DFS WNBA Playbook & FanDuel Optimal Lineups: June 30
Steve Pimental provides the best DFS plays and optimal lineups for Friday's WNBA slate.
I cannot remember a WNBA slate this season that had so much riding on the starting lineups of a few teams. In general, starting lineups tend to be less important in basketball than in other sports, but in many cases, the starting lineups provide one of our only clues to how coaches will use their players during the game. There are a couple of uncertain situations that will play out Friday, and I will be watching Twitter with great interest to see who gets the start for those teams.
The team that is most in flux has to be San Antonio. Head Coach Vickie Johnson has stuck with Kelsey Plum in the starting lineup for weeks despite Plum sometimes playing as few as five minutes despite starting the game. Plum was back on the bench Sunday, and it probably isn’t a coincidence Moriah Jefferson started in her place and played a season-high 36 minutes. We have no way of knowing how much Jefferson and Plum will play regardless of who starts, but I will feel better about Jefferson’s playing time if she is in the starting lineup.
Of course, it is possible Jefferson and Plum both start, especially since the plan was to play them both with Kayla McBride when Plum was drafted number one overall. That possibility became a bit more likely when Monique Currie was traded to the Phoenix Mercury Wednesday. Kayla Alexander is probably the better bet to start if Currie is out, considering Alexander played 33 minutes Sunday with Currie playing a season-low 10 minutes. Alexander had played 11 minutes or fewer in four consecutive games prior to Sunday, and while she will almost certainly play more with Currie gone, I would take it as a good sign if she gets her first start of the season.
The other starting lineup I’m watching closely is Chicago’s. Stefanie Dolson sat out Wednesday with an illness after she struggled in pregame warmups. With Dolson out and Tamera Young coming off the bench for just the second time all season, Jessica Breland and Imani Boyette both got starts even with Courtney Vandersloot getting the start for the first time since returning from Eurobasket. Dolson will presumably be back in the starting lineup along with Jessica Breland, but that is far from certain. It will be difficult to trust anyone in Chicago’s frontcourt outside of maybe Dolson, but whoever starts alongside Dolson would be worth considering.
|Moriah Jefferson, G, SA||$ 5,300||Jefferson got her third start of the season Sunday against the Lynx and had 19 points, eight assists and four steals in 36 minutes. She is still risky because her playing time has been so wildly inconsistent this season, but she should be at least a little bit safer now that Monique Currie is gone. If Jefferson is announced in the starting lineup, you should probably feel fairly confident in starting her. Jefferson had 18 points, four assists and five steals against the Sky three weeks ago, and I don't think any of the guards on Chicago's roster are fast enough to keep Jefferson out of the paint.|
|Monique Currie, G, PHO||$ 4,100||It is obviously risky to play Currie before we have much of an idea how Phoenix head coach Sandy Brondello will use her, but Currie's price is low enough to make her worth the risk. Phoenix is pretty desperate for another scorer to ease the burden on Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, who rank first and fourth in usage among players with at least 100 total possessions. Currie is a decent bet to get a lot of shots right away, and it definitely helps that Currie played with Phoenix in 2016.|
|Courtney Vandersloot, G, CHI||$ 4,500||It was nice to see Vandersloot get the start in her third game back from Eurobasket and play 30 minutes despite going 2-8 from the field. She is probably never going to take 15 shots in a game, but she has at least four rebounds and three assists in four consecutive games and if the minutes are there, she is as safe as they come.|
|Kelsey Plum, G, SA||$ 3,000||Is this finally the time Vickie Johnson unleashes a three-guard lineup with Jefferson, Kayla McBride and number one overall pick Kelsey Plum? That lineup matches up really well on paper with Chicago's starting lineup of Courtney Vandersloot, Cappie Pondexter and Allie Quigley, but Stars head coach Vickie Johnson has not shown a proclivity for using her players in ways that seem obvious from the outside. All that being said, Plum costs the minimum, and this could be the best opportunity for her to succeed she has seen all season. It would probably be a good sign if she is back in the starting lineup Friday, especially if Jefferson starts as well.|
|Kayla Alexander, F, SA||$ 3,500||With Monique Currie gone to Phoenix, Alexander has a really good shot at playing 20+ minutes for the sixth time this season. Alexander is averaging 11.6 points and 4.6 rebounds when she plays at least 20 minutes, and those are fine numbers for her price.|
|Riquna Williams, G, LA||$ 3,000||Williams has started the last two games with Essence Carson out and has played at least 28 minutes in each. Williams struggled from the field Tuesday but still took a season-high 12 shots, which I thought was encouraging. She had just six points and one rebound in 28 minutes Saturday, so her floor is still extremely low, but Williams is worth a shot if Carson is out again.|
|Sancho Lyttle, F, ATL||$ 5,600||Lyttle has scored at least 18.2 fantasy points in every game this season and at least 23.8 in her last four. She should be extremely safe, but she costs a lot for someone who hasn't reached 30 fantasy points in any of her seven games this season.|
|Bria Holmes, G, ATL||$ 4,600||Holmes has failed to score in double-digits just twice this season. She went 2-8 from the field Friday and she will almost certainly shoot better Friday. She probably isn't quite as safe as Courtney Vandersloot, but her ceiling is higher.|
|Sylvia Fowles, F, MIN||$ 9,200||Fowles is always worth considering, especially for cash lineups, but you might have an easier time affording her since there are actually some cheap options worth considering, which hasn't been the case the last week or two. Fowles had 22 points and 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes Sunday, the sixth time she has gone for 20 and 10 in 12 games this season.|
|Kayla McBride, G, SA||$ 5,900||Only the Wings have allowed more points than the Sky this season. McBride has failed to score 20 fantasy points just once all season.|
|Candace Parker, F, LA||$ 8,500||Parker has scored at least 32.8 fantasy points in five consecutive games. She is second in the WNBA in blocks and eighth in rebounds, and no team has allowed as many blocks or rebounds as the Dream.|
|Jantel Lavender, F, LA||$ 3,200||Lavender has played at least 13 minutes in six consecutive games and has scored at least 12.1 fantasy points in five of those. If you need a cheap forward for a cash game and don't trust or can't afford Kayla Alexander, Lavender has a high floor for her price.|
|Nneka Ogwumike, F, LA||$ 8,200||Ogwumike is probably a bit riskier than Parker, but her ceiling is nearly as high. She has reached 40 fantasy points three times this season, and this should be a good matchup for her as well.|
|Isabelle Harrison, F, SA||$ 4,900||Harrison has scored at least 20 fantasy points in each of the five games she has played 30+ minutes, including each of her last two games. She is like a cheaper version of Stefanie Dolson.|
|Stefanie Dolson, F, CHI||$ 5,700||Stefanie Dolson has topped 40 fantasy points twice this season and topped 32 fantasy points two other times. She is the cheapest forward on the slate who can lay claim to that feat. If she starts out strong she will keep getting minutes and shots, and that could be extremely valuable against a team with a 104.5 defensive rating.|
|POS||FanDuel Cash||$||FanDuel GPP||$|
|G||Riquna Williams||$3,000||Riquna Williams||$3,000|
|G||Courtney Vandersloot||$4,500||Monique Currie||$4,100|
|G||Moriah Jefferson||$5,300||Moriah Jefferson||$5,300|
|F||Kayla Alexander||$3,500||Isabelle Harrison||$4,900|
|F||Candace Parker||$8,500||Candace Parker||$8,500|
|F||Sancho Lyttle||$5,600||Nneka Ogwumike||$8,200|
|F||Sylvia Fowles||$9,200||Stefanie Dolson||$5,700|