NAVIGATING THE LOWER SALARIES OF UFC SAO PAOLO
With extremely high scoring potential at the top end of salaries for Saturday’s UFC event in Brazil, it is imperative that winning DFS players find value under $8K in salary while avoiding potential pitfalls. This week’s insights will take a look at four fighters in this range and advise players on which plays are worthy and which plays are definitely not.
The Not Worthy
VANESSA MELO (DK $7,400) – On Saturday, Vanessa Melo sports the lowest average of all fighters with an established average at a mere 34.0 FPPF. She replaces Duda Santana who was slated to face off against Tracy Cortez until just three weeks ago. Taking on Cortez with short notice is not a good place for Melo. Cortez earned her UFC contract after dominating Maria Agapova in the Contender Series. Melo has just two finishes in her professional career, both by submission. Her last submission came nine fights ago back in 2015. She faces a dominating grappler in Cortez and has almost no chance at an early conclusion bonus on Saturday. In her UFC debut in September of this year, she lost a unanimous decision to Irene Aldana.
Caveman’s advice: Fade Melo entirely. She doesn’t have the chops to finish fights and faces a fighter with dominating ground skills. Even in an unlikely victory, she won’t score and is overpriced at $7,400.
(At the time of this writing, Vanessa Melo is +171 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 46.22 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
JARED GORDON (DK $6,800) – It is tempting to take a flyer on Gordon due to the fact that his average is the highest of any fighter on this card. However, he is also the biggest underdog of any fighter. His opponent, Charles Oliveira, fights in his home country where he has scored second round submissions in his last two fights in Brazil. In fact, over his last five fights, Oliveira has one KO and four submissions with none of these fights reaching the third round. Gordon has yet to face a submission expert like this. That’s why Oliveira is currently -212 to win inside the distance and is -126 to win by submission.
Caveman’s advice: Gordon does have six KO/TKO’s to his credit and can be used minimally in mass multi-entry contests. However, in most contests he just doesn’t have enough possibility to warrant play. Avoid the temptation to roster him due to his high average. In any contests with fewer than 150 lineups, sit him out.
(At the time of this writing, Jared Gordon is +307 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 36.65 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
WELLINGTON TURMAN (DK $7,600) – Wellington Turman faces Markus Perez on Saturday in the second closest fight of the event according to oddsmakers. In his first and only fight in the UFC, Turman was a significant underdog against Karl Roberson yet managed to take the fight to the scorecards where he lost by split decision. Even in his loss he scored 53.5 fantasy points due largely in part to accumulating 7 advances and 4 takedowns in the fight. Although this fight is closely matched, Turman finds himself priced well below $8K on Saturday.
Caveman’s advice: Turman is one of the best cash play values of any fighter in this event. He has a high floor and finds him in a situation where he has a good chance at winning with a low salary. In addition to his cash value, he presents a good opportunity for scoring in multi-entry contests as 9 of his 15 wins come by KO or submission. Give him 30-40% exposure in multi-entry contests on Saturday.
(At the time of this writing, Wellington Turman is -103 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 54.14 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
JACARE SOUZA (DK $7,300) – Souza has an intriguing matchup with Jan Blachowicz on Saturday. Blachowicz is the favorite but will be no favorite of the Brazilian crowd in Sao Paolo. Over his last six fights, Souza is 3-3 with two of his three losses coming by decision, one split and one unanimous. In his three victories, however, he averaged over 100 fantasy points with two by KO and one by submission including two first round finishes. Both fighters in this matchup are skilled grapplers with Blachowicz having 9 of his 24 wins by submission and Souza having 14 of his 26 wins coming by submission.
Caveman’s advice: With the aid of the home crowd behind him, Jacare Souza presents a very decent chance at upset on Saturday. He hasn’t fared as well as his opponent over the last six fights (Blachowicz is 5-1) but he has been very competitive in his losses and scored well when he did emerge victorious. At such a low salary, Souza is the absolute best value for fighters priced under $8K on Saturday. Give him 40-50% exposure in multi-entry contests and don’t hesitate to put him in cash lineups as well.
(At the time of this writing, Jacare Souza is +146 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 59.58 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your lineups!