MMA DFS Core Plays & Cheat Sheet: UFC 269 – December 11, 2021
Fighter to Build Your Lineups Around
Sean O’Malley (DK: $9,100 | FD: $20) – Sean Sugar O’Malley is 6-1 in the UFC with four knockouts in those wins. O’Malley’s only loss came back in August of 2020 against Marlon Vera when O’Malley himself was injured. The knock overall on O’Malley is the level of competition he has faced in the UFC is underwhelming so while his wins have been flashy and fun (netting three performance of the night bonuses), it is still hard to measure O’Malley’s true ceiling due to never taking a real step up in talent. But, back to the fun with O’Malley, we get a pure striker who can hit you from anywhere. The creativity we get in O’Malley makes him a highlight reel that is constantly getting him on Main Cards of premier events. At UFC 269, O’Malley draws Raulian Paiva, who most recently netted an upset win over Kyler Phillips. Over Paiva’s last four fights he is 3-1, with his last two going to decision. The thing is, is Paiva has been a bit of a punching bag over his career, taking five significant strikes per minute but against fighters who don’t have the standup pedigree that O’Malley has. Paiva also isn’t a guy who is going to successfully take you down – he did attempt six in his last fight, but only a 33% success rate and O’Malley has taken most fights on his feet. Long story short, I don’t expect this match to see the ground. Over O’Malley’s last two matches each has seen the third round but each ended there with wins by O’Malley. Both of these netted 100 plus fantasy points with 147 against Moutinho. Speaking of the fight against Kris Moutinho, O’Malley threw 318 strikes, landing 230. This is the relentless striking that we are targeting from O’Malley and his creative and unpredictable style and angles make him a guy that is super hard to train for. You know you are going to get hit a lot when you face O’Malley and in DFS we favor guys who not only strike at a high volume but carry knockout potential with any throw. O’Malley is a -319 favorite here which in my eyes still feels very low as the path to victory for Paiva feels tough here. I wouldn’t be shocked to see this play end up being very high owned this weekend, but as fifth highest and fourth highest priced on FanDuel, it still feels like we are getting a little bit of value on Sugar here.
Added note, I did not put Amanda Nunez here, but she is a massive favorite on this slate and despite the highest pricing on each site she has the constant ability to be the slate’s highest scorer. Find a way to get her into your lineups or at least one of them. I don’t think there is any content that could convince you to not play Nunez besides price.
Fighter with the Best Value
Kai Kara-France (DK: $7,500 | FD: $12) – A few years ago, Cody Garbrandt looked like an absolute menace and someone who could control the Bantamweight ranks for a while. Since winning the Bantamweight title in 2016 it has been a tough road for Garbrandt who has not only dealt with injuries but also Covid in recent memory. Since his title, Garbrandt is just 1-4 and this fight highlights his drop down to flyweight and his flyweight debut. I will admit, the drop to flyweight could benefit Garbrandt in the short term, as his big power remains, now at a lighter weight. However, on the other side, we get Kai Kara-France who is 2-1 in his three fights since 2020 and is off of a first-round knockout against Rogerio Bontorin back in March. Ultimately for me, this one is pretty simple. Garbrandt, though he has power, isn’t a super high volume guy. While Kai Kara-France is an aggressive fighter with higher striking volume and elite kickboxing. While Garbrandt carries a height advantage, Kara-France has him edged in reach. There is more on the line for Kara-France here than Garbrandt – a win for KKF here could catapult him into the top contender spot in the division. I think the aggressiveness of KKF plays here and with Garbrandt just 1-4 in his last five and in a new division I just can’t back him. When I can’t back fighter A, it is either back fighter B or fade the fight. When we factor in price here on Kara-France – especially so on FanDuel at just $12, backing him makes more sense than fading this one. Kai Kara-France is only a +119 underdog here, but the large gap in salary between the two makes it seem like Garbrandt is a much larger favorite – that is just simply not the case here.
Fighter with the Best Upset Potential
Jordan Wright (DK: $6,800 | FD: $8) – This is a bit of a hybrid between smart tournament value and a guy who can pull off the upset. Last week we had luck here with Jamahal Hill who netted an early knockout over highly owned Jimmy Crute. This week I am taking a shot at Jordan Wright against Bruno Silva in what is another matchup of two guys who are going to be aggressive and heavy-hitting out of the gate. While Silva is a pretty large favorite here, Jordan Wright has 12 wins and 12 finishes with his one loss coming to a second-round knockout at UFC 255 from Joaquin Buckley. Silva is the more experienced fighter here, I do not think that can be disputed, but these are two guys who are likely to stand and brawl. While Silva has never been knocked out he is vulnerable if taken down. Five of Wright’s 12 wins have come via submission, so getting this match on the ground could be in Wright’s favor. These guys are knockout/submission artists. This match likely ends with a finish of someone. Skill-wise, Silva has the edge, but Wright has shown flashes to end fights quickly as well. When we look for an upset, it is way easier to look for it in the quick finish than getting a decision after three rounds. Be careful here, Wright is a considerable underdog here, but in return, we get an extremely low price that makes roster-building almost an ease. This is not an all-in play, this section of the write-up likely will never be an all-in play, but Wright has the power to end a fight quickly and a skillset that could keep Silva off balance if it can get to the mat. Wright has a height and reach advantage here and a single-digit FanDuel price on a guy with finishes throughout his career makes this smart tournament value if multi-entering.
Below you will find my Cheat Sheet for this week, this will include the fighters that I will have the most exposure to this week. Please note both fighters from a fight may be listed here, though it is not recommended to use both in the same fight.
$ Tier F High Amanda Nunes (9.5k / 103.10) (23 / 103.10) Sean O'Malley (9.1k / 73.64) (20 / 73.64) Randy Costa (9k / 65.89) (20 / 65.89) Dustin Poirier (8.6k / 74.37) (21 / 74.37) Medium Miranda Maverick (8.4k / 62.13) (17 / 62.13) Charles Oliveira (7.6k / 64.85) (16 / 64.85) Kai Kara-France (7.5k / 56.94) (12 / 56.94) Low Dan Ige (7.4k / 51.29) (11 / 51.29) Darrick Minner (7.3k / 47.11) (10 / 47.11) Jordan Wright (6.8k / 41.01) (8 / 41.01)