Fantasy tips: Market opportunities – News

It is the final round of 2021 in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the opening round of the second half of the regular season. Round 17 was one of the most exciting this season, with an instant classic between FC Barcelona and UNICS Kazan, an epic victory for short-handed Real Madrid against CSKA Moscow, a thriller between Zenit St Petersburg and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, and an unthinkable comeback that allowed Anadolu Efes Istanbul, led by Vasilije Micic, to edge Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.

There was even more: Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz showed up at Audi Dome without three starters, but Wade Baldwin IV stepped up against his former team, FC Bayern Munich, with a PIR of 33 to earn Round 17 MVP honors. Two other players had PIRs of 33, but in losing efforts: Achille Polonara of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, whose team’s game against Real Madrid was postponed, and Lorenzo Brown of UNICS. Moreover, Chris Jones of LDLC ASVEL and Mike James of AS Monaco had PIRs of 31 and 30, respectively. All of them should keep their personal momentum going in Round 18.

This time, we are focusing on new rotations. Some players suffered injuries in Round 17, forcing their teams into different rotations – and maybe to look for free agents – from now on. We have a superstar back in his old role, a do-it-all swingman ready to step up, a combo guard who is already delivering, a center who is in great shape and a force of nature who is bouncing back. There is something for everyone and a lot of inexpensive choices.

So, this is our choice of players to consider in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge for Round 18 of the regular season.

Georgios Papagiannis, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (12.4 credits) – The game between Fenerbahce and Real has been suspended, leaving many Fantasy Challenge fans without options at center – even though players like Polonara and Walter Tavares will get their average score despite not playing. We recommend Papagiannis, who has averaged a PIR of 18.3 over the last three games and has been highly effective at both ends.

Alexey Shved, CSKA Moscow (13.0 credits) – Daniel Hackett did not finish his team’s VTB United League game this weekend due to an ankle injury… And it didn’t look good. With Iffe Lundberg as its only experienced point guard, Coach Dimitris Itoudis may use Shved at the ‘1’ position, a role he mastered with Khimki Moscow Region in previous years. Shved led the 2020-21 EuroLeague in scoring and assists.

Tonye Jekiri, UNICS Kazan (10.7 credits) – There are other UNICS players in the spotlight, but Jekiri has been quite effective in recent weeks. He’s had a double-digit PIR in his team’s last five games, including 20 against Zalgiris Kaunas and 18 against Olympiacos Piraeus. Jekiri has grabbed at least 7 rebounds in all of those games, which gives him good Fantasy Challenge value at the always-difficult center position.

Alex Poythress, Zenit St Petersburg (9.5 credits) – He is simply playing better. Poythress averaged 5.2 points and a PIR of 6.7 in Zenit’s first 14 games in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this season. In the last three games, however, Poythress has boosted his numbers to 13.0 points and a PIR of 16.0, making 16 of 18 two-point shots. Coach Pascual is fully aware of what he can bring to his team.

Rolands Smits, FC Barcelona (6.1 credits) – When Nigel Hayes-Davis and Sergi Martinez were sidelined, Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius knew who was the right man to replace them. Smits is a very tactical player, who is always in the right place and the right time. With extended playing time, Smits offers rebounds, good shots, steals and dunks, which makes him perfect for a backup role in the Fantasy Challenge.

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