Player Moves in the East (03/16/16)

By Tom W. Brewer @Tom_W_Brewer
NBA DFS: Fantasy Impact of Player Moves in the Eastern Conference

It's been about a month since the NBA trade deadline passed, and over two weeks since the buyout market closed. While none of the splashy rumors came true—Kevin Love stayed in Cleveland, Carmelo Anthony stayed in New York, Dwight Howard stayed in Houston—there was a decent amount of activity, and some familiar faces ended up in new places. With new teammates, new coaches, and new scenery, the arc of a player's career can change as he takes advantage of his fresh opportunity. But the players' fortune isn't the only one who can turn. You can cash in, if you know which guys benefitted most from changing teams. Today, we'll look at the Daily Fantasy impact of some of the more notable moves around the NBA's Eastern Conference.

1. Channing Frye – PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

Frye came to the Cavs via trade with the Orlando Magic, as Cleveland made a move to add some perimeter shooting down the stretch. They also unloaded Anderson Varejao's contract, making the deal a win for this year and beyond. Thus far, Frye's given the Cavs what they wanted, as he's shooting 46% from downtown since the mid-February All-Star Break. Defenders have to respect Frye's shooting, and the space they leave lets LeBron James and Kyrie Irving wreak havoc off the dribble.

From a fantasy perspective, Frye's been hit-or-miss to this point. He got off to a slow start with Cleveland, but he's coming on of late after strong fantasy performances against the Lakers, Clippers, and Jazz. It's possible Frye is finding his stride, and with the team planning to rest key players before the postseason, Frye could be worth fantasy consideration.

Recommendation: Proceed with caution. Frye is the perfect candidate for our Next Man Up tool. If you hear LeBron or Kevin Love is sitting, use it to project how Frye will perform.

2. Markieff Morris – PF, Washington Wizards

The world's worst kept secret was that Markieff Morris wanted out of Phoenix. He was a towel-throwing, complaint-spewing, coach-undermining, teammate-fighting hulk of discontent. But the guy's still a pretty good player, so Washington brought him in to give them a younger, more active post presence.

Morris is playing over 25 minutes per game with the Wizards, and he's even appeared in the starting lineup. His fantasy game has been strong recently, scoring 20+ points in five of his last six games on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

Recommendation: Play him. It's not like you have to really deal with him.

3. Ty Lawson – PG, Indiana Pacers

Remember when Houston signed Lawson and the world went bananas, thinking he and James Harden would be an unbeatable offensive combo? Yeah, feels like a long time ago to me, too. The Ty Lawson experiment didn't put the Rockets over the top, so they bought him out of his contract. The Pacers signed Lawson, taking a low-risk chance that he could add some pop to their second unit. But things haven't worked out in Indiana, either. Lawson injured his foot just five minutes into this Pacers' debut, and he's been out for three straight games.

Recommendation: Hard pass. Even if Lawson returns, it's unclear how the Pacers will use him. Considering he has little on-court chemistry with his Indiana teammates, it is fair to wonder if they'll use him at all.

4. Tobias Harris – PF, Detroit Pistons

Perhaps the biggest trade at the deadline was the Pistons sending Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova to Orlando for the 23 year-old Harris. A young stretch-four on a reasonable contract, Harris figures to be as much a part of Detroit's future as he has been during the team's current playoff push.

Harris has had a grand total of one fantasy stinker since arriving in the Motor City. One. A great fit in SVG's offensive scheme, Harris has put up 32+ in four of his last five games.

Recommendation: Play him without reservation. Did I mention he's only had one bad fantasy game since coming to Detroit? With a salary in the $6,000 range, Harris is an incredible value.

5. Joe Johnson – SG, Miami Heat

What a difference a winning culture makes. Just a month ago, Johnson had all the earmarks of a cautionary tale; his misery and poor play were evidence of what happens when a talented players, chooses money over winning. But his old team, the Brooklyn Nets, bought him out and Johnson went looking for a contender to join. He found one in the Heat.

Since signing with the Miami Mafia, Joe Johnson has enjoyed something of a renaissance. He's averaging 15-3-3 with the Heat, and giving the team a reliable starter when Dwyane Wade needs rest. He's a reliable fantasy player as well, regularly putting up 20+ points.

Recommendation: Play him for the right salary. For $5,500 or less, Johnson is a great play. I wouldn't pin all my hopes on him, but the guy can still get hot on any given night.

For the most part, the players who landed on new Eastern Conference teams at the trade and buyout deadlines have had a good go of it—they're contributing to their new teams and scoring more fantasy points to boot. Next week, we'll look at some players who were moved to new teams in the Western Conference. Until then, play smart and get money.