WNBA Fantasy Primer: Stock Watch, Injuries and Trends

WNBA Fantasy Primer: Stock Watch, Injuries and Trends

This article is part of our WNBA Fantasy Primer series.

WNBA Fantasy Basketball Update

The first season of season-long WNBA Fantasy on ESPN is underway, and there are plenty of trends to track to stay competitive in leagues. This weekly column is intended to provide an analysis of trends impacting production in season-long leagues, and the discussion section is available for league-specific questions, such as waiver advice and start/sit questions.

Stock Watch

Risers

Alysha Clark, F, Mystics: Clark is still available in over half of ESPN leagues and is coming off her best performance of the season Saturday against the Aces in which she put up 20 points, eight rebounds, an assist and four steals in 41 minutes. The 34-year-old has been a fairly reliable source of points and rebounds recently, as she's averaged 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game over her last seven appearances. Clark has had a relatively high fantasy floor this year and has displayed more upside in recent matchups.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa, F, Sparks: Nelson-Ododa had a limited impact for the Sparks in late May and early June but has played double-digit minutes in each of the last three games. During that time, she's averaged 5.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game. While Nelson-Ododa's production has been limited by a low shot volume, she's had enough well-rounded production to at least make her worthy of a short-term roster spot in season-long leagues in case her increased playing time continues.

Shey Peddy, G, Mercury: Peddy had inconsistent production for the Mercury while coming off the bench, but she's reclaimed her starting role over the last two matchups and has averaged 8.5 points and 4.5 assists in 32.5 minutes per game during that time. The Mercury shook up their frontcourt by letting Tina Charles go Saturday, and it seems likely that Peddy will be able to maintain her starting role in the backcourt since the team has relied more on its guards recently.

Azura Stevens, F, Sky: Stevens' playing time was unreliable to begin the month of June, but she's topped 20 minutes of playing time in each of the last six games. During that span, she's averaged 11.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per game. Stevens has returned to a bench role over the last three games and has remained inconsistent on the boards, but she's shown promise in the scoring column, which has helped to increase her fantasy upside.

Stefanie Dolson, C, Liberty: Dolson has remained inconsistent on the scoreboard in recent matchups, and she matched her second-lowest scoring total of the season when she mustered just two points during the win over the Dream. However, she's generated more production in rebounds and assists in recent matchups, averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 assists in 24.3 minutes per game over her last six appearances. Dolson has started every game for the Liberty this season and has been a more reliable fantasy option recently.

Fallers

Nikolina Milic, C, Lynx: Milic had plenty of run for Minnesota while Sylvia Fowles was sidelined, but Milic's playing time has dropped off since Fowles returned to action. Milic has totaled just 11 minutes over the last two games and has had minimal fantasy production during that time. While it was encouraging to see Milic's with increased results in Fowles' absence, she no longer appears to be a viable fantasy option.

Elizabeth Williams, C, Mystics: Williams had consistent playing time in a bench role earlier this season, and she showed glimpses of fantasy potential over the first month and a half of the year. However, her production has declined recently, and she played a season-low nine minutes during Saturday's overtime win over the Aces. Over her last four appearances, she's averaged just 5.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. While the 29-year-old has shot 60 percent from the floor during that time, she hasn't been a very reliable fantasy option and is unlikely to see as many looks going forward since Elena Delle Donne is expected to see increased playing time over the second half of the season.

Destanni Henderson, G, Fever: Henderson averaged 17.3 minutes per game over her first 15 appearances of the season but has played single-digit minutes in three of the last four matchups while averaging 11.8 minutes per game during that time. The guard's scoring production was crucial to her fantasy results earlier in the season, but she's averaged just 3.1 points per game over her last eight appearances. While Henderson is rostered in just under nine percent of fantasy leagues, there are likely somewhat more reliable guards available in most leagues.

Crystal Dangerfield, G, Liberty: Dangerfield was released from her hardship contract with the Liberty on Saturday but is expected to re-sign with New York for the remainder of the season. Although she's on track to rejoin the team, her fantasy production decreased recently despite maintaining her starting role. She's averaged just 16.0 minutes per game over her last three appearances and has averaged 5.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists during that time. Even if she reclaims her starting role once she rejoins the team, she hasn't been a very reliable fantasy contributor recently.

Chennedy Carter, G, Sparks: The Sparks' backcourt was shaken up last week when Kristi Toliver made her season debut, and Carter has been one of the main players who has seen their playing time fall off with Toliver back in action. She's played under 15 minutes in three of her last four appearances and has averaged just 5.5 points in 13.0 minutes per game during that time. She didn't appear in Thursday's loss to the Sky before she was held out with a non-COVID illness Saturday. While she's expected to be available Monday, she's had minimal fantasy production with Toliver back in action.

Kiah Stokes, C, Aces: Stokes played double-digit minutes in seven of her first eight appearances of the season and averaged 4.6 rebounds per game during that time. However, A'ja Wilson has seen even more playing time than usual during recent games, which has decreased Stokes' role. Over her last four appearances, she's averaged 0.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.5 minutes per game. She had some fantasy value due to her rebounding abilities earlier in the year, but that value has diminished over the last several weeks.

