Euroleague Fantasy Challenge is back and tens of millions (maybe I exaggerate a bit) of European basketball fans are taking out their notepads and pencils, their calculators, browse through tons of websites to find stats and boxscores they might find useful, or think they will find useful anyway, and Dr. Fantasy could not have let them go through all that alone!

First of all I would like to greet my readers and fans! We had a very interesting first year, in which I think we did well, providing tools and tips to aspiring Euroleague managers who are trying to pick the best ten players possible for their fantasy team(s).

Let me clear some things up. My role will be purely advisory to you. I will analyse and break down the game mechanics, mention some easier ways to gain more points and explain my rationale behind the players I choose. I will not be suggesting players so that you go and buy them, that is entirely up to you.

Also don’t be a fool thinking that you got a chance of winning this competition. Like every year a Spanish maths geek with a lot of free time at his hands will win this by creating hundreds of teams, some of which inadvertently will do well, it’s just a matter of statistics. And instead of putting a stop to this practice Euroleague actually made it easier for them to cheat, by allowing a v number of teams in just one account, instead of 10 teams per account that was the rule in previous seasons. Then at least the cheaters had to go through the procedure of creating new email accounts to create new teams.

Anyway, we will do our best to help regular and honest players to at least put up a decent fight and enjoy the game.

If you are currently reading this, chances are that you are familiar with how Euroleague Fantasy works, but just in case, and for the noobs out there, we will explain some basic things. The most important thing is to comprehend how the value of players is determined. The mathematic equation is the following:

Player value = average index rating* X 4

* The index rating of players is mentioned in the last column of Euroleague boxscores. Some of you might know it as “efficiency” or “evaluation” etc  in other terms. And if you are obnoxious enough to wonder how the index rating (from now on referred to as “IR”) is accumulated here is the formula:

Index rating = (PTS + ASS + REB + BLK + STL + FLD + FT1M + FG2M + FG3M – TO – BLKA – FOULS – FT1A – FG2A – FG3A)

Practical example. Mantas Kalnietis is worth 50 credits. To maintain his value he needs to score at least 12.4 IR. To get him a max limit up he needs to score at least 14.5 IR and so on. Obviously the players value will fluctuate more in the first weeks, because the average IR will be more and easily affected by individual week performance by a player.

But let’s move on. Another basic thing is to figure out where to invest your credits. You get 500 credits for a ten-men squad. The simplistic logic would be allocating around 50 credits per position (two points guards + four shooting guards/small forwards + four power forwards/centers).

However you might want to reconsider that and invest a substantial chunk of your credit into a specific position (player). I say position because statistically speaking the power forward/center is the one gaining the most index rating points. Because big guys do not base their performance solely on the points scored, but also on rebounds, won fouls, blocks etc. And since a point and a rebound are worth the same we can see why they perform better. It is easier to grab a rebound than score a point, and it is definitely easier to grab a rebound than hand out an assist (this is why the point guard position is probably the weakest in this game).

Another important rule to keep in mind is that you are only allowed to change three players from week to week. So for example you would think it is a good idea to get many Unicaja players as they will be facing a weak opponent (Charleroi) in the first game, but next week they will be facing Real Madrid away, so they will most likely to underperform. So have a look at the schedule regularly and as in chess look ahead by some moves (gamedays).

Moreover, a basic rule of the game is that players on the winning side get a generous 10% bonus on top of their IR. It doesn’t seem much but it could give your teams that extra edge to make it to the elite group of teams. So look for players whose teams are facing easier opponents at that gameday.

Scout your teams! Find and check out the performance of the player(s) you want to get in their domestic competition in the previous weekend. If you think it is difficult and time-consuming, no worries, we will be providing you the boxscores ourselves, like we did last season. Well, maybe not for the upcoming 1st week, because some leagues have not started yet, but once everything starts rolling we will be there.

As last season, we will have our own Private League, the login info is as following:

League name: TalkBasket fantasy league
Password: 1234

Feel free to join. To make competition more fair we will allow unlimited number of teams during the first three weeks, but then you will be able to have just one team in the league. We will keep your best team in the league from that point on, unless you instruct us manually which one you want to keep it.

You can contact us at our Forums, more specifically in our Euroleaguye Fantasy Challenge thread, where we will be discussing the Fantasy throughout the season and exchanging information and tips, so join us!

Let the game begin!