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

Liz Loza, ESPNJun 27, 2023, 10:25 AM ET

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 and resident stats ace Kyle Soppe for a deeper look at the numbers.

RisersKristy Wallace, G, Indiana Fever (14.8% rostered, +6.7)Play Fantasy WNBA Basketball

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Wallace is emerging as the Fever’s most trusted bench player. While she has yet to garner a start, her minutes have steadily increased. The 27-year-old has managed at least 23 minutes in three consecutive games and averaged over 24 minutes per contest since the start of the month. She recorded a season-high six rebounds at Seattle, followed by a season-best six dimes at Vegas.

Wallace’s ceiling is, obviously, capped as a reserve option. However, a decent shooting profile (7.7 FGA, 40 FG%) and proven versatility give her top-50 fantasy appeal.

DiJonai Carrington, G, Connecticut Sun (7.9% rostered, +2.2)

Carrington has been hot for about two weeks now, clearing 20 minutes in five of her last six games. The 25-year-old’s rebounding skills appear to have improved, as she has recorded at least five boards in back-to-back efforts, smashing her season-best totals from last year.

In addition to managing multiple steals in three of her last five contests, Carrington has been ascending as a shooter. She followed up a season-high 17-point effort at Minnesota with another 17-point game (in which she led the Sun in field goals attempted) versus Chicago this past Sunday. The Baylor alum has also been sinking 3s, posting a total of five since June 18th.

Teaira McCowan, C, Dallas Wings (86.9% rostered, +10.1)Editor’s Picks

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McCowan was playing abroad for 10 games, but since returning to Dallas the 26-year-old has brought size and savvy to the Wings frontcourt. Averaging more than 25 minutes per contest over her last three efforts, McCowan has been crashing the glass. Managing 28 boards over her 76 total minutes, the Mississippi State product is leading the team in rebound percentage (18.4%).

McCown has also ripped off at least eight shots in each game since June 20th. While those numbers aren’t staggering, they give her a nice fantasy floor with potential room to grow. Dallas leads the league in pace, which could translate into an uptick in possessions (and, thus, opportunities) for the team’s starting center.

FallersAzura Stevens, F, Los Angeles Sparks (63.5% rostered, -1.9)

Stevens is making my Fallers list for the second week in a row. Her production remains sporadic at best. Her minutes have vacillated between 16 and 28 over her last three games. She struggled shooting in each of those efforts, sinking just four of 20 field-goal attempts since June 20th. Without a high-end number of assists (a total of four over her last three games) and only one double-digit point effort on the season, it’s hard to rely on Stevens in fantasy.

Shakira Austin, C, Washington Mystics (97.8% rostered, -0.3)

Austin was helped off the court Sunday by teammate Natasha Cloud after straining her hip in the fourth quarter of the Mystics’ eventual loss to the Liberty. Washington will host Atlanta on Wednesday, giving Austin a few days to heal, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 22-year-old ruled out of the game.

After a solid start to the season, Austin’s production has waned over her last five contests, as she has managed just two double-digit efforts since June 13th. While her rebounding numbers are strong (7.8 RPG), around 80% of those boards have occurred on the defensive end of the court, which doesn’t boost her scoring opportunities. If Austin were to sit, Tianna Hawkins would likely see an increased role.

Follow Liz on Twitter: @LizLoza_FF

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