May 18, 2022
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, the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s draft, was named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday. This makes her the first rookie to win the award in her first week of her WNBA career since Tamika Catchings in 2002 and the first Dream rookie ever to win the award. With 83 points through her first four games, Howard is the sixth player in league history to reach 80 points in the first four games of a career. The only other player averaging more fantasy points per game than Howard (37) is Alyssa Thomas (41.5). Howard is exceeding fantasy managers’ expectations.
The Sky’s depth has proved to be the team’s greatest asset this season, which doesn’t always bode well for fantasy managers but can help out in the actual standings. Rebekah Gardner, who played overseas in spans over the past decade after coming out of UCLA in 2012, has made significant contributions in her first three WNBA games, putting up 12 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. Gardner is available in 96% of leagues and continues to see steady minutes despite Allie Quigley‘s return.
DeWanna Bonner fulfilled her overseas obligation and returned to the starting lineup for the Sun against the Liberty on Tuesday. Her season debut was superb with 16 points, one rebound, three assists and four steals. Bonner averaged 15.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.3 SPG last season. The trend is likely to continue.
Kayla Thornton was mentioned last week, but we will do it again. The forward has averaged 10 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.5 SPG in 32.3 MPG and put up well-rounded stat lines that are so valuable in fantasy women’s basketball. This season, Thornton has accumulated 97 fantasy points. To put that in perspective, Wings teammate Arike Ogunbowale (98.9% rostered) has accumulated 102 points. Thornton is available in 84% of leagues.
With Howard playing so well in Atlanta, it’s easy for fellow rookie Queen Egbo to go unnoticed. So far this season, the rookie has averaged 7.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.7 BPG in 24.2 MPG. The defensive-minded Egbo ranks ninth in the league in rebounds and fourth in blocks but remains available in 66.7% of leagues. Whether Alaina Coates‘ return from overseas commitments will affect her minutes remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Egbo should be rostered in all leagues.
Dearica Hamby leads the league with 11.8 rebounds per game. And at 30.3 fantasy points per game, she is among the league’s best players. With the Aces leading the league in offensive rating (108), they have a lot of fantasy-relevant players. Once Kiah Stokes returns from her overseas commitments, it remains to be seen if Hamby’s minutes will be reduced. Nonetheless, continue to use Hamby in lineups, especially considering how she has performed thus far.
Lexie Brown (available in 93.5% of leagues) has shot 61.1% from beyond the arc to go with 8.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 2.6 APG. Additionally, she’s logging a lot of minutes, averaging 29.4 MPG. Keep in mind, though, that Jordin Canada‘s roster percentage continues to rise. She has averaged 25.2 fantasy points per game this season and is still available in 59.3% of leagues. They are both excellent options.
Despite being exhausted after flying into Los Angeles from Istanbul, Kayla McBride was thrilled to be back in the league. The Lynx were equally thrilled to have her back. McBride finished with 38 fantasy points in her season debut on Tuesday, scoring 24 points and adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals in a win over the Sparks. She’s still available in 21.3% of leagues.
The struggling Liberty have lost four straight games. While Sabrina Ionescu, Natasha Howard and Betnijah Laney are New York’s top fantasy options, managers in deeper leagues or those looking for a player to stream into lineups should also consider Stefanie Dolson. She’s averaged 7.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.8 APG and 0.8 SPG in 23.6 MPG and is available in 84.3% of leagues.
On Tuesday night against Las Vegas, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith exchanged heated words. And together, the star duo scored only 18 points on 4-15 shooting. Don’t expect this to impact either player going forward. Overall, this is probably nothing: an argument between two teammates over a frustrating game during a frustrating start to the season. The Mercury are now 2-2 and both losses came from the Las Vegas Aces by double digits. Diggins-Smith has 123 fantasy points so far this season, while Taurasi has amassed 101 points. They’re talented enough to turn things around and go on a run at some point, especially with offseason addition Tina Charles.
The all-time assists leader in the league is Sue Bird. However, this season the legendary point guard has been inconsistent. Bird has averaged only 7.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, 1.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG and 0.8 BPG while shooting a dismal 29% from the field. Still, the 41-year-old has managed 30 or more fantasy points in two out of four games. Bird should be able to bounce back sooner rather than later, especially once Breanna Stewart and Epiphanny Prince return from COVID-19 protocols (which could happen as soon as Wednesday vs. Chicago). The return of Prince is particularly important, as it could ease Bird’s workload and increase her efficiency.
Center Shakira Austin scored 12 of her career-high 20 points in the second half against the Dallas Wings on Tuesday night. Elena Delle Donne‘s availability will affect her minutes, but Austin has averaged 18.6 fantasy points per game this season. Austin also collected eight rebounds and two blocks against the Wings. She is available in 85.6% of ESPN leagues.