EuroLeague Primer: Round 22 - Friday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 22 - Friday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

PREGAME UPDATES

STATS AND INFO.

THE SLATE

AX Armani Exchange Milan at CSKA Moscow

Status Check: Shavon Shields (AXM), Konstantinos Mitoglou (AXM), Riccardo Moraschini (AXM), Will Clyburn (CSK), Semen Antonov (CSK)

Best Bets for Success: For the second day in a row the marquee game on the schedule is the first one up, and this contest features two teams who have 12 wins apiece and are off to 2-0 starts in the new year. The game is bound to be fun, but not so much for prognosticators, as a different players seems to pop for CSKA each time out and Milan generally gets even production from a handful of players. We'll give it our best effort, of course, and all signs point to Sergio Rodriguez being the surest option on the Milan side. Rodriguez has totaled at least 22.3 DraftKings points in six straight appearances, and he has taken his game up a notch since Shields went down. He put up 27.5 DraftKings points against his former squad when these teams met all the way back in Round 1, and the stats indicate a repeat is possible if not likely, as CSKA ranks bottom-3 against opposing guards in points, threes, field goal percentage and field goals allowed. That's a lot to like for a player who checks in at a season-high but plenty affordable $9,100 in Round 22. To back up what we said about CSKA's roster above, six different players led the team in fantasy points over their last seven EuroLeague games, and each player finished with at least 34.5 DraftKings points in every instance. If that's not enough cause for confusion, it remains unclear whether their top producer, Clyburn, will be available. The matchups will help to some degree, and they say CSKA's top point-getter Thursday will not be a guard, as the Italian team ranks top-2 against players at those positions in four of the six counting stats and is also limiting them to the lowest success rate from the field. We will turn to the frontcourt, then, and with Clyburn banged up, we will list both Tornike Shengelia and Nikola Milutinov here for this Round. Shengelia has had a pretty light workload since in recent weeks, so he should be ready to shoulder whatever load is needed. Milutinov, meanwhile, has seen his playing time pick up, and he is regularly playing 20 minutes again. That seems to be a key number for him, as in the four EuroLeague games in which he has spent at least that much time on the court, he is averaging a healthy 13.3 points and 11.0 rebounds.

DFS Darlings: Clyburn's availability, or lack thereof, will be of even greater importance in this section, as if he plays, the following two players will lose a good deal of their appeal due to the matchup. If Clyburn remains out, though, you can consider the duo of Daniel Hackett and Marius Grigonis. Both players shined in his absence last week, with Grigonis averaging 28.7 DraftKings points over two games and Hackett playing well enough to take home MVP honors in both Rounds. Hackett's big week bumped him up to a season-high $8,100 on DraftKings, but he is bound to have some extra juice facing the top team in the country he was born in and also one he used to play for. Grigonis remains just $6,900, so 3x value is well within reach even against a stingy foe. CSKA ranks top-5 against forwards in five of the six counting stats as well as FGA, which does not bode well for a number of Milan players who qualify for this section. However, Malcolm Delaney gets the same matchup as Rodriguez, making him a viable option at just $7,900. The Russian squad is not faring too well against centers, either, so Kyle Hines will be in play against his former team.

Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at Anadolu Efes Istanbul

Status Check: Georgios Papagiannis (PAO), Stefan Jovic (PAO), Lefteris Mantzoukas (PAO), Dogus Balbay (EFS) 

Best Bets for Success: There are a couple interesting items to note in this contest right off the bat, and those are the spread and the total. The visitors blew out the defending champs in Athens in late October, but despite that, Efes is safely a double-digit favorite in the rematch. This game also features an over/under well north of 160 and one that is comfortably higher than the rest of the games on the slate. If things play out as anticipated Efes will be putting a lot of points on the board, and that bodes well for their dynamic backcourt duo of Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic. DraftKings players will be afforded the opportunity to fit both Larkin and Micic in the same lineups Thursday, as Larkin checks in over $1,000 cheaper than he did a month ago and Micic is all the way down to the bargain-bin price of $8,700. They also both face a Panathinaikos team allowing the most points, assists and threes to opposing guards and quite a few rebounds and steals, too. A major factor in the spread is no doubt the absence of Papagiannis, as with him sidelined the Greek team will be without a player who leads the league in rebounds and sits second in blocks. Papagiannis' absence will also no doubt open up some opportunities for his teammates, and force us to look elsewhere in this spot Friday. A couple players in the next section might be better options at their price points, but we're going to go with Daryl Macon here, because he is easily averaging the most fantasy points among Panathinaikos' available players and is returning some of the most value on the board. Macon's minutes and output have fallen off a bit, but he takes on on an Efes defense allowing guards to make 40 percent of their threes and one he tallied nine triples against last time he saw them. 

