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WNBA Fantasy schedule breakdown: Week 8

Can anyone dethrone the defending champion Aces?
Natalie Esquire and Callie Lawson-Freeman analyze the top teams in the WNBA, discussing who has the best opportunity to dethrone the defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

We are back to reality after a shortened week, which featured Minnesota winning the Commissioner’s Cup by defeating the Liberty 94-89 last Tuesday. Napheesa Collier (21/6/3/3/1) and Bridget Carleton (23/4/5/3, 6 triples) led the way for the Lynx to outduel Breanna Stewart (24/11/3) and Sabrina Ionescu (23/10/4/2).

Before we get into Week 8 stuff, let’s briefly recap Week 7 and some narratives that will stretch deeper into the season.

It has been a rough season for LA, but Dearica Hamby has been a bright spot. She tied her season-high with 29 points in their only game last week, and she is one of four players that is currently averaging a double-double. She might not be able to carry the Sparks to wins, but she has been fantastic all season, with averages of 18.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 triple, all of which are a career-high.

Jewell Lloyd had a big week last week to lead the Storm to two wins. She had 34 points in a win over the Fever and 30 points in a win over Dallas. Those were her second and third 30-point games this season, but she may be able to add another if she continues to have success against the Wings on Monday night. Seattle has the fourth-best record in the league and is in second place in the West, which is impressive after they finished 11-29 last season.

Three teams currently have just four wins: the Sparks, Mystics and Wings. Two-year records make the lottery a little more complex, but as of now, it is a tight race at the bottom. The Sparks have the edge because they only won 17 games last season, while the Mystics won 19 and the Wings won 22. Currently, the Sky has a worse two-year record than the Wings, but Dallas has the rights to swap picks with them. All three teams have been decimated by injuries, so the race for top prospects like Paige Bueckers, Kiki Iriafen and Aneesah Morrow will be a tight one.

The Aces have won the last two championships, but they were a bit slow out of the gate this year and started 6-6. However, since Chelsea Gray returned to the rotation, they have won four straight games and now boast the fifth-best record in the league. They are tied with New York for the longest winning streak at four games, though Seattle will have a chance to match that on Monday night. Vegas will put their winning streak to the test on Tuesday as they host the Fever to kick off a four-game week.

Week 8 games played:

4 games- DAL, LV


2 games- IND, NY

Light game days:

Monday: 2 games

Connecticut @ Phoenix

Dallas @ Seattle

Wednesday: 1 game

Phoenix @ Dallas

Thursday: 2 games

Connecticut @ Minnesota

Washington @ Las Vegas

Saturday: 2 games

New York @ Indiana

Washington @ Minnesota


Sunday-Monday: PHX

Thursday-Friday: LV

After a condensed week in Week 7, we are back to our regularly scheduled programming. Dallas and Vegas will have the advantage in games played this week, while the Fever and Liberty will be at a disadvantage. Dallas, Minnesota, Phoenix, Washington and Connecticut each play two games on lighter days, though the Wings have the extra advantage over this group due to the fourth game that they have on the schedule. As far as back-to-backs, Phoenix shouldn’t have any issues, though the Aces may. Keep an eye out to see if Chelsea Gray sits out one leg of the back-to-back, since they will be playing four games in six days. She has had her minutes managed since returning from a foot injury two weeks ago that had her sidelined since the end of last season. Alysha Clark (32% rostered) will likely return to the starting unit, though Tiffany Hayes (7.3%) may also see a few extra minutes.


Lexie Brown out indefinitely due to Crohn’s disease

Brown will be sidelined indefinitely, and the team announced that there will be an update following the Olympic break. It’s unclear if she will be back shortly after that or if it will be much longer. In her absence, Layshia Clarendon (5.4%), Zia Cooke (1.8%) and Rae Burrell (0.6%) have all soaked up a few extra minutes off the bench. None of them have been able to separate from the others are the true beneficiary in fantasy, but they’re all worth keeping an eye on.

Elizabeth Williams (knee) done for season

Williams underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus last week, and she will be sidelined for the rest of the season. She has already been sidelined for a month, so this won’t change their day-to-day rotation. However, it does mean that the rookie duo of Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso will continue to dominate the frontcourt minutes for the rest of the season.

Brittney Sykes (foot), Karlie Samuelson (hand) out through Olympic break

The injuries keep piling up for Washington, and now both Sykes and Samuelson are expected to be sidelined until mid-August. Sykes has been sidelined since June 11th, which is when she injured her foot after missing the previous month due to a separate injury. She has only made three appearances this season and has only completed one game, which was the season opener. Samuelson has been a consistent starter all season, but now she will miss the next few weeks of games before the Olympic break. DiDi Richards (0.3%) has started the last two games in place of Samuelson, but Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (7.8%) ended up logging 33 minutes off the bench, while Richards only played 12. The Mystics may just ride the hot hand each game, which will make things difficult to predict in fantasy hoops.

Moriah Jefferson (ankle) out multiple weeks

Jefferson underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right ankle last Monday, which means that she will be re-evaluated two weeks from this Monday. She has already missed a few games because of the injury, but she hasn’t played a large role in her first season with the Sun, so her absence won’t have a dramatic impact on the rotation.

Rookie watch:

Angel Reese

The double-double streak continued last week, and Reese now has the league record for most consecutive double-doubles. She had her 10th straight double-double during Sunday’s loss to the Lynx, where she finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds. Reese is the league’s leading rebounder at 11.4 boards per game, and she has also averaged 13.3 points, 1.9 assists and 1,5 steals per game this season.

Caitlin Clark

Clark didn’t have any big scoring games last week, but she recorded the second point-assist double-double of her career and nearly recorded a triple-double during Sunday’s win over the Mercury. She finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists in that game, and she is currently third in the league in dimes per game with 6.9. She’s also averaging 16.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.8 triples, though efficiency continues to be an issue for her.

Rickea Jackson

The Sparks only played one game last week, and Jackson had a solid performance with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and two triples. She has now scored in double figures in four of her last six appearances. She is averaging 10.1 points per game this season and joins Reese and Clark as the only rookies averaging double figures. However, among the three, Jackson is the only one shooting above 40% from the field (47.2%).