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Fantasy women’s basketball – Liz Loza’s risers and fallers


The only constant in sports (and life) is change. While consistency is key to a winning strategy, the ebb and flow of production often can’t be avoided.

Tracking the endless ups and downs over 40 games and nearly four months can become a heady operation. Segmenting the journey, however, into weekly updates allows managers to live (and play) in the now.

That’s exactly what my Risers and Fallers column aims to accomplish, as we utilize ESPN’s metrics database for a deeper look at the numbers.


Risers

Maddy Siegrist, Forward, Dallas Wings (56% rostered, +14.3)

Despite failing to clear 20 minutes at any point during her rookie season in 2023, Siegrist flashed signs of potential when coming off the bench at various points. The Villanova standout has since built upon those performances, earned a starting role and averaging 37 minutes per contest since May 25.

Siegrist has recorded double-digit points in every game during that span while also logging at least 20 fantasy points in five of her past seven outings. The 24-year-old has additionally registered at least three boards and a total of four treys (including a buzzer-beater last Sunday) during her past three outings. With Natasha Howard (foot) expected to sit until July and Satou Sabally (shoulder) sidelined through mid-August, Siegrist figures to retain a prominent role on the team. Fantasy managers can consider her a likely top-35 producer through the end of the month.

Tiffany Hayes, Guard, Las Vegas Aces (10.8% rostered, +8.8)

Hayes announced her retirement from professional basketball in December of last year … but then the Aces called, and now she’s back! Dealing with a short-handed roster and intent on securing a third consecutive title, Vegas wooed Hayes (who spent a decade with the Dream before her “final” year with the Sun in 2023) away from the East Coast and back to the court.

While she’s still finding her footing, the 34-year-old has delivered in a reserve capacity, recording double-digit points and clearing 20 fantasy points in two of her past three games. Her field goal percentage has been lacking (35.7%), but Hayes’ contributions in secondary categories (4.3 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per contest and a steal in each effort) has buoyed her fantasy stock. Chelsea Gray (leg) and Jackie Young (illness) are expected back for Tuesday’s contest against Minnesota. However, Hayes remains an interesting stash for managers seeking depth.


Fallers

Lexie Brown, Guard, Los Angeles Sparks (73.7% rostered, -7.3)

Brown has had an up-and-down season thus far, her seventh in the WNBA. While she began the season on a positive note (clearing 30 minutes in the first four games of 2024 and averaged nearly 24 fantasy points per outing during that time, she has since been relegated to the bench for the team’s past three games. A combination of occurrences — from Layshia Clarendon‘s return to an ankle injury that forced Brown out of the Sparks’ June 2 game in Phoenix — have negatively affected the 29-year-old’s production.

While she has had dominant moments (like sinking four 3s in the squad’s recent victory over Dallas), Brown’s lack of consistency makes her hard to trust for fantasy. Given her efficiency issues (33.0 FG%) and limited playing time, Brown is unlikely to post big numbers on Tuesday against Seattle. The Storm, a solid defensive squad with a top-three DEFRTG (91.9) are 10.5-point favorites, indicating an uphill climb for Brown … and her fantasy investors.

Sophie Cunningham, Guard, Phoenix Mercury (61.2% rostered, -0.8)

Cunningham’s fantasy superpower exists in her prowess as a long-range shooter. The former Mizzou standout has averaged 1.6 3PG this season. While that per-game average is down from last year, her efficiency is up (to 37.3% from 33.7% in 2023). There’s an obvious upside to Cunningham’s game.

The issue, however, is her playing time. Cunningham carved out a prominent role for herself last year, recording 31 starts. But this go-around she’s behind Rebecca Allen (who returned from a five-game absence due to concussion on June 7) and Kahleah Copper (who was traded from the Sky in the offseason), which has resulted in her fewest minutes per game average since 2021. Cunningham’s fantasy appeal remains capped as long as she’s playing a reserve role. She is a drop candidate in leagues with short benches.

Follow Liz on X (formerly Twitter): @LizLoza_FF





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