WNBA Saturday Opening Day Slate
WNBA FanDuel Slate Breakdown 05/13/2017 (please read below for important notes before game by game breakdown)
I am going to kick this article off with something very simple – there is a huge edge on this slate because two players on the slate are in the player pool and are OUT FOR THE SEASON! So step one in building your WNBA lineups get Angel McCoughty ($8,000) and Ogumike ($5400) out of your lineups. Also add Kayla McBride($5000) to the you can’t roster list because she is still stuck over seas and will not play based on the transaction news. Second thing I am going to say and probably the most important is that on day one of the season there are a ton of things that are uncertain and the news is very hard to find so please if you want the most accurate info on something reach out to me on twitter @travismangone. I really do not mind answering questions so please feel free to ask me. Lastly we likely will not have any of these lineups until right before tip and three of the Sparks players are still playing in the Turkey playoffs so Parker, Lavender and Carson are all out. Many situations will change because of this and without having this news it creates a lot of uncertainty on day one. For day one without guaranteed lineups it is tough to say if some of these rookies will start because they played one or two preseason games only. These are the lineups that I have found as projected from some sources and my research. I will also be making edits based on news as well.
San Antonio @ -7.5 New York 151 total
New York Liberty: This is a matchup of one of the worst teams in the league against one of the best and surprise, the San Antonio Stars had the slowest pace in the league in 2016. The Liberty were a middle of the pack team in pace but the key to this matchup that we want to target is rebounding. I have no doubt that the Liberty will win this game but the question is by how much and how dominant will they be inside. The Stars were ranked last in the league with a rebounding percentage of 47.1% compared to the Liberty who were ranked second in the league at 53.1%. That is led by one of the best rebounders in the league, Tina Charles ($8,400), and she is the top option to roster on this slate. Yes she is expensive but forwards are important to spend your money on and I will be doing everything I can to get Charles in my lineup. This is a great matchup for Charles to dominate on the glass and score a ton with the Stars ranked 9th in offensive rating. To just show how dominant Charles was last year she averaged 43.02 FanDuel points per 36 minutes, which was the highest in the entire league! The one worry I have with Charles is last season she did not thrive as much in this matchup and if it is a blowout that could limit her minutes. I also love Sugar Rodgers in this matchup. Last year she averaged 17 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.67 assists in her three games. The Stars also gave up the second most FanDuel points per game to opposing guards so Sugar Rodgers is an option I have a ton of interest in. The $5,100 price tag on Rodgers feels like a safe option and a great way to get exposure to Charles without having to pay that tag. We talked about the reason we love Charles because the Stars are bad at rebounding so a cheap option of Klah Stokes is a good option to consider. For only $4,100, she missed most of the 2016 season but when she played she averaged 20 FanDuel points per game. With Carolyn Swords gone, that is 15 minutes a game to go to a forward or center as well and Klah could soak up some of those extra minutes as well. The other guards Boyd, Hartley, Zellous, and Prince is more of a roulette wheel but if I had to pick it would be Boyd as my top option. Just to recap Tina Charles is a stud and she should crush in this matchup despite last year’s poor history and Sugar Rogers is in a great spot as well. Those are the two players I want to target the most and sprinkle in the value options.
Projected Starting 5: Boyd G, Sugar Rogers G, Tina Charles F, Rebecca Allen F, Kia Vaughn C
San Antonio Stars: Kelsey Plum, Moriah Jefferson and Kayla McBride are all out for this contest This is not a good matchup for the Stars as the Liberty were ranked 3rd last year in defensive rating but the top guard to roster is Currie with all three of the top guards out. McBride, Jefferson and Plum all being out means there is tons of value at guard now. Nia Coffey is one of the forwards on the Stars I would be looking to target. In her first preseason game she had 17 points and 5 rebounds in only 19 minutes. For a price tag of $5,200 I think Coffey is a decent option and should get the start as well although she just draws a tough matchup against a star like Tina Charles. With the guards out Coffey could see more run even in blow out because she is a rookie and it seems like they are punted this game. The two other plays I could have some interest in Alex Montgomery $3,000 and Monique Currie ($4,300). With McBride, Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum out these are two guards we are going to want to have some interest in as good value plays. With the three guards out I mentioned before become better plays but so will Monique Currie who on a per 36 minute basis averages only one fewer FanDuel point than McBride and Jefferson. Currie is now upgraded to one of my top value guards that I love in this spot. Last season Currie started every game and averaged 25 minutes per game and 19.73 FanDuel points. She also could be related to Steph Curry, that would certainly not be a bad thing! The two options I feel best about are Currie and Coffey with so many good players out the rest are going to be tough to predict but if we look at some preseason stuff it can help us figure out what is going on. For instance Isabelle Harrison averaged 26.8 USG, 26.5 MPG, 28.4 FPPG this preason and is only the minimum but again its preseason so I think she is more of an elite tournament play and could become a cash game play if I hear she is starting but staying on the cautious side. Sequia Holmes started the preseason game and had 10 points and 4 rebounds, she is listed as a forward but chance she is the starting guard for a cheap option she is interesting. All and all I really think we need to wait for the starting lineup to be announced at 2:30 PM EST sorry this situation is very unclear and it is tough to decide but hope all of this info has helped. More analysis could be continuing to dive deeper on the situation.
