Saturday, February 10, 2018

MMA UFC DraftKings Plays - UFC 221

UFC 221 is here! Here is my breakdown of the fighters on this card!


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We have a 12 fight card on UFC 221. This really isn't that exciting of a PPV for me, especially now that the Main Event is essentially a non-title match. If you haven't heard Yoel Romero failed to meet weight. As a result, if he wins this fight he is not eligible to win the title. So while I personally will be skipping watching this event, I certainly will be playing some MMA lineups on DraftKings!

In this article I take all 24 fighters and divide them into 3 tiers by salary. Each tier has 8 fighters. I then give that fighter a ranking from 1 to 4 stars. Here's how that ranking works:
  • 4 stars - Love them as a play this event.
  • 3 stars - Like them as a play this event.
  • 2 stars - Might not play them. If I do, I'll play them as a one off.
  • 1 star - I will not play this fighter at all this event.
Let's start with the top 8 fighters salary wise, which is $8,500 and Higher:
  • Tai Tuivasa $9,300 4 stars. Bam Bam is undefeated with a 100% knockout rate. While anything can happy at heavyweight, I will definitely have good exposure to him.
  • Isreal Adesanya $9,200 2 stars. If you're playing 10 or more lineups, I don't mind you getting some exposure to Adesanya. He's the biggest favorite on the card and has the greatest odds to finish the fight. However, fighters making their debut have higher risk and if you're playing a lower amount of lineups, there's other fighters with less risk.
  • Tyson Pedro $9,100 4 stars. Pedro matches up very well in this fight. He's the 2nd biggest favorite and the third biggest favorite to finish his fight. Play him with confidence.
  • Alex Volkanovski $8,900 3 stars. Alex The Great throws at a rapid pace and has wrestling upside as well. In his 3 UFC fights he's scored over 100 points in all 3 of them and 2 out of 3 were decisions! His opponent is pretty good though, which is why I cannot make him a 4 star play this weekend.
  • Li Jingliang $8,800 4 stars. Li is my favorite play of the weekend. "The Leech" throws at a fast pace and has one of the highest floors on the card if you look at his DraftKings logs. On top of that, a lot of people think Jake Matthews is going to win. This is perfect for GPP purposes because we can get Li at reduced ownership.
  • Jose Quinonez $8,700 3 stars. I think Quinonez is a good play this weekend. A lot of people think Teruto Ishihara is going to win. However, Ishihara is susceptible to takedowns and Quinonez can score takedowns. A 100+ point decision victory is certainly a possibility and you can get him at lower ownership.
  • Ross Pearson $8,600 1 star. I got Pearson winning this fight. However, I have zero interest in him from a DraftKings perspective. His DraftKings logs look like the pit of misery. Dilly Dilly!
  • Dong Hyum Kim $8,500 2 stars. I like Kim to win this fight. However, he's not somebody you need to have in my view. If he helps me differentiate my favorite lineup, I'll play him but other than that I will pass.
Next, let's move on to the mid tier, which is priced between $7,800 and $8,400
  • Curtis Blaydes $8,400 3 stars. A lot of people like Mark Hunt. However, if you're telling me I can get the favorite in the fight with the 2nd best DraftKings logs on the entire PPV and I can get him at low ownership? Count me in for that. I can't make him a 4 star play because Mark Hunt is certainly capable of winning this fight. However, Blaydes to me is the better play.
  • Luke Rockhold $8,300 3 stars. Rockhold is a strong and solid play especially now that Romero failed to make weight. The only reason why I can't give him 4 stars is ownership. I expect Rockhold to be highly owned and it's very possible that he gets a quick 100 point win, which could make him not necessarily a need to own to win a GPP.
  • Daiche Abe $8,200 2 stars. I usually like taking a fighter in the opening fight because they are usually low owned. However, this one is too close to call. If I had to pick a winner, it would be Abe but this is one that anybody can win.
  • Ben Nguyen $8,100 4 stars. I LOVE Nguyen at this price point. He's the underdog, which I like. He strikes at a great pace. He defends takedowns well. If this fight goes the distance and the odds right now indicate it will, I like his chances a lot more than I like Formiga at picking up the win.
  • Jussier Formiga $8,100 2 stars. I might play him in one lineup as a hedge against Nguyen who I may potentially have a lot of ownership in. He does have the ability to win this fight by submission. However, that's really the only way I see him winning this fight.
  • Luke Jumeau $8,000 2 stars. Same is Abe. This fight is so close to call it's tough to really pick anybody in it. If I had to pick one, I say he loses by decision. Will only play him if he fits and helps me differentiate my lineup.
  • Yoel Romero $7,900 1 star. I have absolutely zero interest in Romero. He failed to make weight. He won't be able to win the title anymore. He's facing a man who I believe to be a far superior opponent. He doesn't have high scoring upside. Plus he's expensive compared to what he's likely to score even if he wins. No thanks.
  • Mark Hunt $7,800 2 stars. I definitely like Blaydes to beat Hunt tonight. However, you can't count this guy out by any stretch of the imagination. So if he fits in some of my lineups, I may have some limited exposure.
Finally, let's cover the final tier, which has fighters that are $7,700 and below:
  • Damien Brown $7,700 2 stars. I like Kim to win this fight but I'm certainly not enthusiastic about that pick. Brown throws at the faster pace and has more submission upside so you can certainly play him if he fits in your lineup. 
  • Mizuto Hirota $7,600 2 stars. His opponent is a fighter that I have the least amount of confidence that they live up to my pick to win. Hirota has a decent price that will allow him to fit in your lineups. I wouldn't go crazy with exposure but I don't mind playing him if he fits.
  • Teruto Ishihara $7,500 2 stars. A lot of people like Ishihara to win. Since I like Quinonez, I probably will not have any shares of Ishihara. However, people aren't crazy. He does have a chance to win and probably has one of the best chances of winning in this tier. So I can see the logic in playing him, ESPECIALLY in cash games if you play those (I don't).
  • Jake Matthews $7,400 2 stars. Pretty much the same take as the one I gave on Ishihara. I like Jingliang a lot more so I probably won't have any shares on him. However, people like him for a reason so if you don't have a strong take on Jingliang I certainly see the logic of getting Matthews exposure.
  • Jeremy Kennedy $7,300 2 stars. I'll probably have decent exposure to Kennedy even though I really like Volkanovski. He has great wrestling upside, which is exactly the type of fighter I like to have on DraftKings. Plus you're going to have to play somebody down here if you want to build a decent lineup. It also doesn't hurt that he's undefeated.
  • Saparbek Safarov $7,100 1 star. I have no interest. 
  • Rob Wilkinson $7,000 2 stars. I think he gets crushed. However, I'll have at least one share of him. He's facing a fighter making their UFC debut and sometimes those fighters underperform. Wilkinson is the type of play that can make a chalk lineup unique and could potentially help you take down a GPP if the unexpected happens.
  • Cyril Asker $6,900 1 star. I personally have no interest in Asker. However, it's a heavyweight fight and in those fights anything can happen. So if you want to play him as a punt, there's worse plays you could make.
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