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

Liz Loza, ESPNJul 25, 2023, 02:43 PM 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.

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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.

RisersEmma Cannon, Forward, Indiana Fever (4.9% rostered, +3.4)

Cannon’s playing time and subsequent production have spiked since standout sophomore NaLyssa Smith has been dealing with a foot injury. The multi-season vet has registered 39 total points and 15 total rebounds over her last three efforts. She’s also sunk four of 10 3-point shots during that time.

Smith’s stress fracture figures to keep her sidelined through the end of the month and potentially into August, providing Cannon with increased minutes and fantasy value.

Jordan Horston, Guard, Seattle Storm (17.5% rostered, +1.2)

I’ve been on Horston for over a month and she’s still available in over 80% of ESPN fantasy leagues. The rookie has been on a statistical tear since the middle of July. Not only has she managed four straight games with multiple steals (for a total of 10), but she’s also recorded double-digit points for three consecutive contests.

The fact that Horston has continued to produce even with Jewell Loyd back on the court suggests a viable fantasy floor for the Tennessee standout. Horston gets after it, as evidenced by her 15 free throw attempts over her past three games (as opposed to 0 FTA in the first four efforts of the month). Additionally, working in the 22-year-old’s favor is Seattle’s up-tempo pace (4th fastest), which increases Horston’s chances of touching the ball and posting fantasy points.

Tianna Hawkins, Forward, Washington Mystics (47.1% rostered, +20.1)Editor’s Picks

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After pounding the table in favor of the Maryland native for two straight weeks, Hawkins is currently the most added player in ESPN’s fantasy game. She’s nearly rostered in 50% of leagues, this is probably the last time I’ll be able to list her in my weekly column. The 32-year-old’s recent play needs to be amplified so I’m singing her praises one more time.

Hawkins didn’t put on an offensive show in her most recent effort, but she did lead the team in rebounds (7) and was +16 in her nearly 29 minutes (behind only Natasha Cloud) at home versus the Mercury. She’s cleared double-digit points in five of her last six efforts while averaging nearly three 3-point attempts during that time. Hawkins is on pace to close out the year with career numbers in minutes, rebounds, and assists. She remains one of the highest floor streams in the game while Shakira Austin (hip) continues to miss time.


Tiffany Hayes, Guard, Connecticut Sun (93.3% rostered, +0.2)

Hayes offers managers a decent floor, averaging over 25 minutes, 11 points, and 3 boards per game on the season. Over her last three contests, however, those efficiencies have begun to slip. The 10-year vet has managed no more than 10-points (26.9 FG%) and 6 rebounds-plus-assists since July 18.

On a different squad for the first time in a decade, Hayes is facing new challenges, which have resulted in a dip in efficiency. Despite remaining an every week starter for the Sun, her per game fantasy point average (17.3 FPTS/gm over her last seven games) is outside of the top-50.

Kayla McBride, Guard, Minnesota Lynx (91.4% rostered, -0.9)

McBride was held scoreless versus the Sparks last Thursday. While she bounced back from that effort over the weekend, it’s worth noting that the 31-year-old has managed a field goal percentage of under 40 for four straight games.

Additionally, more than 57% of her shots have been 3-point attempts. That could be a potential plus, but McBride’s efficiency has dipped significantly, as she’s managed her worst 3-point percentage since 2017. Given that Minnesota ranks below the league average in both tempo and assist-rate, it’s unlikely that McBride’s number will rebound.

Follow Liz on Twitter: @LizLoza_FF

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