Picking the top-100 WNBA fantasy players was difficult this year for a number of reasons. For one, this is only the second year the platform has existed on ESPN! There are very few data points, and we're all pretty new to this. But two, *so* many players changed teams this offseason, and a handful of the best players are stacked onto two super teams.
In fact, nine of the top-22 fantasy players from last year play for either the New York Liberty or Las Vegas Aces. Five of the top 10. How each player responds to being surrounded by even more elite talent than they were last year is really all a guess, though I tried to make an educated one based on the hoops I've watched over the last eight seasons!
Some links to help you catch up:
Now off to the decisions I made!
Just like it always is when voting for MVP, choosing between the league's clear two best players is hard in fantasy. Last season, Stewart edged Wilson by just .5 points per game, and this year is far harder to judge with Stewart joining a brand new team of All-Stars and Wilson adding low-post help in Hall of Famer Candace Parker.
Both Stewart and Wilson will be excellent and are excellent, and you can not go wrong choosing between the two. I picked Stewart because New York has a longer adjustment period ahead where I think Vegas could see more early-season blowouts. It's just a guess, folks.
It's been a long road of injuries for Delle Donne stemming back to the Mystics' championship run in 2019 — and frankly, beyond. She sat out the 2020 season, played just three games in 2021 through injury, and rested for 11 games out of 36 in 2022.
Now, she says she's healthy and without restrictions which is a BIG deal, not only for Washington, but for fantasy. It comes with more risk because of her injury history, but drafting her before either Stewart or Wilson isn't *that* wild. At a minimum, she's my clear No. 3 as arguably the only realistic MVP candidate who isn't on a super team.
Although ESPN had Ionescu at No. 1, I have her outside of the top-10, and that's not an indictment of how I think she'll play on the court. But the reality is that she's no longer the top option on her team — or even the second one. In Stewart and Jonquel Jones, New York has added two MVPs, and with Courtney Vanderlsoot, Ionescu will play next to a purer point guard. Ionescu's role is about to change massively, and I think her counting stats will take hits even if she is still an All-Star caliber player.
With all the free agent movement to two teams and a few retirees, a few franchises are searching for their secondary stars to step up. To me, Collier and Loyd are obvious candidates to see career-high numbers across the board.
Loyd is Seattle's clear best player, and though she's lost Bird as a facilitator, she's one of the best shot-creators in the world. And for Collier, without Sylvia Fowles down low, there are rebounds to be had, shots to block, and shots to take.
Note: Without Vandersloot, Parker and Allie Quigley, I feel there is a larger role for Kahleah Copper to be had, too.
Likewise, without Stewart, Magbegor is sure to see a ton more run in Seattle. She's already a fantasy asset because of her ability to block shots, and with three years experience it feels time for her to step into a larger role. I might be higher on her than most, but I think Seattle still has enough talent to compete for a playoff spot, and Magbegor's defensive and rebounding presence are a big reason why.
After announcing her pregnancy in October, there's been little word on Diggins-Smith's availability this season other than that she'll miss training camp. It's possible she plays this season but also possible she doesn't. For that reason I have her at No. 43 on my big board, only because she was the No. 4 fantasy player a year ago. If she plays, you may have the draft's biggest sleeper. If she doesn't, hopefully you won't miss on someone who would've made a tremendous impact this deep into the draft.
Ah, the rookie conversation. For those just catching up, it is very hard to crack a WNBA roster. It's inevitable that a first-round pick from a month ago will get waived. Several second-round picks and virtually all third-round picks will be waived, too. With only 144 true roster spots (less when you factor salary cap restraints), there are only so many opportunities and so much time a team can spend using a precious roster spot to develop a young player. For that reason, WNBA rookies outside the top couple of picks rarely make an impact.
Put simply: I think there are only two rookies who are sure to be fantasy assets, and they're obvious. No. 1 pick Aliyah Boston is likely to start for the Indiana Fever, which is why I have her No. 33 overall. The second is No. 2 pick Diamond Miller, who I have slotted at No. 56 as her role is less clear (but there will be one).
Outside of those two, the only three players to crack my top-100 were No. 76 Haley Jones (draft pick No. 6), No. 84 Maddy Siegrist (draft pick No. 3), and No. 91 Jordan Horston (draft pick No. 9). I feel far less confident in those players making an impact this year, but they could see a spot in their team's rotation.
(Photo by Scott Eklund/NBAE via Getty Images)