We come off a very interesting two-round week in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Six teams managed to win both of their two games: FC Bayern Munich, Olympiacos Piraeus, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, UNICS Kazan, AS Monaco, and LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Three of these teams, Maccabi, Olympiacos and ASVEL, are in the upper part of the standings, each with a 5-2 record. There are no undefeated teams left in the EuroLeague and only one team, Zalgiris Kaunas, is still looking for its first victory. We saw yet again in the two-round week that anybody can beat anyone and that you need to leave it all on the court in every game if you want to stay in the playoff race. Every Game Matters is not a motto chosen by accident.
Of course, that has its consequences in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge. My team Gancedato performed well and scored 157.45 points. Nikola Mirotic of FC Barcelona was a solid choice of team captain, players like Will Clyburn of CSKA Moscow, Chris Jones of ASVEL and especially Maodo Lo of ALBA Berlin delivered and that allowed me to climb to the 1,962nd spot in the overall standings. I know I need to be aggressive and go for the best players available before they are too expensive for me to afford them.
Three trades are allowed before each round until the end of the regular season. I am selling Clyburn because I need to make room for a different player and I would rather sell him and not Mirotic. I am also selling Niels Giffey of Zalgiris because his team signed Zoran Dragic and I am not sure how that will affect him in the rotation. Last but not least, I am selling Marek Blazevic of Zalgiris because I want to make room for another center and would like to keep his teammate Josh Nebo, too. I am also changing coaches: Zvezdan Mitrovic of Monaco leaves, Jure Zdovc of Zalgiris goes in. I know, I am selling two Zalgiris players but buying its coach. Well, that’s the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge in a nutshell. Sometimes you have to contradict yourself.
I am buying Walter Tavares of Real Madrid because even though he is the most expensive player in the game (17.0 credits), I think his value will go up in the next few rounds. He gets a lot of rebounds, blocks a lot of shots and doesn’t miss around the basket, so he is perfect for our game. That leaves me with 10.0 credits for two players, so I am basically getting the one I want, and buying the best of what’s available in the remaining spot. I am getting Dmitry Kulagin of Zenit, who is getting in shape and playing well. Kulagin had a great game against Bitci Baskonbia Vitoria-Gasteiz and should be running his personal momentum after so much time injured. Finally, I am getting Tola Gecim of Anadolu Efes Istanbul for just 4.0 credits because he played in all six games and no one else has done that in his price range.
So taking into account that I can shuffle the team between Thursday and Friday, here is my initial lineup. Gancedato looks like this before Round 8:
Chris Jones, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (9.4 credits) – He has been playing really well and been solid night in, night out, so I don’t even consider trading him at this point.
Daryl Macon Jr, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (11.3 credits) – Macon had a monster performance in Round 6 and is fifth in the league in PIR. One of the nicest surprises so far this season.
Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona (16.1 credits) – Mirotic should prove his value in the first-place battle against AX Armani Exchange Milan, even though his matchup against Nik Melli is tough.
Josh Nebo, Zalgiris Kaunas (10.5 credits) – Zalgiris hosts ALBA and Nebo should be ready for a big performance against the German champs. He’s been making the most out of his playing time.
Walter Tavares, Real Madrid (17.0 credits) – So far, Tavares has been unstoppable. His fantasy value is off the charts due to his rebounds, blocks and lack of missed shots. Team captain.
Oscar da Silva, ALBA Berlin (7.6 credits) – Da Silva is still cheap if you see his performance, but ALBA is getting its big man back in action and that should slow him down a bit.
Maodo Lo, ALBA Berlin (9.2 credits) – When it comes to guards, I am safe. If Jones or Macon underperform, I can always bring Lo off the bench, replace them and still be alright.
Dmitry Kulagin, Zenit St Petersburg (5.7 credits) – Kulagin is finding his rhythm. He started against Baskonia and had a really good performance. I expect more of the same.
Tolga Gecim, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (4.0 credits) – Gecim plays in every game. Not much, but he gets on the court. I needed to get Tavares, so he is here as a temporary solution.
Marco Spissu, UNICS Kazan (6.2 credits) – Spissu comes off a big double week in which he averaged 6.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists and a PIR of 14.0. Sensational!
That’s all I have for you before Round 8. Enjoy a very interesting Turkish Airlines EuroLeague week and good luck in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!