All 12 WNBA teams played their regular-season openers this past weekend. Now, let’s take a look at five players who had strong statistical performances relative to their roles. Because of their performances, they may be good value options for one-day fantasy basketball leagues like FanDuel and DraftKings, especially in light of star players’ current or upcoming absences due to injury or EuroBasket Women commitments.
Napheesa Collier, Lynx
Collier, the Lynx’s 2019 first-round draft pick, scored 27 points in her professional debut in an 89-71 win over the Chicago Sky. Though efficiency numbers aren’t taken into account in fantasy basketball, she made 8-of-10 shots overall and drained 3-of-4 three-point attempts.
With Maya Moore sitting out this season to rest, Collier will play a larger role all season long. Collier won’t be a “value option” if she continues to put up these types of numbers night after night. But for now, she shouldn’t be as expensive as established superstars like Elena Delle Donne.
Myisha Hines-Allen, Mystics
The Washington forward scored 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the Mystics’ season opening 84-69 loss to the Sun on Saturday. Though she shot just 4-of-12 from the field, Hines-Allen actively looks for her shot and can make moves like this:
Hines-Allen is bound to get more playing time next month when Emma Meesseman departs for her duties with the Belgian national team. Elena Delle Donne is still not fully recovered from the knee injury she suffered last season, which also should contribute to Hines-Allen getting more playing time.
If Hines-Allen can start to score a bit more efficiently, she will be a nice value option for the Mystics for much of June and early July when Emma Meesseman is training with the Belgian national team to prepare for EuroBasket Women 2019.
Crystal Langhorne, Storm
With Breanna Stewart out for the 2019 season due to a ruptured Achilles, veteran forward Langhorne, a two-time All-Star, is free to take a larger role. On Saturday, Langhorne got the start, scoring 10 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in the Storm’s season-opening 77-68 win against the Mercury. Watch highlights of the Storm’s win:
Langhorne was able to show some of her trademark crafty post scoring though Brittney Griner altered or blocked some of her shots. And despite a 4-of-11 shooting performance, expect Langhorne to continue playing significant minutes for Seattle all season.
Maria Vadeeva, Sparks
The second-year forward scored 24 points and blocked 3 shots in the Sparks’ season-opening, 83-70 loss to the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday. Take a look at her highlights:
Vadeeva will miss part of the season with EuroBasket Women coming up in late June and July. But if this performance is any indication for the 2019 season as a whole, expect Vadeeva to maintain a significant role throughout the regular season whenever she is stateside.
Candace Parker should return from a hamstring injury by July and that may put a dent into Vadeeva’s playing time. But Parker is entering the twilight of her career while Vadeeva is coming into her own. Therefore, expect Vadeeva to earn her fair share of time on the floor.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Mystics
The Mystics guard is entering her third WNBA season without a truly set role. But she started her 2019 season on the right note by scoring 11 points against the Dream on Saturday. One of the shots she made in particular was a nice drive to the basket in transition.
If Kristi Toliver’s leg injury forces her to miss time, and if Natasha Cloud’s shooting woes persist, the Mystics’ guard rotation will change. That will give Walker-Kimbrough more playing time as the season goes on.