This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.
- Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Jeffery Taylor are all out for Real Madrid on Thursday.
- Khimki's Devin Booker remains out of action.
- Milan's Jeremy Evans will be in uniform Thursday.
- Maccabi's Scottie Wilbekin, Othello Hunter and Omri Casspi are all available for Round 26.
- Iffe Lundberg and Micheal Eric will make their CSKA debuts Thursday.
- Olympiacos' Kosta Koufos will not make his debut Thursday.
- Zenit's Tarik Black has been registered but remains out of action.
Status Check: Guillem Vives (PAM)
Best Bets for Success: The Bojan Dubljevic versus Arturas Gudaitis matchup sounds extremely interesting, but both teams are among the best in the league when it comes to containing opposing centers, so we'll focus our attention on other positions. Kevin Pangos averaged 29.9 points on DraftKings over his last five EuroLeague games, and he posted a double-double in Monday's makeup game against Milan. Pangos has started every game this season and is averaging 27.5 minutes, so he's the clear top option in Zenit's backcourt. Mateusz Ponitka usually delivers in multiple areas and he will have a very favorable matchup on Thursday night, as Valencia ranks last in the league against opposing forwards. In Monday's game Ponitka spent only 16 minutes on the court, but that was due to foul trouble, and he should be far more active this time around. Valencia managed impressive wins over CSKA and Real Madrid in the last two Rounds, and Nikola Kalinic was the primary contributor in both, putting up 31.8 and 27.3 points on DraftKings, respectively. He seems to be a safer option than Dublijevic and is definitely cheaper, checking in at just $8,400 on DraftKings.
DFS Darlings: Alex Poythress and Billy Baron both scored in double figures in the last game despite opening on the bench. Baron reached double figures five times in the last seven Rounds and Poythress has made encouraging progress after coming back from injury. Neither of them costs more than $6,300 on DraftKings. Vanja Marinkovic averaged 14.5 DraftKings points over the last three games and is only $5,500 on DraftKings. He is back at full speed and could really break out any game now.
Best Bets for Success: With several CSKA players coming back from absences, Will Clyburn may be forced to step into a bigger role. He hasn't played in a EuroLeague game since the calendar flipped to 2021, but he made his comeback in the last domestic game and scored eight points over 18 minutes from the bench. Before his absence, Clyburn was one of CSKA's best players, averaging 14.1 ppg and regularly topping the 20-point mark on DraftKings. Darrun Hilliard will face one of the weakest teams in terms of defense against backcourt positions, and he will have a perfect opportunity to bounce back after some subpar showings in the latest EuroLeague games. He seems to be on the right track after averaging an excellent 23.6 points over his last three domestic games. Sasha Vezenkov is available on DraftKings at a season-high $9,400, but this price is fully justified, as he averaged 30.3 DraftKings points over his last three games. He will be the top pick from Olympiacos for this game. With Aaron Harrison just recovered from a back injury, Shaq McKissic is most likely to pick up more time on the court. The fact that CSKA is 6th in points allowed against guards this season makes him an even more appealing play.
DFS Darlings: Iffe Lundberg, CSKA's latest acquisition, could make his team debut. He comes very cheap on the DraftKings slate at only $3,800, and he's definitely got the talent to return value. Joel Bolomboy has benefited big-time from Milutinov's season-ending injury. His playing time in the domestic league significantly increased, and he started the last four games across all competitions. Similarly, Octavius Ellis will most likely spend more time on court for Olympiacos, after Martin was declared out for the next few weeks.
Best Bets for Success: Maccabi ranks second best in the league in defense against opposing guards, but they will have a tough time stopping Wade Baldwin. The guard scored at least 30.0 DraftKings points in each of last three games and, despite his season-high price on that website, he should be a popular pick for Thursday night. His teammate, Vladimir Lucic will be looking for another stellar performance after returning from his back injury. After averaging 19.0 points and 5.5 rebounds over the last two games, he will most likely spend over 30 minutes on the court like he usually does if not slowed down by injuries. Jalen Reynolds also deserves to be mentioned here, as Maccabi is one of the worst at defending centers. While Wilbekin will be a risky selection due to a thumb injury that stopped him from playing in the last couple domestic games, it's difficult to point out another Maccabi guard who could step up if Wilbekin is slowed. Elijah Bryant is a bit hit-and-miss this year, delivering as many quality performances as poor ones, in terms of fantasy points. Hunter, who was one rebound short of double-double in his last game, seems to be good pick. He is back in form and his playing time has increased, so he is worth a look as long as he suits up.
