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The Best of the Best
Kevin Durant - There aren't too many high-priced options on a day with only four games, which makes Durant almost a must-play. You're not going to miss out on those potential points, are you? The Warriors have held small forwards to a particularly solid .462 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) this season, but starting SF Harrison Barnes does hold one of the team's highest defensive ratings at 107. And then there's Durant's performance against GS this year, which has produced an average 27.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game.
Carmelo Anthony - Why have one guy fighting for the scoring title when you could have both? OK, that's probably not too realistic in most formats, but there is a solid case for Melo. With Chandler and Martin out, it will be a small man's world against the Bulls (which should suit Chicago just fine with Joakim Noah out as well). That makes Anthony's relative size even more important; the Knicks' only other marginal low post threat available to play is Chris Copeland, who will be giving up lots of size to Nazr Mohammed. Against the Wizards on Tuesday, Anthony finished with an incredible 39.6 percent usage rate, and that was even with K-Mart playing.
David Lee - Oklahoma City doesn't have too many weaknesses, but one relative one is rebounding: they sit No. 16 in offensive rebounding percentage and No. 18 in defensive rebounding percentage. That lets Lee's 24.4 percent defensive rebound rate comes into play here and makes him the best option of a slew of Warriors. In three contests against the Thunder this season, Lee has gotten 11, 12, and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Top Mid-Range Values
Chris Copeland - I guess he's going to start at center tonight? But with Joakim Noah out and Nazr Mohammed in for the Bulls, that might not necessarily be a bad thing. With Chandler and K-Mart not even making the road trip for the Knicks, we're not concerned about his minutes production. We're slightly concerned that he'll be able to keep up the points - there's no way that .611 eFG% in very limited minutes at center is sustainable - but for such a low cost (minimum in many formats), he's worth the risk.
Nazr Mohammed - For the past week here at numberFire, it has essentially been the Nazr Mohammed and Steve Blake show. But even after two weaker games against the Raptors and Pistons, we're not getting off the bandwagon quite yet. Did I forget to mention something about Chris Copeland up there? He's 6'8". Nazr Mohammed is 6'10" and 25 lbs. larger. Copeland also holds an 8.6 percent total rebound rate this season. Yes, that's single-digits for New York's starting center. I think I'm fine with Mohammed tonight.
Kevin Martin - I wrestled with whether to place Thabo Sefolosha or Kevin Martin in this slot, but on a day with so few high-priced options, it will be a spectacular day from a low-end guy that will make all the difference. And out of the two, Kevin Martin is clearly the player with the higher upside, even if Sefolosha's minutes are more guaranteed. Just take a look at their respective usage rates: Martin sits at 20.9 percent, while Sefolosha sits at 11.2 percent. With Martin's 20 PPG average in three contests against the Warriors, he's the one I want to roll the dice with.