EuroLeague Primer: Round 9 - Thursday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 9 - Thursday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

PREGAME UPDATES

STATS AND INFO.

THE SLATE

Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv at CSKA Moscow

Status Check: Scottie Wilbekin (MTA), Alexey Shved (CSK), Marius Grigonis (CSK), Johannes Voigtmann (CSK), Daniel Hackett (CSK), Ivan Ukhov (CSK)

Best Bets for Success: The home team has played short-handed nearly all season, as star center Nikola Milutinov went down two minutes into the opener and has not seen EuroLeague action since. CSKA was just starting to get healthy, as Tornike Shengelia returned last week and Milutinov did earlier this week, but several new issues have popped up, and five key players are uncertain for Round 9. One player who has not found himself on the injured list at any point this season is Will Clyburn, who will remain the man for CSKA for another Round. Clyburn comes in on fire, having averaged 18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.0 three-pointers over his last seven appearances. Shengelia and Milutinov are plenty capable of being the top producer for their team, but Maccabi has handled frontcourt players pretty well and Milutinov's minutes could be monitored, so Clyburn seems like the safest option for Thursday's contest. A healthy Scottie Wilbekin would presumably be the top pick for Maccabi in this one, with CSKA surrendering the most points to opposing guards. However, his status is still somewhat unclear and the Russian team is allowing opposing frontcourt players to shoot far better from the field than any other team, so we'll turn to Maccabi's forwards and centers. The best option among the bunch seems to be James Nunnally, who has essentially matched Clyburn of late, posting averages of 17.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 threes over the last six Rounds.

DFS Darlings: Nunnally isn't the only appealing frontcourt player on the Maccabi side, as all of Jalen Reynolds, Derrick Williams and Ante Zizic have been producing regularly. It's tough to predict which player among that group will put up the most fantasy points, but CSKA has not been stout against opposing centers, so we'll go with Reynolds, who is now producing at relatively the same level he did last season with Bayern. Milutinov's return will help CSKA better contain frontcourt players moving forward, but he might not spend enough time on the court Thursday to make a notable difference. Maccabi's Keenan Evans is also trending upward, and at $8,000 on DraftKings, he will be a good play even if Wilbekin suits up, and a great one should Wilbekin sit out. With so many players uncertain for CSKA, it will be tough to spot the value until their Round 9 roster is set. However, one player you can consider off the bat is Iffe Lundberg, whose DraftKings price has dropped drastically to a season-low $7,800. Lundberg should take the minutes opened up by Ukhov's absence, and he could soak up even more if Grigonis remains out and Shved and/or Hackett sit. Lundberg has the potential to top 30 points on DraftKings, which he did in both Rounds 1 and 2. This is expected to be a pretty high-scoring contest, which will benefit players – at least the healthy ones – at all price points.

LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne at Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade

Status Check: David Lighty (ASV), Raymar Morgan (ASV), Antoine Diot (ASV), Victor Wembanyama (ASV), Nikola Ivanovic (CZV), Aaron White (CZV), Stefan Markovic (CZV)

Best Bets for Success: The second game of the day will help determine what occurs when an unstoppable object – or two – meets an immovable object, as ASVEL's point-producing backcourt of Elie Okobo and Chris Jones faces off against a Red Star squad allowing the fewest points to opposing guards in the league. While the matchup will be tough, Okobo and Jones remain ASVEL's top two options, particularly with Lighty going down. Okobo, at 19.6 ppg, is averaging nearly two more points per contest than any other player, and besides his teammate, only four other players are averaging more than Jones' 15.9 ppg. ASVEL has done pretty well against guards, too, limiting them to the fewest rebounds and assists. Luckily for Nate Wolters, he is doing most of his damage in the points column, so the matchup should not be too detrimental. Even if Red Star contains Okobo and Jones to some degree, they will need Wolters to continue scoring to keep pace with the French team. 

DFS Darlings: This game is expected to be pretty low-scoring, so be careful not to go overboard on value plays. However, there are a few intriguing lower-priced options to consider, starting with Nikola Kalinic, who checks in at a season-low $8,400 on DraftKings. With ASVEL limiting backcourt production and also tough on centers, Kalinic will have a chance to bounce back after a couple quiet outings. With a number of new injuries popping up on ASVEL's roster, some minutes have opened up in the French team's rotation, and the players most likely to claim them are William Howard and Paul Lacombe. Howard averaged 10.9 ppg in games in which he played 20 minutes last season, and Lacombe – even in a tough matchup – won't have to do much to return 3x value at $5,000. Last but not least, we will mention Youssoupha Fall, as he checks in at an affordable $6,400 and faces a Red Star team that has been allowing centers to get pretty involved. 

