Euroleague Fantasy Challenge (Week 3)

Euroleague Fantasy Challenge (Week 3)
Nov 06, 2006, 04:15 pm
Dimitris Ritsonis

Continuing with our Euroleague Fantasy Challenege series, DraftExpress provides the users with as many tools possible in order to improve their odds in chasing 1st place, either in the weekly competition or for the entire prize.

As time goes by, we are discovering many new things that can help the user achieve a better and smoother approach to the game, and consequently better results.

First of all, as the competition is much higher this season in comparison to the two previous ones, it is wise to be more careful with your changes. A quick wandering on the basketball forums around the net allows us to see that many of the users have not been careful enough in the first week and some of their teams are now out of the game, forcing them to build new ones, using a new account. An impressive 25% rise in the number of teams before game two proves that the game has become an important one for thousands of people around Europe and the teams might further rise after the next couple of weeks or so. That’s how much it takes for the average user to get discouraged and lose hope on teams that have played less games than the leading ones.

But, let’s start with the review of the 2nd game day, a relatively tough week, with some players showing some good stuff and others further disappointing.

Day 2 Review

There was good and bad news last week, leading to a new reality for Fantasy players. If Carlos Cabezas was the best thing that could happen for a bargain price rise a week ago, he is now the worst enemy of every fantasy player. His injury which might keep him out until the end of the month is “killing” many users who have purchased him at 49.5, hoping for straight maximum points for the following three weeks, only to see him getting injured after only 11 minutes (with a score of 8 up to then) in the home loss of Unicaja to Joventut. Cabezas will be impossible to replace right now, with Davor Kus being seemingly the best guy in the market to fill the role, after a promising game vs Panathinaikos and given that he is hot in Adriatic League too.

On the other hand, the good news is that DraftExpress’ sleeper pick from day 1, Eric Campbell of LeMans has been a superb steal and a top player right now, earning Player of the Week honours and seeking for his third straight week maximum points in the tough Thursday road game against Efes Pilsen. Campbell, a top pick this week too, only needs 6.5 fantasy points for a max rise and is an early candidate for a fourth straight max score next week too with an average score of 20 in the next two games (he has 28.1 so far).

Joining Campbell in the top steals category so far, Jordi Trias, probably the most surprising pick of the year, has shocked fantasy users with a second straight 25+ performance, this time versus Benetton. Being closer than anyone to a potential 5+ straight max scores and despite his low average (which will be giving him only limited weekly rise), Trias is a guaranteed value rise almost for free, being that he costs only 33.1 credits.

Other steals include Panathinaikos’ effective post force Mike Batiste, Zalgiris’ PG Marko Popovic, Olimpija’s rising wing Domen Lorbek, 1st-week shocker and do-it-all guard Alex Acker of Olympiakos, the strong and persistent Michael Wright of Pau-Orthez and Partizan’s hot youngster Luka Bogdanovic, all of whom can get further max rise for different reasons because of at least one strong outcome within the first couple of games.


There are stars who disappoint here and there for different reasons. David Andersen of CSKA isn’t just another bigman this year. He is the bigman whose condition is bad and his value will really go down before he bounces back. Already, his averages are notably lower than last season and he should be sinking to around at least 50 in the next 2-3 weeks with consecutive max drops. It would be a great idea to be patient enough to buy him then, because as soon as he returns to form, he is a top-10 Euroleague player.

Similarly, Luis Scola will see his value drop down to around 60 before he gains enough power to return to full form. Unlike Andersen, he is stable, strong and a go-to player for Tau, but it would be great if he lost max points for the 3rd straight week and then we could purchase an MVP contender at half price.

Some of the expensive point guards on the market are yet to feel at home with their new teams. Willie Solomon is all but stable in Fenerbahce and a second straight max fall was impossible to avoid. Efes Pilsen plays better without Horace Jenkins on the roster. Tony Delk and Sani Becirovic share minutes but aren’t effective enough for Panathinaikos. Instability also chases newcoming big men, like Will Bynum, who was day and night in the first two games, Kaya Peker (still a stranger in Vitoria), veteran star Carlos Jimenez, who is a role player instead of a leader in Unicaja. Even an experienced (and not newcoming) star like Mirsad Turkcan “killed” his value versus Pau-Orthez and so did Brent Wright with his –5 versus Panathinaikos, so there are many factors to consider, when it comes to coaching staff and the opponent.


Rhein Energie – Tau Ceramica

Rhein is a nice 3rd tier team but the game is a toughie for them, so the 10% gain for wins is almost impossible... Ronald Burrell had a great game last week and needs 12.7 points for the 7.5 max raise… Desmond Mallet has to go, with his price at 39.7 and his unstable first 2 games… Martin Gortat is still not stable… Alvin Jones was awful last week, but rebounded with a great weekend game in domestic competition…Luis Scola will fall further this week and is better to purchase next week… Zoran Planinic is slowly becoming a top prospect for this game… Igor Rakocevic is on fire and the team’s best player so far… Tiago Splitter’s health is still questionable for the game… Mirza Teletovic is still unstable and won’t be seeing much playing time from now on.

