That is a part of a 12-team collection of fantasy girls’s basketball previews main as much as the 2022 WNBA season. For extra data on ESPN’s latest fantasy sport, take a look at the right way to play fantasy girls’s basketball.
Head coach: Sandy Brondello (1st season)
2021 document: 12-20
2021 offensive effectivity: (96.1, tenth in WNBA)
2021 defensive effectivity: (104.3, tenth)
2021 tempo: 97.8 (2nd)
Leap forward: Offseason strikes | Key stats | High fantasy choices | Sleeper
Table of Contents
Concerning the Liberty
The Liberty have been probably the greatest groups within the Japanese Convention up till 2017, however they’ve struggled since. After a 2-20 document in 2020, they went 12-20 in 2021 to make the playoffs for the primary time since 2017 regardless of accidents slowing a few of their greatest gamers.
They introduced in an enormous inflow of expertise throughout 2020 and 2021, together with each promising younger gamers and championship-proven veterans, and seem poised to contend for a extra prolonged playoff run this season.
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Put together with projections and fantasy outlooks for the highest WNBA gamers
The Liberty made some strikes this offseason, together with bringing in heart Stefanie Dolson and doubtlessly bringing again Marine Johannes, who’s been taking part in abroad since a promising rookie season in 2019. Nonetheless, the most important strikes that might have an effect on their fantasy manufacturing this season have been made earlier than the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
They drafted a generational expertise in 2020, with No. 1 total decide Sabrina Ionescu. They signed Betnijah Laney, the 2020 WNBA Most Improved Participant, in February 2021. In that very same offseason, they traded the 2021 No. 1 total decide in a part of a deal for three-time WNBA Champion Natasha Howard and subsequently traded for two-time WNBA Champion Sami Whitcomb. In addition they drafted 2021 Rookie of the Yr Michaela Onyenwere.
Final season, each Ionescu and Howard handled accidents that had them both absent or severely diminished for lengthy stretches of the season. This helped enable area for Laney and Whitcomb to each have profession seasons. If Ionescu and Howard are wholesome this season, they may every take a bigger portion of the group’s manufacturing and never go away as a lot for his or her teammates.
The Liberty are additionally a deeper group in 2022, with gamers like Dolson and doubtlessly Johannes difficult the bettering Onyenwere and veteran Whitcomb for his or her spots within the beginning lineup. The Liberty form as much as be a robust group, but when wholesome their depth might be a detriment to the quantity statistics of the gamers on the group.
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The Liberty play quick, with the second-fastest tempo within the WNBA final season. This is smart, as they run an offense that includes two elite level guards in Ionescu and Laney.
Howard is a superb rebounder, and with their sturdy frontcourt depth the Liberty ought to be capable of crash the boards and assist get the rock out to their guards in transition.
They have been pedestrian in each group offense and group protection final season, however well being may change each of these conditions. A wholesome Ionescu doubtless leads this group to a extra environment friendly offensive unit, and Howard is a former WNBA Defensive Participant of the Yr that might assist anchor a way more efficient protection.
High fantasy choices
Natasha Howard, F/C (32.1 projected FP/G): Howard was traded to the Liberty final 12 months, and introduced her great resume together with her. Named All-WNBA First Staff and Defensive Participant of the Yr in 2019, she’s additionally a 3x WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm. She missed most of final season with a knee harm, taking part in in solely 13 video games, however averaged a robust 16.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 1.3 SPG to tie for twelfth within the league in all three classes. The 6-3 ahead/heart can also be capable of function with the ball in her fingers and stretch the ground, contributing 1.7 APG and 0.9 3PG. Her shot-blocking has been down the final couple of seasons, however she was one of many dominant rim protectors within the league simply two seasons in the past, so if well being permits she has upside there as effectively.
Sabrina Ionescu, G (30.1 FP/G): Ionescu was drafted first total in 2020 after probably the most dominant careers in NCAA historical past, however she suffered a extreme ankle harm in her third WNBA sport that ended her rookie season. She returned final season and began effectively, however struggled mightily via the early-middle a part of the season to the tune of solely 6.3 PPG on 29.7 FG% in 25.3 MPG for the 13 video games main as much as the Olympics break in July. Ionescu has since come out and mentioned she was attempting to play via her lingering ankle situation, and that she ought to have possibly rested as a substitute. Ionescu was higher after the break, averaging 14.8 PPG on 41.2 FG% with 6.7 APG, 5.6 RPG, 1.8 3PG, 0.8 SPG and 0.6 BPG in her final 12 video games of the season. However, if wholesome, her upside is even greater. Contemplate that as a rookie, in her first three WNBA video games (together with one reduce brief by the harm), she averaged 18.3 PPG on 45.2 FG% with 2.3 3PG. If she’s wholesome sufficient to extend her scoring whereas conserving her sturdy all-around sport, Ionescu may problem for the fantasy MVP this season.
