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Fantasy women’s basketball – Top players to draft on the young Dallas Wings roster

1:17 PM ET

Eric MoodyESPN

This is part of a 12-team series of fantasy women’s basketball previews leading up to the 2022 WNBA season. For more information on ESPN’s newest fantasy game, check out how to play fantasy women’s basketball.

Head coach: Vickie Johnson (2nd season)
2021 record: 14-18
2021 offensive efficiency: (102.2, 6th in WNBA)
2021 defensive efficiency: (103, 8th)
2021 pace: (94.5, 9th)

Jump ahead: Offseason moves | Key stats | Top fantasy options | Sleeper

About the Wings

Dallas traded Katie Lou Samuelson and a 2022 second round pick for the No. 1 pick in 2021. With the No. 2 and No. 5 picks already in hand, the Wings selected Charli Collier first before choosing Awak Kuier and Chelsea Dungee (who has since been released) to join Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally. The Wings’ average age was 24 years and 284 days old at the end of the regular season, the youngest of any team in 2021.

For the Wings, the 2021 season was full of ups and downs. Dallas dealt with injuries and consistency problems while its rookies had trouble adapting to the league. However, the team gelled as the season progressed, and the Wings ended up earning the No. 7 seed.

Since the franchise first moved from Detroit to Tulsa in 2010 (the franchise moved to Dallas in 2016), it has only had one winning season (18-16 in the last year in Tulsa in 2015). In contrast, the franchise enjoyed six winning seasons and three WNBA titles when it was based in Detroit from 1998-2009.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Wings lost to the future WNBA champions, the Chicago Sky. Although this wasn’t the outcome Dallas envisioned, the future is bright for the Wings because of their roster’s talented young roster, which should only improve as they gain more experience.

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Offseason moves

The most notable free moves by the Wings were picking up the 2023 options on contracts for Tyasha Harris, Satou Sabally and Bella Alarie, guaranteeing their salaries for that season. Alarie opted out of the 2022 season due to personal reasons in early April, but the Wings can roster a 12th player in her stead since her contract has been suspended for the season.

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Contrary to the trend of the past few years, Dallas traded out draft picks instead of selling pieces to acquire young talent. They were able to acquire Teaira McCowan from the Indiana Fever to add to their frontcourt rotation. She is one of the league’s premier rebounders. Nevertheless, some opportunities exist for McCowan to improve on defense and to expand her shooting range.

By selecting Veronica Burton with the No. 7 overall pick, the Wings addressed their need for a playmaking, two-way guard. Burton excelled on the defensive end of the floor during her four seasons at Northwestern, winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year three times and leading the country with 4.03 steals per game last season.

Burton’s skillset satisfies two major needs for the Wings from last season, so it’s quite possible she could become a regular in the rotation in 2022. Johnson doesn’t usually give rookies extensive playing time, but Burton fills two key needs from last year.

Key stats

Dallas finished seventh in scoring defense last season, allowing 81.7 points per game. Defensively, the Wings improved slightly from 2020 in multiple categories including turnovers forced, opponent PPG in the paint and defensive rebound percentage. The Wings were one of four teams in 2021 that had an opponent effective field goal percentage of 50% or higher.

Top fantasy options

Arike Ogunbowale, G (30.9 projected FP/G): Ogunbowale made the All-Star roster last season and was named the Most Valuable Player in that game. In each of her first three seasons in the league, she has led Dallas in points and assists. As a difference-maker for the Wings in close games, Ogunbowale ranked fourth in WNBA clutch scoring with 46 points on 13-39 field goals made and 8-17 from beyond the arc. Last season, she became the third fastest player to 1,500 points in league history. Even though the Wings have one of the deepest rotations in the league, Ogunbowale will remain their focal point.

Teaira McCowan, C (26.6 FP/G): Last season, McCowan averaged 11.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 26.5 MPG, all career highs. She is expected to start at center for the Wings this season which would shift Isabelle Harrison to a bench role. McCowan has a chance to play substantial minutes since Alarie will not be in the lineup all year.

Satou Sabally, F (24.9 FP/G): In the second half of last season, Sabally missed nine games due to an Achilles injury, but was productive when she was on the court. In 25 MPG, she averaged 12 PPG and 6 RPG. Sabally is a multitalented forward who has the ability to collect stats at both ends of the court. It is not out of the question that she exceeds projections.

Allisha Gray, G (23.4 FP/G): Gray is a valuable part of the Wings deep rotation, but will unfortunately play a secondary role behind the players mentioned above. In her five year career, she has averaged 11.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.3 SPG. Gray is an efficient scorer for the Wings and a valuable fantasy contributor.

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Marina Mabrey, G (20.8 FP/G): Mabrey had a breakthrough year, averaging more than 13 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 2.0 APG compared to 10.6, 2.7 and 2.4 in 2020. Her ability to shoot from beyond the arc made her a viable offensive option for the Wings. Last season, Mabrey had three games with five or more 3-pointers made. Considering the Wings’ abundance of talent, she has a high ceiling, but also a low floor.

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