Anadolu Efes Istanbul at ALBA Berlin

Status Check: Bryant Dunston (EFS), James Anderson (EFS)

Best Bets for Success: It has hardly been a stellar season for Vasilije Micic, Shane Larkin or Efes itself, but all parties mentioned will have a chance to get right Thursday, as Efes handled the German team twice last season and ALBA ranks bottom-5 against guards in most categories. Micic and Larkin will both be worth considering on DraftKings, as they check in at season-low prices and should have plenty of opportunities to produce in what is expected to be easily the highest-scoring contest of the day. The lofty over/under will also benefit ALBA's players as well, particularly Luke Sikma and Oscar da Silva, who will face an Efes team that is surrendering all kinds of fantasy points to players at the forward positions. Sikma's averages of 11.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals stand out, and da Silva will be tough to pass up at $8,600. Both players are returning some of the most value on the DraftKings board.

DFS Darlings: Given the number of points anticipated in this one, plus the matchups mentioned and the fact both teams are giving up a lot of three-pointers, the conditions are ripe for value plays. ALBA has done a decent job against frontcourt players and Dunston is expected back Thursday, so we'll stick to the guards on the Efes side and list Elijah Bryant and Krunoslav Simon. It's unlikely all four of the Efes guards listed will return significant value, but if you pass on the options in the previous section, both Bryant and Simon – neither more than $8,200 on DraftKings – can slot in instead. Markus Eriksson hit three threes in his first game back last week, and the ALBA sharpshooter could make at least that many Thursday. Tamir Blatt, at $6,500, is also worth considering given the matchup. Ben Lammers also earns a mention, as he made a notable impact in his first appearance since Round 1 but remains just $6,800 on DraftKings.

UNICS Kazan at Panathinaikos OPAP Athens

Status Check: Nemanja Nedovic (PAO)

Best Bets for Success: All eyes in this one will be on Mario Hezonja, who received a rock star's welcome upon his arrival in Athens earlier this year. Hezonja parted ways with Panathinaikos over the offseason and joined UNICS, and he vowed to never play against the Greek team. Assuming he does, though – his statement seemed more emotional than factual – he figures to try and put on a show against his former team. He will be in prime position to do so, as the Greek team is surrendering a lot of points and rebounds to frontcourt players and players at the forward spots are shooting better against Panathinaikos than any other team. The home team has a number of players to consider here, but UNICS' opponent averages suggest Daryl Macon and Georgios Papagiannis will be the best options. The Russian squad is allowing opposing guards to do a lot outside the assist column, and they have been pretty vulnerable against opposing centers as well.

DFS Darlings: While UNICS has been friendly to several positions, they have been exactly the opposite against players at the forward spots, limiting them to easily the fewest points and the lowest success rate from the field. As such, there won't be much for value on the Panathinaikos side, though you could consider Howard Sant-Roos is Nedovic is unable to go. With the Greek team struggling to slow opposing forwards and centers, both Tonye Jekiri and Andrey Vorontsevich deserve consideration in Thursday's contests. Isaiah Canaan does as well, as he is averaging 12.9 ppg but checks in at just $7,600 on DraftKings.

Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz at FC Barcelona

Status Check: Alec Peters (BKN), Lamar Peters (BKN), Cory Higgins (BAR), Alex Abrines (BAR)

Best Bets for Success: Two Spanish squads will face off in the final game of the day, and it's not expected to be a very competitive contest, with the home team favored to win by double digits. If that occurs, Barcelona's top players could play fewer minutes than usual, but Nikola Mirotic might not need much time on the court to make a big impact, as the visitors have had a lot of issues with opposing forwards and he averaged 18.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in two EuroLeague matchups with Baskonia last season. The away team has a couple options to consider here in Simone Fontecchio and Wade Baldwin, but the former is getting pretty pricey on DraftKings, so Baldwin looks like the better option. The hosts have been allowing opposing guards to get up a lot of shots both from the field and the free throw line, which could allow Baldwin to bully Barcelona like he did last season, when he averaged 23.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.5 steals in his two appearances against them.

DFS Darlings: With Higgins out, Baskonia's struggles against forwards, and the potential for Barcelona to run away on the scoreboard, the home team has a number of affordable options to consider. Nicolas Laprovittola – just $6,000 on DraftKings – started in Higgins' place in Barcelona's last domestic game and showed last season he can be a fantasy factor when he plays an expanded role. This also seems like a good spot for Rokas Jokubaitis, particularly if the game gets out of hand. Nigel Hayes-Davis and Rolands Smits also earn a mention thanks to the matchup. On the Baskonia side, you can consider Matt Costello, has been pretty hit-or-miss but has recorded at least 22.0 DraftKings points three times this season.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Kevin O'Brien plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kevob100, DraftKings: kevob100.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin mans the Packers and Brewers beats and moonlights as RotoWire's Director of Operations.
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