Fantasy Basketball

WNBA: Allisha Gray one of fantasy basketball’s steadiest players

In fantasy basketball, sometimes it’s not about the biggest play, but the steadiest. It’s a comforting feeling knowing that every player on your fantasy team will produce night in and night out, even if your team doesn’t have the most theoretical “star power.”

In this case, Allisha Gray’s fantasy game is similar to how she plays on the real-life court: a dependable veteran who regularly contributes in several areas of the box score and whose role won’t change depending on matchups. Gray is putting together another solid season for the Dallas Wings, and in some respects is playing the best basketball of her WNBA career. She’s a player who is undoubtedly in the “start and forget” category thanks to her dependability; on this week’s installment of “Three Up, Three Down,” she’s flanked by two other guards whose games are more volatile, but have been yielding positive results.

Three Up

Sabrina Ionescu has scored at least 23 points in each of her last three games.
Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images

Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty)

Ionescu is playing perhaps the best basketball of her young WNBA career, averaging 26 points in her last three games while shooting an even 50 percent from the field. During that span, Ionescu has knocked down 11 threes and every one of her 17 free throw attempts.

Outlook: Ionescu struggled with consistency early in the 2022 season but has caught fire in June. Her assists (4.6) are down from last season (6.1), but she’s turning the ball over slightly less (2.9, down from 3.2) and is doubling her steals output (1.2, up from 0.6). Her ability to contribute just about everywhere in the box score will make her one of fantasy basketball’s premier players for years to come.

Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings)

Gray has been excellent lately, totaling 42 points and 16 rebounds in her last two games. The sixth-year guard is currently averaging 14.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game – both career-highs – and is shooting an outstanding 43.1 percent on 3-pointers.

Outlook: This is nothing new for Gray, who has been one of the steadier players in fantasy basketball for a while. Her usage rate (17.7 percent) is frustratingly low, but it seems that the Wings have figured out they need her on the floor, as she’s playing a career-high 32.3 minutes per game. Expect Gray to continue supplementing her usual 12-16 points with very solid rebounding numbers for a guard.

Aerial Powers (Minnesota Lynx)

Powers went off for the Lynx in their recent win over New York, scoring a team-high 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting in 34 minutes of action. Powers knocked down all three of her 3-point attempts in the game and also chipped in seven rebounds.

Outlook: It was nice to see some jumpshots go down for Powers, who had been struggling with her shot prior to Minnesota’s most recent game. She’s been a high-usage player for most of her career, and this season is no exception (27.9 percent); with the Lynx short on players who can create shots, Powers is going to have the ball in her hands often, though she’s probably a safer add in traditional fantasy leagues than daily fantasy formats because of her up-and-down play.

Three Down

Indiana Fever v Chicago Sky

Victoria Vivians struggled shooting the ball in her last outing, but it’s not much cause for concern.
Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Victoria Vivians (Indiana Fever)

Vivians had perhaps her worst outing of the 2022 season against Atlanta, scoring five points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field (1-of-7 from three) and recording just one rebound and one assist. She did play 33 minutes, however, and has been locked into Indiana’s starting small forward position since mid-May.

Outlook: Nothing to worry about here. Vivians had scored in double-figures in seven consecutive games prior to Sunday’s off night, and she continues to bomb away from 3-point range, attempting 5.2 long balls per game. The nature of Vivians’ game will lend itself to some poor shooting, but if she’s on your fantasy team, chances are she’s already outperformed her draft position. She’s a hold for now.

Stefanie Dolson (New York Liberty)

Dolson went scoreless in New York’s recent loss to Minnesota, shooting 0-of-5 from the field while committing three turnovers and fouling three times in 17 minutes. She’s been fouling at an alarmingly high rate thus far (6.4 fouls per 36 minutes), making it difficult for the Liberty to keep her on the floor even when she’s playing well.

Outlook: While her season-long counting stats (seven points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game) are roughly in line with what they were last season, Dolson has been getting outproduced by bench counterpart Han Xu, and calls for Xu to usurp Dolson in the starting lineup will get louder if the Liberty continue struggling. Dolson isn’t going to go scoreless often, but her fantasy outlook isn’t exactly blindingly bright, either.

Sophie Cunningham (Phoenix Mercury)

Cunningham started in place of Tina Charles (shoulder) against Los Angeles but was quiet in 26 minutes, scoring three points (1-of-7 shooting) and pulling down four rebounds. She was much better in her previous start against Connecticut, however, recording 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Outlook: Cunningham’s fantasy value in her current role probably sits somewhere in between her last two stat lines, as she hadn’t recorded more than one steal or one assist in a game prior to her all-arounder against the Sun. As long as Charles is out of the lineup, of course, Cunningham’s value will be slightly higher, though there’s a better chance those shots will go to Skylar Diggins-Smith or Diamond DeShields instead.

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