First things first: I would have had an OK week in EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge if it weren't for Goga Bitadze's sub-par performance against CSKA Moscow. All managers who owned Bitadze had a PIR of -9, one of the lowest scores in the EuroLeague this season. Choosing Mike James as a team captain was a good decision as even though he fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, he had 27.5 fantasy points in AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan's win. Of course, it would have been better to choose Nando De Colo as captain. Not only did CSKA Moscow win, but De Colo had a career-best 38 PIR – which would have converted into a career-best 83.6 fantasy points had I chosen him as captain. Some other players underperformed, but Nikola Milutinov, James and De Colo saved the day. I had 147.6 points and now rank 6,267th overall.
A quick analysis makes trading very easy this week, at least if you want to use all three trades. James and De Colo stay because they played well and are leading their respective teams. Milutinov has to go because he is questionable. Vasilije Micic stays because his team, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, plays against Herbalife Gran Canaria, who is having severe problems at stopping aggressive point guards. Will Clyburn of CSKA has to stay because, generally speaking, he is the best option at small forward. Bitadze leaves because of his -9 game, even when I suspect he will play well against Khimki Moscow Region. Therefore, I have to trade either Brandon Davies or his Zalgiris Kaunas teammate Paulius Jankunas. I am trading Jankunas because he potentially faces tougher defenders (Chris Singleton, Pierre Oriola) than Davies (Ante Tomic, Kevin Seraphin) in Zalgiris's road game in Barcelona.
Just like that, I made my three trades; Jankunas, Milutinov, and Bitadze leave Gancedato. I need three new players. First, I am signing Vincent Poirier of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. He had severe foul trouble in this weekend's Spanish League game in Gran Canaria and will be ready to bounce back against FC Bayern Munich, still without starting center Devin Booker. I am bringing in Jeremy Evans of Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul, who had a monster game against Real Madrid last week – 18 points, 12 rebounds, 31 PIR – and should keep his momentum going and rebound well against Milan, whose two main centers, Arturas Gudaitis and Kaleb Tarczewski, are sidelined due to injury. For the same reason – someone has to play more minutes and it is usually the more versatile guy – I am choosing Vladimir Micov of Milan at the utility spot. Which player can be more useful than him, when he does a little bit of everything? Micov usually plays well at home, too, and Milan hosts Darussafaka.
So Gancedato looks like this before Round 22:
Mike James, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (PG) – No Gudaitis makes things harder for Milan, so its best player will have to step up. Keeping him as a team captain, as most Fantasy Challenge managers do.
Nando De Colo, CSKA Moscow (SG) – Nando is baaaaack! Following a career-high PIR against Buducnost, he is ready to keep going against one of the most dangerous opponents in the competition – Real Madrid!
Will Clyburn, CSKA Moscow (SF) – Since CSKA faces Madrid in a battle of EuroLeague powerhouses, both teams will have to offer their best. In CSKA's case, that means an unstoppable Clyburn at small forward!
Brandon Davies, Zalgiris Kaunas (PF) – Zalgiris lost against Barcelona at home and travels to Palau Blaugrana to try to return the favor. Expect Davies to be extremely motivated against Tomic and Seraphin.
Vincent Poirier, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (C) – He is a great competitor who comes off a foul-plagued game. I am sure he will be ready to offer his best against Bayern. Potential MVP of the Round.
Vasilije Micic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (G) – He is Efes's undeniable leader this season and his team comes off a tough loss in Athens. Everything is set for Efes to bounce back, led by its reference-point guard.
Jeremy Evans, Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul (F) – A great rebounder against a team with two injured centers? In theory, this should work well. We will see what happens on the court, but Evans looks like a must!
Vladimir Micov, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (U) – When the EuroLeague.net staff wants a good interview, we look for Micov. When I need a solid player in Fantasy Challenge, I look for him, too!
That's all I have for you before Round 22. Enjoy a great round of games, led by CSKA vs. Madrid. What a showdown, don't you think? Make this round even better by competing hard against thousands of other managers at the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!