This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.
- Tornike Shengelia will be available Friday for Virtus Bologna, but Niccolo Mannion and Leo Menalo will not be.
- Red Star's Dalibor Ilic will be in uniform for Round 6.
- ASVEL's Zaccharie Risacher and Antoine Diot will not play Friday.
- Barcelona's Kyle Kuric will not play in Round 6.
- Valencia's Sam Van Rossom will not play Friday.
- Giannoulis Larentzakis will suit up Friday for Olympiacos.
- ALBA's Maodo Lo remains out for Round 6.
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The Breakdown: A five-game Friday gets underway in Lithuania, and the first game up features one team trying to reach .500 and another trying to remain above it. After winning its first three games of the season ALBA dropped its last two, and both those came as the visitors, which they will be again Friday. The German team is 45 points better in the point differential department and 17.5 points better in net rating, but the experts believe Zalgiris will overcome both, as they are favored to win by at least 3.0 points across the board. ALBA's defense ranks as well as any in the league, but they gave up 87 points to a similarly-rated offense in Round 5, and the over/under suggests their opponent will reach the 80-point mark again in Round 6.
Best Bets for Success: Luke Sikma has led his team in fantasy points only twice this season and is coming off his quietest night to date, but with him averaging at least 6.4 tallies in all of the points, rebounds and assists departments he remains the safest option on his side. He has a history of success in this matchup, putting up at least 25.0 DraftKings points in three of his last four appearances against Zalgiris. Several players on the Lithuanian team have a case to land in this section, as four of them have led their team in DraftKings points through five Rounds. The hottest of the bunch is Keenan Evans, who led his team in both minutes and DraftKings points in each of its last two contests. His $1,300 price jump on that website is not ideal, but he remains below 10.0 credits in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge.
Fantasy Factors: If not for ALBA getting healthier Christ Koumadje and Tamir Blatt may have landed in the section above, but alas, they will wind up here for Round 6. Koumadje's output has risen steadily, and he really shined in the last two Rounds. He looks like one of the best value plays in both contests, as he checks in at $7,900 on DraftKings and just 8.3 credits in the Fantasy Challenge. It's probably best to avoid Blatt on DraftKings, but if Lo remains sidelined he is worth a look in the Fantasy Challenge at just 7.8 points credits. Louis Olinde also earns a mention, as he is returning just a shade under 3x value on DraftKings and will cost just 8.0 credits in the Fantasy Challenge. Rolands Smits keeps rolling for Zalgiris, reaching double digits in the scoring column in four straight Rounds, and he remains relatively affordable in both contests. It's tough to find a lot more to like on the Lithuanian squad, as ALBA is allowing opposing frontcourt players to make just 41.8 percent of their attempts from the field -- by far the best mark in the league.
The Breakdown: The next game on the list could be the highest-scoring of the day, as it features two of the top six teams in the pace department and is the only contest with an over/under above 160 points. The Spanish squad has been above average defensively, but only one team has been more efficient on the offensive end than Olympiacos, and the oddsmakers are expecting that to carry them to an easy victory. The stats suggest the visitors could cover a spread of at least 8.0 points, though, as these teams are separated by only 5.4 points in net rating.
Best Bets for Success: No one will cost you more in Friday's contests than Sasha Vezenkov, which comes as no surprise given that he ranks no lower than seventh in league in all of the points, rebounds, three-pointers and field goal attempts categories. Despite his lofty price only three players on Friday's DraftKings slate are returning more average value. Kostas Sloukas has to land here, too, as the 25.5 DraftKings points he put up in Round 5 were his fewest of the season. Chris Jones has really come on for Valencia, putting up at least 29.5 DraftKings points in three consecutive contests. He is the player on his team most likely to produce in Round 6, but he will also have to contend with one of the better defenders in the league in Thomas Walkup, and he averaged just 10.7 DraftKings points against Olympiacos last season.
Fantasy Factors: With Rivero still out for Valencia, Bojan Dubljevic's fantasy stock remains elevated for another Round. Dubljevic is averaging 16.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 23 minutes and 11.7 FGA during Rivero's absence, which is a lot to like for a player that checks in at just $8,300 on DraftKings. He will face a tough test Friday, though, as Olympiacos ranks top-3 against centers in all of the points, rebounds and field goal percentage categories. On the other hand, no team is allowing centers to do more scoring than Valencia, and they are also allowing players at that position to make a whopping 73.4 percent of their attempts from the field. That bodes well both for Moustapha Fall and Joel Bolomboy. Thomas Walkup could be a bounceback candidate after playing just 17 minutes in Round 5, and we'll also toss out Jared Harper and Victor Claver as potential value plays, as Harper shined in his club's last domestic game and Olympiacos is allowing forwards to make two more threes per game than any other team.
The Breakdown: This contest will headline Friday's slate, as it pits the only undefeated team in the league versus the team that went into last year's postseason as the top seed. It will also feature legends Nick Calathes and Jan Vesely facing off against their former team for the first time. Barcelona has not been quite as good as they were during the previous campaign, which does not come as a major surprise given that they have played the balance of this season without the reigning MVP. Despite that, the oddsmakers are giving them the edge Friday, as they are favored by around a handful of points. Working in Fenerbahce's favor are an offense and defense that both rank top-4 in the league, plus the confidence that comes with owning a zero in the loss column.
