The only constant in sports (and life) is change. While consistency is key to a winning strategy, the ebb and flow of production often can’t be avoided.
Tracking the endless ups and downs over 40 games and nearly four months can become a heady operation. Segmenting the journey, however, into weekly updates allows managers to live (and play) in the now.
That’s exactly what my Risers and Fallers column aims to accomplish, as we utilize ESPN’s metrics database and resident stats ace Kyle Soppe for a deeper look at the numbers.
Dearica Hamby, F, Los Angeles Sparks (63% rostered, +31.3)
I hyped up Jordin Canada — who continues to crush — last week, but she’s not the only Spark catching fire. Despite posting just eight points in L.A.’s loss on Father’s Day, Hamby has demonstrated solid growth over the past month. The 29-year-old managed at least 30 minutes for five straight games, which has led to a career-best average of nearly 10 shots attempted per contest. The increase in playing time has also translated into a surge of complimentary production, as Hamby has posted at least eight boards in five of her last six games and an average of three dimes over her last four contests.
Effective from the field over the course of her nine-year career, Hamby’s struggles at the start of the season figure to stay in the rearview mirror, especially as her big minutes continue to provide rhythm-building opportunities. Moving forward, she’s a solid bet for 20-30 fantasy points per outing.
Kristy Wallace, G, Indiana Fever (8.1% rostered, -0.2)
Wallace bounded off the bench and has supplied Indiana with a much-needed spark of late. Clearing 25 minutes in two of the last three games, the Queensland native managed 13 points and a season-best five boards in the Fever’s six-point loss to the Dream last Sunday. She also attempted 11 shots (second-most all season) and four 3-pointers.
Demonstrating a blend of aggressiveness and versatility, the 27-year-old’s stock is trending up. Indiana boasts the fourth-most efficient offense in the league, and Wallace appears to be a solid fit. Assuming her playing time evens out, her production only figures to grow. Keep an eye on the Australian.
Shey Peddy, G, Phoenix Mercury (3.5% rostered, +0.2)
A torn Achilles suffered in the playoffs last year continued to cause problems for Peddy at the top of this season. That issue appears to be at bay for the moment, however, as the 34-year-old has posted decent production over her last three games. While she has only managed double-digit points once all year, Peddy has been a solid distributor, recording a season-best seven assists on June 13.
Her numbers figure to improve with Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi dealing with injuries. Phoenix needs help, and Peddy is a seasoned vet who started 24 games — and averaged nearly 29 minutes per effort — for the club in 2022. She’s an interesting bench add who could prove viable if the Mercury’s struggles continue.
Haley Jones, G, Atlanta Dream (7.4% rostered, +3)
Selected sixth overall by the Dream this past April, Jones’ presence on the court has steadily progressed. The rookie has managed four straight starts, clearing 30 minutes in three of her last four contests. Jones isn’t likely to take a ton of shots (5.5 FGA per game thus far), which caps her upside from a fantasy point of view. However, her ability as a facilitator (at least four assists in four of her last five) and size near the rim (4.75 rebounds per game since becoming a starter) gives her a solid floor. Given Atlanta’s up-tempo scheme (second in pace), Jones’ number of possessions and subsequent potential production figure to climb.
Azura Stevens, F, Sparks (65.4% rostered, -4)
Heading into last Sunday’s contest, Stevens had yet to record a single double-digit effort and had managed just one steal. While the rebounds have been there (a total of 13 over her last three games), assists have been nonexistent (just two on the year). She has also clocked in under 20 minutes for the majority of her games this season and has only gotten to the free throw line in one of six outings so far in 2023.
Admittedly, the former Huskie managed her best showing of 2023 on June 18, playing a season-high 30 minutes and recording 12 points. But given the aforementioned emergence of both Canada and Hamby, it’s unclear if Stevens’ production will remain steady or if her most recent outing was a mirage.
Follow Liz on Twitter: @LizLoza_FF