The Las Vegas Aces have much to be excited about going into the 2019 WNBA season. The acquisition of Liz Cambage was huge for the franchise, and the Aces retained all of their young pieces from their 2018 14-20 season.
As well, another high draft pick should step in and immediately help the Aces. Now, a year older and better, the Aces are real championship contenders. Though the Aces return all of their key players, they also add a couple which will have a huge impact on daily fantasy WNBA. The season is coming up soon, so let’s take a look at the Las Vegas Aces DFS Preview!
The Aces had a negative 3.2 net rating last season. This put them fourth-to-last in the league, which is also where they ended up in the standings. Though the Aces did not stand out offensively or defensively, they will need to improve on both ends of the court if they want to be true championship contenders. This is another team where the big changes made in the offseason will make it difficult to trust applying last season’s statistics to this season.
In particular, Liz Cambage is considered a good rim protector, something which the Aces lacked last year in their revolving door of centers next to A’ja Wilson. The one statistic that should remain very similar is pace. The Aces were the fastest team in the league last season, at 82.9 possessions per game. This makes them great for daily fantasy, as there will be more opportunity to get rebounds, assists, and other counting stats. Coach Bill Laimbeer should have the Aces out and running.
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The New Look
Las Vegas seems to have their new starting lineup set in stone for the upcoming season. Kelsey Plum, Kayla McBride, Jackie Young, A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage will likely be the starting five for the Aces. While Plum, McBride, Wilson and Cambage are household names, Jackie Young is someone who many will not be familiar with. Young projects as a swiss army knife, with the ability to score the ball, rebound the ball, and also is a willing passer. Young was selected first overall in the 2019 WNBA draft, and should step in right away. Though she should be great in real life to start, I am a little skeptical of her fantasy value to begin the year. She will likely be fourth or fifth in line for shots, and also will be playing with two good rebounding bigs in Wilson and Cambage. As well, Plum, McBride and Cambage should be the main ball-handlers. This does not leave a lot for Young to pick up, though she could surprise me!
Cambage was the star of WNBA DFS last season. She put up an absolutely insane 1.4 fantasy points per minute with Dallas. I do worry that A’ja Wilson will steal some of her rebounds, but I expect similar stats from Cambage.
A’ja Wilson was also a superstar for DFS last year, putting up 1.26 fpm in her rookie year. Another year of development could push this number even higher. Kayla McBride was also a revelation last season, ending the year just under 1 fantasy point per minute.
Though a great real life player, Kelsey Plum takes a backseat in daily fantasy. She produced around 0.75 fpm last season, certainly enough to keep in her play when her price gets low enough or when in a good matchup.
New addition Sugar Rodgers should be one of the first off the bench, providing spacing for this Aces team. Rodgers put up around 0.75 fpm last year with the Liberty, so that number could increase as she gains better teammates.
In the frontcourt, backup Dearica Hamby had a breakout season and put up 1.05 fpm. I’d expect her to play both the 4 and the 5 when either Cambage or Wilson are out. She is a definite option assuming her price is low enough, and she is receiving ~20 minutes off of the bench.
Usage and Change
One of the most important things to keep track of at the beginning of this season is how the usage situation sorts itself out. Adding Cambage (the highest usage player in 2018) next to A’ja Wilson (the second highest usage player in 2018) could present problems both in real life and for fantasy purposes. As well, Kayla McBride’s usage was 24.2, which puts her in the top 15 in the league. Figuring out who is stepping aside and taking less shots will be instrumental in projecting Aces players.
As well, as I touched on before, rebounds will be at a premium. Cambage posted one of the highest rebound percentages in the league last year, which could push Wilson’s even lower. A player of this magnitude moving does not happen very often, so it may affect other players (fantasy-wise) in ways that we have not seen.
This is a team with many DFS options. All of the starters produce at an above average clip, and they have an exciting rookie ready to step into the starting lineup. Cambage was the best DFS player last season, with the ability to play big minutes and score a ton of fantasy points. In Laimbeer’s up-tempo system, she could be pushed to even greater heights. This up-tempo system also presents a lot of value on the other side of the ball. Playing the players on the Aces opponents’ teams should be a great path forward due to the increased opportunity these players will receive by playing against the Aces. The addition of Cambage will certainly affect other players on the Aces, and understanding who is taking a back seat (or if it is Cambage herself) will be crucial in picking the correct Aces players.
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