NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 2/21/13
See, here's the fun of Trade Deadline Day: by the time I publish this article, somebody on my optimized roster might be headed on a plane to Milwaukee or something. But that's half the fun of sports; you never quite know what's going to happen.
Thankfully, though, there are only two games today. The Heat look content to sit out of the trade madness, the Spurs and the Bulls would only be adding pieces rather than selling them, and honestly, are you thinking about playing Eric Bledsoe on your team today? In terms of Daily Fantasy, I think we're safe to be full steam ahead.
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 - I could go into the whole spiel about "Chicago has a strong defense", but let's face it: excluding Miami (12th), the other three teams playing today have a defensive efficiency ranking in the top six. Everybody's going against a good defense. So for tonight, it's all about efficiency weighted against cost. With a price tag that is $4,500 less than LeBron but only 3.7 less points expected, Wade certainly fits the bill.
Joakim Noah - With Chris Bosh and Tim Duncan ineligible to be selected as centers on StarStreet's player selection system, your center choices are essentially Noah, Jordan, Splitter, or a scratch. Oddly enough, we have all three on our optimized roster, but if Duncan were eligible as a center, all three (plus Leonard) would be scrapped in favor of Duncan, Chris Paul, Manu Ginobili, and Matt Barnes. Noah should do well enough, though, especially considering Miami's 27th-ranked offensive rebounding percentage and 17th-ranked defensive rebounding percentage.
Blake Griffin - San Antonio's other main weakness? Offensive rebounding: the Spurs' 20.2 percent offensive rebound rate is last in the league. Griffin's second-on-the-team (behind Lamar Odom) 22.9 percent defensive rebound rate should be able to take advantage nicely, giving him a healthy number of boards to go along with the points that are always there.
Carlos Boozer - While Noah's grabbing the boards, Boozer has a great chance to put up points in tonight's game. Opposing power forwards are shooting .507 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) against the Heat this season, the single-highest shooting percentage of any position that a team is allowing today.
Kawhi Leonard - I think we have a new record here at numberFire: Leonard's 2.01 value is the lowest that I've ever seen on our optimized roster. But with four teams playing, and all having excellent defensive efficiency, there really isn't too many other options. At least the Clippers have a relative weakness at the two positions likely to be guarding him; L.A. allows a higher eFG% to shooting guards and small forwards (in that order) than any other position on the floor.
Luol Deng - Do I really trust Luol Deng, knowing that occasionally he will be guarded by LeBron or Wade? For the price of $10,100, on a day when there are few other options, and seeing as how Deng has attempted at least 13 shots in eight of his past nine games, yes, I absolutely do.
DeAndre Jordan - So about that weak Spurs offensive rebound rate... but that's not the only reason to love DeAndre Jordan tonight. I also love his block rate (4.6 percent, 14th in the NBA), San Antonio's relative weakness to getting blocked (250 of their shots blocked is 11th in the NBA, but only ahead of Chicago among teams playing tonight), and his penchant for making baskets when he does decide to shoot (eFG% above .500 in 12 of last 13 games).
Tiago Splitter - So here's a fun tidbit: regardless of playing time, Tiago Splitter would be the eighth best player in the NBA. On our power rankings, he sits directly between Blake Griffin and Marc Gasol. But alas, his projected 24.8 minutes means that you have to take him with a grain of salt. Still, 10.3 projected points and 6 projected rebounds isn't bad, especially against a defense like the Clippers.
Jamal Crawford - Oh no, he only scored eight points against the Lakers! The fact that this is a cause for concern should tell you something about Crawford's scoring ability, which had seen him put up at least 13 points in each of his prior eight games. Expect a return to the mean against the Spurs, whose .476 defensive eFG% against opposing shooting guards is solid, but unspectacular enough to where Crawford should have some open looks.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is Nate Robinson of the Chicago Bulls. Uh oh, the Kirk Hinrich "game-time decision" curse is back for another go-around. If Hinrich starts and receives the majority of the playing time - as he did Tuesday - then I wouldn't touch Robinson with a six-foot pole (that, consequently, would be taller than he is). If Hinrich's out, however, then Robinson likely becomes the single-best value on the board today. Watch that injury report as the day goes on.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Stephen Jackson of the San Antonio Spurs. After being away from the team on Tuesday with an undisclosed personal issue, all indications that he'll be back with the Spurs for tonight's game (if, you know, he doesn't get traded before then). At only 19 projected minutes, he's not likely to put up big stats. But for a $4,000 roster filler, even getting something is more than you can often say at that price.
Stay away from nobody today. There are four teams playing. We have Kawhi Leonard, a 2.01 value player, on our optimized roster. There simply is so few alternative choices to be able to instantly cut someone out today. Keep an open mind when picking your roster.
The game to watch today is Twitter. That's because the trade deadline will (hopefully) be more interesting than it currently is. And if you want up-to-date playoff and championship odds as the trades roll in, make sure to check out our look Inside the Trade Deadline, which will be updated all day as trades occur.