I just won a nail biter in my fantasy women’s basketball league semifinals. With nearly 2,200 fantasy points, I edged out my editor, Joe Keizer, who had the best team this season by nine fantasy points. The point? Small roster decisions can be the absolute difference between a championship and a frustrated “GG” (good game) to your opponent. (Editor’s note: GG, Dre’.)
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The WNBA players in this article are peaking to help all your fantasy hoops buddies get to the finish line. Let’s take a closer look.
Azura Stevens, Chicago Sky (49.9% in ESPN leagues): Stevens puts up fantasy-worthy numbers in her usual role off the Sky bench, but has started the past two games alongside Candace Parker with a non-Covid-19 illness. In those two most recent starts, Stevens averaged 12.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 2.0 3PG, 2.0 APG and 1.5 SPG in 35.0 MPG. Parker could return in any game, but Stevens’ opportunity came during the fantasy season, and she should be fully booked and starting internationally as long as she keeps the starting job.
Shakira Austin, Washington Mystics (37.4%): Austin is a rookie who started and played well for most of the season, and is finishing the season on a high. Scored at least nine points in three straight games, with two of those outings in double figures, for just the second time this season and first since May 22. She averaged 10.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 BPG and 0.7 SPG in those three outings, one of which was a game set by star Elena Delle Donne. Delle Donne has typically missed one game every handful of games and is playing both ends in back-to-back games. There’s a strong chance Austin will be called upon to play a major role at least once in the next fantasy hoops session.
Moriah Jefferson, Minnesota Lynx (32.1%): Jefferson has been a fixture at this position for a long season. She averaged 14.2 PPG, 5.0 APG, 2.2 RPG, 1.5 3PG and 1.5 SPG over six games before missing three games due to injury when she joined the Lynx in May. She rebounded and had another strong seven-game hitting streak since mid-June, averaging 16.1 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.7 RPG, 2.1 3PG and 1.3 SPG in 30.1 MPG. Then, beginning on July 6, she had a shocking seven-game slump in which she averaged just 5.3 ppg and 3.3 apg in 24.0 mpg. Well, she bounced back over the past two games to look like the player she has been for most of the season, posting 18.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.0 3PG and 2.0 RPG. Her return to strong play is timely, as are the Fantasy Hoops Championships at the time.
Kayla Thornton, Dallas Wings (29.4%): Thornton is in the midst of her best scoring season of the season. She has averaged 11.5 ppg over her past six seasons, with a season-high 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 3-pointers and 2 in her most recent game against the Wings. Thornton is a solid rebounder and defensive player when she’s playing well, and if she adds points to the mix, she’s a formidable presence at the right time.
Shay Peddie, Phoenix Mercury (21.7%): Peddie has started the past 13 games for the Mercury, but has played well for a month as she settles into her role. She has averaged 11.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.4 SPG and 1.0 3PG over the past eight games. She has scored at least 20 fantasy points in eight of those games and at least 26 in six of the eight. She’s an influential figure on the Mercury, and her productive streak coincides perfectly with the fantasy women’s basketball playoffs.