Dynamo Moscow – Climamio Bologna

Bojan Popovic sees a lot of minutes but is hardly similarly effective… Eddie Gill is yet to roll and is an overrated pick, even at 39… Lazaros Papadopoulos’ bad second game makes him a guy to stay away from for the next couple of weeks… Dmitry Domani will be falling for two more weeks and then he will be an amazing pick in the 20s… Travis Hansen and Antonis Fotsis are impressive as well as unstable, so don’t trust them… Marko Belinelli’s fall continues, so wait until he reaches the 40s... He didn’t play this weekend in Italy… Tyus Edney is too old to remain stable and won’t be a good guy to buy at 65… James Thomas at 37 might lose some more, but he will then be an awesome pick, especially after a fantastic weekend game… Too bad for Vasco Evtimov who is a top-10 fantasy player per minute but we can’t trust him due to his limited playing time… Preston Shumpert saves the day for them and is a trustworthy pick at 58.

Efes Pilsen – Le Mans

Cenk Akyol is one of the best players so far, never leaving the court, except if he is injured... He needs a 10 for his 3rd straight max rise… News on Casey Jacobsen’s potential acquisition may not affect Akyol's playing time this week either… Horace Jenkins is harming his team more than he helps and will lose the max for a couple more weeks at least… Kerem Gonlum remains a stable force and isn’t a risky pick even at 66… Ermal Kuqo’s second straight max fall should be the last one and he’s a great buy at 33… Marcus Haislip won’t be repeating his previous performance any time soon… Eric Campbell is a top-5 fantasy player so far and his potential third max from 73 makes him a solid pick … Sell Kenny Gregory now, at 82, as he only gets max with a 27 and can give you a lot of credits to spend… Sandro Nicevic isn’t a bad pick, but not a safe one either, especially at 72.

Olympiakos – Prokom

Alex Acker is a top-5 fantasy player so far, despite his many turnovers and young age… He needs a –1 score this week for his third straight max rise and a score of 23 total in the next two games to get the fourth straight max… Henry Domercant is the guy to substitute Kenny Gregory of LeMans with, needing only 10 points to rise his value by 12 and being on fire lately… Andrija Zizic has saved a lot of users so far, thanks to a great 1st Week game, but will need a 12 to reach his third max in a row… Still he is a safer pick than most in the market, especially at 52… Sofoklis Schortsanitis is a tremendous pick, even at 71, but a lot depends on his playing time… Huseyin Besok played last week but this coming game won’t be the best one for him to dominate… Christian Dalmau is stable but will likely lose some more value and fall in the late 30s before we buy him… Donatas Slanina will be a great pick to consider after he falls in the late 20s… Rashid Atkins and Justin Hamilton form a poor PG line fantasy wise.

Joventut – Partizan

An awesome road win for Joventut against Unicaja will be pushing the team’s players for the 10% again this week… Rudy Fernandez seems to emerge as the team’s leader and now, in the late 50s, he is tempting to purchase… Ricky Rubio didn’t play this time… Check for Marcelinho who will be interesting once he reaches the mid-20s… Charles Gaines did well in the weekend and he may fall in the late 30s after this game… Partizan is hot in the Euroleague after beating Maccabi last week… Luka Bogdanovic is a top-5 fantasy player so far… A long-term project who kept it going in the weekend too… Milenko Tepic also sees many minutes and fills the stats… Uros Tripkovic remains the king of instability… Vonteego Cummings had a dreadful Adriatic League game after a royal one versus Maccabi… Peja Drobnjak is a guy to keep an eye on… A third straight max can be reached with a 14… Don’t sell Kosta Perovic, who is just underachieving so far… He seems like a nice mid-term project.

Olimpija – Panathinaikos

Player injuries and a coach’s resignation weren't enough to stop Olimpija from getting its first win last week… Domen Lorbek is a steal out of nowhere seeing 30+ minutes lately and needing a score of 11 in the next two games to reach 4 straight maximum rises in the 4 first weeks… Saso Ozbolt was a great pick at 51, but got injured and will be out for the rest of the month… Teemu Ranikko isn’t as effective as last year, but is a safe pick with a score around the mid-teens… Both Ender Arslan and Ivica Jurkovic might be returning to action for this game, possibly leading to less playing minutes for other players… Mike Batiste is the leading fantasy bigman after only two weeks, although he started at 69 and leads the league in average score with 31.4… Dimitris Diamantidis is the top point guard, but won’t reach a second max in three games, unless he has a score of 29… Nikos Hatzivretas had a nice second game and can reach max with a 6… Dejan Tomasevic will hardly rise in max score for the third week in a row, so better sell him… Tony Delk and Sani Becirovic are still unstable and will fall much, maybe below the 30s, before they are considered purchasable.

