Top DFS Plays for UFC on ESPN 28: Hall vs Strickland (7/31/21)
The UFC returns to their Apex Facility in Las Vegas for more MMA action. Our analysis will take a deeper look at some of my favorite plays for DFS contests on Saturday.
Fighter to Build Your Lineups Around
ORION COSCE (DK $8,800 / FD $18) – The matchups for Saturday’s event are unusually closely handicapped with all fighters beyond the top three being less than -180 favorites. For those looking to build strategies around fighters priced less than the top three, Cosce is a top play on Saturday. He makes his UFC debut on Saturday after going 7-0 over his first 7 professional fights. In those 7 victories, all were finishes with 6 wins by KO/TKO and 1 win by submission. He is significantly shorter than his opponent, Philip Rowe, giving up 4 inches in height and 8.5 inches in reach. Still, Rowe lost a unanimous decision in his octagon debut to Gabriel Green who stands an inch shorter than Cosce. Further, Cosce’s wrestling will not allow Rowe to slow down Cosce’s pressure by tying him up and shooting for takedowns as he did against Green. Rowe’s chin will be put to the test on Saturday and I believe Cosce gets the finish in this one.
(At the time of this writing, Orion Cosce is -160 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 64.89 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
Fighter with the Best Value
RYAN BENOIT (DK $8,300 / FD $15) – Benoit’s record has been less than impressive in the UFC, but has been competitive with a record of 3-5 with the promotion. He did defeat Sergio Pettis by second round TKO back in 2015 proving he has the potential to contend at a high level. He lost split decisions to both Heili Alateng and current flyweight champion, Brandon Moreno, showing he can contend with the best of the division. Saturday he will face Zarrukh Adashev who is 0-2 in the UFC and has scored a combined 12.06 FP (DraftKings scoring) in his two fights thus far in the octagon. With an average of 6.03 FPPF, Adashev is clearly not on the level of Moreno or Pettis. Benoit should have an easy time with Adashev and at his very average price tag will bring plenty of value to DFS lineups.
(At the time of this writing, Ryan Benoit is -132 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 64.04 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
Fighter with the Best Upset Potential
RANI YAHYA (DK $8,300 / FD $14) – At first glance, Yahya doesn’t stick out as a great underdog play here, but a closer look should show that he is a bad matchup for his opponent, Kyung Ho Kang, on Saturday in Vegas. Kang has relied heavily on his ground game to score with his two best fantasy results coming via submission victories. In his 8 UFC fights to date, Kang has scored 18 takedowns. Of all fighters on Saturday with more than 3 UFC fights to their credit, only one fighter has better takedown numbers than Kang – Rani Yahya. Kang is facing a submission specialist on Saturday and must be extremely careful going to the ground with Yahya. Yahya’s record stands at 27-10 with 21 of those wins coming via submission. He is averaging 2.76 takedowns per round and is successfully executes takedowns at a rate of 1.03 per round. Kang is averaging 1.42 and 0.83 respectively on takedowns. Look for Yahya to assert his grappling edge and potentially score a submission on Saturday. Yahya’s last 4 victories all came by way of submission.
(At the time of this writing, Rani Yahya is +103 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 53.92 on Fantasy Cruncher.)
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your lineups!