WNBA fantasy and betting tips for Saturday

Skylar Diggins-Smith (22.0 PPG) is second in the WNBA in scoring in the early going. Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images

Each day of the WNBA season, our team of fantasy and betting experts breaks down every game on the slate, making note of everything from injuries and lineup changes to recent trends and more.

All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.

Here's what to look for during Saturday's slate:

Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm
Live on ABC at 3 p.m. ET, Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle

Line: Mercury (-2.5)
Money line: Mercury (-140), Storm (+120)
Total: 163.5 points

Questionable: Breanna Stewart (COVID-19 protocols), Epiphanny Prince (COVID-19 protocols)

Ruled out: None

Fantasy need to know: On Wednesday, the Mercury defeated the short-handed Storm, who were without Breanna Stewart (COVID-19 protocols). Also absent were Mercedes Russell (undisclosed) and Epiphanny Prince (protocols). Seattle had just nine players, one fewer than the WNBA limit, so head coach Noelle Quinn scrambled to put together a rotation and scheme that would help the Storm win, and it showed. Jewell Loyd, who had her 32nd career 25-point game, was one bright spot for the Storm. Lloyd and Sue Bird remain must-starts. Stephanie Talbot and Briann January likely will see more minutes if Stewart is absent. Don't overlook Ezi Magbegor, who has started all three games in the middle for the Storm. She's averaging 21.6 fantasy points per game and is available in 62.6% of leagues.

Tina Charles, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith led the way for the Mercury in Wednesday's matchup. Charles finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, her 158th career 20-point game, the most of any player in the league since she joined in 2010. Taurasi had 15 points, four assists and two blocks, while Diggins-Smith continued to show her ability to accumulate fantasy points in multiple ways. These three remain must-starts for fantasy managers. Shey Peddy, who averages 26.5 fantasy points per game, is still a viable streamer while Kia Nurse recovers from knee surgery. Peddy is available in 93.5% of leagues.

Best bet: Mercury -2.5

Stewart is unlikely to play since she's in the league protocols. The Mercury will benefit from this. Phoenix has been playing well, so it should cover.

Los Angeles Sparks at Connecticut Sun
7 p.m. ET, Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT

Line: Sun (-7)
Money line: Sparks (+240), Sun (-300)
Total: 158 points

Questionable: None

Ruled out: DeWanna Bonner

Fantasy need to know: The Sun haven't played since losing their season opener on the road against the New York Liberty without All-Stars DeWanna Bonner and Courtney Williams. Bonner is in the process of returning to the team but won't be available against the Sparks, and Williams will serve the final game of her two-game suspension to begin the season. DiJonai Carrington should get plenty of playing time with them inactive. In the opener, she tallied 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes. Carrington is available in 96% of leagues. Alyssa Thomas was dominant in the loss to the Liberty after missing most of last season with an Achilles injury. She scored 42 fantasy points in that game and is a must-start for fantasy managers. Both Jonquel Jones and Brionna Jones are also must-starts.

The Sparks are off to a 2-1 start with wins over the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever. The Los Angeles roster looks very different from a season ago, when it finished 12-20. One of the franchise's biggest signings was Liz Cambage, a four-time WNBA All-Star. She's averaged 32.7 fantasy points per game thus far. In addition, the Sparks signed guard Jordin Canada and acquired guards Chennedy Carter and Lexie Brown. Top returning player Nneka Ogwumike leads the Sparks with 34.7 fantasy points per game. Ogwumike, Cambage, Canada and Brittney Sykes are reliable fantasy options. Those in deeper formats should consider Brown as a streamer; she is available in 92.3% of leagues because of Kristi Toliver's absence. Since Toliver is an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, she is not available to the team.

Best bet: Sparks +7

Connecticut not having two of its best offensive players is a challenge, and the Sun's loss to the Liberty looks a little worse after New York lost its two games since. In each game, the Sparks have been competitive. Los Angeles should cover.

Chicago Sky at Minnesota Lynx
8 p.m. ET, Target Center, Minneapolis

Line: Sky (-9)
Money line: Sky (-400), Lynx (+310)
Total: 160.5 points

Questionable: Allie Quigley (undisclosed)

Ruled out: Damiris Dantas (foot), Natalie Achonwa (hamstring)

Fantasy need to know: The Sky secured their first win of the season on Wednesday against the Liberty. Candace Parker and Dana Evans are the top fantasy options for Chicago, both averaging more than 30 minutes and 30 fantasy points per game this season. Even with Rebekah Gardner back after fulfilling her overseas commitment, Evans should still receive a decent workload. Gardner had 14 points, four rebounds and two steals in her debut against the Liberty. Courtney Vandersloot and Emma Meesseman both play big minutes and are reliable starters for fantasy managers.

The Lynx are 0-3 for the season and have been outscored by nearly 14 points per game. Minnesota agreed to a contract buyout with Angel McCoughtry on Thursday and also waived Odyssey Sims. The Lynx have, however, signed Moriah Jefferson and Evina Westbrook. As a result, a majority of the workload falls on Sylvia Fowles, the 36-year-old reigning Defensive Player of the Year. In Tuesday's game against the Indiana Fever, Fowles had 55 fantasy points, leading the Lynx. For the season so far, Fowles has averaged 18.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 2.0 SPG. Jessica Shepard, who has two consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 31.3 fantasy points per game, is still available in 43.7% of leagues.

Best bet: Under 160.5

Fowles is one of the greats of the league, but the team surrounding her at the moment is a disaster. Minnesota will have difficulty keeping up with all the playmakers the Sky have. My recommendation is to take the under.