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Betnijah Laney, G (28.5 FP/G): Laney is about for her second season with the Liberty, the primary time in her profession that she’s been with the identical group for 2 consecutive seasons. Regardless of the entire franchise turbulence, Laney took a leap in her third season when she was named WNBA Most Improved Participant as a member of the Dream. She continued that degree final season in New York. Laney is a lead guard, even subsequent to a maestro on the level like Sabrina Ionescu, and averaged a career-high 5.2 APG (eighth in league) alongside together with her different sturdy offensive contributions of 16.8 PPG (tenth) and 1.1 3PG. Her steals fell fairly steeply, from round 1.5 SPG in 2019 and 2020 to 0.7 SPG final season, so she has bounce-back potential there. She’s additionally strong on the boards, averaging no less than 4.1 RPG in three straight campaigns. Laney had arthroscopic knee surgical procedure within the offseason, however is predicted to be wholesome for the season.
Rebecca Allen, F (19.3 FP/G): Allen is a 3-and-D specialist for the Liberty, which has translated to stronger fantasy manufacturing than her fame may counsel. She’s elevated her function in every of the final 4 seasons, as much as a career-high 24.2 MPG whereas beginning 13 of 25 video games final season. She completed among the many league leaders in all three classes wherein the ESPN fantasy scoring system awards a bonus fantasy level: steals (1.6 SPG, T4th in league), blocks (1.2 BPG, T12th) and 3-pointers (1.9 3PG, thirteenth in league). Allen shall be late becoming a member of the Liberty this season as she finishes her season in Spain, however when she returns she’s anticipated to have a big rotational function the place she competes with sophomore Michaela Onyenwere and newly signed Stefanie Dolson for a spot within the beginning lineup.
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Marine Johannes, G (16.8 FP/G): Johannes had a robust rookie season for the Liberty in 2019, averaging 7.2 PPG, 2.4 APG, 1.8 RPG and 1.3 3PG in solely 18.2 MPG, however then went to play abroad. She is reportedly engaged on a deal to return to the WNBA this season after her season ends in France, and even when she does she would miss the early a part of the WNBA season. That mentioned, she has upside as a shooter/scorer that has shot north of 40 % from behind the 3-point line in every of her final two seasons in Europe and has had a number of seasons of expertise to enhance from what she was capable of present as a rookie.
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Sami Whitcomb, G (15.5 FP/G): Whitcomb’s projections depend on her taking part in a smaller function this season, together with her projected 15.5 FP/G effectively under the 24.5 FP/G she averaged final season. Whitcomb will flip 34 years outdated in July, and will face a taking part in time crunch if Marine Johannes does return to the Liberty this summer time. With that mentioned, Whitcomb is coming off a profession season, wherein she averaged private bests of 11.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.7 APG and a whopping 2.5 3PG that ranked second within the WNBA. Capturing is at all times a worthwhile commodity, and if she will be able to preserve her function she has the upside to supply fantasy worthy numbers once more this season.
Stefanie Dolson, C (13.9 FP/G): Dolson received a championship with the Sky final season in a diminished function, earlier than becoming a member of the Liberty this offseason. Dolson has began about half the video games she’s performed in for the final two seasons whereas taking part in about 19 MPG, and she or he’ll be a late arrival for this WNBA season as she finishes her marketing campaign with Sopron Basket in Hungary. When she returns, although, she is predicted to compete for a beginning spot at heart. She’s now 5 years faraway from her statistical peak in 2017, when she averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.3 BPG, 0.9 3PG and 0.5 SPG in 29.3 MPG, however she’s nonetheless solely 30 years outdated and has upside if her function permits for it.
Michaela Onyenwere, F (12.6 FP/G): Onyenwere was named Kia WNBA Rookie of the Yr in 2021 after averaging 8.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 1.2 3PG in 22.5 MPG. She began 29 of the 32 video games she performed, however is predicted to should compete for a beginning spot this season. If she earns it, she has the potential to construct on her rookie marketing campaign and generate fantasy-worthy contributions as a sophomore.