Round 18 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season presents some challenges and opportunities for competitors of the FabFive Challenge. Several teams could be missing their top scorer or star performer this week and figuring out who will step into their respective minutes and roles could go a long way toward finding bargains.
Among the players whose participation is questionable at best this week are Nikola Mirotic of FC Barcelona, Vladimir Lucic of FC Bayern Munich, Jordan Loyd of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, Moustapha Fall of LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, Luke Sikma of ALBA Berlin, Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket, Will Clyburn of CSKA Moscow – all of whom are ranked in the league's top 20 in scoring, PIR or both. There are several others to take note of, too.
Some have been out for some time, while others are new to the injury report. In every case, there are some clues as to who might benefit the most from their respective absences – and in return who might be a wise pick up in FabFive Challenge. Take a peek at ALBA's Round 5 makeup game against TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz or domestic action from earlier this week to get a feel for how rotations might play out on Thursday and Friday.
With all that in mind, here are some FabFive suggestions for Round 18:
Range 1 (0 to 3.99) – So far, it's been a slow season for CSKA Moscow's Janis Strelnieks, who is averaging a career-low 4.4 points per game. But his 45.5% three-point shooting is as good as ever and with both Daniel Hackett and Will Clyburn out for CSKA, the minutes and extra shots for Strelnieks to make an impact versus Baskonia are there.
Range 2 (4 to 7.99) – Though he did not start for ALBA Berlin in its German League victory over fellow EuroLeague side FC Bayern Munich on Sunday, Louis Olinde played 26 minutes off the bench and scored a season-high 17 points and he followed that up 3 points in 20 minutes off the bench against Baskonia on Tuesday. The odds are that he does something in between against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv.
Range 3 (8 to 11.99) – There are so many strong candidates in Range 3 that it's hard to make a bad decision. Othello Hunter's eye injury means Maccabi may need to rely on Ante Zizic a little more and the big man looks to be turning a corner after a dry spell. Zizic averaged 11.3 points in Maccabi's first six games and has double figures in seven games this season.
Range 4 (12 to 14.99) – After scoring 18 points against this week's opponent, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, in his first game of the season, Shane Larkin of Anadolu Efes Istanbul will aim to go off again. Just two weeks ago, he went off for 23 against FC Barcelona and it appears like another huge game is just around the corner.
Range 5 (15.0 or higher) – See Round 1. CSKA is missing two key players and the league's most dynamic scorer is always there when his team needs him. What's more, Mike James is playing on the road against a former team, which is just another reason for him to shine. You can't go wrong with James.
Good luck in Round 18!