DFS WNBA: Opening Night Breakdown

DFS WNBA: Opening Night Breakdown

The WNBA season tips off Friday, and I'm happy to announce that I'll be providing breakdowns of some of the DFS slates throughout 2019. It will typically be limited to days with three or more games on the schedule, but we will make a special exception for Opening Night. The articles will also be a little shorter moving forward when roles are established.

Please note that our WNBA content will be available to all RotoWire NBA (and all sports) subscribers this season. If you are not a member yet, you can try us out free for 10 days (no credit card required) by clicking here.

DraftKings and FanDuel Price Differences

Top 5 for FanDuel (Skylar Diggins excluded)

PlayerFanDuel Price% of BudgetDraftKings Price% of BudgetDifference
Skylar Diggins-Smith30007.5%970019.40%-11.9%
Natalie Achonwa490012.3%840016.80%-4.6%
Candice Dupree710017.8%1040020.80%-3.1%
Isabelle Harrison31007.8%540010.80%-3.1%
Alex Bentley500012.5%730014.60%-2.1%
Elizabeth Williams640016.0%890017.80%-1.8%

Top 5 for DraftKings

PlayerFanDuel Price% of BudgetDraftKings Price% of BudgetDifference
Kelsey Mitchell620015.5%530010.60%4.9%
Erica Wheeler550013.8%48009.60%4.2%
Bria Hartley530013.3%47009.40%3.9%
Kayla Thornton560014.0%520010.40%3.6%
Brittney Sykes540013.5%560011.20%2.3%

2018 Team Stats

2018 Advanced Team Offense Stats

Seattle Storm80.7108.15153.457.280.10.2518.516.65331.115.9
Connecticut Sun81108.253.651.95580.90.2366.216.659.52614.5
Washington Mystics78.8107.348.85155.878.
Phoenix Mercury80.3106.848.752.257.680.30.316916.949.929.620.4
Atlanta Dream81.999.949.546.851.481.90.3110.516.458.721.519.8
Los Angeles Sparks78.110147.249.753.777.80.232615.561.322.815.9
Dallas Wings81.710653.24954.481.60.3469.217.354.923.321.8
Minnesota Lynx78.6100.453.149.152.978.60.2456.318.163.320.516.3
Las Vegas Aces83.2101.550.946.952.182.90.3327.915.465.113.521.4
Chicago Sky82.6101.547.550.554.781.30.2667.218.65725.717.3
New York Liberty8097.
Indiana Fever80.195.347.244.648.979.10.2275.615.160.822.217.1

2018 Advanced Team Defense Stats (Opponent Stats)

Seattle Storm80.798.84947.951.880.10.2287.216.660.823.116
Connecticut Sun80.910146.449.353.980.90.2787.217.256.924.518.6
Washington Mystics78.9103.151.249.654.378.90.2736.317.357.524.118.4
Phoenix Mercury80.3103.651.347.852.580.30.287.515.557.22418.9
Atlanta Dream81.997.150.546.851.181.90.2617.918.358.523.617.9
Los Angeles Sparks7898.752.849.353.677.80.2695.419.26121.317.7
Dallas Wings81.5104.746.849.754.381.60.2929.115.85724.118.9
Minnesota Lynx78.799.546.949.753.478.60.2266.816.158.226.515.3
Las Vegas Aces83.1104.749.150.454.582.90.2528.715.355.727.616.7
Chicago Sky82.4109.452.550.855.181.30.2789.716.159.622.617.8
New York Liberty80.3105.750.849.654.579.50.3277.416.151.827.820.4
Indiana Fever80.3106.752.852.256.379.10.2887.416.959.123.217.7

Data from WNBA.com

Dallas Wings at Atlanta Dream



Tayler HillGKneeGTD5/24/2019
Azura StevensFConcussionOUT6/1/2019
Skylar Diggins-SmithGPersonalOUT6/9/2019
Moriah JeffersonGNot Injury RelatedSUSP7/5/2019


Angel McCoughtryFKneeOUT6/6/2019
Kristy WallaceGKneeSUSP-INJ5/1/2020

Vegas Odds:  Atlanta -10.5 (Open: Atlanta -8)        Over/Under: 159 (Open 166.5)

