This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.
- ASVEL's Victor Wembanyama will not see action Friday.
- Monaco's Rob Gray and Ibrahima Faye are inactive for Round 16.
- Zenit's Mindaugas Kuzminskas will be available for Friday's game, but Andrey Zubkov will not be.
- ALBA's Marcus Eriksson will play Friday, but Luke Sikma, Jaleen Smith, Christ Koumadje and Louis Olinde will all be unavailable.
- Olympiacos' Quincy Acy will not play Friday due to a sore knee.
- Zalgiris' Regimantas Miniotas will not play Friday due to a broken hand.
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Best Bets for Success: The final day of action in the last double-game week of 2021 gets going early with two teams from out east squaring off. UNICS' impressive run continued earlier this week with a drubbing fellow Russian squad CSKA, and once again they leaned on their core, and mainly Lorenzo Brown and Mario Hezonja. Brown put up at least 27.5 DraftKings points for the fifth Round in a row, and Hezonja topped the 30-point mark on that website for the fourth time in five appearances. Brown has a bit of a matchup edge Friday, as Zalgiris ranks bottom-3 against guards in the points, assists and field goal percentage columns while holding its own against players at the forward spots, but it's tough to go wrong with either of the two priciest options on the DraftKings board. The Russian squad is allowing guards to get pretty involved, but Zalgiris' backcourt has taken turns sharing the wealth, so we will stick with Josh Nebo in this spot. Nebo topped the 25-point mark on DraftKings in each of the last two Rounds, and UNICS is allowing centers to grab more rebounds than any other team.
DFS Darlings: There won't be much value to be had in this one, as UNICS remains pretty top-heavy and is shutting down opposing forwards as well as anyone. Among the Zalgiris guards, though, you could check out Lukas Lekavicius, who averaged 10.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.3 steals across the last three Rounds. On the UNICS side, John Brown is interesting at $8,700, and O.J. Mayo has done enough to toss his hat in the ring.
Best Bets for Success: The next game up features two of the best guards in the league in Mike James and Jordan Loyd, who both had a big game for their respective squads earlier this week. Monaco's coaching change seemed to spark James, and when he is motivated and healthy he is as much of a threat as anyone. Zenit has fared fairly well against guards, but if James gets going like he did Wednesday when he put up 20 points and 14 assists, he's tough for anyone to stop. Loyd hit the 30-point mark on DraftKings for the third time in six appearances his last time out, and he will have a more inviting matchup than his counterpart. In addition to Loyd, Jordan Mickey will also land a spot here for Round 16. Mickey put up at least 24.8 points on DraftKings four times in the last six Rounds, and he will take on a Monaco defense allowing easily the most points and the second-most rebounds to opposing frontcourt players.
DFS Darlings: While Monaco has had trouble with players at the forward spots, they have been downright dreadful against centers, ranking bottom-2 in all of the points, rebounds, field goal percentage and field goal attempts departments. As such, a nice night could be in store for Arturas Gudaitis, who checks in at a measly $6,900 on DraftKings. Alex Poythress also deserves consideration at a few bucks cheaper. There were some notable changes in Monaco's rotation in their first game with their new coach, and all of Dwayne Bacon, Will Thomas and Alpha Diallo all had productive nights. They bring some good value to the table Friday, but be aware that Zenit ranks top-3 against forwards in all of the points, rebounds, threes, and field goals made and attempts categories. If you choose to look past them, Donta Hall has an inviting matchup against a team allowing quite a few points and blocks to opposing centers, and Rob Gray could again be a bargain at just $5,200.
Best Bets for Success: With CSKA back at full strength, it's now going to be a tough to identify their top option or options on a Round-by-Round basis, as they have at least four players who could land here every time out. Based on the matchups, which indicate ALBA is tough on forwards but not so against guards and centers, we'll go with Nikola Milutinov and Tornike Shengelia for Round 16. Alexey Shved garnered consideration as well, but he is getting a bit pricey on DraftKings, and the other two – neither more than $9,400 – allow for more lineup flexibility. It's also no treat selecting ALBA's safest play for Friday's game, as both of their top options are banged up. By default Sikma will be the top pick if he plays, as he is returning more than 3x value on average at just $8,800. By the same measure, Eriksson will take the top spot if he suits up but Sikma does not. If neither is in uniform, Maodo Lo looks like the best bet to produce.
DFS Darlings: ALBA's value plays will depend on who takes the court and who does not, but some interesting names to consider are Ben Lammers, Oscar da Silva and Tamir Blatt. CSKA has been rather friendly to opposing centers, and Blatt earned his first start of the season in Round 15. Their isn't much room for value on the CSKA side with their top players dominating the box score, but if ALBA is shorthanded and CSKA runs away on the scoreboard, this could finally be the game in which Marius Grigonis – just $6,000 on DraftKings – gets on track.
Best Bets for Success: This game features teams going in opposite directions, with Olympiacos running off four wins in the last five Rounds and ASVEL stuck in a 1-6 slump. If the French team hopes to get back on track, they will need Elie Okobo to do the same after he finished with a single digit in the points column in the last two Rounds. The Greek squad is faring pretty well against backcourt players, but they are allowing them to get up plenty of shots. That will give Okobo a chance to right the ship, and it will also allow Chris Jones to extend his streak of six straight games with at least 23.5 DraftKings points. The French team has been pretty good against guards but rank bottom-3 against forwards in points, rebounds, threes, field goal percentage and field goal attempts, so all signs point to it being the Sasha Vezenkov show again in Round 16. Vezenkov is back in the $10,000 range for the first time since Round 4, but he earned his way there by averaging 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.0 triples over the last six Rounds.
DFS Darlings: Kostas Papanikolaou has a similar game to Vezenkov's and gets the same matchup, so he could be a sneak play at $6,300. Kostas Sloukas is returning some of the most average value on the board at $8,500, so he is worth considering even in a tough matchup. Moustapha Fall is also worth considering, as he appears to be back at full speed and will square off against his former team in Round 16. Beyond its top two guards, the rest of the players on the ASVEL roster have taken turns sharing the load of late. Olympiacos has been pretty neutral against frontcourt players, but based on value, William Howard can be considered at $7,900 and Marcos Knight is worth a look at a mere $5,400.
Best Bets for Success: Despite his dud in Round 15, it's tough to look past Vladimir Lucic on the Bayern side, as he did put up two 40-point nights on DraftKings in the five games preceding that one. He will have a prime opportunity to bounce back against a Red Star defense that ranks bottom-3 against frontcourt players in five counting stats and shots allowed. Augustine Rubit has been Bayern's steadiest producer in recent Rounds, and with him enjoying the same matchup as Lucic, he appears to be a pretty safe option as well. Nikola Kalinic remains the man for Red Star, as he was the only player on the roster to hit the 20-point mark on DraftKings in each of the last three Rounds.
DFS Darlings: The over/under on this game is quite a bit lower than the rest on the board, so be careful not to load up too much. In fact, it may be best to avoid anyone else besides Bayern's top couple options, as Red Star is shutting down opposing guards better than anyone. On the Red Star side, Nate Wolters is returning some of the most value on the board at $8,700, and Luka Mitrovic's expanded role gives him a chance to produce as well.