Fantasy Challenge: Pick a winner, act accordingly

Apr 30, 2019 by Javi Gancedo, Print
Fantasy Challenge: Pick a winner, act accordingly

The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four is almost here! We have seen some exciting playoff series in which anything could have happened. Real Madrid swept Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, but the Greens were really close to winning Game 1, which would have turned the series around. Madrid went on to dominate, led by an outstanding Facu Campazzo, the next great point guard in the Spanish capital. CSKA lost its first playoff home game since 2008, but bounced back with two wins at Fernando Buesa Arena. Two more wins in the same arena would give the Russian powerhouse the 2018-19 EuroLeague title, and with Nando De Colo playing at this level, it is perfectly possible. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul also lost at home against Zalgiris Kaunas, but registered consecutive wins at Zalgirio Arena by playing hard defense in Game 3 and unleashing a tremendously effective offense (seventh-best field goal shooting percentage in EuroLeague history, a season-high 69.8%) in Game 4. CSKA reached the Final Four for the 16th time in 17 years and Fenerbahce is in its fifth consecutive appearance. As for Anadolu Efes Istanbul and FC Barcelona Lassa, all four games have been very different and anything can happen in Game 5.

Efes vs Barcelona is also the only game that counts this week in the Euroleague Fantasy Challenge, so a lot of lineups will be similar. I come off a very good week, in which I scored 191.9 points to rank 2,192th for Game 4 of the Playoffs. My overall rank is 4,766th, so I have climbed a lot of spots during the playoffs.

Obviously, you must use your unlimited trades to get rid of all the players who are not from either Efes or Barcelona. In my team, that is everybody but Vasilije Micic of Efes and Adam Hanga of Barcelona, two of the players who should score a high performance index rating in this game. My advice is that you pick a winner, Efes or Barcelona, and trade accordingly, with more players from the winning side. Since home teams are 9-0 in Game 5 in EuroLeague history, I will go with Efes and sign most of its stars. Efes has a short rotation and only eight players get significant playing time, so I am taking most of them - Rodrigue Beaubois, Adrien Moerman, Bryant Dunston and Shane Larkin, who I will make team captain because he has scored 30 points or more twice against Barcelona this season. Only one other player in EuroLeague history managed to score at least 30 points against the same opponent twice in the same season - you will have to read until the end to find out who he was! As for Barcelona, I am adding Chris Singleton at power forward and Ante Tomic at utility.

Therefore, Gancedato looks like this before Playoffs Round 5:

Vasilije Micic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (PG). One of the best point guards in the EuroLeague. No other player has improved more in the competition over the last two years, in my opinion.
Rodrigue Beaubois, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (SG). A sharpshooter who can either give you the win or sink you into Fantasy Challenge hell. On a good day, he is just unstoppable.
Adam Hanga, FC Barcelona Lassa (SF). He is in very good shape and when Hanga feels good, he is able to help in many, many ways - at both ends of the floor! He should have a solid game.
Chris Singleton, FC Barcelona Lassa (PF). Barcelona needs its most experienced players to step up. Singleton has been to a Final Four already and surely wants to return with Barcelona.
Bryant Dunston, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (C). His defensive skills are unquestioned, plus Dunston is very effective under the baskets and even hit a three-pointer in Game 4!
Shane Larkin, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (G). Larkin has been unstoppable, averaging a PIR of 21 in the playoffs. This is why I am making him team captain. Larkin is just on fire!
Adrien Moerman, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (F). A do-or-die game against a former team is enough motivation for anyone. Moerman is always in attack mode and this game will be no exception.
Ante Tomic, FC Barcelona Lassa (C). His post skills and experience are one of Barcelona's weapons in this game. If Tomic gets involved, Barcelona will have better chances to advance.

Good luck to Efes and Barcelona in what promises to be a very exciting game! Good luck also to you all, fantasy managers, in Playoffs Game 5. See you at the Final Four! And the answer to the earlier question is… Charles Smith of Scavolini Pesaro against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 2004-05 season. He scored 32 points against Maccabi twice – once in the regular season and once in the playoffs.