DFS Darlings: Macon is a fine choice thanks to his upside, but Nemanja Nedovic might be a better one. Nedovic played sparingly in Panathinaikos' last EuroLeague game, but that also knocked $900 off his price tag, and he will have the same matchup as Macon. Few value plays look as appealing as Ioannis Papapetrou, who remains plenty affordable at $8,300. Only two players on Friday's slate are averaging more minutes than Papapetrou, and he will face an Efes defense that ranks bottom-2 against players at his position in all of the points, rebounds, assists and FGA categories. That matchup brings a couple more forwards into play as well – and neither of them check in higher than $6,800. Okaro White has not been particularly consistent, but he has reached the 20-point mark on DraftKings five times, and Jeremy Evans has been getting more minutes and is the favorite to start in Papagiannis' place. On the Efes side, Krunoslav Simon is another player to check out in the backcourt, and he will run you only $6,700. Bryant Dunston is interesting at $7,600 and Egemen Guven, coming off a solid debut Sunday, is a potential dart throw at $3,900.

FC Bayern Munich at Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz

Status Check: Darrun Hilliard (BAY), Paul Zipser (BAY), Nihad Djedovic (BAY), Vanja Marinkovic (BKN)

Best Bets for Success: Both teams involved in this contest need a win to maintain pace in the playoff race, and the game is expected to be competitive, as the home team is favored by only a few points. Baskonia took home the win when these teams faced each other last month in a close game highlighted by a big night for the best player on each squad. Bayern's Vladimir Lucic pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds and recorded a double-double, and he will have a shot at another one Friday, as the Spanish squad is allowing the third-most points to opposing forwards and is also allowing them to pull down far more rebounds than any other team. Meanwhile, Wade Baldwin took the opportunity to remind his former team what they are missing, putting a career-high 30 points on the board. He has not slowed much, averaging 16.0 points and 7.0 assists in the two EuroLeague games his team has played since. Baldwin is no longer the bargain he once was on DraftKings, but his recent numbers suggest he will deliver once more. 

DFS Darlings: Steven Enoch does not land in the above section for Round 22 because he scored just two points last time he faced Bayern, but he is still plenty worthy of a spot here, as the 16.3 DraftKings points he totaled in that game and in the last Round are his fewest since early November. That gives him a pretty high floor, and of course he also has a pretty high ceiling, registering at least 30.5 DraftKings points five times over his last 11 appearances. Baskonia has a couple other options to consider in Rokas Giedraitis and Alec Peters, with the former's $8,000 price tag bringing him into play even against a Bayern team that ranks top-5 against forwards in points, rebounds, threes and FGA per game, and the latter stepping right into a key role last week in his season debut. DeShaun Thomas is another player who could capitalize on Baskonia's issues with forwards, and he is listed at just $7,500. No one in Bayern's backcourt has provided steady production in Hilliard's absence, but Corey Walden appears to be back in a leading role, and he earns a mention here. Baskonia is not allowing guards to do a lot of scoring, though, and they rank near the bottom in the four counting stats that don't involve scoring, so Nick Weiler-Babb – who is $1,600 cheaper – might be a better bet on DraftKings.

Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne

Status Check: Nikola Kalinic (CZV), Nate Wolters (CZV), Luka Mitrovic (CZV), Austin Hollins (CZV), Ognjen Dobric (CZV), Dejan Davidovac (CZV), Branko Lazic (CZV), Stefan Markovic (CZV), Maik Zirbes (CZV), Marko Simonovic (CZV), David Lighty (ASV), William Howard (ASV), James Gist (ASV), Raymar Morgan (ASV), Victor Wembanyama (ASV)

Best Bets for Success: The last game of the day also features two teams trying to stay in striking range of a playoff spot and is also expected to be a tight one. We won't go any further without addressing the lengthy list above, as Red Star has not played a game in nearly three weeks following a COVID-19 outbreak that affected 10 players. The team has not definitively said who will play Friday and who will not, but there are indications all 10 will be available, so we will operate under that assumption. Nikola Kalinic is the top option on the Red Star roster, and he was on a roll when we last saw him, averaging 31.9 DraftKings points over a five-game stretch. He is back in five figures on DraftKings for the first time since Round 1, but he will be in position to produce again, as he had one of his best games of the season last time he saw ASVEL and takes on a team that ranks bottom-2 against forwards in points and field goal attempts per game as well as field goal percentage. We're going to stick with Elie Okobo and Chris Jones for the French team, because even though Red Star has been as tough on guards as anyone, the only other player on the roster providing consistent numbers is Marcos Knight, and he is also a guard but lacks the track record of his backcourt mates. While it might be best to avoid all three players, you can at least consider one of the first two, as they led their team in scoring last time these teams met and are both returning some of the most average value on the board.

DFS Darlings: The 10 Red Star players listed above may not play extensively in their first game back, but you'll notice Nikola Ivanovic and Aaron White are not listed there, so it's possible they could see more playing time than they usually do. Ivanovic is returning the most average value among players beneath the $8,000 mark, and White checks in at just $5,100. Given how ASVEL is faring against forwards, Luka Mitrovic can at least be considered at $7,500. While the Serbian squad has been containing opposing guards, they have not had much success with frontcourt players and are allowing players at those spots to rack up more steals and blocks than any other team. That gives Gist some appeal provided he plays, and also earns Kostas Antetokounmpo – just $5,600 – a mention here. There may be some value to be had in this matchup, but given the uncertain roles and the fact the over/under is the lowest among the four games on the schedule, be careful not to go overboard.

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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