Fantasy Challenge: Bringing back familiar players

Jan 31, 2019 by Javi Gancedo, Euroleague.net Print
Fantasy Challenge: Bringing back familiar players

It was a good week for me in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge. Of course, it would have been better with the right team captain, which has been one of my biggest handicaps in the game this season. Will Clyburn of CSKA Moscow had a Performance Index Rating of 10 against FC Barcelona Lassa, which combined with his team's win, meant a fantasy score of 22. Even with that, most of my players had PIRs in double digits and Gancedato ended up scoring 152.7 fantasy points. That saw my team climb to 5,826th overall in the game's standings. Again, with a better decision on my captain, I would have scored a lot. Last season, I aced the captain each and every week, but not this season.

Three trades are allowed in between rounds and I will use all of them. First and foremost, I am trading Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, for one very good reason. The Czech Jet has a knee injury and will miss the next five-to-six weeks. (Get well soon Jan!) I am also selling Scottie Wilbekin of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv because he didn't have the performance I expected from him last week. Sometimes it is good to have patience in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge, but it is mostly a bad idea, so I am selling him. I am also selling Coty Clarke of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. He had a decent performance despite missing many shots, but his team plays against mighty CSKA this week and it may not be a bad idea to sell him. I am keeping his teammate Goga Bitadze, however. He is too good to be released.

I must buy three players and one of them, of course, is Nikola Milutinov of Olympiacos Piraeus. He already dominated (36 PIR) against Barcelona earlier this season and I expect him to do the same in front of thousands of Olympiacos fans. I am also getting Paulius Jankunas of Zalgiris. I know who I am buying - a really solid power forward who rarely disappoints when he is in shape. It took him some time to find his rhythm, but Jankunas already started to deliver with a double-digit PIR in his last three games. Finally, I need a guard and that will be Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul, who is having a career-best season and is not afraid of anyone. I really admire his attitude on the court, with a winning mentality second to none. If he can attack a defender, he will, but Micic is also smart enough to read the game properly and find better options when someone has an open look.

Therefore, Gancedato looks like this before Regular Season Round 21:

Mike James, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (PG). He plays against Gran Canaria, which has had problems guarding scoring playmakers lately. I trust James and I am making him team captain.

Nando De Colo, CSKA Moscow (SG). Last week, De Colo fired in 7 three-point shots and led CSKA to a big road win in Barcelona. I expect him to play great from now until the end of the season.

Will Clyburn, CSKA Moscow (SF). I will keep both De Colo and Clyburn as long as Cory Higgins is injured. Clyburn helps CSKA in many ways and is an excellent rebounder. A Fantasy Challenge lock.

Brandon Davies, Zalgiris Kaunas (PF). Zalgiris faces a critical game against Khimki Moscow Region. It will need its best players showing their best version and Davies is one of them.

Nikola Milutinov, Olympiacos Piraeus (C). He has been unstoppable all season and did particularly well against Barcelona. I am bringing him back since Olympiacos faces Barcelona again.

Vasilije Micic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (G). Micic has arguably been the most pleasant surprise in the EuroLeague this season as a tall, powerful guard able to do many different things.

Paulius Jankunas, Zalgiris Kaunas (F). He has been playing well lately, so I think the time is right to bring him back. When in good shape, Jankunas is pure Fantasy Challenge gold.

Goga Bitadze, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica (U). Goga has been unstoppable since joining the team. He faces a strong test against CSKA, but I believe in his chances to power the boards and get a high PIR.

That's all I have this week. With only 10 rounds left, expect to see many, many good, intense games from now on. The 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague has been great and is about to get even better. Stay tuned and don't forget to have fun with the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!