Best Bets for Success: Two Fenerbahce players will land a spot in this section, and we will start with Scottie Wilbekin, who has increased his total in the points column in four straight games, topped the 30-point mark on DraftKings in each of the last two Rounds and averaged 28.2 DraftKings points against Barcelona last season. Calathes is still leading his team in DraftKings scoring, but note that while Wilbekin's output has increased, Calathes' has steadily ticked down. Working against both players is the fact that Barcelona ranks top-2 against backcourt players in nearly every key stat, and guards are converting a minuscule 32.8 percent of their attempts from the field. Tomas Satoransky has not led his team in fantasy points since Round 2, but he remains the steadiest option for the home team, with the 19.0 DraftKings points he put up in Round 5 being his fewest of the season.
Fantasy Factors: With Fenerbahce leaning on its top players and 10 players on the Barcelona side averaging 10 minutes, there aren't many value plays that stand out in this one. The Spanish squad is containing centers nearly as well as they are guards, so if you want to go with another option on the Turkish team, Nigel Hayes-Davis -- who is leading his team in minutes and will also be facing his former club -- may be the one to go with. Vesely is a bit pricey in the Fantasy Challenge, but he is at least worth considering on DraftKings at $8,000.
The Breakdown: This will be a pivotal matchup for both clubs, as the winner will even their record at 3-3 and the loser will be left looking for ways to climb back up the standings. Virtus comes in the winners of two straight, and they should get a boost from Shengelia, who is set to see his first action of the season in Round 6. They own the worst net rating in the league, but the experts expect the team that showed up the last two Rounds to do so again, as they are favored by no fewer than 6.0 points on various websites. The Italian team has had a tough time stopping opponents, but ASVEL will need a spark to take advantage, as no team has been less efficient on the offensive end. These teams rank second and third to last in points per game, so it should come as no surprise that fewer points are expected in this contest than any of the other four.
Best Bets for Success: Youssoupha Fall's DraftKings point total has declined in three straight Rounds and Nando de Colo's decreased in each of the last four Rounds, but we expect both to get back on track in Round 6. No team is allowing centers to grab more rebounds than Virtus, so perhaps no player is more likely to record a double-double Friday than Fall. de Colo took it easy in Monday's domestic game, so he should be fresh for what will be a key game for his club. No one on the Virtus side is averaging more than 18.8 DraftKings points per night, so it's no easy task identifying the best options on their roster. No team is allowing guards to get up more shots than the French club, so we're going to go with Iffe Lundberg, who has led his team in DraftKings points twice this season, both in its first game and its last. Lundberg is particularly affordable on DraftKings at just $7,300, and he also checks in at an even 10.0 credits in the Fantasy Challenge.
Fantasy Factors: In what is expected to be a low-scoring affair and with only one player in this contest returning more than 2.5x value on DraftKings, value plays really do not stand out. If you pass on Lundberg, though, you could look at both Milos Teodosic on DraftKings and Isaia Cordinier in both contests. Zaccharie Risacher lacks much of a track record, but he is expected to get more opportunities, and if he comes anywhere close to matching last week's output he will be a bargain on DraftKings just above the minimum price.
The Breakdown: The last game on the list is expected to be the least competitive, as Monaco is favored by at least 8.0 points on all three websites consulted and also owns the highest moneyline on each of them. Red Star is barely above ASVEL when it comes to offensive rating and Monaco has been above average on the defensive end, but the Serbian squad has more firepower than it had earlier in the season with Luca Vildoza and Nemanja Nedovic bolstering the backcourt. Red Star will presumably need both players to show up if they hope to avoid going 0-4 on the road this season.
Best Bets for Success: We of course have to start with the MVP for the month of October in Mike James, who will run you just a shade less than Vezenkov on DraftKings and checks in at the same price in the Fantasy Challenge. James holds the slight edge over Vezenkov when it comes to points per game, and he has recorded at least 36.5 DraftKings points four times this season. He will have his work cut out for him Friday, though, as no team is allowing guards to get up fewer shots than Red Star. We went with both Vildoza and Ben Bentil in this spot last week, and both came through with big nights. Nedovic's presence will presumably affect both of his teammates at some point, but with him still getting up to speed following a long layoff that may not happen just yet.
Fantasy Factors: The matchup certainly is not the easiest, but Jordan Loyd will be facing his former team and has put up at least 21.0 DraftKings points in three straight contests, so he will be worth a look on that website at $8,400. John Brown averaged 28.4 DraftKings points against the Serbian squad last season, so we like his chances to contribute as well. Monaco has flipped the script against frontcourt players, as after being one of the friendliest opponents to forwards and centers last season they have been one of the best early in the current campaign. That's certainly not good news for Red Star's big men, but with Mitrovic out Hassan Martin could have the center spot all to himself Friday, and he will be worth considering both on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge.