It’s time for EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge talk with the guru, Javier Gancedo, and to examine his team.
Fantasy Challenge: Unlimited trades and endless combinations
First things first. As you all know, there were some big decisions this week. The ECA Shareholders Executive Board suspended participation of Russian Federation teams in both the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague (CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan, Zenit St Petersburg) and the 7DAYS EuroCup (Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar). We made some decisions regarding the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge:
- Players from Russian Federation teams will not score any fantasy points in the coming rounds and have been eliminated from the market.
- Users have unlimited trades before each round to adjust their teams until further notice.
- Players from teams playing against Russian Federation teams in the original schedule will get their average scores.
So, until the situation evolves in a favorable way, six games should be played per round until the end of the regular season, other than Rounds 31 and 33, in which seven games should take place. We already had such a week in Round 27, in which six games were played, and there was a lot of excitement. Anadolu Efes Istanbul nailed 22 three-point shots to break the competition's all-time record. Zalgiris Kaunas limited Real Madrid to 47 points, its lowest score ever in the EuroLeague. The two Greek teams, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and Olympiacos Piraeus, won at home, ALBA Berlin defeated LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 80-82 on a last-second block by Jaleen Smith, and AS Monaco played a near-perfect second quarter which led to a home victory against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
My team Gancedato did not do very well. One hour before the deadline, I read that Nemanja Nedovic and Okaro White of Panathinaikos were doubtful, two of the three players I signed. I took them out and added Simone Fontecchio of Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Nate Wolters of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. White didn't play, but Nedovic scored more than Wolters and Fontecchio combined. In the end, I scored 122.93 points and rank 704th overall now. With fewer games remaining, not making mistakes should be crucial.
Unlimited trades are allowed before each round for the time being. Players from three teams - Real Madrid, ASVEL and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv - will get their average scores in Round 28. I am selling Victor Wembanyama of ASVEL because his average score is low, but keeping Chris Jones because his average score, 15.98, is very good. In fact, I am only keeping two other players: Nikola Mirotic of FC Barcelona and Sasha Vezenkov of Olympiacos. I am getting Israel Gonzalez of ALBA as head coach, as his team plays at home and has been playing better lately.
So I have to sign seven players. My main concern is the center spot, I have to buy two players. One of them will be Joffrey Lauvergne of Zalgiris, who is in very good shape lately. The other is Christ Koumadje of ALBA, as he seems the best choice out of the cheap big guys right now. Nedovic is back, of course, as he has been playing great in recent games. I bought Wade Baldwin of Baskonia because of his monster game against Maccabi on Tuesday. I am also signing Urban Klavzar of Real, Nikola Kalinic of Zvezda and Matt Costello of Baskonia.
So Gancedato looks like this before Round 28:
Wade Baldwin, Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (12.1 credits) - Baldwin had a PIR of 37 against Maccabi in a rescheduled game on Tuesday. Baskonia is well-rested and Baldwin should go for more against Zvezda.
Nemanja Nedovic, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (10.7 credits) - Nedovic is in very good shape right now, getting a PIR of 25 in each of his last two games. The man of the moment in the Fantasy Challenge.
Nikola Kalinic, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (10.7 credits) - Starting him because Olympiacos plays on Friday. Still, Kalinic seems like a solid choice due to his many rebounds and assists.
Nikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona (16.8 credits) - My most expensive player and also my team captain. If Barcelona plays at home, there is an even better chance that Mirotic will have a big-time performance.
Joffrey Lauvergne, Zalgiris Kaunas (9.1 credits) - It is great to see Lauvergne here after being sidelined for so long. He is an effective scorer and a terrific rebounder, which gives him fantasy value.
Chris Jones, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (11.0 credits) - ASVEL does not play in Round 28, but his average of 15.98 is safe enough to keep him. I can definitely live with that.
Matt Costello, Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (8.4 credits) - Costello is seeing a lot of minutes at center, where he seems to feel more comfortable as he is more mobile than most opponents.
Christ Koumadje, ALBA Berlin (4.6 credits) - Not a big fan of playing centers who go against each other, but Koumadje is really cheap and has shown he can get a really high PIR without much playing time.
Sasha Vezenkov, Olympiacos Piraeus (13.5 credits) - Waiting on the bench to see what happens on Thursday. Vezenkov was chosen as the EuroLeague MVP for February and has been rock-solid in the last five games.
Urban Klavzar, Real Madrid (4.0 credits) - I had 4.4 credits for a guard, so I will play it safe. Kalvzar has an average score of 7.7, which is probably better than any other guard at that price.
That's all I have for you before Round 28. Enjoy the games and keep an eye on the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!