Candace Parker Return Has Serious DFS Implications

Written By Derek Helling on June 25, 2019
Parker's return and DFS implications

Candace Parker recovering from her hamstring injury might prove to be a good thing for the Los Angeles SparksWNBA daily fantasy strategies will have to adjust to the Candace Parker return as well.

Parker got onto the court in the 2019 season for the first time on June 18. She started and played over 24 minutes in the loss. Parker went 1/9 from the field and grabbed five rebounds in her debut. She repeated that poor performance from the field in her second game on Friday, again going 1/9.

Players on platforms like DraftKings are looking to prognosticate the outlook for the remainder of the season, not only for Parker herself, but her teammates as well.

Sparks’ crowded frontcourt

While the Sparks’ win-loss record (4-5 after Friday’s loss) creates a need for a contribution from a two-time MVP like Parker, it’s apparent new head coach Derek Fisher doesn’t want to push her.

Parker averaged over 30 minutes per game in each of the past four seasons. She’s played 25 and 23 minutes in her two games this year.

At the same time, Parker is now part of a loaded frontcourt for the Sparks. Along with Chiney Ogwumike, acquired in a trade with the Connecticut Sun, there’s rookie Kalani Brown to give minutes to.

Nine games into the season and just two games in for Parker, there’s a lot of uncertainty in regards to how many minutes Parker will see.

Fisher used different lineups in both games Parker has played. Additionally, he used multiple starting lineups prior to Parker’s return.

Who’s been getting minutes

Fisher has used five starting frontcourt combinations so far this season. Alana Beard and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt have gotten starts at center or one of the forward positions in addition to the Ogwumike sisters.

Nneka Ogwumike has been the one constant. She has started every game for Los Angeles so far and is averaging 28 minutes per game.

It’s a given that Parker will start if healthy. A former Finals MVP and Rookie of the Year simply isn’t going to ride the bench. From there, nothing is certain.

Chiney has started seven of the Sparks’ games but came off the bench for Los Angeles on Friday. Despite the fact she didn’t start, she ended up playing more minutes than both her sister Nneka and Parker.

Beard started on Friday in Seattle and logged 23 minutes. She did not play in the previous game. Ruffin-Pratt has started the past two games at the shooting guard position, playing 20 and 23 minutes.

Brown has come off the bench in every game for the Sparks and is averaging 21 minutes per game. Fisher seems uncertain of his rotation based on this small sample.

CA DFS conclusions

While Parker gets comfortable being back on the court, it’s wise for fantasy players to avoid rostering her. She still carries the price tag of a two-time MVP. At this point, however, she isn’t producing on par with her cost.

Nneka and Chiney have produced at levels appropriate for mid-tier fantasy options so far this season, both averaging 28 minutes and double-figure scoring. Depending on their cost to own, they should still be considered viable fantasy choices despite Parker’s presence.

Beyond that, Parker’s return likely means inconsistent opportunities for lower-end options like Beard and Ruffin-Pratt. Fantasy owners looking for low-cost options who will produce a solid return would be advised to look elsewhere.

It’s not only up in the air what they will produce on a given night but also how many opportunities they will have in Los Angeles’ inconsistent rotation.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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