough defense. 99.3 points allowed per 100 possessions is nothing to mess with. But if there's one place an opposing team might have a chance, it's at shooting guard - they've allowed opponents to shoot .470 eFG% there this season (only .001% behind center). Smith, who has 13 points in eight of his last nine games, should take advantage at the price tag of... $9,400? That low? Yes, I will take advantage, thank you very much.
Jared Dudley - As editor, I reserve the right to change this before tipoff if he gets shipped off somewhere in the next eight hours. But for now, Jared Dudley remains a solid - although unspectacular - value against Golden State tonight. The Warriors defense has been floundering as of late; after last night's loss to the Jazz, they're 21st in defensive rating. Dudley's team-leading 115 offensive rating make him a solid bet to take advantage efficiently.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Ramon Sessions of the Charlotte Bobcats. Yeah, he did decent, but not spectacular on our optimized roster yesterday: 10 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds against Orlando doesn't serve to inspire too much confidence. But I'm not going away from him quite yet, especially against a Detroit team that is in the bottom half of the league in defensive rating and allows shooting guards to shoot .498 eFG% against them. Sessions plays about three-fifths of his minutes at the SG slot alongside Walker.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Andrea Bargnani of the Toronto Raptors. Your guess is as good as mine as to what's up with Bargnani's minutes. Yesterday he had 26; in his two games before the break, he had 30 combined. But if he gets the opportunity, the man will shoot: his 25.7 percent usage rating is highest among Raptors players with 10 games played for the team (i.e. not Rudy Gay). At a low $5,400, he could be worth the risk.
Stay away from Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers today. Look, I know Kobe's always tempting, and he's always going to get at least some points. Today, though, I wouldn't trust him to obtain the value that comes with his price tag. The Celtics have only allowed a defensive rating above 100 in four of their last ten games; for comparison's sake, the league's best average is Indiana at 99.3. One of those teams they held under 100 were the Lakers themselves. Kobe did have 27 that game (the only Laker above 13), but also had zero assists and four turnovers.
The game to watch today is Philadelphia/Minnesota. Both teams can score well against each other's weaknesses; Philly has the guard game while Minnesota has the low-post presence. Couple that with two average defensive teams with injury concerns, and we could see some easy points coming from low-cost players quite easily in this game.