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Fight Night 142 – UFC DFS DraftKings Strategy

Exploring exposures when playing multiple entries in MMA – Fight Night 142

This week I will be looking at the UFC event taking place in Australia Saturday (Sunday for those down under) evening December 1st.

I will analyze the Main Event (Dos Santos vs Tuivasa) as well as take a quick look at two other fights on the card. First, I will be discussing exposures when playing multiple entry contests and will focus on where to eliminate double exposure in some fights and how to split exposures when necessary. I will also discuss situations where double exposure is acceptable.

When looking at a particular fight in DFS there are four different ways to apply exposure to fighters in the same fight.

  1. Zero exposure – neither fighter in your lineups
  2. One fighter only – lineups limited to one fighter and not the other
  3. Split exposure – some lineups with one fighter or the other but never both in the same lineup
  4. Double exposure – both fighters are used in lineups and may be used in the same lineup

Let’s take a look at a few fights and identify the proper strategy to apply.

JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (DK $8,300) vs TAI TUIVASA (DK $7,900)

Saturday’s Main Event looks to be an intriguing fight. Dos Santos is the experienced veteran with all the skills. Tuivasa is the young up-and-comer, knockout specialist fighting in his native Australia. DraftKings has this right making these fighters only $400 apart in salary. Dos Santos is the proven fighter and he is the favorite for good reason. He is older and not the same fighter he used to be, however. For this reason, I make this fight one of the closer fights to call on the evening. I can see this fight going Tuivasa’s way in a hurry. He has won seven of his eight fights in the first round. He is a powerful striker. Junior must avoid the fists and elbows of Tuivasa if he intends to survive. Tuivasa is a giant fighter, listed at 264 lbs, yet he is surprisingly athletic. He is a raw fighter, however, and Dos Santos would have a decided advantage if he can manage to get the fight on the ground. Tuivasa’s conditioning is in question. He has only seen one fight go past the first round, and at his size he would likely be at a disadvantage if the fight were to persist. Ultimately, it seems we should see either an early round knockout by the younger fighter or a fight controlled by the savvy veteran and likely to end by submission or decision.

In both cases, I would expect the scoring to be rather one-sided. If the knockout comes by way of Tuivasa’s lethal punches and elbows, I wouldn’t expect Dos Santos to put up many fantasy points. If Dos Santos is able to control the fight by limiting Tuivasa’s striking, he should be able to extend the fight into unfamiliar territory for his opponent. Junior is 5-1 in decisions for his career. Tuivasa has only seen one fight go into the second round and has never been tested beyond three rounds. Saturdays Main Event is scheduled for five. Five rounds would give Dos Santos ample time to accumulate scoring should he be able to fade the initial onslaught of Tuivasa. Whether by early knockout (Tuivasa’s best case scenario) or through limited big punches and extending the fight (Dos Santos’ best case scenario), I expect the winner of this fight to limit the scoring of their opponent.

With that in mind, a split exposure strategy becomes the logical choice for this fight. If you are playing multiple entry contests, both fighters deserve exposure… but not in the same lineup. In both of the scenarios discussed, the losing fighter is likely to be limited in scoring. So even if both fighters have a good scoring potential to salary ratio, their individual results are negatively correlated to one another. In other words, when one fighter does well, the other fighter will not.

Caveman’s recommendation: I want the winner of this fight in my lineup. I give the edge to Dos Santos, but I give Tuivasa a good chance at a knockout. In multiple entry contests, I like to find one of these fighters in 80-90% of my entries, with the split between the two somewhere around 70/30 in favor of Dos Santos.

(As of the time of this writing, Junior Dos Santos is -152 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 77.01 on Fantasy Cruncher, Tai Tuivasa is +127 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 60.83 on Fantasy Cruncher.)

KEITA NAKAMURA (DK $8,800) vs SALIM TOUAHRI (DK $7,400)

Nakamura has an average fight time of 14:08. Touahri has an average fight time of 15:00. As I showed a couple of weeks ago, longer fights equate to more fantasy points. Either fighter has the potential to win this fight, but their tendencies toward longer fights make both fighters playable in on the same lineup. Nakamura is the favorite, but Touahri’s low salary brings value to his play. Salary caps force underdog plays and all things considered, I like both sides of this fight for their price. Allow for some double exposure on this fight.

Caveman’s recommendation: Both sides of this fight are decent plays, but there’s nothing spectacular about either fighter. I like a limited exposure of 30-40% on each fighter and would allow for both fighters on the same lineup up to 75% of time.

(As of the time of this writing, Keita Nakamura is -186 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 67.13 on Fantasy Cruncher, Salim Touahri is +154 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 47.67 on Fantasy Cruncher.)

JUSTIN WILLIS (DK $8,200) vs MARK HUNT (DK $8,000)

DraftKings makes these fighters near equals in salary. The oddsmakers see it as one of the closest fights on the card. This is one of the most difficult fights to forecast. Both fighters have reasonable salaries and are worth playing. Given that most of their fights have ended by knockout, the negative correlation of such gives cause for split exposures. I give Willis the slight edge in knockout potential and believe he has the higher value of the two.

Caveman’s recommendation: Play both fighters but not together. I expect the winner to score well and will have one of these fighters in around 80% of my lineups. I would split their exposure 60/40 in favor of Willis.

(As of the time of this writing, Justin Willis is -124 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 57.56 on Fantasy Cruncher, Mark Hunt is -101 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 53.52 on Fantasy Cruncher.)

That’s all for this week in our MMA insights. Good luck with your lineups!

About Rob

Since getting out of the casino business, Rob has been playing DFS regularly with a focus on MMA. He now lives in Denver, CO.