Who is trending up in fantasy women’s basketball? Which rotations are changing? What’s the latest with the notable injuries around the WNBA?
Here’s a look around the league at the most fantasy-relevant news and notes for all 12 teams:
Rhyne Howard had an impressive regular-season debut against the Dallas Wings with 39 fantasy points. With a usage rate of 21%, she led the Dream in points, assists, blocks and steals. However, Atlanta’s Cheyenne Parker led the team with 29.3% usage. She recorded her 11th career double-double against the Wings. Prior to missing time last season because of pregnancy, the forward started 11 of 13 games and averaged 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 20.8 minutes. Parker will continue to be a key member of Atlanta’s rotation.
Some fantasy managers might have had some concerns about Candace Parker’s health and age (35) entering the season. However, she remains dominant when on the court. Against the Los Angeles Sparks in the season opener, Parker accumulated 44 fantasy points with a usage rate of 28.4%. Dana Evans (27%) finished second in usage and had 39 fantasy points. With availability in 75% of ESPN leagues, she will continue to be a fantasy-relevant player until Allie Quigley and Kahleah Copper return.
Jonquel Jones led the Sun with a usage rate of 30.3% and had 34 fantasy points in the season opener. However, Alyssa Thomas led Connecticut with 42 fantasy points while having a usage rate of 27%. The Sun continues to be led by Jones and Thomas, as well as Courtney Williams, who is on a two-game suspension. Last season, she averaged 16.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.4 minutes per game for the Dream.
Arike Ogunbowale struggled to find her rhythm and finished with only 15 fantasy points in the Wings’ season opener. There’s nothing to worry about, however, since she averaged 18.7 points per game last season. But Kayla Thornton should be kept on your radar. She scored 20 fantasy points in 35 minutes against the Dream and is available in 89.4% of leagues.
Kelsey Mitchell had her 35th career 20-point game in Tuesday’s win over Minnesota. That ranks third in Fever history. Mitchell has averaged 30.6 fantasy points per game in three games this season, and she leads the Fever with a usage rate of 24.5%. Rookie first-rounder Queen Egbo has been impressive as well. Available in 91% of leagues, she has averaged 6.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.7 SPG and 1.7 BPG. Finally, don’t forget about rookie Destanni Henderson, who has averaged 19.3 fantasy points per game this season and remains available in 85% of leagues.
Las Vegas Aces
Jackie Young is emerging as a breakout candidate. She has averaged 19.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.7 APG and 1.3 SPG while averaging 35 MPG so far this season. Young has very little competition at small forward and should continue to receive consistent minutes. She is on pace to shatter her previous highs in virtually every stat category.
Los Angeles Sparks
The Sparks lead the league in pace through two games with an average of 85.4 possessions per 40 minutes. Los Angeles ranked 10th in this metric last season, so this could be a trend to watch early on this season. The Sparks also averaged 92.5 PPG. One of the reasons for this transformation is Los Angeles’ new point guard, Jordin Canada, who has averaged 28 FPPG.
Sylvia Fowles and Jessica Shepard have been two of the only bright spots for the Lynx in the early going. Recently, Fowles became the 13th player in WNBA history to reach 6,000 career points. Shepard thrives in the Lynx’s thin frontcourt with Napheesa Collier expecting her first child, Damiris Dantas still recovering from a foot injury and Natalie Achonwa out with a hamstring injury. She has averaged 11.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 6.0 APG in 35 MPG. Shepard is a must-start right now and available in 29% of leagues.
New York Liberty
Sabrina Ionescu scored 42 fantasy points in the season opener and had a usage rate of 29.7% while scoring or assisting on 41 points against the Sun. Stefanie Dolson is someone fantasy managers should keep an eye on as well. Dolson averaged 7.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 1.3 APG with the Sky last season while shooting an impressive 40.4% from beyond the arc. She is available in 83.5% of leagues.
Brianna Turner and Diamond DeShields are expected to return to the Mercury on Wednesday after completing their overseas commitments. And while Skylar Diggins-Smith, Tina Charles and Diana Taurasi remain excellent fantasy options, don’t overlook Shey Peddy for deeper formats. She had 27 fantasy points in the season opener while playing 29 minutes.
Breanna Stewart is living up to her lofty average draft position by putting up 37 fantasy points per game so far. Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird remain must-starts. Ezi Magbegor, who has averaged 21.5 FPPG, is also a viable fantasy option. She is available in 66% of leagues. Gabby Williams (available in 72% of leagues) is also someone to keep an eye on. She just finished a successful Euro League season and in 2020 Williams averaged a career high 7.7 PPG and 25 MPG with the Sky. She has averaged 19.5 MPG this season.
Elena Delle Donne’s playing time and travel schedule will be managed throughout the season, so that’s something to stay on top of before every Mystics game. Natasha Cloud may see an increase in usage as a result. She has averaged 18 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 0.5 BPG in 2022 but has been placed in the COVID-19 protocols for the time being. As a result, Rui Machida should see more minutes, and she’s available in 84.6% of leagues. Her performance during the Olympics was exceptional: 7.2 PPG, 12.5 APG and 2.3 RPG in six games.