Euroleague Fantasy Challenge (Week 7)
by: Dimitris Ritsonis - Greek Correspondent
December 4, 2006
We’ve reached the end of regular season’s first round, and are now about one-third of the way done with the Fantasy game itself. The game lasts till the end of the top-16 and you have to be alert as the winner will probably be decided at the end of the year. During the first 6 weeks of the game so far, lots of users have been disappointed, maybe giving up, without noticing that there are surprising players or “steals” in every corner waiting to offer us plenty of credit and value.

On the other hand, the early winners, the ones that are leading the score have to be careful, because the best players today might be the worst tomorrow in this extremely unstable and unpredictable game. So, let it be. One bad week is nothing and it’s a wide open game. Let’s see what we have...

Early Conclusion: The Older, the Better

Before anything, let’s mention some early conclusions after the first part of the season. There are many users who have put their team’s future plans or spent a lot of credits investing on some really talented players of average to good Euroleague teams this year.
Youngsters who were considered as their teams’ franchise players, like Marco Belinelli of Climamio Bologna or Uros Tripkovic of Partizan, have been unstable at best and have heavily disappointed their supporters, not to mention NBA scouts. Exceptions like Rudy Fernandez of Joventut or Tiago Splitter of Tau Vitoria do not count as much, as both have already missed games due to injuries, while past overachieving youngsters Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Paulius Jankunas have been facing issues with their teams that do not allow them to perform at full potential. 16-year old defensive star Ricky Rubio is a fantasy diamond, but leading Euroleague in steals per game, he would be much more benefited fantasy-wise from an NBA-type counting system, where steals counts for 2.5 times more than in Europe. Anton Ponkrashov’s playing time is limiting his potential, while Mantas Kalnietis is a fantasy bust so far, completely overshadowed by Marko Popovic’s dominance in the suicidal Zalgiris offensive delirium.
In the end, only the recent stud Kosta Perovic counts as a stable force in the senior fantasy level and he still isn’t a premier big man. So, at the end of the day, the conclusion is to either build around veterans and buy the youngsters in specific occasions, or not touch them at all. This is a long-lasting game and you can’t risk for more than once with the juniors.

Point Guards

The Top-10

With the two experienced and steady Greek point guards, Dimitris Diamantidis and Theo Papaloukas leading the list, point guards are always the weakest spot here in the Euroleague fantasy.
Diamantidis’ value may further rise this week, with undefeated Panathinaikos hosting red-hot Maccabi at home and the Greek star having a clear cut advantage over Will Bynum in the match-up. Croatians Zoran Planinic and Marko Popovic are heading towards different directions, with the first recovering from a bad 5th week game and the latter getting injured this weekend while playing for one of the most unstable and underachieving teams of the season so far.
Nikos Zisis plays an easy home game and he might see his value rising versus Napoli, which has surprisinly gotten rid of Tierre Brown. Scoonie Penn and Olympiakos are not stable lately, but the game versus Rhein Energie and the earlier overrated Desmond Mallet might help both the team and the player receive some boost along with the 10% of the win.
Terrel Castle is good, but Aris plays in Barcelona, against the team's excellent backcourt. Davor Kus saw his value falling again, but had a splendid weekend game that makes him intriguing again.

The Best of the Rest

Bojan Popovic needs a 25 score to gain the max, while playing at home versus the unstable Efes Pilsen… Carlos Cabezas is always good at home, as Unicaja hosts the weak on the road Partizan and Vonteego Cummings… Teemu Ranikko had a monster weekend game, but he is pretty unstable this year… Jaka Lakovic is getting better week by week and in the home game versus Aris it's time to show his offensive presence… Mire Chatman has yet to regain his dominance, but it’s never too late and the game in Zagreb versus Cibona might be the one for him… Fine game for Aaron Miles over the weekend helps him be considered a steal, especially versus Zalgiris, who is going down lately and with Marko Popovic being doubtful… Cuneyt Erden is one of the pleasant surprises lately, averaging 16+ in the last two Euroleague games… Ricky Rubio is one of the best per-minute fantasy picks, but hardly a steal at 20 credits… Milos Vujanic is slowly seeing more minutes for Panathinaikos… Willie Solomon is still out with an injury until further notice.


Swingmen

Top-20

In the most unpredictable position of the fantasy game, Juan Carlos Navarro remains on top. Now below the 100 mark, he still averages a splendid 24 fantasy score per game, followed by Mr. Do-it-all, newcomer Alex Acker, a true exception to our “avoid the youngsters” advice. Just to note here that Acker is among the “most sold” players so far this week, probably because most of the users believe that he has reached his potential. DraftExpress would like to advise you to keep him and see where he leads you, as he is probably one of the best and most stable players so far, so there aren’t real reasons to keep him away from your team.
Following them, Spencer Nelson has been a part of a three-player offensive punch in Benetton, Marcus Faison is losing it lately, Kenny Gregory is nothing else but an excellent pick and Trajan Langdon proves himself almost on a nightly basis in Moscow. Dejan Bodiroga remains an elite player, Ricky Greer is one player you shouldn’t be discouraged from, Marko Milic and Rudy Fernandez are their team’s best players and last season’s Euroleague top scorer Drew Nicholas is starting to pick it up lately.
Nikos Hatzivretas and Marco Mordente had been way too underrated and bring over unexpectedly good performances so far, Igor Rakocevic fell too low last week, along with Mr. Instability Henry Domercant and Simas Jasaitis. Berni Rodriguez kept it up with a fine weekend game and now that Marcus Brown got injured again, he may be a "lock" for this week's home game versus Partizan. Alex Scales has been probably underrated, but he isn’t a top-player so far, while Cenk Akyol is going down every single week, despite his nice performances in the first three weeks.

