Hello again, EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge managers! After a successful 2017-18 season, in which my team came close to finishing in the Top 100, I am back to unveil my team and give more tips and advice before the first deadline. Obviously, we all have to start a team from scratch. I have to follow my own recommendations and tips, so I am starting by choosing four very cheap bench players who will rarely step on court all season. If they can generate some money, even better. An extra 200,000 or 300,000 can come in handy during the season. With that purpose, I am getting Deni Avdija of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Laurynas Birutis of Zalgiris Kaunas. For the other two bench players, I am just choosing whoever is cheaper: Andrei Lopatin of CSKA Moscow and Onuralp Bitim of Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
I have rules. The more players you have from the same game, the better chance you will get for one of them to underperform. Most players feel more comfortable at home, so that is a must, too. With all that in mind, I am getting the players who I really want first, the stars of the competition. Tornike Shengelia of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz is in great shape, Nando De Colo of CSKA is a must, and so is Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens. Of course, there are others EuroLeague stars I want, but I cannot have them all at first. Add Tarik Black of Maccabi, who is a big bargain, and I already have half of the team. I am signing Zach LeDay of Olympiacos Piraeus because of his great preseason and Edy Tavares because he has been just unstoppable in the Spanish League until now. Not a lot of money left, but I am buying Facundo Campazzo at point guard because of his assists and steals, and Vladimir Lucic of FC Bayern Munich because he is an all-around player.
So, that's my team for Round 1. In order, it goes like this:
POINT GUARD: Nick Calathes, Panathinaikos: Broke several assists records last season, has improved his shooting, is an All-EuroLeague First Team selection. What's not to like?
SHOOTING GUARD: Nando De Colo, CSKA: One of the best players in the competition in the prime of his career will not miss from the free throw line. Like, ever.
SMALL FORWARD: Vladimir Lucic, Bayern: I trust in his ability to do a little bit of everything – and do it all well. Has a PIR of 15.5 in the German League, too.
Toko Shengelia, Baskonia: He has started the season great and Baskonia is on a mission to win enough games to make "its" Final Four.
CENTER: Edy Tavares, Real Madrid: He doesn't seem to stop improving, which is a problem for every team out there due to his size, speed and wingspan.
GUARD: Facu Campazzo, Real Madrid: Another player in fantastic shape. His aggressive playing style is a perfect fit against a physical team like Darussafaka.
FORWARD: Zach LeDay, Olympiacos: Had a couple of monster games in preseason. Will he be able to do it again? I am hoping he will!
UTILITY: Tarik Black, Maccabi: He rebounds well, blocks shots and draws a lot of fouls. That is a great Fantasy Challenge combination, don't you agree?
BENCH: Andrei Lopatin (CSKA), Onuralp Bitim (Efes), Deni Avdija (Maccabi), Laurynas Birutis (Zalgiris)
That's it! Good luck to you all! Try to beat me – and tens of thousands of others around the world – at the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge! Challenge for the big prizes and, above all, have a lot of fun!