2018 Player Stats

Liz CambageDalC3229.5239.
Skylar Diggins-SmithDalG3234.
Kayla ThorntonDalF3428.69.241.810.4
Allisha GrayDalG3426.
Azura StevensDalF3420.
Glory JohnsonDalF2922.5861.310.5
Kaela DavisDalG2716.8521.40.30
Aerial PowersDalF1515.
Cayla GeorgeDalC2310.
Karima Christmas-KellyDalG627.
Theresa PlaisanceDalF711.
Tayler HillDalG716.95110.10.1
Leticia RomeroDalG2171.10.81.100
Breanna LewisDalF64.31.21.2000.2
Saniya ChongDalG58.60.80.810.60
Maggie LucasDalG12000020
Teana MuldrowDalF1300000
Tiffany HayesAtlG3128.917.
Angel McCoughtry         AtlF2927.616.562.91.30.6
Renee MontgomeryAtlG3427.510.
Elizabeth WilliamsAtlF3326.
Brittney SykesAtlG2920.
Jessica BrelandAtlF3426.48.37.921.11.9
Alex BentleyAtlG1620.
Monique BillingsAtlF32113.
Damiris DantasAtlC1913.
Imani McGee-StaffordAtlC2910.
Imani McGee-StaffordAtlC2910.
Layshia ClarendonAtlG1817.
Blake DietrickAtlG267.
Alexis PrinceAtlG233.51000
Maggie LucasAtlG75.10.40.400.10

The Skinny

Dallas Wings

Dallas enters 2019 in a much different position than it did just a season ago. Not only did star center Liz Cambage (league-high 29.6 usage rate last season) demand and receive a trade, heading to the Las Vegas Aces in exchange for Moriah Jefferson, Isabella Harrison and a pair of 2020 picks, but Skylar Diggins-Smith will miss time as she works her way back from a recent pregnancy. Jefferson has been placed on the temporary suspended list, meaning she won't be available.

As a result, Arike Ogunbowale, the fifth-overall pick in this year's draft, may be forced into a key role right away. Ogunbowale specializes in scoring, leading a 35-4 Notre Dame squad with 21.8 points per game while adding 4.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals. Allisha Gray may be the point guard in Diggins-Smith's absence, and Kaela Davis and Tayler Hill (knee), who is probable for Friday's opener, may also get additional minutes until she's is cleared to play. Atlanta turned over opponents at the second-highest rate in the league last season, which may work against Gray's fantasy value on the ball. Moriah Jefferson also figures to see some spare minutes after averaging nearly 16 per game with the Aces last year.

Another gaping hole needs filling in the frontcourt. Gone is Cambage, leaving Glory Johnson and Imani McGee-Stafford as the primary options to start at center for the Wings. Trade acquisition Isabelle Harrison flourished in 2017 before missing all of 2018 while playing overseas. In that campaign, she averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 boards in 26.6 minutes per game for the San Antonio Stars. She should see a healthy workload with the Wings this season, slotting in with Kayla Thornton and Azura Stevens (concussion) in what should amount to mainly a five-player rotation up front. Stevens will miss Friday's opener, so look for the others in the frontcourt to pick up the slack.

The Wings changed coaches this offseason to Brian Agler, who ran the Sparks to a league-low pace of 77.8 possessions per game compared to the 81.6 mark for Dallas a season ago, potentially lowering fantasy expectations for the Wings and their opponents slightly.

Atlanta Dream

Like the Wings, the Dream will be without a key piece for a good portion of 2019: Angel McCoughtry remains without a timeline to return from torn ligaments in her knee suffered last August.

Kelsey Russo of The Athletic suggests that head coach Nicki Collen has been impressed by Haley Peters and her ability to post up guards and shoot from the outside during the preseason, implying she could see some of McCoughtry's available minutes. Jessica Breland and Monique Billings, who return from the 2018 roster, also figure to see their minutes heightened early and often with the team lacking in terms of frontcourt depth. Breland and Elizabeth Williams provide the rim protection for the Dream, each averaging just under two blocks per game last season. While the Wings were near the top in rebound percentage in 2018, the loss of Cambage should open the door for some added boards for the Dream's bigs.

Atlanta doesn't possess the same depth woes in the backcourt, so a frequent three-guard lineup seems like a plausible outcome. Renee Montgomery, Tiffany Hayes, Alex Bentley and Brittney Sykes all played at least 20 minutes per game last season, though Hayes and Montgomery were the only ones to start consistently. Expect the duo to comprise the starting backcourt for the Dream. Some inexperience in the Wings' backcourt could allow the Dream's guards to take advantage; the Wings also ranked worst in the league guarding the three-point line last season, which could benefit Montgomery, who nailed 37.1 percent of her 6.2 attempts from deep last year.

