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Introducing the 2023 Swish Appeal WNBA fantasy basketball league

Six Swish Appeal writers decided to start their own WNBA fantasy basketball league for the 2023 season. Which of them drafted the best roster?

New York Liberty v Las Vegas Aces
Breanna Stewart (right) and A’ja Wilson were the first two players selected in Swish Appeal’s 2023 WNBA fantasy basketball draft.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Welcome to the first-ever Swish Appeal WNBA fantasy basketball league!

With ESPN’s WNBA fantasy basketball platform now in its second year of operation, six of us at Swish Appeal thought it would be a fun idea to put together our own league for the 2023 WNBA season. Though we’ll be playing just for fun (no money bets here!), we’ll be checking in on each fantasy team throughout the summer here at Swish Appeal to see which squads are performing the best.

For now, though, here’s a quick primer on how we’ll be playing, including the league rules, scoring and — of course — which of us drafted which WNBA players.

The format and rules

As is typical of ESPN WNBA fantasy leagues, the Swish Appeal league will be scored in a head-to-head, weekly format. The teams who record more total points than their opponents in any given week will “win” that respective matchup.


To encourage more strategy when drafting, roster positions were narrowed somewhat compared to the ESPN defaults. Our fantasy teams consist of ten players (seven starters, three bench players and two injured reserve (IR) spots), with the following positions:

  • One guard (G)
  • One forward (F)
  • One center (C)
  • One guard/forward (G/F)
  • One forward/center (F/C)
  • Two utility players (UTIL)

Dual-position roster spots may be occupied by players of either position. Utility spots may be occupied by players of any position.


In contrast to default ESPN scoring, which gives one fantasy point for every basic box score statistic (points, rebounds, assists, and so on), Swish Appeal’s fantasy league’s scoring weights some statistics differently than others, similar to how daily fantasy platforms such as FanDuel and DraftKings record fantasy points. This gives more value to players who may not necessarily be high-volume but contribute in other areas, such as defensive playmaking and offensive efficiency. Our league scoring is as follows:

  • Field goals made (FGM) = 1
  • Field goals missed (FGMI) = -0.3
  • Free throws made (FTM) = 1
  • 3-pointers made (3PM) = 1.5
  • Rebounds (REB) = 1.5
  • Assists (AST) = 2
  • Steals (STL) = 3
  • Blocks (BLK) = 3
  • Turnovers (TO) = -1.5
  • Double doubles (DD) = 2
  • Triple doubles (TD) = 5
  • Points (PTS) = 0.5

The teams

Swish Appeal’s WNBA fantasy league draft took place on Sunday in a typical randomized “snake” format. Here are the results of the draft, with each player’s draft position and comments from each manager on their respective roster:

Team Nemchock (Eric Nemchock)

  • No. 2: A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces; F)
  • No. 11: Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings; G)
  • No. 14: Teaira McCowan (Dallas Wings; C)
  • No. 23: Brionna Jones (Connecticut Sun; C)
  • No. 26: NaLyssa Smith (Indiana Fever; F)
  • No. 35: Natasha Cloud (Washington Mystics; G)
  • No. 38: Courtney Vandersloot (New York Liberty; G)
  • No. 47: Brittney Sykes (Washington Mystics; G)
  • No. 50: Myisha Hines-Allen (Washington Mystics; F)
  • No. 59: Jordan Horston (Seattle Storm; G)

Comments: First of all, I’m really happy with my depth at center. ESPN doesn’t list too many WNBA players as centers, and since we’ll need to have at least one rostered for our league, I consider myself lucky to have gotten two starters in McCowan and Jones. I’m counting on a bounce-back season from Hines-Allen, who will hopefully have a larger role for the Mystics than she did in 2022. Horston could end up being a great fantasy player with her ability to stuff the stat sheet — if Seattle gives her free reign to do so, that is. — Eric Nemchock

Team Zack (Zack Ward)

  • No. 3: Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury; C)
  • No. 10: Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks; F)
  • No. 15: Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm; G)
  • No. 22: Courtney Williams (Chicago Sky; G)
  • No. 27: DeWanna Bonner (Connecticut Sun; F)
  • No. 34: Kayla McBride (Minnesota Lynx; G)
  • No. 39: Moriah Jefferson (Phoenix Mercury; G)
  • No. 46: Diamond DeShields (Dallas Wings; G)
  • No. 51: Jasmine Thomas (Los Angeles Sparks; G)
  • No. 58: Erica Wheeler (Indiana Fever; G)

