Plenty of value to be found in Dallas
The Dallas Wings have been through some big changes this offseason, notably the loss of Liz Cambage, but also the pregnancy of Skylar Diggins-Smith.
Diggins-Smith expects to be back at some point in the season, but is now just starting to ramp up into basketball activities. These two players represented two big pieces of the Wings’ offense last year. Other players are going to need to step up in order for the Wings to remain a playoff team. This change in personnel should present value to take advantage of, especially early in the year. Let’s take a look at the Dallas Wings DFS preview!
Movers & Shakers
The Wings posted a 1.3 net rating last season, on the back of an elite 106 offensive rating. With all the change in the offseason, it is difficult to see the Wings getting even close to an 106 offensive rating. Cambage, their best offensive player last year, is gone, and Diggins-Smith will be out for an extended period of time.
The defense was a problem last season. A 104.7 defensive rating was good for third last in the league. I am more confident in assuming that the defensive rating sticks rather than the offensive rating, however, with lots of roster turnover, it is difficult to trust last year’s on court team stats. As well, the Wings brought in a new coach, Brian Agler (who coached the Sparks last season). With the Sparks last year, Agler’s team ran at a pace of 77.8 possessions per game. Conversely, the Wings played at the third fastest pace last season at 81.6 possessions per game. If we choose to use last year’s Wings pace, we may be still using Fred Williams’ philosophies, rather than Brian Agler’s.
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Who Will Start?
The starting lineup for the Dallas Wings is in a state of uncertainty. Allisha Gray and Kayla Thornton return as starters, Glory Johnson was injured for the majority of the 2018 season, but should return and replace Liz Cambage in the frontcourt. The number 5 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Arike Ogunbowale, should step in and play heavy minutes right off the bat. Azura Stevens, a promising sophomore, could have been in line for a starting job, but seems to have suffered a foot injury, and has only played 8 minutes in preseason. It seems as though Stevens will be limited to start the year, which lends credence to the thought of Stevens coming off of the bench to begin the year.
Kaela Davis seems to be the preseason favorite to grab the last starting spot available. She has played with the presumptive starters in each of the Wings’ last two preseason games. Another backcourt player in Tayler Hill could push Gray, Davis, and Ogunbowale for minutes during the year, before Diggins-Smith returns. In summation, I would expect Gray, Ogunbowale, Thornton, Davis, and Glory Johnson to start. Hill and Stevens could also compete for these spots (especially once Stevens is 100% healthy), and we will have to keep an eye on updates leading up to their first game.
New acquisition Imani McGee-Stafford may also be in contention for a starting job, as she is more of a true center (though she shoots threes too) than Glory Johnson. In terms of fantasy points per minute, I expect Ogunbowale to have a big role shooting the basketball. Though there is no previous WNBA data, I do not think that 1 fpm is out of the question for her. Glory Johnson and Azura Stevens both produced right around the 1 fpm mark last year. Allisha Gray and Kayla Thornton produced about 0.75 fpm, but I expect Gray to have even more value, especially if she is the acting point guard. Kaela Davis does not produce many fantasy points, at only 0.6 fpm last season. She will only be in play if her price is very low. It is also worth noting that in limited minutes, McGee-Stafford was just under 1 fpm. It really will all depend on the minutes that Agler decides for his players.
The Shining Rookie
The draft was good to the Wings. As stated above, they got Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale. Ogunbowale averaged 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in her senior year. These stats make me even more excited for her DFS prospects. It seems as though she can produce in all areas. In subsequent rounds, the Wings took Megan Gustafson and Kennedy Burke. Gustafson joins a crowded front court, and likely will not see significant minutes unless the injury bug strikes.
In conclusion, this will be a very interesting team in the start of the year. There is lots of uncertainty in the starting lineup, as well as which players will grab usage bumps after the departure of Cambage and Diggins-Smith being out for the beginning of the season. Keeping a keen eye on the starting lineup will be key, as the Wings have many WNBA caliber players who will be able to step into the starting lineup. This team should provide DFS value early in the year, though they may not be a very good team in the wins column.
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