Top breakout candidates for 2023

Top breakout candidates for 2023

The 2023 WNBA season tips off on Friday, May 19 and the excitement for fantasy women’s basketball season is building.

So who are the players that our experts view as the top breakout candidates?

Here are Andre Snellings, Eric Moody, Jennifer LaCroix and Liz Loza with the players they have their sights on.

Marina Mabrey, G, Chicago Sky

Mabrey was traded to the Sky in the offseason and this could be the perfect place for her. Mabrey is a great 3-point shooter and exactly what Chicago needed since they lost 71% of their 3-point production from last season. She will be alongside Kahleah Copper who is a one of the best guards at scoring in the paint (8.1 PPG in paint, second in the league), which means lots of spot up, kick out shooting for Mabrey this season. I expect Mabrey to put up career numbers this year and be one of the league leaders in 3-pointers. — LaCroix

Expected to retain a prominent role in the Sky’s rebuild, Mabrey is coming off of a career year with the Wings. Mabrey averaged 13.6 points per game and managed a 42% field goal percentage while playing in Arike Ogunbowale‘s shadow. She figures to garner a bigger piece of the pie while sharing the backcourt with Courtney Williams in Chicago. — Loza

Alyssa Thomas, F, Connecticut Sun

She wasn’t really off the radar, but I look for Thomas of the Sun to take a big leap this season and think even with her second round average draft position she may be underrated. The Sun frontcourt was over-stacked last season, forcing four impact players to split the minutes for three positions. Even with that being the case, Thomas still had 13 double-digit rebound efforts and four double-digit assist games, resulting in two triple-doubles. This season, with Jonquel Jones now playing for the Liberty, I expect Thomas to flirt with a triple-double any given night. She could end up among the league leaders in both assists and rebounds and has fantasy MVP upside. — Snellings

Aari McDonald, G, Atlanta Dream

The stage is set for McDonald to prove she is the Dream’s point guard of the future. There aren’t many ball handlers on Atlanta’s roster after drafting numerous wing players. Having hit career highs in multiple statistical categories last year, McDonald could easily outperform her average draft position. — Moody

Dana Evans, G, Chicago Sky

Evans is another player you can draft late or keep on waiver wire speed dial. Evans is the only returning ball-handler for the Sky after Courtney Vandersloot left to join the Liberty and Julie Allemand has opted to take the season off. Coach James Wade has also publicly stated that Evans is ready for a bigger role. — Moody

Brionna Jones, C, Connecticut Sun

Despite a breakout 2021 effort in which she was named the WNBA’s Most Improved Player, Jones managed just seven starts last season. But even coming off the bench, the former Terp made the most of her opportunities, averaging 13.8 points per game (top 25). With Jonquel Jones moving to NY, Brionna’s minutes and production figure to spike. — Loza

Shey Peddy, G, Phoenix Mercury

A more off the radar choice, Peddy ruptured her Achilles tendon late last season and is trying to get healthy for this one. But, before she got injured last season she showed what kind of potential she has. Over a one-month stretch from July 12 to August 12, she averaged 13.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 2.0 3PG and 1.6 SPG. The Mercury backcourt situation is unclear because we don’t know whether Skylar Diggins-Smith (maternity leave) plans to play this season. If Diggins-Smith misses extended time and Peddy is healthy enough to go, she could put up starter-caliber fantasy numbers from the free agent wire. — Snellings


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