Welcome to WNBA fantasy basketball, where you get to compete against your friends by drafting a team of all your faves. The objective is simple: hope your team scores more points, grabs more rebounds, dishes more assists, swipes away more steals, and blocks more shots than everyone else's.
Fantasy basketball is hard! Unlike fantasy football (Monday, Thursday, Sunday), games play every single day (well, except Mondays, mostly) so you need to stay on top of injuries, trades and the league's schedule. Plus, this is only the second year fantasy WNBA has existed on ESPN's platform. No other major fantasy service offers fantasy WNBA leagues.
But I'm here to help you understand how this all works.
It's easy! Head to ESPN.com, here's a shortcut.
From this page, you'll choose how many teams you want in your league (four, six, eight or 10) and use the default scoring system (head-to-head points). All that means is that you'll compete against one team each week, and whoever has the most points, wins!
To play fantasy basketball, you have to draft a team! Coordinate with your pals on when is a good time, but once everyone's in, things should be self-explanatory.
Your league's commissioner (who sets up the league) can choose the draft order or randomize it.
The most common way to draft is to "snake draft" meaning whoever picks last, picks twice in a row as the draft snakes back and forth.
Snake draft example:
1. Team 1
2. Team 2
3. Team 3
4. Team 4
5. Team 4
6. Team 3
7. Team 2
8. Team 1
Then all you do is draft the player you think is best. Remember real basketball and fantasy basketball are entirely different things, though. More on that in a bit.
Like most things in fantasy, the commissioner (person who creates the league) is able to edit how many players can be on a roster. But I'll review what a standard league looks like.
A standard roster includes six starters, three bench players, and one spot for an injured player.
Standard starting roster
3 forwards/centers (can be either position!)
1 utility (this means a player of any position can play)
Standard bench roster
3 players of any position
1 injured reserved player (think of this like a real WNBA team. If a player is injured long-term, you can add them to the IR and sign an additional player)
The league commissioner can change the rules to their pleasing (Gaming Society is awarding a point for technicals 😅), but I'll review the standard way to score in ESPN's version of WNBA fantasy.
The main objective is, of course, to total the most amount of points. But getting the ball in the hoop isn't the only way to score!
Point = 1 point
3-pointer made = 1 point
Rebound = 1 point
Assist = 1 point
Steal = 1 point
Block = 2 points
This means player efficiency isn't important at all! Even if your superstar misses 100 shots and loses the big game, as long she racked up points, that's what matters. You want to find the players who are going to fill the stat sheet.
It runs the course of the entire season! In a standard league, the regular season is 11 weeks, just like the WNBA regular season, and the playoffs are two weeks, incorporating the first two rounds of the W playoffs.
Sure can! Just need to get another team in your league to agree, like in the pros.
Yes! You can add whoever you want. If a player on another team is cut, each team has a chance to "claim" them, though the team that drafted latest will get first dibs. Once your team claims someone off waivers, you move to the back of the priority list.
Each week you'll be matched up against one of the teams in your league. To win, you simply have to score more points than the other team for that entire week, combined.
There are standings just like in the real WNBA, and the teams that finish with the best regular season record get the best playoff seeding. In standard formats, teams are split into two divisions.
I'm so glad you asked. Here are a few resources we have to help you out during your WNBA fantasy drafts!
Top-100 WNBA fantasy rankings explained (This is where things get juicy, tbh)
(Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)