EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge guru Javier Gancedo adds three Real Madrid players to his team: Sergio Llull, Alberto Abalde and Walter Tavares. Check out his new lineup!
Fantasy Challenge: The competition gets Real
There are five regular season rounds left and the competition is going to get tougher and tougher. Only one team, Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, registered a road victory in Round 29, downing LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 69-72 on another solid game by Wade Baldwin and Matt Costello. Real Madrid needed overtime to beat AX Armani Exchange Milan, breaking a four-game losing streak. Zalgiris Kaunas, AS Monaco, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and ALBA Berlin kept their great momentum going with respective road victories. Those teams challenging for a playoffs spot are the hottest squads in the competition right now. There are exciting times ahead.
The race to win EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge's grand price is really close, too. Aidas Virsilas of Lithuania leads the overall standings with 4,338.95 points, followed by three Greek managers, Athanasios Tribonias (4,307.62), Kostas Mamalos (4,307.31) and Panagiotis Stathopoulos (4,300.16). Eight other managers have broken the 4,200-point barrier, so we will arguably have to wait until the end of Round 34 to crown our winner. Of course, he or she will get the grand prize: flights, four hotel nights and VIP tickets to the 2022 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four, plus an official EuroLeague Spalding basketball, a €1,000 Turkish Airlines flight voucher, three EuroLeague jerseys of choice and a EuroLeague TV subscription for the 2022-23 season!
My team, Gancedato, ranks 864th overall with 3,786.67 points. I scored 130.8 points in Round 29 mainly because of two bad decisions: choosing Georgios Bartzokas of Olympiacos Piraeus as head coach in a road loss against ALBA Berlin and subbing Wade Baldwin of Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz to start Dante Exum of FC Barcelona against Zalgiris. I need severe changes in my lineup. Unlimited trades are allowed before each round until the end of the season, and I will save time by telling you which players I am keeping, because they are only three: Baldwin, his teammate Costello and Christ Koumadje of ALBA.
That means I have to add seven players and a head coach, which is Neven Spahija, making it three Baskonia choices, so I cannot sign anybody else from that team. It is OK, since I got who I wanted. I am going for the player with the highest PIR averages in the league, Nikola Mirotic of Barcelona. I still need many more new players and have sort of a limited budget, but Josh Nebo is definitely one of them after his last two performances. I am getting Nemanja Nedovic of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens because his experience should be a plus in the Greek Derby. I am also buying Alberto Abalde and Sergio Llull of Real, as Nigel Williams-Goss has missed time lately due to a hand injury. I am also buying reigning EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Last but most definitely not least, I am buying Edgaras Ulanovas of Zalgiris, because his monster performance against Barcelona last week was one of the best all-around games I have seen from a EuroLeague player in recent years.
So Gancedato looks like this before Round 30, taking into account which teams play on Thursday.
Vasilije Micic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (15.9 credits) - Initially, he is my team captain. He played for Zalgiris before and should be motivated to play well in Kaunas.
Sergio Llull, Real Madrid (6.7 credits) - He had 20 points and a PIR of 14 in each of his team's last two games. Starting him in case he has a monster game against ASVEL.
Alberto Abalde, Real Madrid (6.7 credits) - Abalde overcame injuries and is in very good form now. I expected him to see a lot of playing time against a physical team like ASVEL.
Edgaras Ulanovas, Zalgiris Kaunas (8.5 credits) - His stat line against Barcelona was out of this world: 16 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals, 2 blocks, 9 fouls drawn, 33 PIR!
Josh Nebo, Zalgiris Kaunas (10.3 credits) - I had loads of doubts in the center position, but since Nebo played so well lately, I decided to bring his back this week.
Wade Baldwin, Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (12.1 credits) - Baldwin has been almost unstoppable in the last two months and is full of confidence. Keeping him one more week.
Nemanja Nedovic, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (10.8 credits) - Nedovic is an experienced combo guard and Panathinaikos needs that against Olympiacos. It should be a good game.
Matt Costello, Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (9.3 credits) - In my opinion, the best player under 10 credits in the game right now. He has been rock-solid since playing center.
Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona (16.9 credits) - Starting on the bench because he plays on Friday. It gives me a lot of confidence, too: if someone doesn't play well, Mirotic goes in!
Christ Koumadje, ALBA Berlin (4.9 credits) - He is a good backup center at a reasonable price, like Marek Blazevic of Zalgiris was in the first half of the season. Keeping him.
That is all I have for you before Round 30. Enjoy the games, and compete against your friends and, of course, against me in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge. Good luck, fantasy managers!