I just won a nail biter in my fantasy women’s basketball league semifinals. With nearly 2,200 fantasy points, I edged out my editor, Joe Keizer, who had the best team this season by nine fantasy points. The point? Small roster decisions can be the absolute difference between a championship and a frustrated “GG” (good game) to your opponent. (Editor’s note: GG, Dre’.)
The WNBA players in this article are peaking to help all your fantasy hoops buddies get to the finish line. Let’s take a closer look.
Azura Stevens, Chicago sky (49.9% recorded in ESPN leagues) Stevens has put up fantasy-worthy numbers in her usual role off the bench, but has spent the last two games in Candace Parker Getting out of a non-Covid-19 illness. In those two most recent starts, Stevens averaged 12.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 2.0 3PG, 2.0 APG and 1.5 SPG in 35.0 MPG. Parker could return in any game, but Stevens’ opportunity comes during the fantasy season, and she should be fully booked and starting internationally as long as she keeps her starting job.
Shakira Austin, Washington Mystics (37.4%): As a rookie, Austin has played well for most of the season and is finishing the season on a high. Scored at least nine points in three straight games, with two of those outings in double figures, for just the second time this season and first since May 22. Averaging 10.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 BPG and 0.7 SPG in one of those three outings, it was a stellar game. Elena Delle Donne. Delle Donne has typically missed one game every handful of games and is playing both ends in back-to-back games. There’s a strong chance Austin will be called upon to play a major role at least once in the next fantasy hoops session.
Moriah Jefferson, Minnesota Lynx (32.1%): Jefferson has been a fixture in this position for a long season. She averaged 14.2 PPG, 5.0 APG, 2.2 RPG, 1.5 3PG and 1.5 SPG over six games before missing three games due to injury when she joined the Lynx in May. She rebounded and had another strong seven-game hitting streak since mid-June, averaging 16.1 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.7 RPG, 2.1 3PG and 1.3 SPG in 30.1 MPG. Then, starting on July 6, she had a shocking seven-game slump in which she averaged just 5.3 ppg and 3.3 apg in 24.0 mpg. Well, she bounced back over the past two games to look like the player she has been for most of the season, posting 18.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.0 3PG and 2.0 RPG. Her return to strong play is timely, just like the current Fantasy Hoops Championships.
Kayla Thornton, Dallas Wings (29.4%): Thornton is in the midst of her best scoring streak of the season. She has averaged 11.5 ppg over her past six seasons, with a season-high 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 3-pointers and 2 in her most recent game against the Wings. Thornton is a solid rebounder and defensive player when she’s playing well, and if she adds points to the mix, she’s a formidable presence at the right time.
Shay Paddy, Phoenix Mercury (21.7%): Peddie has started the last 13 games for the Mercury but has stepped into her role and played well for about a month. She averaged 11.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.4 SPG and 1.0 3PG over the past eight games. She has scored at least 20 fantasy points in eight of those games and at least 26 in six of the eight. She’s an influential figure on the Mercury, and her productive streak coincides perfectly with the fantasy women’s basketball playoffs.