Welcome to the first edition of our weekly WNBA fantasy preview. Here’s what you’re going to find every week in this column:
- DFS advice. Since the majority of WNBA fantasy happens in the form of daily fantasy sports, I’ll be highlighting some intriguing matchups each week and players who I’d want to try to have in my DFS lineups.
- Season-long risers. For those playing season-long fantasy, which players are on the rise? This advice can be adapted and used in DFS as well.
- Lineup updates. I’ll take a weekly look at how each team’s lineups are looking and let you know if there are big changes that you’ll want to take note of, especially in terms of players who aren’t getting minutes.
Alright, let’s go!
Daily Fantasy Advice
With just one game on Tuesday — Fever @ Sun — your DFS options are fairly limited. But the Sun are looking like a strong team and face an overmatched Fever squad, so I’d expect the bulk of the production to come from Connecticut in this one. A player I’d highlight? Alyssa Thomas, who put up 23 points and eight rebounds in the opener and faces a Fever team that let Tina Charles put up 32 points on Friday.
Another single-game slate. In the absence of Sue Bird, Jordin Canada scored 16 points and dished out six assists in Seattle’s first game. The Lynx held Chicago point guard Courtney Vandersloot in check from a scoring perspective, but Vandersloot did add eight assists on Saturday, and I like this matchup for Canada. Should be a solid, low-priced option.
We’ll have three games on deck Friday and the Aces/Mercury game is where my eyes turn, mainly because the Mercury’s opener proved that this team really is just Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner. If Liz Cambage sits again, I don’t think the Aces will be able to slow down Griner, even if Dearica Hamby opened the year with a vengeance defensively.
Meanwhile, Phoenix looked pretty bad defensively, so the other side of this game is appealing too. A’ja Wilson is likely going to be one of the highest-priced DFS options, but what about Kayla McBride, who should benefit this season from the Aces taking more three-pointers?
Big day here, with eight teams in action.
A Liberty/Fever rematch is good news for Tina Charles, whose 32 point double-double against Indiana on Friday helped keep the Liberty in the game. Even if Teaira McCowan sees more action inside, Charles has the ability to score from all around the court and I don’t see the Fever having much chance to stop her.
Chicago’s porous defense should be a good sign for Seattle’s Jewell Loyd.
And after a stellar debut, Napheesa Collier’s one to watch. I’m going to want to see how she does Wednesday against the Storm, but if she winds up being heavily involved offensively again, I’d be targeting her on Saturday. In the past, we’ve seen DFS sites be a little slow to update pricing for younger players, so Collier can be a place to exploit the gap between her real value and what FanDuel or DraftKings have as her value.
Great Sun/Aces matchup to end the week. Assuming Cambage plays, both teams have such strong interior games that it’ll be hard to go wrong playing any of them, so your value will come with your lower-priced plays. If you’re looking for a non-starter on this day, take a look at Morgan Tuck for the Sun, who made a couple of three-pointers on Saturday. Since Connecticut still has a game before this, be sure to check on her level of involvement in that game as well.
With Candace Parker sidelined, the Sparks turned to Maria Vadeeva as their starting center instead of going with a two Ogwumike front court. Vadeeva responded with 24 points, five rebounds, and three blocks in 24 minutes of action. She played more minutes than either Ogwumike sister and showed her ability to not only be an important factor at the five, but also to stretch out to the three-point line. Vadeeva can fit into any lineup of Sparks frontcourt options.
Of all the rookies, Collier might have been the one who was getting the least hype, in large part because the Lynx aren’t really a team that plays rookies. But after a 27-point, six-rebound debut, it’s time to take Collier’s chances of being the league’s most impactful rookie seriously. If her shooting touch remains close to what it was on Saturday, Collier’s not going to be giving her starting role back to Karima Christmas-Kelly
Lineups and Rotations
Injuries have really hit the league this year. As of Monday, May 27th, here are players whose status for upcoming games should be monitored in case they do end up playing: Jamierra Faulkner (knee), Azura Stevens (concussion), Liz Cambage (Achilles), Seimone Augustus (back), Karima Christmas-Kelly (knee), Camille Little (ankle), Sancho Lyttle (knee), Kristi Toliver (knee), Kiara Leslie (knee), Elena Delle Donne (knee), and Aerial Powers (leg). These players could return this week, so keep an eye on the injury reports.
Here are some players whose playing time this week should be concerning for people wanting to use them in DFS lineups:
- Atlanta: Maite Cazorla did not play.
- Connecticut: Kristine Anigwe and Bridget Carlton didn’t play. Anigwe was expected to be a key reserve on this team, so her not getting minutes isn’t a great sign moving forward.
- Dallas: Imani McGee-Stafford played under 15 minutes.
- Indiana: Struggles by Kelsey Mitchell meant she played under 20 minutes, so keep an eye on this situation. Paris Kea and Erica McCall were DNP-Coach’s Decision.
- Las Vegas: With Liz Cambage out, Dearica Hamby played 27 minutes off the bench, while starter Carolyn Swords played 14 minutes and JiSu Park played seven. Wouldn’t be shocked to see Hamby taking most of those minutes once Cambage is back.
- Minnesota: Stephanie Talbot played just six minutes.
- Seattle: Anriel Howard and Courtney Paris didn’t play. Paris is particularly interesting here, since she had a fairly consistent role last season.