Hello everybody and greetings from Javier Gancedo at Euroleague headquarters. We are facing a fantastic Euroleague week, with a lot of teams fighting for survival and some others positioning themselves to win their regular-season groups. We have Khimki against Panathinaikos in Group D, but also AJ Milano against EWE Baskets Oldenburg in a make-or-break battle. We could say the same about Maroussi vs. Union Olimpija or a very interesting Partizan vs. Efes Pilsen game. I expect this to be the most dramatic Euroleague week so far this season. Please keep an eye out.
Of course, Fantasy Challenge gets more complicated, too. There a few bargains left in the game and we all have to start including those players that we consider underrated in terms of talent versus credits.
Slowly but steadily, and without making too much noise, my team Meet The Boss got 157.1 points and is now fifth overall in the BallinEurope Invitational Challenge private league. I am more than 75 points away from the top spot, but eurofootball has been unstoppable so far; well done, man. This is also a pivotal week in fantasy, as I need to risk a bit more and stop accumulating credits – I have 718 credits, more than enough to keep a solid team from this week until the end of the game.
So, let’s start trading. Felipe Reyes and Tomas Van den Spiegel are back, so it is time to say goodbye to Darjus Lavrinovic. Taquan Dean has proved to be a bad signing, too. Don’t get me wrong: Dean is an excellent shooter, I just happened to pick him at the wrong moment. I am sure Dean will get 20+ points per game this season, but facing Olympiacos makes it too big a risk to keep him.
Since Madrid is one of the best defensive teams around, I am trading Qyntel Woods, thanking him for the 25.3 points he gave me last week and for *not* making me look like a complete idiot. I was right, fellows – for a change. That gives me 227 credits to sign three players. Let’s go.
I like Tiago Splitter a lot, but he’s playing in Tel Aviv and I don’t like that. Stephane Lasme and D’or Fischer are too dangerous, so I will sign Novica Velickovic. I think that our Euroleague 2008-09 Rising Star can do well against Jan Jagla and Ronnie Burrell. Problem is, coach Messina is starting him at small forward lately and Woods can give him a hard time. But I will take the risk, anyway.
This leaves me with 161 credits for a couple of shooting guards and/or small forwards. Let’s see what’s available … I am not in the position of thinking much about it, so I am going to take the best available players. I will pick Ramunas Siskauskas because I think he will do well in the next two games against Roma and Maccabi, pivotal showdowns for CSKA by any means … Linas Kleiza had his worse Euroleague game against Unicaja, so I think he will be motivated to prove everybody wrong. Kleiza is the kind of player that remembers this, but Carlos Jimenez is a top defensive forward. What the hell, I’m picking Matt Walsh. I think Olimpija will beat Maroussi.
So Meet the Boss, Week 7 version, looks like this:
Bo McCalebb. I think McCalebb can have a decent game against Kerem Tunceri and my main man Ender Arslan.
Andrew Wisniewski. Still a but underrated, I expect him to do well against an injury-plagued Caja Laboral.
Matt Walsh. I am taking the risk. He owes me one after the mess he created two weeks ago. Shoot well, Matt!
Pete Mickeal. No way am I trading Pete in the short run. He is always productive, hands down.
Ramunas Siskauskas. There is nobody like Siskauskas in the league. The most unique player we have, a natural-born mismatch.
Chuck Eidson. The American Ginobili is here to stay. I’ve been a fan since he was in Germany.
Ioannis Bourousis, who faces an interesting matchup against Joel Freeland and Rob Archibald. Still, Bourousis is solid.
Mike Batiste. With Nikola Pekovic questionable (but traveling with the team), Batiste is a must-have player.
Novica Velikovic. I like his versatility against Burrell and Jagla. Plus he’s in great shape.
Aleks Maric. I think everybody has him. And really, I can understand why. Maric is here to stay.
So that’s all for me this week. Choose wisely, enjoy the games and see you next week!