WNBA DFS Picks and Lineup Tips for Opening Night

WNBA DFS Picks and Lineup Tips for Opening Night

WNBA Schedule Today

  • Connecticut Sun at Indiana Fever
  • New York Liberty at Washington Mystics
  • Chicago Sky at Minnesota Lynx
  • Phoenix Mercury at Los Angeles Sparks

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Connecticut Sun at Indiana Fever  

Line: Connecticut -7.5
O/U: 161.5

Injury Report - Sun vs. Fever

Note: All return dates are just estimates

Connecticut

None

Indiana

NamePosInjuryStatusReturn
Victoria ViviansGUndisclosedGTD5/19/2023
Bernadett HatarCNot Injury RelatedOUT5/21/2023

WNBA DFS Showdown Picks and Lineup Building Strategy

Vivians missed the Fever's final preseason game, but there hasn't been any word of concern leading up to the opening tip, so it seems she's best considered probable. Indiana's frontcourt will look different from last year in a major way with No. 1 overall pick Aliyah Boston presumably joining the starting five. She takes over for Queen Egbo, who will presumably slide into a bench role. Given that neither expands their game beyond the midrange, we may not see the pair on the court at the same time too often. Kelsey Mitchell reprises her role as a cornerstone piece, but she's joined by a bevy of new names that include returnee Erica Wheeler, Kristy Wallace and first-round pick Grace Berger. Lexie Hull also saw sizable run in the preseason and played reasonably well, so the first-round pick in 2023 could also be part of the regular rotation.

Connecticut has a clean sheet on the injury front and the starting five are seemingly locked in. The most notable change from last year's crew is that Brionna Jones will take over the starting center role this summer after the team dished Jonquel Jones to New York this summer in a deal that netted the team Rebecca Allen, Tyasha Harris and the No. 6 overall pick (traded to Atlanta for Tiffany Hayes). Alyssa Thomas appears set to serve as the team's starting point guard again in 2023, making her a valuable commodity in both DFS and season-long fantasy, but her size will allow the Sun to start Natisha Hiedeman and Tiffany Hayes, along with DeWanna Bonner and Jones. Jones was a top-20 fantasy asset last season and figures to see her role grow with Jones out of the picture, so there could be some daily value to be had in the early going before salaries adjust to the changes. The Sun also sport the highest implied total on the slate (84.5), albeit with some blowout risk, but this is a spot to claim a player or two.

New York Liberty at Washington Mystics

Line: New York -2.5
O/U: 162.5

Injury Report - Liberty vs. Mystics

Note: All return dates are just estimates

New York

NamePosInjuryStatusReturn
Nyara SaballyFKneeOUT5/21/2023
Marine JohannesGNot Injury RelatedOUT5/27/2023

Washington

NamePosInjuryStatusReturn
Myisha Hines-AllenFKneecapOUT5/21/2023

WNBA DFS Showdown Picks and Lineup Building Strategy

The Liberty will have to wait a bit longer to add Johannes to the mix, but the team is clearly one of two "superteams" entering 2023. The starting five is essentially set in stone, and it's unlikely you will find much in the way of value picks here, with the biggest names in Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu at the top and Jonquel Jones not far behind. Presumably, at least one of the Liberty stars figures to have a big game each night, the problem will be determining which one. Because Ionescu will presumably move off the ball when Courtney Vandersloot is on the court, she seems like a fade candidate in double-up formats at least, though she could still be considered in GPPs (tournaments), given her nightly upside. That said, the Liberty have the third-highest implied total (82.75) on the slate, so there's certainly reason to include a player or two in the mix.

On the flip side, Washington is only a 2.5-point underdog in the contest, so Vegas clearly doesn't see New York as an obvious winner here. Withy Hines-Allen out, the starting five will presumably include Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Sykes, Natasha Cloud, Shakira Austin and Arel Atkins. It may be tough for Austin in the land of the bigs that New York can send out, so she may be a player to fade, but Delle Donne can stretch the floor and is reportedly feeling the best she's felt in a while, so there could be some sneaky value atop the board there that could go under the radar. There is also a steep dropoff to presumed bench players on DraftKings like Amanda Zahui B., Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Kristi Toliver, so there could be some value there as well.

Chicago Sky at Minnesota Lynx  

Line: Minnesota -5.0
O/U: 162.5

Injury Report - Sky vs. Lynx

Note: All return dates are just estimates

Chicago

NamePosInjuryStatusReturn
Isabelle HarrisonFKneeOUT6/2/2023
Ruthy HebardFPersonalOUT6/25/2023
Astou Ndour-FallCPersonalOFS4/1/2024
Li YueruCLower BodyOFS4/1/2024
Julie AllemandGPersonalOFS4/1/2024


Minnesota

NamePosInjuryStatusReturn
Lindsay AllenGHamstringGTD5/19/2023
Natalie AchonwaCPersonalOUT5/25/2023
Maia HirschCNot Injury RelatedOFS4/1/2024

