Daily Fantasy Basketball Salary Movements: Marcus Morris Finds a New Home

Watching daily fantasy pricing swings to find bargains and players not worth their new price.

Identifying swings in salary (both up and down) for individual players, determining whether the change is justified by digging into advanced stats, and formulating actionable ideas based on the findings is vital process to success in daily fantasy sports.

As savvy daily fantasy players, we are always looking for value. Value is always more attainable as a player's salary goes down -- or is it a value trap? On the flip side, as salary increases, it becomes more difficult for a player to reach value -- or is the rising price actually a sign to buy? The answer: it depends. 

Intuitively, we like to buy low and fade high. Jim Cramer, of Mad Money fame, likes to invest in broken stocks, not broken companies, when a given stock price moves down. A "broken stock" means that circumstances beyond the companies control caused the price to go down. This is what we are digging to find in our NBA daily games -- tough matchups, slow pace, poor game flow causing misfortune to a player through no fault of his own.

These are situations that can create hidden value going forward, ones we should be looking to take advantage of. We are trying to avoid the broken player who is not worth the price to play him no matter how low it goes.

In the same sense, how high can a player's price rise until it is "too high?" When Russell Westbrook went on his incredible run last year without Kevin Durant, at what point did his price scare you? If you were like many, you probably bailed too soon. As his price went up, it was because he was worth every last dollar. This quick-glance evaluation happens all the time when comparing players. You know it when you see it. Don't you? We need to determine whether our biases are valid or not.

So, that's the long-winded introduction to say, let's spot a good deal and know a bad deal when we see one. Be mindful of Vegas lines, opponent pace-of-play, individual matchups and game flow concerns when making all lineup decisions.

Since some teams have still only played one game thus far, we haven't had much chance for stats to accumulate and for sites to adjust. However, there are a few noteworthy moves already to mention. 

C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

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I'm not sure why we're talking about C.J. McCollum here -- do you? He had a good night Wednesday, you say? Hmm, let's see: 37 points, 22 points in the first quarter, 8 three-point field goals, 6 rebounds, zero turnovers. Wait, you must be talking about Stephen Curry. Nope, in case you were living under a rock, I'd say how did you get under there? 

Also, you would have missed McCollum's coming out party. Those numbers aren't sustainable, even for Curry, but this won't be the last time you hear about McCollum this year. The new starter at shooting guard in Portland had a 28.5 percent Usage Rate Wednesday night and played 37 minutes. The signs were there after scoring 33 points with 7 three-pointers in Game 5 of last year's playoff loss to Memphis. McCollum can light it up and forms a lethal backcourt duo with Damian Lillard. His price will continue to rise as C.J. is now Portland's second scoring option. The price shouldn't deter you -- yet.

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

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If you are at all familiar with how LaMarcus Aldridge was priced the past couple years, you might have thought you found yourself a bargain on opening night. You would have been wrong. LMA had a rather pedestrian line of 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That's not the guy we remember from Portland. And that's the problem -- Aldridge isn't the lead dog in Portland anymore. He's part of a balanced crew in San Antonio.

It's very possible Aldridge will struggle a bit initially as he tries to fit with the Spurs, and his scoring was certainly hurt by Kawhi Leonard's career-high 32-point game. After being used on 30 percent of possessions in each of the past two years, that rate was nearly cut in half to 18.5 percent in his first game with Gregg Popovich's squad. Just as concerning, his Defensive Rebounding Rate was less than half of his past two years in Portland at 11.3 percent.

However, this was his first game with the Spurs, and he is still getting acclimated to his teammates. He is still just 30 years old and his skills have not deteriorated. Aldridge is merely a tournament play until his role is better defined, but keep your eye on him because he could be a bargain when the Spurs rest their older players.

Marcus Morris, Detroit Pistons

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When pricing was first released for opening night, I was immediately drawn to the name of Marcus Morris. Coming over in a trade from Phoenix, Morris was inserted into the starting lineup at small forward and came through in a big way for DFS owners. His 18-point, 10-rebound game (plus 4 assists and a 3-pointer) helped win a lot of people find success.

His per-36 minutes rates are only up slightly from last year, but the big difference is that he has played an average of 36.5 minutes per game, up from 25.2 last year in Phoenix. In addition, he has been used on 20.6 percent of Detroit's possessions, up from 19 percent last year and has doubled his Offensive Rebounding Rate ate from 3.9 percent to 8.1 percent. Morris is an above-league average shooter from deep for his career at 36.4 percent. As long as he keeps playing big minutes, he should continue to produce.

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

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Oh Ricky, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind. Did I just show my age there? Man, Ricky Rubio sure did look fantastic the other night. Seemingly finally healthy after only playing in 22 games last year (and keeping us guessing about his availability in countless others), Rubio put on a shooting clinic Wednesday night, knocking down 58.8 percent of his field goal attempts overall and shooting 2-of-4 from downtown. Those rates are unsustainable, but we can only hope his recovery from his severe hamstring injury resulted in a new and improved jumper.

We already knew Rubio was a maestro with the ball in his hands, and he now is surrounded by the finest orchestra thus far with the Timberwolves. His 14 assists were above his career per 36 minute rate of 10 per game, but with better scoring talent around, there is no reason he won’t finish the season in double digits. Rubio is a legit triple-double threat every time he takes the court. He won't score like this, maybe not again this season, but he only came down with 2 rebounds versus his career average of 5 per game, and he is good for 2.5 steals per game. Rubio has a high floor and the scoring is gravy. His price will likely keep climbing, so take advantage while you can.

Clint Capela, Houston Rockets

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Starting in place of the suspended Dwight Howard, Clint Capela flexed his defensive muscles Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets. In only 25 minutes, Capela finished with 9 points, 7 boards, 3 blocks and 2 steals. At or near minimum price, inserting Capela into your lineup allowed you to fit an extra stud under the cap while garnering a very nice return. On Wednesday, he posted an elite Block Rate of 11.1 percent and a Steal Rate of 3.9 percent that would have placed him 1st and 2nd in the NBA last year, respectively. Alas, with Howard's return, we will only see Capela in fun-sized pieces until Superman’s back inevitably acts up on him. File away his name until that happens.

Joffrey Lauvergne, Denver Nuggets

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Capela’s opposing center was no slouch in limited minutes Wednesday night either. Joffrey Lauvergne sat much of the second half of the Nuggets' blowout victory but still managed to post excellent numbers at minimum salary. In 22 minutes, he ended the night with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 1 assists and 1 three-pointer. Not bad, but transposed to a per 36 minute rate, those stats become 18 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and assists. Now we’re talking.

He averaged 13.3 points and 8.8 boards in 25 minutes of preseason action, so those numbers are real. He will get all the playing time he can handle with Wilson Chandler out for two more weeks, and even when Chandler returns, he should have a floor of 25 minutes until Jusuf Nurkic returns sometime in December. Lauvergne doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he is relatively unknown and usable anywhere in this price range.