DFS Darlings: If Baldwin is too expensive, you should turn your attention to another Bayern guard, D.J. Seeley. He averaged 27 minutes and 23.2 DraftKings points over the last three games ,which is not bad at all for mid-priced player. Tyler Dorsey is even cheaper than Seeley on Thursday's slate. He can deliver a outstanding performance now and then, but he's a more-risky option.
Best Bets for Success: It has become standard that games involving Khimki are most often the highest-scoring on the slate, and once again this game has by far the biggest over/under. It also has a huge spread, with Milan favored by nearly 20 points. With Shved out there is only one Khimki player eligible for this section, and not surprisingly it's Jordan Mickey. Over his last eight appearances, Mickey put up 14.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 24.9 DraftKings points per Round. With Shved and his 19.3 points and 7.9 assists per game unavailable, Mickey could do even more than he has been. Shavon Shields keeps impressing after coming back from injury, averaging 25.6 DraftKings points over the last three games. He flirted with a double-double in the first game out of the break, and he could easily pick one up Thursday. Khimki is by far the most generous team to opposition guards, so it's hard not to mention Milan's backcourt. Kevin Punter scored in double figures in seven out of his last eight games and is averaging 14.6 ppg this season. Malcolm Delaney, who averaged 23.5 DraftKings points over six appearances in January, was quiet in the last couple games due to a sore knee, but he is in as good a position to bounce back as he can get.
DFS Darlings: There is an extremely wide choice of budget players on both sides of the court. With Jovic joining Shved on the sidelines, Vyacheslav Zaytsev should start at the point guard slot. He averaged 23.8 minutes in the last five games and is sixth in the league in steals. Plus, he had some big games early on. Sergei Monia has significantly increased his playing time, averaging 27 minutes over the last five games and scoring at least 13.8 DraftKings points in each. Khimki's captain should continue holding down a starting spot with the team extremely shorthanded in the frontcourt. As mentioned above, there's a risk of blowout in this game, so it's worth a look at Milan players like Michael Roll, Kaleb Tarczewski and Riccardo Moraschini, as they could see a boost in minutes and are facing the weakest defense in the league.
Best Bets for Success: Walter Tavares came close to recording a double-double in the last three games, and he will have an opportunity to record one Thursday against a Zalgiris team that concedes more to centers than most teams and Joffrey Lauvergne, who is rather offensively-orientated and contributes less on defense. Lauvergne spent only 14 minutes on the court in Tuesday's makeup game, so most likely he is prepared to play bigger part in Madrid. Despite his limited presence on the court, he managed to score nine points and grab five rebounds. Thomas Walkup started every single game for Zalgiris this season. In the last matchup between these teams in November, he played his best game of the season, recording 18 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and 41.3 DraftKings points.
DFS Darlings: With Fernandez and Taylor questionable, Gabriel Deck will likely see increased usage on Thursday night. His form clearly stabilized in last weeks: he has averaged 19.3 DraftKings points in 2021, against just 11.0 in 2020. If Deck's price of $7,500 on DraftKings is too high for you, Fabien Causeur, priced at $5,200 is a decent value play. He averaged 16.4 DraftKings points in the last three games and will also benefit should his teammates sit out. Nicolas Laprovittola has fully recovered after a COVID-19-related absence and, after recording only 13 minutes in the last game, he is likely to be at full speed for Thursday's contest. In four January appearances Laprovittola averaged 20.0 DraftKings points and posted a double-double. Augustine Rubit recorded 26.5 DFS points in his last outing. His form appears to be on the upswing and he is very reasonably-priced for fantasy competitions.