WNBA DFS Showdown Picks and Lineup Building Strategy

Arguably the best play of the night on both sides can be found in this contest. Due to her pregnancy last season, Napheesa Collier played only a handful of games at the end of the 2022For  season and wasn't operating at 100 percent, so her salary is lower than it should be on both sites for Opening Night. Collier is a player worth rostering on both sites, especially against an injury-riddled frontcourt in Chicago, forcing the team to add some depth via the waiver wire before the season. Rookie second-overall pick Diamond Miller also checks in at a reasonable rate and figures to play a lot, and she's a player who can contribute across the board. She's an interesting option from a fantasy standpoint. Tiffany Mitchell also seems in line to handle point guard duties for Minnesota, so she may be undervalued. In short, the Lynx are a club with plenty of value options to pair with some of the higher-salaried players on the board.

Due to a rash of injuries and/or absences for various reasons, the Sky are another team to look to when attempting to find some value. While Marina Mabrey and Courtney Williams er both acquired this offseason and will presumably play big roles for Chicago, it's also worth mentioning that Dana Evans has made a push this offseason and could be in the mix for the starting point guard job. Even as a bench option, she's likely worth consideration, at least on DraftKings where she's just $3,800. Then we have the mess of a frontcourt. Alanna Smith could claim the second frontcourt starting job alongside Elizabeth Williams, Edit: Morgan Bertsch appears the likely starter alongside Elizabeth Williams. She's minimum priced on DraftKings but hasn't appeared in a game during her WNBa career to date. She's worth a look, and Williams seems likely to shoulder a heavy load, so even she at a relatively discounted rate could be interesting.

Phoenix Mercury at Los Angeles Sparks

Line: Los Angeles -1.5
O/U: 157.5

Injury Report - Mercury vs. Sparks

Note: All return dates are just estimates

Phoenix

NamePosInjuryStatusReturn
Megan GustafsonCFootOUT5/21/2023
Sophie CunninghamFKneeOUT5/21/2023
Shey PeddyGKneeOUT6/9/2023
Skylar Diggins-SmithGPersonalOUT8/23/2023

Los Angeles

NamePosInjuryStatusReturn
Azura StevensFBackOUT5/25/2023
Jasmine ThomasGKneeOUT6/2/2023
Stephanie TalbotFKneeOFS2/1/2024
Katie Lou SamuelsonFNot Injury RelatedOFS2/1/2024

WNBA DFS Showdown Picks and Lineup Building Strategy

Welcome back to Brittney Griner, who checks in among the top five in salary on both sites and rightfully so. While her year away from basketball may deter many from using her at her sizable salary, but she faces a Sparks squad that finished second-worst in the league in rebound rate behind the Griner-less Mercury. Griner is among the better rebounders in the league and should be able to take advantage of a Sparks crew that essentially returns the same frontcourt. That said, it's worth mentioning that this game also sports the lowest total on the slate, suggesting a combination of a slower pace and lack of efficiency. The lack of efficiency would presumably also work in Griner's favor on the boards. There is also a value option at play here with Sophie Cunningham sidelined. Kadi Sissoko and Michaela Onyenwere are the two options most likely to start. Sissoko is a much greater value on FanDuel, while Onyenwere could be an option on both sites.

For the Sparks, Jasmine Thomas' early-season absence likely means Jordin Canada should see a lot of time on the ball, though it also means Lexie Brown should see a lot of action. Azura Stevens was another big scratch leading up to the opener, and Dearica Hamby is expected to have her minutes monitored early in the season coming back from her pregnancy, so I expect a lot of minutes from the Ogwumike sisters in the frontcourt. Joyner Holmes is on hand to supply some depth there along with Hamby, but it's a pretty thin crew of big bodies overall for LA.

WNBA DFS Picks Today

DraftKings

Griner should have a big Opening Night on the boards in her return and Delle Donne is still the go-to option in Washington. Jones had one of her best games of the year last season against Indiana and should play a bigger role this season. Collier should also eat against a shorthanded Chicago frontcourt and her salary is too low to pass up.

Value Plays

Evans should see a lot of action in the opener regardless of if she's starting, and that will also come in a point guard role, which should allow her to post decent numbers. Smith could be the starter and could provide plenty of value if so, notching multiple 20-point fantasy games last year. The rookies don't seem to have sizable salaries yet while their roles are introduced, so now is the time to pounce on the lower salaries. Mitchell will likely start at point guard for the Lynx and could get plenty of assists dishing to Collier all night.

FanDuel

Griner is the most expensive player on this slate from a salary standpoint, and the lower salary of Stewart makes her more intriguing in my eyes. Delle Donne remains a solid option here, and Ionescu could be worth a look on this slate slightly further down the list than she is on DraftKings. Collier is a steal on both.

Value Plays

Miller and Evans are probably good value options on both sites, while Williams could be a good play here to supplement your frontcourt with a lighter-on-your-wallet frontcourt option who will play a lot given Chicago's issues in the frontcourt. Sissoko could start for Phoenix and is certainly worth a look at the minimum salary if so.

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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