This article is part of our FantasyDraft NBA series.
Saturday's five-game slate keeps our choices relatively narrow, especially considering there's some normally high-powered teams in action with no way to improve their playoff positioning (Rockets and Warriors). However, in a tight Western Conference, the likes of the Thunder, Spurs and Pelicans all have to keep winning, as none of the three have yet to officially clinch a playoff berth. Moreover, the Nets-Bulls tilt between two teams playing out the string could well turn out to be one of the higher scoring of the night, considering the vulnerable defense and fast pace of both squads. With quite a few factors to examine, let's get right to the task of identifying where we might find the top values at each price tier.
Russell Westbrook, OKC at HOU ($22,100): The Thunder are still looking to lock up their playoff spot, which should equate to another monster game for DFS' favorite triple-double threat. Westbrook has scored 67.75 to 77.0 fantasy points in three straight games, and he's averaged 31.5 points (on 52.9 percent shooting), 9.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals across 38.0 minutes in two prior games against the Rockets this season. Houston has allowed 50.0 fantasy points per game to point guards over the last 10 contests as well, a notable jump over their 41.6 season figure. Westbrook is averaging a whopping 25.0 shot attempts over the aforementioned three-game sample, and his usage could remain similarly elevated in Saturday's must-win contest.
Jrue Holiday, NO at GS ($15,000): The Pelicans are yet another team that has to keep winning to ensure their playoff spot, putting several of their front-line pieces in play Saturday. Holiday is averaging 23.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists across 37.7 minutes over three prior meetings with the Warriors, and Golden State comes in allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game (56.0) to two-guards over the last 10. They're also allowing the fourth-most made three-pointers (4.1) and fourth-highest shooting percentage (47.0) to the position over that span, while Holiday has been a virtual lock for 30 fantasy points down the home stretch and should be in the neighborhood of that caliber of production in what projects as one of the most uptempo contests of the night.
Jerian Grant, CHI vs. BKN ($8,900): Grant has hit double digits in the scoring column in the first three games of April, shooting 44.4 percent or better in each of those contests. He's been seeing a healthy allotment of minutes in the mid-20s on average on many nights, putting him in play against an uptempo Nets squad that's allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to point guards on the season (44.3), including 55.5 over the last 10. Brooklyn is also playing at the sixth-highest pace of play (102.7 possessions per game), which only serve to brighten Grant's prospects at a very reasonable price.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at NY ($18,100): Antetokounmpo is already averaging 26.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals across 35.7 minutes in three games against the Knicks, and he comes into Saturday's contest having eclipsed 50 fantasy points in three of the past four games. He's hit the double-double bonus in four straight as well, while the Knicks have allowed 55.7 fantasy points per game to power forwards over their last five. Given Milwaukee's ongoing quest to maximize playoff positioning and the fact the Knicks' frontcourt has thinned as the season wound down, Antetokounmpo should be in for another strong performance.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, BKN at CHI ($13,900): Hollis-Jefferson had an 11.25 fantasy-point clunker against the Sixers two games ago, but he's otherwise scored at least 30 fantasy points in nine of the previous 10 games. The Bulls have allowed 42.5 fantasy points per game to power forwards over their last 10, as well as the third-highest offensive efficiency rating (27.6) to the position on the season. Furthermore, Chicago is allowing 44.6 points in the paint per game this season, while RHJ is logging over half of his scoring (52.5 percent) from that area of the floor. The Bulls' league-worst 43.5 percent team shooting is also likely to give Hollis-Jefferson plenty of rebound opportunities, while the accelerated pace of both teams should benefit his overall production.
Nikola Mirotic, NO at GS ($10,100): Mirotic's price did not have time to adjust following his 59.50 fantasy-point tally against the Suns on Friday, making him an excellent value play again Saturday. The Warriors have notably been much more vulnerable to power forwards lately, allowing 55.0 fantasy points per game to the position over their last five, as compared to a 38.2 season figure. Mirotic was also brilliant in his one prior meeting with the Warriors, posting 24 points (on 69.2 percent shooting), six rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block across 27 minutes. The floor-spacing big man should also be another beneficiary of what projects to be an especially accelerated pace of play, affording him an excellent opportunity to once again provide an explosive return.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. POR ($17,400): Aldridge has touched up his old Trail Blazers squad for averages of 26.0 points (on 57.9 percent shooting), 11.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 2.0 blocks across 35.5 minutes over two games this season. The Spurs remain in must-win mode in their quest to lock up a playoff spot, meaning that Aldridge should see sky-high usage once again. LMA has scored 45.75 to 65.75 fantasy points in nine of the last 10 games, a stretch during which he's sporting a 35.2 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.51 fantasy points per minute. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers have been exceedingly vulnerable to power forwards recently, allowing the third-most fantasy points per game (63.0) to the position over the last five, along with the most rebounds (22.0).
Lauri Markkanen, CHI vs. BKN ($12,300): Markkanen compiled 26.50 fantasy points in his one prior meeting against the Nets on Feb. 26, and he's eclipsed 30 fantasy points in five of the last six games. The Nets have allowed the second-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards on the season (27.7), along with the fifth-most fantasy points per game (56.7) to the position over the last 10. Brooklyn has also surrendered the fourth-most points in the paint (47.8) on the season – including the most (58.0) over the last three – which should afford Markkanen some opportunities for some success down low. Even with a recent bump in price, Markkanen has still been providing strong returns that make him worth the investment.