By Alex Barutha, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
As the dust settles on trade deadline fallout and buyout season, we’re heading straight into All-Star weekend. That gives plenty of injured players time to recover, meaning you might be looking to drop some players who are benefiting from injured starters (Mario Hezonja, for example).
If you’re in that boat, or just looking to bolster your team as the fantasy playoffs near, the four players highlighted below could give your team some extra life.
Tomas Satoransky, Wizards (29 percent owned)
Despite being relatively unknown, Satoransky, the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, has proven himself to be a quality NBA player this season. The 6-foot-7 guard has taken over the Wizards’ point guard duties over the past nine games with John Wall (knee) sidelined and should continue to hold that role until Wall’s return sometime in mid-March. Posting 11.4 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds and a combined 2.1 steals/blocks in Wall’s absence, Satoransky has proven to be a two-way threat in the 28.0 minutes per game he’s been given. He’s also been shooting 55.9 percent from the field and hitting 1.6 threes per game at a 60.9 percent clip.
At just 29-percent-owned, Satoransky has been the 25th-ranked player over the past two weeks and a wildly unforseen 11th over the past seven days, posting 16.0 points, 7.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and a combined 1.7 steals/blocks in the latter timeframe. His role will be diminished once Wall laces up again, likely to the point that he’ll be a drop candidate once that occurs. But his size and overall skill makes him a strong sixth-man candidate in a shallow Wizard’s rotation, so he may retain some utility in deeper formats.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kings (34 percent owned)
As coach Dave Joerger continues to frustrate many fantasy owners in year-long and daily formats alike by drastically altering his rotations on a nightly basis, the one constant has been Bogdanovic, who leads Sacramento in minutes played (1,479). He also leads the team in true shooting percentage (57.7%), is second on the team in total assists (173) and steals (54), and ranks third in net rating (plus-1.4) among Kings’ players who have played at least 1,000 minutes.
That’s all to say that Bogdanovic is here to stay, both as a real-life player and fantasy asset. He’s been especially valuable over the past two weeks, ranking as the 63rd fantasy player by way of 13.7 points (42.0 percent from the field), 5.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 threes and 1.4 steals in just over 30 minutes per game. He’s also taken 14.5 shots per game over the past four outings. For comparison, that’s near the same amount of shots that Evan Fournier (14.2) has averaged on the season. Overall, Bogdanovic is a must-own in standard formats, as he’s proven to be on of the most reliable players in the Kings’ gameplan and will probably continue to be for the remainder of the campaign.
Dwight Powell, Mavericks (38 percent owned)
Powell, who averages 19.8 minutes per game on the season, began to see more run on Jan. 31 against the Suns, when he garnered 28 minutes and produced seven points and seven boards. Over the next two contests, with Harrison Barnes sidelined due to an ankle injury, Powell saw 30.0 minutes per game, averaging 12.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Despite Barnes returning, Powell’s expanded role has stuck, as he’s averaged 18.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal over the past four games. In short, he’s been the 41st-ranked fantasy player over the past 14 days.
Whether or not this is here to stay is a fair question considering his role has been relatively up-and-down all season up to this point. The answer may lie in something coach Rick Carlisle said last weekend, which is that he’s planning on pulling back on minutes for the teams’ established veterans, especially Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki. That, in turn, should allow for Powell to continue seeing the workload he needs to be a productive fantasy player in standard formats. He doesn’t need a lot of run to be viable, as he’s averaged 11.9 points and 7.1 rebounds on 67.0 percent shooting in the 14 games in which he’s seen at least 24 minutes.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks (18 percent owned)
This is largely speculative, as the Knicks have played Mudiay 29, 19 and 20 minutes, respectively, over his first three games on the team. His value in standard formats is highly contingent on coach Jeff Hornacek drastically pulling back the workload of some of his veteran backcourt players, namely Jarrett Jack and Courtney Lee. However, that wouldn’t be surprising considering Kristaps Porzingis (knee) is out for the season, leaving the Knicks without the horses to compete for one of the final playoff spots in the East.
Assuming coach Hornacek does, indeed, rest his veterans, Mudiay will still be competing with rookie Frank Ntilikina for playing time, which could put them in somewhat of a split role. That’s essentially been the case over the past three games, with Mudiay averaging 23.0 minutes and Ntilikina averaging 20.9 minutes per contest.
Overall, it’s hard to recommend Mudiay in anything other than deep leagues at the moment. But if he finds his niche in New York, fantasy owners could reap the benefits heading into the playoffs.