Yesterday's optimized table had its ups and downs. David Lee, Paul Millsap, Chandler Parsons, DeMar DeRozan, and Andre Miller all played above and beyond their expected value. Kobe and J.J. Hickson... didn't, to say the least. But that's the fun of Daily Fantasy; we get to try it all over 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
Blake Griffin - Healthy? I'd say that an average of 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds over his past two games is a solid indicator. And those were against better defenses than Houston's 21st defensive rating and quickest pace in the league, both stats that should have Griffin licking his chops about the matchup tonight.
Chris Paul - Now that's about where I'd expect his cost to be, not the roughly $12k figure from just two days ago. But even with the higher price tag, Paul is still a good matchup. The key tonight might just be steals: Houston is dead last in the NBA at turning the ball over (14.7 percent of possessions), while Paul's 4.1 percent steal rate is tops in the NBA.
Jrue Holiday - Jrue Holiday is a prototypical matchups player for Daily Fantasy. Would I trust him going against Chicago or Indiana? Not in the least. But do I trust him going against a Milwaukee squad that allows opposing point guards to shoot .499 effective field goal percentage (eFG%), sits with the fourth-quickest pace, and features a starting point guard with a 106 defensive rating? Absolutely.
O.J. Mayo - Channeling my inner Alicia Keys (it's absolutely there): this man is on fiiiiirrrrrreeee. An average of 22 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds over his past three games makes him a must-start against a Sacramento defense that is dead-last in defensive rating (111.1), 28th in opponents' eFG% (.514), and has given up at least 108 points in each of their past three games.
Carlos Boozer - 29 and 32 minutes in his last two games, respectively, make me feel good that Boozer is healthy for the long haul. So does facing Boston tonight: they have a -4.2 Net Player Efficiency Rating (PER) against opposing power forwards, allow them to shoot .481 eFG% from the field, and let them collect 12.8 rebounds per game (2.6 more than Boston's PFs do themselves).
Nikola Pekovic - Pekovic may have gotten banged up in his last game, but then again, he did play 40 minutes and has 35 minutes logged in four of his past five games. So I have no qualms about his projected 32.9 minutes tonight, and facing the 22nd in defensive rating and 24th in defensive rebounding Jazz should give him all the points and rebounds opportunities he can handle.
Spencer Hawes - With Thaddeus Young still out and Bynum still not back, playing time isn't a concern for Hawes. And with Larry Sanders already ruled out for tonight's game, neither is the opposing Milwaukee defense. Former Sixer Samuel Dalembert will be starting across from him tonight, he who has allowed opposing centers to shoot .556 eFG% this season.
Raymond Felton - I honestly can't for the life of me figure out why Felton's cost is still this low. Against the Clippers on Sunday, Felton posted his first 20 point game since coming back from injury, and he tacked on 5 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals to go with it. If that's how he performed against Chris Paul, imagine his output against Kyle Lowry and the Raptors' 26th-ranked defensive rating and 20th-ranked opponents' eFG%.
Nate Robinson - I've railed against the guard play defensively of the Boston Celtics recently, but it looks like it's been for good reason. The last four point guards they've faced: Kemba Walker (18 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds), Ty Lawson (29 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds), Steve Nash (9 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound), and Kyle Lowry (17 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds). With Nate Robinson on a tear, he's absolutely our best value tonight going against Boston.
Your medium-sized sleeper of the day is J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks. Normally on our optimized roster because of his high output for little cost, Smith was a casualty of a high number of high-value guys around his price range today. But that doesn't mean that you should forget about him entirely. Not going against DeMar DeRozan's 110 defensive rating, the Raptors' dead last defensive free throw factor (FT/FGA) on top of all the other reasons already mentioned for Raymond Felton.
Your deep sleeper of the day is Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks. I swear that I'm not lazy; he really is the best low-cost value of the day due to those reasons that I just described for J.R. Smith. He's certainly not getting Smith's minutes, but the potential is there for him to damage, even in only about 20 minutes played for the Knicks against Toronto tonight. He hasn't had a double-digit point day since Jan. 24, but if that's going to change, tonight's a solid bet.
Stay away from Jose Calderon of the Detroit Pistons today. We love Calderon's high eFG%, but he's barely had a chance to show it off in Detroit: he has only topped 15 points once in five Pistons games. He has been racking up the assists (average of 9 over his last four), but will he even be able to keep up his current production against the Wizards? Washington's fourth-best defensive rating, .466 eFG% against opposing point guards, and average of 8.1 assists allowed per 48 minutes indicates no.
The game to watch today is Clippers/Rockets. It's becoming a trend for those facing the Rockets: a fast-paced game equals a lot of points on both sides. But despite Paul and Griffin being on our optimized roster, I'm actually more interested in Houston. How will they fare against the Clippers' surprisingly strong defense without James Harden as their go-to man?