The Best of the Rest

Some fans of Partizan’s youngster wings should say goodbye to Luka Bogdanovic, Milenko Tepic and Uros Tripkovic, if they want to move forward… Jiri Welsch, David Hawkins, Travis Hansen and Aleksandar Nadjfeji had monster weekend games… Jonas Maciulis should leave, if you still have him on your team… Stefano Mancinelli, Preston Shumpert, and Marco Belinelli are all nice wing players for Climamio, but too unstable to trust, despite some moments of fantasy brilliance… Tyrone Ellis had a huge domestic game and seems like an intriguing prospect at 36… Ramunas Siskauskas is still injured and will miss the Panathinaikos-Maccabi game.


Big Men

Top-20

This is where we will get most of the points from and this is where the best players are included. Nikola Vujcic’s triple double (second in two years) and season high fantasy score of 50.6 points pushed him atop the list last Thursday, making him a “must have” player, even against the undefeated Panathinaikos in Athens.
Mike Batiste was voted the “player of the month” for November, averaging 21.8 fantasy points in less than 25 minutes per game. Big-time steal Andrija Zizic has more than doubled his original value with 5 max scores in 6 weeks, tying teammate Alex Acker for second place in the best steals so far.
A bad first 5 games had kept Brent Wright in the dark for most fantasy players, but he is a 20+ diamond since then. Eric Campbell is an extremely steady inside force and an efficient fantasy player. Mid-range threat Peja Drobnjak, rebounding machine Mirsad Turkcan, inside force Marcus Goree, efficient and productive Michael Wright and the lately super-hot Jeremiah Massey complete the top-10.
Luis Scola is coming off a scary 47.3 weekend performance versus Joventut, while Lazaros Papadopoulos returns from a 4-week injury and forces users to rethink purchasing the lately hot Antonis Fotsis. Tanoka Beard ranks 12th among big men, but is always dangerous and on the radar, now more than ever, since Hanno Mottola won’t play this week versus Pau Orthez. Ronnie Burrel, Kosta Perovic, Sandro Nicevic, Matjaz Smodis and Jamie Arnold are not the top options on their teams, but are approachable price-wise. Is this the moment to get rid of Jordi Trias, now, after 6 straight max scores, 2 ugly Euroleague games and a pathetic domestic performance this Sunday? A home game versus Aris might be the reason to re-think it.

The Best of the Rest

Tiago Splitter is officially back and healthy, ready to restore his great reputation and prove himself as a top Euroleague big man… David Andersen is back on track with a strong game last week… Same story for Kaspars Kambala who reminds us of his strong post game… We should mention Paulius Jankunas and his chance to shine versus Pau Orthez due to Hano Mottola’s injury… Britton Johnsen, Mason Rocca and Marcin Gortat are worth to be considered, depending on the opponent and given their late improvement… Sofoklis Schortsanitis is still out with an injury… The lately declining Mike Wilkinson has the skills to give you a good score from time to time… Vasco Evtimov is an excellent player per minute but only sees limited minutes.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to dritsonis@draftexpress.com .

 

Marco Belinelli
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 192 lbs.
Birthday: 03/25/1986
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Kings , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #18 in 2007 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
15.0 Pts, 1.8 Rebs, 2.0 Asts


Uros Tripkovic
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Birthday: 09/17/1986
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Partizan , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
6.7 Pts, 2.2 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


Tiago Splitter
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 0"
Weight: 233 lbs.
Birthday: 01/01/1985
31 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Hawks , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #28 in 2007 Draft
by the Spurs
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
5.6 Pts, 3.4 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


Paulius Jankunas
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 202 lbs.
Birthday: 04/29/1984
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Zalgiris , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: SF/PF
Quick Stats:
11.0 Pts, 4.5 Rebs, 2.5 Asts


Ricky Rubio
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Birthday: 10/21/1990
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Timberwolves , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #5 in 2009 Draft
by the Timberwolves
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
5.0 Pts, 2.8 Rebs, 2.9 Asts


Anton Ponkrashov
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Birthday: 04/23/1986
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: UNICS , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG/SG/SF,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG/SF
Quick Stats:
7.6 Pts, 2.7 Rebs, 4.1 Asts


Mantas Kalnietis
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthday: 09/06/1986
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Milano , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
18.0 Pts, 2.7 Rebs, 7.5 Asts


Kosta Perovic
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 2"
Weight: 240 lbs.
Birthday: 02/19/1985
31 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Partizan , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #8 in 2006 Draft
by the Warriors
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
3.1 Pts, 2.1 Rebs, 0.1 Asts


Dimitris Diamantidis
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 194 lbs.
Birthday: 05/06/1980
36 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Panathinaikos , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
6.4 Pts, 2.9 Rebs, 4.0 Asts


Will Bynum
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 189 lbs.
Birthday: 04/06/1983
33 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Crane Tech
Previous Team: Guangdong , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
17.8 Pts, 4.1 Rebs, 6.5 Asts


Zoran Planinic
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Birthday: 09/12/1982
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #22 in 2003 Draft
by the Nets
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
9.2 Pts, 2.5 Rebs, 4.3 Asts


Tierre Brown
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 189 lbs.
Birthday: 06/03/1979
37 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Iowa
Previous Team: McNeese St , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
15.0 Pts, 2.0 Rebs, 1.8 Asts


Bojan Popovic
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthday: 02/13/1983
33 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Sopot , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
4.9 Pts, 2.3 Rebs, 2.5 Asts


Vonteego Cummings
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthday: 02/29/1976
40 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Thomson
Previous Team: Pittsburgh , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #26 in 1999 Draft
by the Pacers
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
2.2 Pts, 1.5 Rebs, 1.7 Asts