Cibona – Unicaja

Cibona plays great at home and might have the best point guard to substitute Carlos Cabezas in your teams in Davor Kus… Kus costs 54.2 but needs a 14.4 for the max and this is still a question-mark… Brent Wright is a “killer” till further notice, so release him… Chris Warren could be a nice pick, but there are better players at 60… Jerry McCullough is a terrible pick and will be falling for three more weeks at least… Unicaja has a 0-2 start and it won’t be an easy task with Cabezas out, although Pepe Sanchez started picking it up... Daniel Santiago will be better in the late 30s and whoever waits shall be rewarded… Berni Rodriguez remains a safe pick even in the 60s… Carlos Jimenez still needs to fall before we buy him… Last week of hope for Kostas Vasiliadis… A third straight max isn’t impossible, but he now needs a 9 to do it.

Maccabi – Lottomatica Roma

Maccabi will likely win this one, so add the 10% in your calculations… Simas Jasaitis needs a 10 for his second straight max score… Jamie Arnold is the team’s steal so far, looking for his third straight max rise, only with a 12… Niko Vujcic fell but won’t be collapsing for long, so keep him if you have him… Will Bynum is unstable and we need to wait before purchasing him again… Yotam Halperin, the team’s bigger disappointment needs to go further down, in the late 20s and then he is a steal… David Hawkins is so bad lately that we couldn’t be happier, watching his value collapsing with two straight max falls and an awful game in Italy… Dejan Bodiroga is a safe pick, but won’t be boosting his price anytime soon… Wait for Loukas Mavrokefalidis to stabilize his game before you buy him… Jacopo Giachetti will likely not receive a third straight max, but two is already good.

Pau-Orthez – CSKA Moscow

The two teams are not even close quality-wise, but Pau’s morale is boosted after surprising Fenerbahce-Ulker on the road last week… Ricardo Greer is a player to keep for the season, now that he remains cheap in the mid-60s… Michael Wright had a fantastic game and is a steal at 55, needing an 11 for his second straight max… Wait for C.C. Harrison’s and Aaron Miles’ value to go further down… CSKA rested stars Theo Papaloukas and Matjaz Smodis this weekend, with the latter being questionable for the game due to injury… Still, they are both players in the 70s-80s caliber and it’s not a risk to purchase them now (or whenever healthy), although Papaloukas might be playing less in uninteresting games like this one… J.R. Holden can give you some value, but he is still overrated, even at 41… Trajan Langdon’s great first game might force his team to further fall for a couple of more weeks after a bad second one… David Andersen is the worst player to have in your team right now… Anton Ponkrashov is dominating in Russian games and had an 11 in his Euroleague debut.

Benetton Treviso - Fenerbahce-Ulker

Instability chases Benetton from the beginning of the season, but this one should be a win for them, especially with the way that Fener plays… Nikos Zisis, despite his average outcome versus Barcelona last week, is a top PG and a good pick in the late 60s… Excellent Marcus Goree should get more fantasy points for his value… Angelo Gigli and Spencer Nelson are both unstable, although the latter got a two straight maximum rises in the first two games… Fener has serious coaching issues to solve and the big men should be getting the ball more… Mirsad Turkcan only took four shots last week and the result was a home loss to Pau-Orthez and a 5 fantasy score for the Turkish bigman… Kaspars Kambala lost the max in both the first and the second week and now looks better in the early 50s… Avoid Willie Solomon, who has been playing for himself and doesn’t produce.

Napoli – Aris

Not much in this game, as both teams are pretty weak… Napoli will have great hopes for its first win and this is a good opportunity… Tierre Brown is the team’s best player, both fantasy-wise and on court, but is expensive at 69… Mason Rocca should be picking it up anytime soon, so buy him after he loses some more of his value this week… Jeff Trepagnier and Ansu Sesay still have a long way to go till they are considerable prospects… Mike Wilkinson’s two maximum rises are likely enough by now, but he can rise a bit more this week due to Napoli’s weak frontcourt… Savas Iliadis can be a steal in the early 30s, being hot lately… Terell Castle has done well lately, so buy him if he plays well this week… Wait for Alex Scales to play some more, in order to see his stability.

Zalgiris – Barcelona

A top game this week, with Zalgiris being more stable at the moment and Barcelona coming from a home loss to Tau in Spain… Marko Popovic is the best PG to consider right now, especially after two maximum rises… Tanoka Beard did what he needed and re-established himself at the top of the bigmen market…Two straight max scores can become three for Kirk Penney, if he scores a 14… Hano Mottola is a considerable pick at 50, after a great second game… Bad two first games of Paulius Jankunas can make him a super steal at 48, so don’t sell him… Jordi Trias is the best fantasy player so far and will be rising for the 1st round of the regular season… Juan Carlos Navarro stepped back, but is a top player for your team, despite the filled backcourt… Jaka Lakovic will be losing for a long time, so wait till you buy him… Start considering Mihalis Kakiouzis, who had an awesome game in the weekend…

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