The NBA playoffs are upon us. The first round gets underway Saturday with a four-game slate starting at 1 p.m. ET. Let’s dive into some of the top options to consider at each position.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,800) – Morant is officially back for the Grizzlies, and he should be able to play close to his usual workload in Game 1 vs. the Timberwolves. It’s an outstanding matchup, with Minnesota ranking first in pace this season. The Grizzlies have also played at a top-four pace, so this game should feature plenty of possessions.
Morant also stands out as the best per-minute producer at the position. He’s averaged 1.42 DKFP per minute, so he can do some damage in this spot.
Other Options – Jalen Brunson ($7,200), D’Angelo Russell ($7,200)
Spencer Dinwiddie, Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz ($6,300) – The biggest news on Saturday involves the Mavericks, who will be without all-world point guard Luka Doncic (calf), who has been ruled out. Doncic has been outstanding over the second half of the year, and his absence will open up tons of additional offensive responsibilities for the rest of the roster.
Dinwiddie figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of a Doncic absence. Since joining the Mavericks, Dinwiddie has increased his usage rate by 9.1% with Doncic off the floor. The result is an average of 1.24 DKFP per minute, which is the top mark on the squad. Dinwiddie has also averaged 44.38 DKFP in two full games without Doncic, making him one of the best values on the slate.
Other Options – Patrick Beverley ($5,400), Monte Morris ($4,900)
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers ($7,900) – VanVleet has been hampered by a knee injury, which has caused him to miss 10 of the Raptors' past 23 games. However, head coach Nick Nurse has shown no mercy on him when he’s been in the lineup. He’s still routinely approached 40 minutes of playing time, and he should see at least that much run vs. the 76ers. VanVleet has averaged 1.09 DKFP per minute this season, so he should be able to pay off his salary with that much playing time.
Other Options – James Harden ($9,200), Donovan Mitchell ($8,100)
Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors ($5,100) – The Nuggets are looking for anyone who can give them consistent production alongside Nikola Jokic ($10,600), and Hyland has gotten more opportunities of late. He’s responded well, racking up at least 30.0 DKFP in four of his past six games. Don’t expect Hyland to play a ton of minutes, but he should be able to make up for it with his average of 1.04 DKFP per minute.
Other Options – Reggie Bullock ($4,800), Gary Payton II ($3,500)
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies ($7,600) – This game stands out as the clear top target from a fantasy perspective. The total currently sits at 236.0 points, and no other game is above 223. That’s a pretty massive gap.
Edwards is coming off a strong performance in the play-in game, finishing with 42.75 DKFP over 37 minutes. He benefitted from Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,600) dealing with foul trouble, but Edwards has scored at least 41.0 DKFP in six of his past eight games. That makes $7,600 a nice price tag in an excellent matchup.
Other Options – Scottie Barnes ($6,900), Gary Trent Jr. ($5,900)
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers ($5,500) – Anunoby stands out as one of the top values on the slate. His playing time was limited down the stretch, but the Raptors weren’t really trying in those contests. Like most of the Raptors, Anunoby has the potential to approach 40 minutes now that the playoffs are here. Anunoby has averaged a strong 0.90 DKFP per minute, so he has excellent upside for his price tag.
Other Options – Otto Porter ($4,700), Danny Green ($3,700)
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets ($6,100) – Power forward is one of the weaker positions on Saturday’s slate, but Green deserves some consideration. He’s not the same player that he was in his prime – his scoring and 3-point shooting numbers continue to deteriorate – but he’s still a major threat in the peripheral categories. He’s averaged 7.0 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game this season, and he’s done it in an average of 28.9 minutes.
Green should see a few additional minutes per game during the postseason, and he’s averaged 1.07 DKFP per minute. There aren’t many options at power forward with that kind of per-minute upside.
Other Options – Pascal Siakam ($8,900), Tobias Harris ($6,700)
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($3,800) – Clarke is actually one of the few power forwards who have been better than Green on a per-minute basis. He’s averaged 1.14 DKFP per minute, albeit over a smaller sample size. He figures to see around 18-20 minutes in this contest, which should be enough.
Other Options – Jarred Vanderbilt ($4,000), Jeff Green ($3,600)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors ($10,600) – Center is absolutely loaded at the top, but it’s hard to pass up on Jokic at $10,600. He turned in another monster season, finishing with a career-best 27.1 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. He also added his usual outstanding marks as a distributor, averaging 7.9 assists. Overall, he averaged 61.25 DKFP per game during the regular season, which blows away his previous career-high of 56.95.
There’s no reason to expect anything less in the postseason. If anything, Jokic should be able to improve upon his average of 33.5 minutes per game. He should be a popular choice, but it’s hard to avoid him at such a cheap price tag.
Other Options – Joel Embiid ($10,400), Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,600)
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz ($5,200) – Powell has been a solid source of value for the Mavericks recently. He’s scored at least 24.25 DKFP in five of his past seven games, and the Mavericks are going to need his size in this series. Rudy Gobert ($8,000) will be patrolling the paint for the Jazz, and Powell will be asked to keep him off the glass. That should result in a solid handful of minutes, even with Maxi Kleber ($3,300) cleared to return to the lineup.
Other Options – Kevon Looney ($3,400), Maxi Kleber ($3,300)
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