THE UFC GOES TO NASHVILLE
UFC Fight Night 148 in Nashville has some intriguing matchups for DFS players on Saturday. This week we will take a closer look at three fights I have identified as plays that deserve a good deal of consideration, particularly in MME contests.
Originally scheduled for a matchup between Gutierrez and Martin Day, MacDonald steps into this fight with less than a month’s notice. This has moved Gutierrez from the position of underdog to that of the favorite on Saturday. Gutierrez has a less than stellar record in the UFC with only a single loss to his record in a fight where he scored a measly 13 fantasy points. MacDonald steps in with no UFC experience but a spotless professional record in regional competition. The betting odds make Gutierrez one of the bigger favorites of the night and make him only a slight dog to finish this fight early. Ultimately, we find a muddy picture of how things might go down on Saturday. What we can determine is that both fighters have a history of finishing fights with half of their combined fights ending with victory by early finish. Further, the one UFC loss Gutierrez had on his record was to Raoni Barcelos, a fighter with a 13-1 professional record and an undefeated UFC record. This bodes well for DFS players as it presents a good opportunity to play fighters with low usage who have the potential to score.
Caveman’s advice: Those who like taking contrarian approaches to DFS contests have a good chance to make a good play here. The low averages listed on DraftKings don’t tell the whole story. What we do know is that both fighters can finish and neither salary is very high. A moderate use of this fight in MME contests is entirely reasonable. Heavier use of this fight does make sense for those looking to leverage fields in DFS contests. I would use this fight somewhere between 30-70% of MME lineups, depending on the level of risk you are comfortable taking. Gutierrez appears to have the better striking and MacDonald appears to have the weaker defense, and for those reasons, I would give Gutierrez more play despite the higher salary. I would give them a 60/40 split in favor of Gutierrez.
(At the time of this writing, Chris Gutierrez is -243 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 69.41 on Fantasy Cruncher. Ryan MacDonald is +197 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 43.36 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
As a native Coloradan, I have high hopes for JJ Aldrich who hails from Westminster, CO. Unfortunately, there’s a hurricane headed her way by the name of Maycee Barber. Fortunately for me, Maycee also hails from Colorado, fighting out of Fort Collins, CO by way of Greeley, CO. These two flyweights from Colorado are heading to Nashville to meet in the octagon in Tennessee and it may not be worth the trip for both of them. I make this fight as the most one-sided fight of the night. Maycee Barber is a beast in four-ounce gloves. She is a true title contender and has finishing skills rarely seen for a 125 pounder. She put up 112 fantasy points in a second-round TKO of Hannah Cifers. It turns out that Hannah Cifers is no slouch either. She handled Polyana Viana just three weeks ago to the surprise of those who saw her get mangled by Maycee Barber last November. Maycee has the best ground and pound I’ve seen in this weight class with elbows that cut like another Barber by the name of Sweeney Todd. Look for an early finish in this one. Despite a respectable fight game, JJ just doesn’t have the chops to contend with the fight Maycee will bring.
Caveman’s advice: Consider using Maycee quite a lot. Priced under $9K she is worth every penny. JJ Aldrich doesn’t hold much value here even though she comes in at a low $7,300. Maycee makes an excellent cash game play and deserves MME play in as much as 80% of lineups.
(At the time of this writing, Maycee Barber is -260 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 71.56 on Fantasy Cruncher. JJ Aldrich is +207 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 45.30 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
Curtis Blaydes has been KO’d twice in his career. Both of those came by possibly the heaviest hitter of the heavyweight division, Francis Ngannou. Outside of those two losses, Blaydes has eight wins by KO/TKO and two by decision. Justin Willis doesn’t hit with the power of Ngannou. He does have a respectable finishing rate with half of his victories coming by way of KO/TKO. Anytime two heavyweights step into the octagon, there is potential for early finishes. I make this one of the higher scoring fights of the evening, with these fighters having the highest combined FPPF of any fight. Blaydes is a significant favorite here, but Willis has KO potential. Price will be the only restriction on Curtis Blaydes, but Willis carries higher value at his modest salary.
Caveman’s advice: The ultimate factor here is their average scores in fantasy competition. This fight should garner heavy usage. Blaydes should be used liberally, but Willis does earn some use in MME competitions. In these contests, use this fight in 60-80% of lineups with a 65/35 split favoring Blaydes.
(At the time of this writing, Curtis Blaydes is -267 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 72.13 on Fantasy Cruncher. Justin Willis is +214 on Fantasy Cruncher and has a projected score of 38.95 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your lineups!