Comments: I’m taking a risk on BG, hoping she won’t be too rusty. Nneka Ogwumike is back to her usual self as of last season, when she came in 10th in MVP voting. I stayed away from Liberty and Aces players because I think they will hurt each other’s scores; I think Nneka is going to have to carry the Sparks. Same goes for Jewell Loyd and the Storm. I refrained from picking Loyd higher, but was thrilled to get her in the third round because her stats are obviously expected to skyrocket this year with Breanna Stewart no longer in Seattle. I was also thrilled to get Erica Wheeler in the last round because she is going to play a big role for the Fever. — Zack Ward

Team Josh (Josh Felton)

  • No. 1: Breanna Stewart (New York Liberty; F)
  • No. 12: Natasha Howard (Dallas Wings; F)
  • No. 13: Jonquel Jones (New York Liberty; F)
  • No. 24: Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces; G)
  • No. 25: Aerial Powers (Minnesota Lynx; F)
  • No. 36: Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury; G)
  • No. 37: Azurá Stevens (Los Angeles Sparks; F)
  • No. 48: Isabelle Harrison (Chicago Sky; F)
  • No. 49: Diamond Miller (Minnesota Lynx; G)
  • No. 60: Mercedes Russell (Seattle Storm; C)

Team Draves (Zachary Draves)

  • No. 4: Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx; F)
  • No. 9: Rhyne Howard (Atlanta Dream; G)
  • No. 16: Marina Mabrey (Chicago Sky; G)
  • No. 21: Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever; G)
  • No. 28: Allisha Gray (Atlanta Dream; G)
  • No. 33: Cheyenne Parker (Atlanta Dream; F)
  • No. 40: Sophie Cunningham (Phoenix Mercury; G)
  • No. 45: Elizabeth Williams (Chicago Sky; C)
  • No. 52: Brianna Turner (Phoenix Mercury; F)
  • No. 57: Sami Whitcomb (Seattle Storm; G)

Team Cat (Cat Ariail)

  • No. 6: Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics; F)
  • No. 7: Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun; F)
  • No. 18: Kahleah Copper (Chicago Sky; G)
  • No. 19: Shakira Austin (Washington Mystics; C)
  • No. 30: Ariel Atkins (Washington Mystics; G)
  • No. 31: Tiffany Hayes (Connecticut Sun; G)
  • No. 42: Satou Sabally (Dallas Wings; F)
  • No. 43: Aari McDonald (Atlanta Dream; G)
  • No. 54: Betnijah Laney (New York Liberty; F)
  • No. 55: Chiney Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks; F)

Comments: Last Aug. 2, Alyssa Thomas notched her first career triple-double. Before the Sun would be eliminated in the 2022 WNBA Finals, she would register three more. I believe triple-dub AT has been unleashed, and I’m thrilled to have her stat stuffing for my squad. I can also count on Thomas to always be on the court; in contrast, the consistent availability of Elena Delle Donne, Tiffany Hayes and Satou Sabally is a concern. However, if that trio has good health, I’m feeling pretty confident about my group. — Cat Ariail

Team Leite (Chelsea Leite)

  • No. 5: Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces; G)
  • No. 8: Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty; G)
  • No. 17: Ezi Magbegor (Seattle Storm; C)
  • No. 20: Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces; G)
  • No. 29: Candace Parker (Las Vegas Aces; F)
  • No. 32: Aliyah Boston (Indiana Fever; F)
  • No. 41: Kia Nurse (Seattle Storm; G)
  • No. 44: Dana Evans (Chicago Sky; G)
  • No. 53: Han Xu (New York Liberty; C)
  • No. 56: Bridget Carleton (Minnesota Lynx; F)

Comments: I went in with the fifth overall pick, expecting to get Brittney Griner and deal with drafting guards later (it was a guard-heavy draft) — only to be FLABBERGASTED when Zack took BG with the third pick. It worked out well though, because that left higher-prospect Kelsey Plum for me to take. I realized about halfway through that I had barely any centers, but was happy to grab Han Xu, who I think is going to have a fabulous year. Rounded it all out with some Canadians, the projected Rookie of the Year, and a bunch of All-Stars?? I am the sleeper in this Fantasy League. Watch out. — Chelsea Leite