I thought I had a solid week in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge, but my final score proved me wrong. Indeed, leaving Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow as team captain was a mistake as Brandon Davies of Zalgiris Kaunas, my initial choice, had a much better game. Two other players - Thomas Heurtel of FC Barcelona Lassa and Shavon Shields of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz underperformed, leaving me with a score of 152 points, good enough for just 15,101st in Round 25. That means I dropped several spots in the standings to rank exactly 6,000th overall.
It is time to shake things up a little bit and turn Gancedato into a superpower. But how? Well, by putting together as many superstars as possible on the team. I have an okay budget and I believe that with the right sleeper, my team can be very, very competitive. It is time to bring back Khimki Moscow Region superstar Alexey Shved and keep all of my best players. How will I do it? Let's see.
Using all three trades will be very important this round, at least for me, because things are definitely not working well. I am trading Ante Tomic of FC Barcelona Lassa because he plays against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, one of the best defensive teams in the competition and the leader in the standings. I am also trading Shields to make room for a cheaper player so that I can afford Shved again... and I am trading Heurtel because of his sub-par performance against Efes – and the fact that he plays Fenerbahce, too. Generally speaking, few players do well against a Zeljko Obradovic-coached squad.
So, I am buying Shved and that means I have to look for cheaper players. One of them is Sergio Llull of Real Madrid, who played great last week and seems to be 100% again. The other is DeAndre Kane of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, whose all-around game seems to be a good fit against Efes. I cannot afford anyone much more expensive, with only left 40,000 in the bank. That means I have two EuroLeague MVPs (De Colo and Llull), a EuroCup MVP (Shved) and two players who have earned monthly MVP honors (Mike James of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan and Davies).
What can possibly go wrong with this lineup? I present for you Gancedato 26.0...
Mike James, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (PG). Arguably the most reliable player in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge this season. He's had a performance index rating of 16 or better in his last 11 games. A must-have player.
Nando De Colo, CSKA Moscow (SG). His PIR has been up and down this season, but De Colo always gives his best in big games - and CSKA faces a powerhouse, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, this week.
Will Clyburn, CSKA Moscow (SF). Panathinaikos can use a lot of players against him, but Clyburn can still amass a high PIR due to rebounds and fouls drawn. Everyone's go-to small forward in fantasy!
Brandon Davies, Zalgiris Kaunas (PF). Zalgiris may be eliminated with a loss and plays at home against FC Bayern Munich. It will need Davies at his best to challenge for the win.
Vincent Poirier, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (C). In great shape right now, Poirier faces a big challenge against young star Goga Bitadze. Expect Poirier to give nothing but his very best.
Sergio Llull, Real Madrid (G). Finally 100%, showing explosiveness, character, deep shooting range, court vision... Llull is back to his best version and it is time to enjoy his game – and have him in fantasy.
DeAndre Kane, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (F). Had to sign him on a limited budget, but Kane can use his many skills – rebounding, court vision, transition game – against the always-dangerous Efes.
Alexey Shved, Khimki Moscow Region (U). Back until the end of the season unless he gets injured. Shved is the best scorer in the competition and guarantees a high PIR in almost every games. Get him while you can!
That's all I have for you this week. Get ready for Round 26 as the battle to reach the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs continues - and don't forget to improve your EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge team for the stretch run!