Fantasy Challenge: Many happy returns – News

First things first, it was great that all Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games were played in Regular Season Round 22. Here’s hoping that becomes the rule again and the toughest times of COVID-19 fade quickly to a brighter future. Round 22 was exciting, too, with four road warriors making their marks. AX Armani Exchange Milan impressed everyone with its defensive exhibition in the Russian capital, downing CSKA Moscow 57-67. FC Bayern Munich had a really solid performance at Buesa Arena, beating Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz to break a four-game road losing streak. AS Monaco rounded up a fantastic week with a victory against Zenit in St Petersburg and Real Madrid topped ALBA Berlin in the German capital. UNICS Kazan, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv all won at home, the latter breaking an eight-game losing streak.

As for EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge, I had to make a last-minute substitution when Georgios Papagiannis of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens got injured. I ended up keeping Marek Blazevic of Zalgiris Kaunas and getting a different coach, Sasa Djordjevic of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, which had a big impact on my score since my original one, Neven Spahija of Baskonia, lost his game. I ended up getting 120.1 points and dropping a few spots in the standings to rank 343rd overall. I had Dyshawn Pierre of Fenerbahce, who scored 0 points, but since he played on Thursday, I put Ognjen Jaramaz of Bayern in my starting lineup. And he scored negative. Oh well.

Three trades are allowed before each round until the end of the regular season. Remember, the game between Maccabi and Fenerbahce has been postponed, so players in both teams will get their average scores. I had to wait to do all my trades until the postponed games were played on Tuesday and Wednesday. The good news is that three of the best players in the competition are back in action and, of course, that has a big impact on Fantasy Challenge. Nikola Mirotic of FC Barcelona, his teammate Nick Calathes and Walter Tavares of Real Madrid are available and managers should try to sign them again, especially Mirotic and Tavares, two of the best players in the game this season. You are also allowed to change your coach. Panathinaikos OPAP Athens plays Baskonia, so either Dimitris Priftis or Spahija will win. I am choosing Priftis.

Two of the trades are pretty logical: I am selling Vincent Poirier of Real, because Tavares is back, and Pierre because he didn’t play well, and will not play this week anyway. I am also selling James Gist of ASVEL because his team plays at Palau Blaugrana against Barca. Actually, I am only keeping his teammate Chris Jones because another ASVEL guard, Elie Okobo, was recently sidelined and not himself on his return in a rescheduled game earlier this week. As for the players I am buying – yes, you guessed it, Mirotic is back. He is my anchor, so if he is available, he will be on my team. I am also buying Ante Zizic of Maccabi because I have doubts at center; he doesn’t play this week, but under the rules for players from suspended games, he guarantees me his average of 18.1 points. Finally, I am getting Aaron White of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade because he is playing a lot and got a PIR of 13 in Round 22.

So Gancedato looks like this before Round 23:

Chris Jones, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (11.0 credits) – Even when ASVEL plays at Palau Blaugrana, I am keeping Jones, who should have the ball in his hands a lot against Barcelona.

Jordan Loyd, Zenit St Petersburg (11.6 credits) – Loyd has not posted big numbers lately, averaging 8.0 points and a PIR of 4.7. It should be time for him to bounce back.

Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona (17.5 credits) – He’s baaaack! Mirotic leads the EuroLeague in scoring (17.8 ppg.) and PIR (21.6 per game). If he is healthy, he will be on my team.

Sasha Vezenkov, Olympiacos Piraeus (12.8 credits) – Olympiacos plays against Zvezda, one of the best defensive teams in the EuroLeague. Still, Vezenkov remains a really solid choice.

Ante Zizic, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (13.7 credits) – Amid my doubts at the center position, I know that Zizic will give me 18.1 points without playing, so I am buying him to solve my problem.

Shane Larkin, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (15.9 credits) – His PIR has been lower each game since he had 37 against Maccabi. At some point, Larkin should dazzle Efes fans with a huge game.

Aaron White, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (6.3 credits) – He has been playing well lately after being injured for almost the entire season. White had 12 points in 31 minutes last week.

Ognjen Jaramaz, FC Bayern Munich (4.8 credits) – Jaramaz struggled against Baskonia, playing just 8 minutes despite starting. I am giving him another chance in the German derby.

Marek Blazevic, Zalgiris Kaunas (4.9 credits) – Yes, I didn’t sell him in the end. And Blazevic had a double-double, 10 points, 10 rebounds, 19 PIR. I need him, so he stays.

Andrey Zubkov, Zenit St Petersburg (5.4 credits) – Without Arturas Gudaitis, Zubkov played almost 20 minutes, missed everything he shot but still had a PIR of 5. He should have better nights.

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