Indiana Fever at New York Liberty



Erica WheelerGAnkleGTD5/24/2019
Victoria ViviansGKneeSUSP-INJ4/1/2020

New York


Vegas Odds:  New York -3 (Open: New York -2)        Over/Under: 157.5 (Open: 158)

2018 Player Stats

Candice DupreeIndF3231.414.
Kelsey MitchellIndG3424.412.
Natalie AchonwaIndF342610.
Tiffany MitchellIndG3425.
Victoria ViviansIndG3427.
Erica WheelerIndG3421.
Cappie PondexterIndG1724.
Erica McCallIndF3412.
Kayla AlexanderIndC308.
Stephanie MavungaIndF257.
Hind Ben AbdelkaderIndG1410.
Hind Ben AbdelkaderIndG1410.
Asia TaylorIndF148.
Jazmon GwathmeyIndG1011.
Tina Charles                NYC333319.772.70.70.6
Kia NurseNYG3422.
Bria HartleyNYG3423.
Amanda Zahui B.NYC2915.97.730.70.40.4
Sugar RodgersNYG3119.
Brittany BoydNYG3020.
Shavonte ZellousNYG2224.
Kia VaughnNYC2918.35.740.70.70.2
Epiphanny PrinceNYG1619.
Rebecca AllenNYF2810.
Marissa ColemanNYF2118.34.72.410.50.2
Kiah StokesNYC3014.
Mercedes RussellNYC2162.51.5110.5

The Skinny

Indiana Fever

The Fever return the bulk of their scoring from a season ago, though that amounted to a league-worst 6-28 record. Luck wasn't on their side in the lottery, and the Fever wound up third in the draft order, which landed them Teaira McCowan out of Mississippi State. Fortunately, McCowan fits into a spot the Fever desperately needed in the form of a rim protector. Indiana finished dead last in block percentage (5.6) and tied for last in rebounding (47.2) last season. Meanwhile, McCowan finished the 2018-19 season with the Bulldogs, averaging 2.4 blocks and 13.5 rebounds per game. The team's release of Kayla Alexander may indicate that McCowan will see big minutes, though she only started one of three preseason contests. Natalie Achonwa started all three but logged fewer minutes than McCowan and provides less fantasy upside.

Combo guard Shenise Johnson's return should be big for a Fever squad that sorely lacked a defensive presence last season. Johnson averaged 1.5 steals per game in 2017 to go along with 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists. She played more than 18 minutes per game in the three preseason contests, but she only started the finale because Erica Wheeler (ankle) was sidelined, so Johnson may be destined for a sizable role off the bench to begin the season.  If healthy, Wheeler will likely start in the backcourt alongside Kelsey Mitchell, with Tiffany Mitchell providing some valuable minutes off the bench. 

Betnijah Laney started all three preseason contests and logged 22 minutes per game, suggesting she may be headed for a starting role. None of her stats jump off the page, so she may not provide a ton of fantasy value despite decent minutes. Veteran Candice Dupree should be locked in for 30-plus minutes again, coming off a 2018 season when she averaged 14.2 points, 6.4 boards and 1.7 assists per game.

New York Liberty

The Liberty open the season with a clean bill of health. Heading the club again will be star forward Tina Charles, who, despite a slow preseason, figures to lead the Liberty in scoring again. She checks in as the most expensive player on both daily sites, and justifiably so after averaging nearly 20 points and seven boards per game last season. Likely joining her in the frontcourt are Amanda Zahui B (8.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG this preseason) and guard/forward Kia Nurse, who averaged 9.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game over 34 contests last season. It doesn't appear Kiah Stokes will make it back from her overseas commitment ahead of the contest, so Zahui B and second-round pick Han Xu, who has been deemed a sleeper candidate to contribute this season, could see boosted minutes Friday.

Rookie second-overall pick Asia Durr ended the preseason on a high note, tallying 16 points (7-13 FG, 2-4 3PT), four rebounds and two assists. She should provide the Liberty with another major scoring threat this season to complement Charles. Along with Durr, Brittany Boyd and Bria Hartley -- who was also playing overseas but should be ready for the opener -- are the two candidates to start at point guard for what was a relatively fluid starting group last season. Hartley is listed among the bigger price differences (DraftKings value pick), so she may be one to consider for DraftKings if she starts.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Benzine plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Crispy272001, DraftKings: Crispy27.
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Chris Benzine
Chris is a sports editor for various sports on the site and also a consistent contributor in the college sports arena.
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