Projected Starting Lineup: When I get one I will post it but no clue, game tips at 3:00 PM EST so we should have starting lu 30 mins before tip off
Seattle Storm @ -11.5 LA Sparks 147 total
Seattle Storm: BREAKING NEWS: Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart were not cleared to playd get them out of your lineups this makes Loyd a top play Swords should get decent run and Langhorne dont hav time to dive in too deep but to keep it simple stewart and bird you cant play and you should want loyd. The Storm are an exciting team to look out for and draw a tough matchup against the defending champion L.A. Sparks who are ranked 2nd in the league in defensive rating and could cause fits for Seattle. Despite that it looks like Sue Bird is listed with a knee injury but she returned to practice on May 9th and I would expect her to play. The Sparks also might be without a lot of their top players so this will give us an easier Sparks team and has me thinking it will be a closer game than expected. With that being the case players like Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird all come to mind as great options on this slate. Stewart and Loyd is the combo I would choose in this spot though especially if the Sparks are shorthanded. I would expect them to struggle on defense and this could be a great correlation play. When rostering the Storm it seems less optimal to roster both Bird and Loyd together so make sure to only have one of them on your roster if you decide to play one of them and pair them with Stewart. The other two starters Alysha Clark ($3,500) and Crystal Langhorne ($4200) are cheap options that you can go to but do not see a ton of usage. Langhorne averaged 18.60 FanDuel points per game and Clark had 16.59. An interesting value pick on this side of the ball would be Carolyn Swords ($3,300). Swords is similar to a Tristan Thompson who just gets boards and puts them back in the basket so she can sometimes disappear but can explode for big games. On a new team and with Breanna Stewart to help stretch the floor, Swords could be a great value play but there is going to be some risk that is carried with her every night. Seattle is simple though – take Stewart, Loyd and Bird in that order but I love pairing Stewart and Loyd together especially if the Sparks are shorthanded. If the Sparks are at full strength I will temper my expectations on these options because they are such a strong defensive team.
Projected Starting 5: Jewell Loyd, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Alysha Clark, Crystal Langhorne
LA Sparks: It is official – Candace Parker, Jantel Laender and Essence Carson all will not play Saturday according to the LA Times. That means the Sparks will only have nine players and they are Ogumike, Odyssey Sims, Alana Beard, Sydney Wiese, Chelsea Gray, Tiffany Jackson-Jones, Riquana Williams, Ify Ibekwe and Ah-ra go. This is going to bring a lot of value options because Parker has the highest usage on the team at 26.9%, followed by Jantel Lavender 24.4%! That means we need to look to Nneka Ogwumike who has a 23.4% usage and with them off the court it should increase immensely. Last year Ogumike averaged 38.17 FanDuel points per game and at that price tag is a must play in every format. Ogumike will be my lock and load on this slate. The question is who else will get the opportunities and the next on the list for me is Odyssey Sims. Sims played for the Wings last year and in her time, there she had a 23.7% usage and averaged 22.45 FanDuel points but with so much usage to go around I expect her to play a bigger role in this offense. Another player I like is Alana Beard as she will be another good value play for only 4k that is safe for your cash games. She is a starter that averages 29.3 minutes per game and averages 17.51 FanDuel points per game. She is not a high usage player but for that salary she seems like she can safely get you to value. Chelsea Gray and Sydney Wiese seem like the next two options that I would have some interest in. I am assuming Gray slides into the starting lineup and a $3200 starter is not a bad option but I prefer others. Sydney Wiese is $4500 which feels pricey but she will get run because she was drafted to be the replacement for Kristi Tolliver and their three-point threat. I just think there are other guards I would prefer but she should get good run with the Sparks players out.