Injury/Absence Implications

Note: Updated injury and absence information throughout the week can be found on RotoWire's Injury News page.

Atlanta Dream: Kristy Wallace has missed the last three games due to concussion protocols, while Erica Wheeler has missed six consecutive games due to a foot injury. Rhyne Howard and Asia Durr have seen increased run in the backcourt as a result. In the frontcourt, Nia Coffey and Kia Vaughn have also sat out of late, leading to increased roles for Naz Hillmon and Beatrice Mompremier.

Chicago Sky: Kahleah Copper struggled during Chicago's two games last week and sat out Sunday due to a back injury. It's not yet clear how much time she'll miss, but Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot and Rebekah Gardner saw increased run for the Sky on Sunday.

Dallas Wings: Allisha Gray missed Saturday's game against the Mercury due to an ankle injury, and it's not yet clear when she'll return. Tyasha Harris saw increased usage against Phoenix. Satou Sabally has missed the last six games due to a knee injury but is expected to be back sometime before the All-Star Game. Kayla Thornton, Teaira McCowan and Awak Kuier have had increased roles in recent matchups.

Las Vegas Aces: Chelsea Gray will miss Monday's game against the Sparks due to personal reasons, which could lead to increased playing time for Theresa Plaisance. Iliana Rupert signed with the Aces on June 19 and played 15 minutes during her WNBA debut Saturday. She's unlikely to play a significant role in the Aces' frontcourt.

Los Angeles Sparks: Chiney Ogwumike missed Thursday's game due to personal reasons and suffered a facial laceration Saturday against the Aces. She's questionable Monday, and Olivia Nelson-Ododa will likely see increased usage if Ogwumike misses time. Jordin Canada and Chennedy Carter missed Saturday's game against Las Vegas. While Carter will be back in action Monday, Canada is listed as questionable. Kristi Toliver and Lexie Brown should see increased run if Canada sits out Monday.

Minnesota Lynx: Sylvia Fowles returned from a five-game absence Thursday, but she's averaged just 23.0 minutes per game during her two appearances since returning to the court. Her playing time should increase as she regains her conditioning, but Nikolina Milic's role has diminished since Fowles returned. Natalie Achonwa returned from a lengthy absence Tuesday, while Elissa Cunane was released from her hardship contract as a result.

New York Liberty: Rebecca Allen has missed four consecutive games due to concussion protocols, and Stefanie Dolson has had increased playing time in her absence. Han Xu returned from a one-game absence Friday against Atlanta and faced a slight minutes restriction, but she should see increased playing time in future games. Crystal Dangerfield was released from her hardship contract Saturday but is expected to rejoin the Liberty this week.

Phoenix Mercury: The Mercury made a shocking move by agreeing to a contract divorce with Charles on Saturday. With Charles gone, Sophie Cunningham, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diamond DeShields saw increased playing time Saturday against the Wings. Cunningham missed several weeks with an elbow injury but returned to action Thursday and could maintain a starting role now that Charles is in Seattle. Jennie Simms and Kristine Anigwe were also let go by Phoenix this week, but their departures shouldn't significantly impact the team's rotation.

Seattle Storm: After being let out of her contract by the Mercury, Charles agreed to sign with the Storm. The Storm were one of the finalists to sign Charles during the offseason, but there were reportedly some concerns about how she'd be used. Ezi Magbegor has had a prominent role in Seattle's frontcourt this year, and while she could see a slight decrease in playing time once Charles is available, it seems as though Magbegor should be able to maintain fantasy relevance. However, Gabby Williams, Stefanie Dolson and Jantel Lavender could see decreased roles. Reshanda Gray was waived by the Storm on Friday, but she didn't have a significant role during her time in Seattle.

Washington Mystics: Elena Delle Donne missed Tuesday's matchup against the Sparks but was back in action during the last two games, marking the first time that she's played back-to-back road games this year. She's expected to play in more games ahead of the All-Star Game and over the second half of the season, which should lead to decreased roles for Myisha Hines-Allen, Elizabeth Williams and Tianna Hawkins. Williams missed Thursday's game while attending the NBA Draft but is now back with the team. Kennedy Burke saw a decrease in playing time recently and was ultimately released Friday. Evina Westbrook signed a seven-day contract with the Mystics on Monday to take her place in the backcourt.

Lineup Trends

Note: Projected lineups and up-to-the-minute lineup confirmations can be found on RotoWire's Daily Lineups page.

Atlanta Dream: Maya Caldwell and Monique Billings have taken on starting roles with Nia Coffey and Kristy Wallace sidelined. It's not yet clear whether Caldwell will maintain a starting role once Wallace is back in action.

Los Angeles Sparks: Brittney Sykes has taken on a starting role over the last three games while Jordin Canada has retreated to the bench.

Minnesota Lynx: Nikolina Milic has returned to a bench role over the last two games since Sylvia Fowles has reclaimed her spot in the starting lineup.

Phoenix Mercury: Shey Peddy has entered the starting lineup in the last two games while Diamond DeShields has settled for a bench role. Sophie Cunningham joined the starting unit Saturday against Dallas after Charles' contract divorce.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Shebilske
Jason joined RotoWire in 2019 as his first position covering fantasy sports. In addition to RotoWire, he writes for Sports Broadcast Journal.
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