WNBA Daily Fantasy – May 31, 2019

Australia's center Liz Cambage (L) vies with US' center Brittney Griner during the FIBA 2018 Women's Basketball World Cup final match between Australia and United States at the Santiago Martin arena in San Cristobal de la Laguna on the Canary island of Tenerife on September 30, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
Australia's center Liz Cambage (L) vies with US' center Brittney Griner during the FIBA 2018 Women's Basketball World Cup final match between Australia and United States at the Santiago Martin arena in San Cristobal de la Laguna on the Canary island of Tenerife on September 30, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images) /

A packed slate for DFS games

Coming into the weekend, we have a couple solid WNBA DFS slates of games. First, today, we have three games, all between championship hopefuls. As well, Saturday is a slate with four games, and there will be article for that big slate up early Saturday morning. As you may have noticed, I will not be doing write-ups for single game slates (showdown contests). With that said, the biggest contests of the season (so far) are today, so let’s hop into the picks and preview!

Seattle Storm @ Atlanta Dream

We have seen Seattle and their new look rotation in two games this year. As expected, Jewell Loyd (9k DK, 7.1k FD) and Natasha Howard (11.3k, 8k) have shouldered the load scoring-wise. Howard, in particular, had a monster 21-point, 16-rebound game against Phoenix. While she should continue to score a high amount of fantasy points, the price seems a bit high against a good interior defensive team. This slate has a lot of upper tier options, and Howard seems to lag a bit behind.

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Loyd, on the other hand, took 21 shots against the Lynx, in a 13-point, 5-rebound game. Though Loyd has not turned the incredible opportunity into fantasy points, at some point she will have a solid shooting game and score over 20 points with around 4 rebounds and assists. Loyd is my favorite play on the Storm, as she is less affected by the tremendous interior defense.

Alysha Clark (5.4k, 5.5k) is back, but is not really in consideration until we see what kind of minutes she will receive. Secondary options on this team of Jordin Canada (7.1k, 6.6k) and Crystal Langhorne (5k, 5.2k) are in consideration, especially Langhorne with her low price. It is worth noting, however, that Mercedes Russell played 20 minutes in the last game, stealing some from Langhorne.

On the Atlanta side, Brittney Sykes (6.1k, 6k) comes in at a value again. She filled up the stat sheet in the first Dream game, with 10 points, 3 boards, 4 assists, and 4 stocks (steals & blocks). I would expect her to remain a big part of the offense, and take around 10 shots again, which should easily get to the 20 fantasy point mark. Jessica Breland (10.2k, 7.7k) was the star of game 1. She had 17 points and 6 rebounds which led to 35 fantasy points. I do think that type of production is unlikely to be a normal game for Breland. At 10.2k on DraftKings, I cannot recommend her. Instead of Breland, I would rather save some salary and grab Tiffany Hayes (8.4k, 6.5k) even after a subpar first performance. Her body of work last season (1 fantasy point per minute) means more to me that a poor first game. This could be an opportunity to get a great player at low ownership and at a low price.

Las Vegas Aces @ Phoenix Mercury

The big news for the Aces is that Liz Cambage (10.9k, 8.3k) will make her debut after missing the first game for Las Vegas, as she is returning from an achilles injury. Laimbeer has already stated that she will not start, and will play limited minutes off of the bench. As of right now, there has not be an indication of how many minutes “limited” is, but I would be very surprised if she played over 25. At 25 minutes, Cambage is definitely not worth her high price.

Her frontcourt teammate, A’ja Wilson (10.4k, 8.1k), is a much better option. Wilson should play into the 30’s in minutes, and had a 21-point double double in her last outing. As well, she should avoid the Brittney Griner matchup, which is a huge plus. Dearica Hamby (6.6k, 5.9k) was the big star of the Aces’ first game, but her minutes are slightly uncertain with Cambage’s return. Instead, I would suggest Jackie Young (5.5k, 5.7k). Though she did not have the usage in her debut, I would expect her to get more comfortable as the season moves along, and her price is fairly low. McBride (9.8k, 7.2k) and Plum (7.6k, 6.1k) are also options, but are a little too pricey for my liking.

In terms of the Mercury, DeWanna Bonner (12k, 8.4k) was the standout Phoenix’s season opener. She finished with over 50 fantasy points, and took a team high 23 shots. While she certainly is a great option, I am even more enamored with Brittney Griner (11.5k, 8.2k). Griner took 19 shots in her first game, and cleaned up 8 rebounds. Clearly this is not as productive as Bonner, but the 19 shots is really what is important. This is a significant usage increase for Griner, and I would not be surprised if a double double was in the cards. Aside from the top two options, Yvonne Turner (5.1k, 4.1k) provides some salary relief, especially on FanDuel.

The injuries to Sancho Lyttle and Camille Little led to Turner playing high twenties minutes, and her price has not adjusted to that level of opportunity. Lyttle is probable for this game, but Sandy Brodello only expects “a few minutes” out of her. Essence Carson (4.9k, 5.1k) provides great salary relief on DraftKings, as she should come close to 20 fantasy points as she adjusts to her new team. All in all, the Mercury should be great plays because of the pace at which the Aces play. While they led the league in pace last season, they continued this with the highest pace game of the first week.

Connecticut Sun @ Los Angeles Sparks

Connecticut has had some great performances throughout their first two games. Alyssa Thomas (10k, 7.3k) took the lead in the first game, putting up 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. She remains a good (but not great) option in this one, as the Sparks’ defense and slow pace lowers her upside. Jonquel Jones (10.7k, 7.8k) was the star of game two, scoring 25 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. She also put up a double double in game one, and should almost always be in consideration. Though her price is high, it has not yet hit where the truly elite players reside, and we should take advantage of that.

The only other options I would consider are guards Jasmine Thomas (9.2k, 6.9k) and Courtney Williams (8.8k, 6.9k). They are very similar players production-wise, so it may be best to save 400 and choose Williams. Again though, I will reiterate that the Sparks play very slow, and also (on paper) have a very good defense, which may cap the number of fantasy points against them.

The Sparks had a very interesting opener. Derek Fisher elected to play seven players over 20 minutes, and played 10 players (!!!!!!!!!) over 15 minutes. This results in a DFS disaster, as there are just not enough minutes to accrue fantasy points. Maria Vadeeva was the most productive player, but she is out today as she has overseas commitments. This should result in more minutes for Chiney Ogwumike (7.4k, 6.2k) who is a great price, especially on FanDuel. While she may not play more than 28 minutes, she should easily return value at that low price due to her high 1.1 fpm.

As well, Nneka Ogwumike (9.4k, 7.4k) should play way more than 20 minutes in this game. She was in foul trouble in game one, but was still extremely productive, and took 16 shots. She is in a great spot against the high tempo Connecticut Sun. The absence of Vadeeva may result in more minutes for rookie Kalani Brown (3.9k, 5k). Her price is only enticing on DraftKings, however. The only other option I would consider on this team is Chelsea Gray (8.3k, 6.4k). Though she did not have a great game one, she will have a higher usage rate than last season, and the fantasy points should follow.

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