Projected Starting 5: No official lineup Beard, Sims, Gray and Ogumike all should start unsure of last starter
Atlanta Dream @ -7.5 Connecticut Sun 157
Atlanta Dream: I will start this off again with DO NOT PLAY MCCOUGHTY as she is out for the season and should not be rostered. The Dream draw a matchup against the Sun who led the league in pace last season so we will want to target a bunch of players in this game. This is also the highest team total on the slate so we will want to target players on both sides of the ball. The Dream seem pretty simple to me the as top plays on this team will be their starting five that I am projecting as Elizabeth Williams ($5,900), Sancho Lyttle ($5,400), Tiffany Hayes ($5,300), Brittney Sykes ($5,000), Layshia Claredon ($4,200) and Bria Holmes($3,200). These are the only options I will be considering on this team but they are all priced in the mid-range and should be good options to get exposure to especially with no McCoughtry around. Lyttle and Williams will have a big void to fill and both averaged over 29.5 FanDuel points per 36 last season. They are going to be good mid-tier options at the forward position on this slate. If I had to pick one I would side with Elizabeth Williams but if the savings to Lyttle rounds your roster out better I have no issue with that. Guard Tiffany Hayes for 5.3k feels like a decent price tag for her but I am more likely to go down low for a bargain on Claredon ($4,200) and Holmes ($3,200). I don’t mind Hayes but also prefer other guards in that price tier as well. Claredon feels like a great play at the guard on the Dream averaging 25.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes and she feels like a great savings guard play. Bria Homes for $3,200 feels like a top value on this slate and I will want to have exposure to her to fit in the studs in my cash games and tournaments. If Holmes starts like we are projecting this would be a perfect spot for her and that savings would be too good to pass up.
Projected Starting 5: Layshia Claredon, Tiffany Hayes, Bria Holmes, Sancho Lyttle, and Elizabeth Williams
Connecticut Sun: The Sun draw a matchup against the second highest paced team in the league last season and the team total shows that being higher than any other on the slate. The Dream were ranked 11th in offensive rating but 4th defensively last year. The Sun will be without Chiney Ogumilke so be sure to not roster her as she is out for the season but the good news is there is production to go around at the forward position. Atlanta last season allowed the most fantasy points per game to forwards so I will for sure have interest in the Sun forwards. Rookie Brionna Jones is a 5.1k price tag but I am hoping for her get a ton of run and in this matchup is a good option at that price tag. There is a chance they start Jonquel instead and use Brionna as an off the bench play to start the year as a rookie. Jones only had 10 minutes in each of her two preseason games so I am pumping the breaks on her a little bit but if she does get full run she should dominate. I could see myself playing her more so in gpps and then going Alyssa Thomas for $100 less as a safer cash game option because there is a chance Jones does not start but it would make no sense to not start her. Lynette Kizer for 3,800 if she gets the run off the bench could be a very sneaky option. Kizer averaged 32.29 FanDuel points per 36 minutes last year with the Fever and if she gets the run she will be a great value play on this slate. Kizer also had a usage of 24.3% last season, although that was with her old team and with Ogumike out I expect her to be a really good value play on this slate more so in tournaments because her role on this team is currently unknown. I like Kizer as a cheap tournament option with a ton of upside if she gets the minutes. With Alex Bentley possibly being out look for Jasmine Thomas to be a nice option but I prefer other guards in her price range but Courtney Willaims for $3,800 could be a very nice tournament play. Williams had a team high usage of 24.6% last year and averaged 8.1 points 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in only 17 minutes of play. As a value play if she gets those 17 minutes that should be enough to be happy but with Ogumlke out and Bentley possibly out this could allow a big opportunity for Williams as a value play on this slate. Back to Alex Bentley’s injury – her status is unknown for Saturday’s game so I will make sure to keep up to date and update this article so come back or ask me about it on twitter.
Projected Starting 5: Alex Bentley (questionable), Jasmine Thomas, Alyssa Thomas, Morgan Tuck, and Brionna Jones or Jonquel Jones
Thanks for reading and if you guys want I can add a Consensus Value rankings at that bottom of this article if the interest is strong enough so give me feedback below or on twitter @travismangone