This article is part of our WNBA Fantasy Primer series.
WNBA Fantasy Basketball Update
The first season of season-long WNBA Fantasy on ESPN is underway, and there are plenty of trends to track to stay competitive in leagues. This weekly column is intended to provide an analysis of trends impacting production in season-long leagues, and the discussion section is available for league-specific questions, such as waiver advice and start/sit questions.
Jordin Canada, G, Sparks: Canada saw a decreased role after Kristi Toliver made her season debut for the Sparks, but Canada had increased opportunities recently since Los Angeles was shorthanded in the backcourt. She topped 30 minutes of playing time in each of the last three matchups and averaged 11.7 points, 6.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 35.3 minutes per game during that time. While she could see a decrease in playing time with Toliver and Brittney Sykes back in action this week, Canada has proven that she can be productive when she has enough opportunities.
Gabby Williams, F, Storm: Williams had limited production on the scoreboard early in the season, but she's been a more consistent scoring threat in recent weeks. She's scored in double figures in five of the last eight games and has averaged 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 23.9 minutes per game during that time. She's remained consistent on the boards and has shown glimpses of production in assists, making her a reliable option ahead of the fantasy playoffs.
Natalie Achonwa, F, Lynx: Achonwa returned from a lengthy absence June 21 and has had consistent playing time off the bench since returning to the court. Over her seven appearances in recent weeks, she's averaged 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game. She hasn't been a particularly dominant contributor in any given category, but her well-rounded production makes her a reliable fantasy player.
Iliana Rupert, C, Aces: Rupert is available in nearly all ESPN Fantasy leagues but has had double-digit minutes off the bench in each of her six appearances. She's averaged 6.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game during that time. While the center has had a few disappointing performances since making her season debut, she's been one of the Aces' top bench contributors and has benefited from the team's inconsistencies in recent weeks.
Jantel Lavender, F, Storm: Lavender remains a somewhat modest fantasy contributor, but her production has picked up slightly over the last several games. She's topped 10 minutes of playing time in three of the last four matchups and has averaged 4.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game during that time. While Lavender's fantasy output hasn't jumped off the page, she's been better on the boards recently, which has helped to complement her modest output in other areas. She isn't guaranteed to see consistent action but should see minutes when the Storm are comfortably ahead, which could be frequent in the second half of the season, making her an option in deep leagues.
Erica Wheeler, G, Dream: Wheeler was a dominant fantasy contributor over the first few weeks of the season but has shown more signs of inconsistency over her four appearances since returning from a six-game absence. She's been held to single-digit scoring totals in three of the last four matchups and has averaged 5.8 points and 4.3 assists in 25.5 minutes per game during that time. While she isn't a drop candidate due to the upside that she displayed earlier in the season, it's worth considering some other options in start/sit decisions.
Chennedy Carter, G, Sparks: Carter is slated to sit Tuesday for the sixth time in the last eight games. She's currently dealing with a knee injury but also missed two games with an illness in the weeks leading up to the All-Star break. It's not yet clear when the 23-year-old will be able to return, but she's had decreased production when available recently since the Sparks' backcourt has been crowded. Carter showed glimpses of production earlier in the season but has had decreased production when healthy over the last month.
Rebecca Allen, G, Liberty: Like Carter, Allen has been sidelined recently, as she's missed seven of the last eight games due to a concussion and rest. She had plenty of playing time upon joining the starting lineup but has had a decreased role when on the court recently. The 29-year-old will likely return to the court Tuesday against the Aces since she's listed as probable for the first game after the All-Star break, but she hasn't been a reliable fantasy option recently.
Chiney Ogwumike, F, Sparks: Ogwumike has had two double-doubles over the past month, but her production has mainly been limited in spite of her consistent playing time. The forward has been held under 10 points in four of her last five appearances, and her production on the boards hasn't been enough to make her a strong fantasy option. While she'll be available Tuesday after missing the Sparks' final game prior to the All-Star break due to a knee injury, her recent production has been very inconsistent.
Damiris Dantas, F, Lynx: Dantas has maintained a starting role for the Lynx recently, but she's been held under 15 minutes of playing time in three of her last five appearances. Over those five matchups, she's had single-digit scoring totals on four occasions, including two games in which she was held scoreless. Dantas is averaging just 1.8 assists per game this season, and her 4.6 points and 4.0 assists in 15.6 minutes per game over her last five appearances hasn't bolstered her production enough to make her a reliable fantasy consideration.
Note: Updated injury and absence information throughout the week can be found on RotoWire's Injury News page.
Atlanta Dream: Nia Coffey has missed seven consecutive games with a knee injury, and it's not yet clear when she'll be able to return. Naz Hillmon and Monique Billings have had a slight uptick in playing time in her continued absence.
Dallas Wings: Allisha Gray will miss Tuesday's game against the Storm due to a personal matter, which could lead to an increase in playing time for Tyasha Harris, Veronica Burton and Jasmine Dickey. Satou Sabally returned to the court July 1 against the Sparks but has had a minutes restriction during her first two games following her return.
Indiana Fever: Victoria Vivians missed Indiana's July 1 game against the Sparks due to a shoulder injury but has been back in action over the last two matchups. Her return has led to decreased playing time for Destanni Henderson. Lexie Hull and Queen Egbo have both missed the last two games, and it's not clear whether they'll be available Wednesday against the Sun. Danielle Robinson, Emily Engstler and Emma Cannon have had increased playing time with Hull and Egbo sidelined.
Los Angeles Sparks: Chennedy Carter will miss a fourth consecutive game Tuesday against the Mystics. However, the Sparks will get a boost to their backcourt since Kristi Toliver and Brittney Sykes are slated to return. Lexie Brown and Jordin Canada should see decreased roles with Toliver and Sykes back in action. Chiney Ogwumike will also return from a one-game absence, which could lead to decreased playing time for Olivia Nelson-Ododa.
Minnesota Lynx: Napheesa Collier has rejoined the team after missing the start of the season due to the birth of her first child in May. However, it's not yet clear when she'll be able to return to game action.
New York Liberty: Rebecca Allen has missed seven of the last eight games but is probable for Tuesday's matchup against the Aces. It's possible that she'll face a minutes restriction if she's ultimately available, but her return could lead to slightly less playing time for Natasha Howard and Michaela Onyenwere. Sami Whitcomb rested Wednesday against the Aces but was back in action Thursday against Phoenix.
Seattle Storm: Sue Bird missed Thursday's game against the Sparks due to a personal matter, but she'll be back in the starting lineup Tuesday against Dallas.
Note: Projected lineups and up-to-the-minute lineup confirmations can be found on RotoWire's Daily Lineups page.
Los Angeles Sparks: Lexie Brown drew starts in the last four games since Brittney Sykes was sidelined, while Jordin Canada started in the last two games with Kristi Toliver out. However, it wouldn't be surprising to see Sykes and Toliver reclaim starting roles Tuesday since both of them will be back in action.
Seattle Storm: Briann January started Thursday against the Sparks since Sue Bird was at the White House while her fiancee, Megan Rapinoe, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. However, Bird is returning to the starting lineup Tuesday against Dallas.