Yesterday's full daily fantasy helper got cut a bit short - that's the byproduct of our daily projections updating at noon EST every day and myself not having time to get out a full preview before the MLK Day games hit. But even so, the Clippers duo of Blake Griffin (26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) and Jamal Crawford (24 points) helped to turn our frown upside down. Coupled with Evan Turner's excellent value for 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists, our projections were a Dwight Howard stinkbomb away from the top of the charts.
And we're back to do it again. 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
Blake Griffin - Can Blake truly perform to a high level on back to back nights? Believe it. In his seven previous games played on the second night of a doubleheader this season, Blake has registered four double-doubles, three games of at least 20 points, and three games of at least three steals.
Serge Ibaka - And on the other side of the OKC/LAC big man battle, we have Serge Ibaka. If the Clippers have one true weakness, it's defensive rebounding: their 75.2 percent defensive rebounding percentage is 22nd in the NBA. Think that Ibaka and his team-leading 15.0 percent total rebound percentage (and 11.1 percent offensive rebound rate) are going to take advantage? We do.
Greg Monroe - Eight straight games of double-digit points makes Pistons fans happy. Five straight games with a points-rebounds double-double makes them even happier. And going against a Magic team that is 23rd in defensive rating (107.0 points allowed per 100 possessions) and 23rd in ORB% should make them ecstatic.
Monta Ellis - What does Monta Ellis do? Shoot, shoot, and shoot again: despite an absymal .423 effective field goal percentage (eFG%), Ellis's usage rating sits at 27.9 percent of scoring plays while he's on the floor, three percentage points ahead of the next closest Bucks player (Brandon Jennings). Good thing for him that the Sixers are 18th in opponents' eFG%.
Paul Pierce - It's the rebounding that gives The Truth the extra value. He's averaged eight rebounds per game over his last three contests, and his 18.5 DRB% sits third on the Celtics behind Garnett and Sullinger. Against a Cleveland team that is now without Anderson Varejao for the rest of the season, it becomes even easier.
Evan Turner - Milwaukee has a surprisingly strong defense, and Monta Ellis and his 104 defensive rating is a big part of that. But considering Turner's recent run, it will be hard to keep the ball out of his hands. Turner has put up at least 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in three of his past five games, with a big assist day and a big rebounds day coming in the other two.
Matt Barnes - Matt Barnes, even against the Thunder and Kevin Durant playing the opposite small forward slot? Believe it. The last time the Clippers played the Thunder, Barnes went for 19 points and 9 rebounds in a season-high 44 minutes played. While we only project him to get 27 minutes this game, a projected 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds as his median does quite nicely for only $9k.
Dion Waiters - Waiters isn't playing the most efficient basketball in the world; Cleveland shooting guards are averaging an 11.1 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) this season, while the average for that statistic is at 15. There aren't too many teams worse at SG... although tonight's opponent Boston is one of them, only registering a 9.7 PER at the SG slot this season.
Kevin Martin - In speaking of PER, know what the only position where the Clippers have a worse PER than their opponents is? Shooting guard. Clippers' opponents are shooting a .511 eFG% from the SG position this year, .026 higher than from any other position on the floor. And if there's one thing Kevin Martin can do, it's shoot the lights out.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is J.J. Redick of the Orlando Magic. The Detroit Pistons have been solid defending the shot this season; their opponents' .480 eFG% ranks ninth in the NBA. But that production surely doesn't come from the SG position. Opposing shooting guards are shooting .481 eFG% against them, which results in a net PER of -4.1 when Detroit's SGs are compared to their opponents. On Nov. 26 against Detroit, Redick had 23 points, his third highest total of the season.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics. Remember that thing I said up there about how Dion Waiters wasn't the most efficient player in the world? His 111 defensive rating (worst among Cleveland starters) is a big reason why the Cavaliers are 28th in the NBA in that category and dead-last in opponents' eFG%. For only $5,200, Bradley could provide a bit of value even in limited minutes.
Stay away from Russell Westbrook of the Thunder today. That whole deal about how he's a talented scorer but a little careless with the ball? That won't fly against the Clippers. Lob City is first in the NBA in opponents' turnover percentage (16.0 percent of all possessions), and Eric Bledsoe and Chris Paul (if he plays) are 1-2 in the NBA in steal percentage.
The game to watch today is Thunder/Clippers. Let's just put it this way: the five highest-priced players actually playing today are Durant, Westbrook, Irving, Griffin, and Paul. There's a good chance that the star of this game will also be the key player on the winning Daily Fantasy rosters. As you can see above, we've got our money on Griffin once again, although Paul is also a solid choice if you can be assured he's fully healthy (and we're not).