Sunday’s WNBA schedule features the home and season opener for the Las Vegas Aces, an anticipated one because of Las Vegas’ status as a title favorite. Their 8 p.m. ET tilt against the Los Angeles Sparks is the only game on the slate for the day but the hype has already been reduced because of an unfortunate injury.
How Does WNBA DFS work?
Fanduel WNBA daily fantasy games, which are the official fantasy games of the league, work differently when there is only one game on the league schedule for a day. Instead of requiring players to select three backcourt and four frontcourt players from those listed in the gallery of players on the teams in action on a given night, fantasy team managers will only select five players total. Players aren’t selected as either forwards or guards but rather given one of four designations. Those are MVP, Star, Pro and Utility.
Players can select one MVP for their team, whose contributions on the real court will be worth twice the usual amount of points. There is also one slot for a Star, whose points will be worth one a half times the usual amount. One Pro can be designated as well with a points multiplier of 1.2. To fill out the roster two Utility players can be selected, who will carry normal point values. A player’s actual position on the real court is irrelevant for these types of games.
Fantasy team managers are still given a budget to spend on their entire roster and each player is assigned a monetary value based on last seasons’ performances, preseason performances and expectations for the game. The more productive a player should be, the more expensive she is to own. When the real players collect statistics in the actual games, points are earned for fantasy team managers who selected those players. To win the fantasy games, the team managers’ point totals after all real games have been played must be among the highest in the pool of all the managers who entered into the contest.
Two Sunday, May 26 MVP Candidates
All players are expected to be in action and play significant minutes if not start for their teams on Sunday, May 26. Fantasy team managers need to check lineups before the fantasy contests lock to make sure they don’t have a player on their roster who is injured or is not going to play for some other reason. The monetary figures after the players’ names are their cost for owning on FanDuel on Sunday, May 26.
The first thing that fantasy team managers playing on Sunday should know is that Las Vegas Aces forward Liz Cambage is currently listed as doubtful for the game with an Achilles tendon issue. If healthy, the league-leader in scoring last season would be an obvious choice here.
A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces, $11,500 – With Cambage likely sidelined there will be no reduction in touches for Wilson on Sunday. As one of the focal points in the Aces’ offense in her Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018, she averaged just shy of 40 fantasy points per game. Doubling up on the production from Wilson today could be worth spending over a quarter of the budget for fantasy team managers.
Chelsea Gray, Los Angeles Sparks, $7,000 – Gray has made the All-Star team in both of the past two seasons and with Odyssey Sims now in Minnesota could play an even more significant role in Los Angeles’ offense. She averaged 29.1 fantasy points per game in 2018 but had one-off performances where she produced as many as 42 points late in the season. For fantasy team managers looking for a mid-priced option to use for their MVP, Gray is a strong contender.
Two Sunday, May 26 Star Candidates
Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks, $9,500 – Her sister, Chiney, is now a teammate and it’s been one of the biggest questions for new head coach Derek Fisher how the two will mesh. If Nneka is comfortable, she’s a great candidate for the Star 1.5X multiplier. She averaged over 31 fantasy points per game sharing the ball with forward Candace Parker, who will miss the beginning of this season with a hamstring injury.
Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces, $8,000 – Fantasy team managers who roster Wilson would be wise to maximize their earnings and use their Star bonus on the point likely to be feeding Wilson. Plum averaged over 20 fantasy points per game in 2018 thanks to averaging four assists per game and she has even better talent around her now with the addition of top overall pick Jackie Young to share the backcourt with.
Two Sunday, May 26 Pro Candidates
Kayla McBride, Las Vegas Aces, $10,000 – McBride was one of Las Vegas’ scoring leaders during the preseason and if fantasy team managers don’t designate her as their MVP or Star, she definitely deserves the Pro designation. She averaged 31 fantasy points per game last season and while she may see a bit less time on the court with Young in the fold, still figures to be a productive option as Young gets used to the pro game.
Chiney Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks, $9,000 – Averaging over 28 fantasy points per game as a member of the Connecticut Sun in 2018, Ogwumike is with a new team and that always creates an air of uncertainty as to how a player will perform but having her sister on the roster should help. The absence of Parker for the foreseeable future means her opportunities to contribute should be plentiful as well.
Three Sunday, May 26 Utility Candidates
Jackie Young, Las Vegas Aces, $7,500 – This year’s top overall draft pick comes to an Aces team that is talented at her position but was in need of depth. If Young can produce at the pro level in the opportunities she gets like she did for Notre Dame in her final season, averaging over 14 points plus seven rebounds and five assists per game, she will be a strong option for fantasy team managers all season long.
Carolyn Swords, Las Vegas Aces, $4,500 – Swords is as close to a pure glass cleaner as can be found in the league. She averaged almost 13 fantasy points per game last season on an Aces team that overall was worse than what the 2019 version figures to be. Fantasy team managers who splurged on their other designations can still get a lot of value out of Swords at this price.
Alana Beard, Los Angeles Sparks, $4,500 – Beard is best known for her defense but that didn’t stop her from nearly averaging 15 fantasy points per game in 2018. She might see even more minutes with Sims now a member of the Lynx, which means the upside at her price tag is even greater.
Both teams will look to get off to a good start on the 2019 season Sunday night and the benefactors of their play will be fantasy team owners.