EuroLeague Primer: Round 8 - Thursday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 8 - Thursday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

PREGAME UPDATES

THE SLATE

TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz at CSKA Moscow

Key Injuries: Janis Strelnieks (CSK)

Best Bets for Success: This game will get plenty attention from fantasy players, as it features eight of the top 16 scorers on Thursday's DraftKings slate. You could make a case for just about any of them based on production, value and/or opportunity, but the best two options appear to be CSKA's Mike James and Baskonia's Pierria Henry. James averaged just 12.0 ppg over the last three Rounds after scoring 19.8 points per contest over the first four, but his playing time should get a boost with Strelnieks sidelined, and that will allow him more chances to score the ball. Plus, he came just two points shy of tying his career-high 35 points last time he faced off against Baskonia. If you throw out Henry's puzzling Round 4 showing he is easily be the top point-getter on the board, and he'll have plenty opportunities to produce against a CSKA team that has struggled to contain opposing guards. He looks like a prime pick on DraftKings, as he provides the most value on the slate and won't even cost you five figures.

DFS Darlings: Tornike Shengelia's price has steadily declined on DraftKings, and that's been warranted. However, he's now in position to qualify as a value play, and he will have some extra motivation Thursday facing a Baskonia team he spent the previous six seasons with. Shengelia's teammate, Darrun Hilliard, has picked up the scoring pace of late, and that could continue Thursday with Strelnieks sidelined. Baskonia's Luca Vildoza gets overshadowed by his backcourt mate Henry, but he did record at least 21 points on DraftKings in three of his last four EuroLeague games and is averaging 10 field-goal attempts per contest. Tonye Jekiri is also worth looking at, as the Baskonia big man has increased his production in every game since Round 1.

ALBA Berlin at Olympiacos Piraeus

Key Injuries: Peyton Siva (BER), Aaron Harrison (OLY)

Best Bets for Success: No one in this game is averaging even 20 points on DraftKings, but this contest also has the highest over/under on Thursday's slate, so there is bound to be some value at several spots on the board. They haven't been the steadiest players on their squads, but most would say they are the best on their respective teams, and this seems like a good spot to use both Olympiacos' Kostas Sloukas and ALBA's Luke Sikma. With Harrison out and ALBA allowing seven more points per game than any other team, Sloukas should have all kinds of chances to pile up dimes in Round 8. Sikma got off to a slow start, but he looked more like himself the last two Rounds, putting up numbers similar to those that made him one of the most productive players in the league a season ago. Simone Fontecchio and Hassan Martin are no longer the values they once were on DraftKings, but that's because they have regularly played well, and both should garner a look in Thursday's contests.

DFS Darlings: Each team is down a key guard in this contest, which will give a couple of their teammates some added value in a potentially high-scoring contest. Both Jayson Granger and Maodo Lo are worth considering, but Lo is trending up while Granger is trending down, so Lo – particularly on DraftKings, where he is easily the more affordable of the two – brings more appeal to the table. For the Greek team, veteran Vassilis Spanoulis is not playing nor producing anywhere near as much as he did last season, but he will have a chance to do both this week in Harrison's absence. And for what it's worth, Olympiacos' Charles Jenkins mentioned Kostas Papanikolaou and Giannoulis Larentzakis as two teammates who could see more run in Harrison's place.

Zalgiris Kaunas at Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv

Key Injuries: Patricio Garino (ZAL), Rokas Jokubaitis (ZAL), Othello Hunter (TEL), Omri Casspi (TEL), Yovel Zoosman (TEL), John DiBartolomeo (TEL)

Best Bets for Success: Zalgiris is scoring the most points per game and Maccabi is giving up plenty of them, so this has the potential to be an up-and-down contest. Both Marius Grigonis and Thomas Walkup flourished for Zalgiris in the last two Rounds, and with Jokubaitis still sidelined they're in position to do so again. If this does end up being a run-and-gun game, that would bode well for Maccabi's Scottie Wilbekin, who will not be afraid to put the ball up to keep his team close on the scoreboard. His teammate, Ante Zizic, has steadily produced despite splitting the big-man duties with Hunter, and if the latter can't play Thursday, Zizic would get the bulk of those all to himself. 

DFS Darlings: Jokubaitis' absence opens up some opportunities for Zalgiris' other guards, but the players already listed have been the ones taking advantage. So, if you're looking for a sneaky option on the Lithuanian squad, consider Joffrey Lauvergne, who scored in double figures in Zalgiris' first four EuroLeague games and won't have much resistance down low. Elijah Bryant is starting to come on for Maccabi, and although he costs a bit more on DraftKings than you'd like, he should get enough minutes and shots to make an impact. This last one is a bit of a reach given how he's played, but Maccabi's Dragan Bender is at least worth mentioning. He's halfway into his three-month contract, so he will need to show something soon if he hopes to earn an extension. Plus, if Hunter sits, Zizic will be Maccabi's only established center, and Bender's height could help him grab some of the available minutes in the post.

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul at FC Barcelona

Key Injuries: Nando de Colo (ULK), Victor Claver (BAR)

Best Bets for Success: de Colo's absence will leave a big hole in Fenerbahce's rotation for the next few weeks, and it presents an opportunity for Lorenzo Brown to step up. The matchup will be tough, but the upside is high, as he topped 30 points on DraftKings in more than a third of the games he appeared in while running the show for Red Star last season. Jan Vesely also figures to be plenty busy, and he found ways to contribute the last couple Rounds despite not scoring as much. For the Spanish squad, count on Nikola Mirotic to lead the way again. Mirotic is averaging the most DraftKings points on Thursday's slate, and the only reason he didn't hit 30 points on that website last week was because Barcelona got too far ahead on the scoreboard. That shouldn't happen again Thursday, as even though Fenerbahce will be down its most productive player their defense should keep the game competitive.

DFS Darlings: While Brown figures to inherit de Colo's playmaking duties, some minutes and scoring opportunities will open up as well. That's good news for Dyshawn Pierre and Jarell Eddie, who have both been knocking on the door. They capitalized last week, each topping 20 points on DraftKings after de Colo's early exit. Barcelona remains light on value plays, but Alex Abrines has gotten the job done on DraftKings this season, averaging 21.4 points per game on that website in the six games he has finished.

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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