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WNBA Fantasy schedule breakdown: Week 5

Reese's stardom should lead to proper promotion
Natalie Esquire and Callie Lawson-Freeman discuss Angel Reese's hot start to life in the WNBA with the Chicago Sky, and why the league should push her into the spotlight as much as possible.

After an incredible 9-0 start to the season, Connecticut was finally handed their first loss of the season, courtesy of the 10-2 Liberty. They have the two best records in the league, and their matchup was as exciting as it was expected to be, with New York outscoring the Sun 25-15 in the fourth quarter to win 82-75. Sabrina Ionescu (24/3/5/2) and Jonquel Jones (22/8/5/1/4) led the way for the Liberty despite six players scoring in double figures for Connecticut.

On the flip side, it has been a season to forget thus far for the Mystics. Despite being a playoff team last season, Washington has lost their first 12 games of the season. However, aside from Ariel Atkins, this is a very different lineup for the Mystics. Two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne announced in February that she’d be taking a break from basketball. Natasha Cloud is now in Phoenix. Brittney Sykes had an excellent first game of the season, and then injured her ankle in game two and hasn’t played since. Shakira Austin has only played in six games because of a hip injury. To make matters even worse for Washington fans, the Fever still have a worse combined record over the past two seasons. If the season ended today, the Mystics would only have the second-best odds at the top pick, despite being winless.

Of course, the big news from this past week was the announcement of the Olympic roster.

Unfortunately, instead of praising a talented roster, the discourse has centered around the exclusion of Caitlin Clark. Instead of engaging in the justification of why each player on the roster is deserving, we’ll just take a positive fantasy spin. Clark had less than a month between her final college basketball game and her first WNBA preseason game. Still, she’s averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. She has been one of the best players in fantasy hoops despite not having a true offseason. Now, she’ll get the chance to recover from a long season and train to be even better in year two.

Week 5 games played:

3 games- CONN, LV, LA, CHI, SEA, IND, ATL

2 games- MIN, WAS, DAL, PHX

1 game- NY

At least one team has played four games in each of the last few weeks, but that won’t be the case in Week 5. After being one of the two teams that played four games last week, the Liberty only have a matchup in Las Vegas on Saturday, meaning they will have almost a full week off between games. The other four-game team from last week was Washington, and they will only suit up twice. The Fever only played one game last week, but they will be one of the seven three-game teams in Week 5.

Light game days:

Monday: 1 game

Indiana @ Connecticut

Wednesday: 1 game

Connecticut @ Chicago

Friday: 2 games

Chicago @ Washington

Los Angeles @ Minnesota

Saturday: 2 games

Connecticut @ Dallas

New York @ Las Vegas

There weren’t any Monday games in Week 3 or 4, which meant that the games were condensed into fewer days. The games are far more spread out this week, with the “heavy days” on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday consisting of just three games. There really isn’t a massive advantage here, though all three of Connecticut’s games are on lighter days, with the first two coming as the only game on those days.

Back-to-backs:

No back-to-backs this week. Nobody is at a rest advantage/disadvantage!

Headlines:

Britney Griner makes season debut

Griner missed the first ten games of the season due to a toe fracture, and she finally made her season debut on Friday. She only logged 21 minutes in her first game and finished with 11 points, four rebounds and one block. However, her second game was a double overtime win, and she contributed 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks in 39 minutes. They’re 2-0 since Griner returned to the lineup, and they’ll look to make it three straight wins when they host the Aces on Thursday.

Elizabeth Williams undergoes meniscus surgery

Williams injured her knee on Thursday, and Chicago announced on Saturday that she will undergo surgery that will keep her sidelined indefinitely. She has gotten off to a strong start to the season, but it’s unclear when she’ll be back on the floor. Rookie Kamilla Cardoso moved into the starting unit for their last game and finished with a career-high 13 points in 21 minutes. She missed time to start the year and is still getting up to speed, but she should take on a larger role as she logs more games. Angel Reese has also stepped up on the glass with Williams sidelined. She has recorded a double-double in three straight games now, including tying her career-high with 13 boards on Saturday.

Rookie watch:

Aaliyah Edwards

It was an inconsistent start to her rookie season, but Edwards has picked things up in the month of June. She has replaced Shakira Austin in the starting unit, with Austin having missed their last four games with a hip injury. Edwards is averaging 14.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.5 blocks since moving into the starting unit, and she had 23 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks against Chicago last week, which was the best performance of his career.

Rickea Jackson

After a few quiet performances to kick off June, Jackson got back on track in an upset win over the Aces on Sunday. She tied her career-high with 16 points and added five boards. Seven of her points came in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter to help the Sparks seal the win despite Las Vegas jumping out to a 14-0 lead.

Kate Martin

The second-round pick out of Iowa has stepped into an important reserve role for the defending champs. With Jackie Young (illness) sidelined on Sunday, Martin stepped into the starting unit and had the best game of her career, as she contributed 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers. She isn’t much of a consistent fantasy contributor, but she proved that she is capable when she is given the opportunity.

Jacy Sheldon

The No. 5 pick in the draft hasn’t seen the floor much this season, but she ended up taking on a larger role in their double overtime loss to the Mercury on Sunday. She logged 17 minutes and finished with four points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. She isn’t a player to add in fantasy, but it is encouraging to see her play well when given the chance.