WNBA Fantasy Basketball: Players expected to step up with teammates at EuroBasket

A look at which players are expected to step-up with multiple stars currently unavailable for EuroBasket duties.

WNBA teams (and people who play WNBA fantasy) are accustomed to starting the season without some of their players who are finishing up commitments overseas.

A new twist is added when players miss time in the middle of the season to play in the 2019 European Women’s Basketball Championship.

The EuroBasket tournament begins on June 27 and the final game will be on July 7. With some big-name players departing for this tourney, let's take a look at who's in line for more playing time to increase their fantasy numbers.

Amanda Zahui B (Liberty)

Currently representing Sweden.

Amanda Zahui B has enjoyed a breakout season so far for the Liberty. In her first year as a full-time starter, she is averaging a career high in points, rebounds, blocks, and minutes. Her 1.14 fantasy points per minute average is 10th best in the league. Zahui B had a career-high 37 points against the Sparks and has recorded 2 double-doubles so far this season.

Opportunity for: Reshanda Gray

An impressive preseason allowed Reshanda Gray to make the Liberty’s roster despite a 2-year hiatus from the league. The 6-foot-2 forward is 3rd on the team in rebounding (5.8 RPG) and is averaging an impressive 1.05 fantasy PPM. Gray is an attractive option in daily fantasy as well where she is available for under $6K.

Emma Meesseman (Mystics)

Currently representing Belgium.

Emma Meesseman had a nice start to the season before reporting to Belgium for the EuroBasket tournament. Through 3 games, Meesseman is averaging a career-best 1.2 fantasy PPM and is shooting a staggering 65% from the field. The Mystics are used to being without Meesseman, she sat out the 2018 WNBA season for rest. When Meesseman returns, she could be the missing piece to the Mystics championship run.

Opportunity for: Tianna Hawkins

Tianna Hawkins is 5th on the Mystics in scoring and 4th in rebounding despite not starting a single game. As the 6th women for a deep Mystics team, Hawkins is averaging a personal best 10.6 points per game and has now scored in double digits in 4 straight games. Her 1.11 fantasy PPM average is the highest of her 6-year career.

Yvonne Turner (Mercury)

Currently representing Hungary.

With Diana Taurasi sidelined to start the season, Yvonne Turner has filled the void in the starting lineup for the Mercury. In her 3rd season, Turner is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and minutes. Turner had a career-high 18 points and 10 assists against the Aces in the Mercury’s home opener.

Opportunity for: Leilani Mitchell

Leilani Mitchell returned to the Mercury after clearing waivers and has made an immediate fantasy impact. Mitchell is an exceptional 3-point shooter and is shooting almost 50% from long range. The 5-foot-5 veteran guard is averaging a career high in points (11.8 PPG) and rebounds (2.7 RPG) while her assists (3.7 APG) and minutes (26 MPG) are the most since 2010. In her first game as a starter this year, Mitchell had a stat line of 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Mitchell is a good buy in daily fantasy and should continue to be a reliable option in PPM leagues as well.

Maria Vadeeva (Sparks)

Currently representing Russia.

It feels like a long time ago that Maria Vadeeva dropped 24 points against the Aces in the season opener for the Sparks. It has been a rocky start for first-year head coach Derek Fisher and the Sparks (5-6) who have been without Vadeeva since the first game of the season. The 6-foot-3 center is in her 2nd season and is an extremely efficient shooter. The Sparks are stacked in the frontcourt but Vadeeva will certainly be in the mix when she returns.

Opportunity for: Kalani Brown

With Candace Parker healthy, the Sparks have their big 3 together in a loaded frontcourt. Until Vadeeva returns, the Sparks will rely on first-round pick Kalani Brown as their only backup center on the roster. Playing under 15 minutes per game makes Brown more attractive in fantasy PPM leagues, she is a risky start in daily fantasy, even at the price of $3K.

Glory Johnson (Wings)

Currently representing Montenegro.

The Wings will be without their starting center, Glory Johnson, until the conclusion of the EuroBasket tournament. In her 7th season, Johnson is leading the team in rebounds (7 RPG) and is 4th in scoring (6.7 PPG). Johnson is a physical force on both ends of the floor and the Wings will need her to return healthy if they hope to turn their season around.

Opportunity for: Megan Gustafson

After being drafted by the Wings in the 2nd round of this years draft, Megan Gustafson was cut on the final day of the preseason only to resign with the team on June 13. There is only a small sample size (3 games), but Gustafson should see more opportunities as the season progresses. Her 1.3 fantasy PPM is impressive but may be hard to sustain once her playing time increases. Gustafson has the ability to score buckets in bunches, as a senior at Iowa, Gustafson led the nation in scoring and was named the AP women’s college basketball player of the year.

Alex Bentley (Dream)

Currently representing Belarus.

It has been a rough start for Alex Bentley in her 2nd stint with the Dream. She is averaging a career-low 7.5 points per game while shooting under 30% from the field. Bentley is a streaky shooter, a good EuroBasket tournament for her and she could come back with some momentum and confidence.

Opportunity for: Brittney Sykes

The Dream has the worst record in the WNBA (2-7), but Brittney Sykes should be on your fantasy radar. The 5-foot-9 guard is 2nd on the team in scoring (10.4 PPG) and playing over 25 minutes per game in her 3rd year in the league. Sykes, along with Bentley, has provided a spark for the Dream off the bench. With Bentley gone until the end of the tournament, Sykes will be relied upon even more for her scoring.

Bria Hartley (Liberty)

Currently representing France.

The Liberty were hit the hardest with the departure of 4 players for the EuroBasket tournament including guard Bria Hartley. The 7-year veteran is averaging a career-high in rebounds and assists, while her 9 PPG is the most since her rookie year. Hartley’s 1.1 fantasy PPM average is the highest of her career and she is an inexpensive option in daily fantasy as well (under $6K).

Opportunity for: Kia Nurse

Kia Nurse is already a known fantasy commodity and her $8.5K price tag in daily fantasy reflects that. She is 7th in the league in scoring (16.1 PPG) and has scored in double digits in all but 1 game so far this season. It is nice to see someone other than Tina Charles putting up numbers in New York. Nurse is a future superstar in this league and is a candidate for the All-Star team in just her 2nd season.

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