Looking for advice on who to play in your MMA lineups? In today’s edition of MMA Roosevelt’s Scouting Report I break down Saturday’s slate for UFC 230 live from New York City!!!
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Welcome to my breakdown of UFC 230! Last week was a tough week. I had decent plays. I just didn’t have them in the right combination. Everybody who was in the winning lineup was a fair play or higher and 4 out of 6 were good plays or higher. The two fair plays, Strickland and Madge I had decent exposure to both. The problem is I didn’t have enough lineups with them together. I did have one lineup that was close to a takedown. It came in 12th place. Anyway on to the next one.
We have UFC 230! This is going to be an interesting card in terms of fantasy. I have a pretty good idea of who I believe will win these fights. However, it’s not just picking the winner. It’s picking the highest scoring fighters and having them in the right combination.
How I Rank Fighters
My rankings are based on the following criteria
- Odds to win the fight.
- DraftKings scoring average last 5 fights
- Draftkings career scoring average.
- Odds to win inside the distance.
- Fight Matrix weight class ranking
- Significant strikes landed per minute
- Average takedowns landed per fight
I have a spreadsheet with a formula that I built based on these factors. Each fighter has an overall rank from 1 to 24. Most of my recommendations will come from my rankings but I also factor in my own thoughts based on my analysis of the fight.
So with that here is a breakdown of the fighters.
Elite Plays – Elite fighters are fighters that I expect to win their fights and exceed their value on DraftKings. They have high scoring floors due to their ability to score points in multiple ways. They also have high scoring ceilings due to their ability to finish the fight, score a lot of points or both. Elite fighters are great plays in both cash contests as well as GPP contests. They are fighters that you can build your lineups around and have lots of exposure to.
- Daniel Cormier $9,600 – I think the overwhelming vast majority of people who know anything about MMA believe that Daniel Cormier is going to win this fight. While anything can happen in a heavyweight fight I really do not see Lewis beating Cormier. So that makes him an elite play and an automatic cash game lock! However, I absolutely think there is merit to having a much lower exposure to Cormier in GPP. He’s going to be highly owned. He’s got a very high price. He’s going to need at least 96 points to meet value. He definitely has paths to meet that value multiple ways. If you’re playing one or two lineups just play him and don’t be cute. However if you’re playing 5 or more lineups, I would absolutely fade Cormier in a few of them. If he doesn’t meet value having lineups without him could make your night very interesting. I don’t recommend a complete fade. However I have zero issue with being underowned on him compared to the field
- David Branch $9,300 – If you are looking for the fighter to pay up for besides Cormier, David Branch is that fighter. He’s got the fourth highest odds to win on the card and unlike the other high priced fighters, he’s got wrestling upside against an opponent who has an ABYSMAL 31% takedown defense rate. I don’t know if I will be able to fit him into my cash lineup. However, he will absolutely be one of my highest owned GPP fighters on this card.
Good Plays – Good fighters are fighters that should do well. However they have one or more issues that prevent them from being an Elite play. They could be priced too high. They could be an underdog. They could have a more limited scoring path to meeting value. Good fighters are fighters that you try to get into your lineup after you have gotten as many Elite fighters in.
- Lyman Good $9,500 – He has an excellent chance to end this one quickly. However, with no wrestling upside and such a high price he has to finish in order to pay off value. Saunders has also fought a higher level of competition. I believe he will so feel free to play him in all formats. Just know there is a path where he doesn’t meet value and although he’s a pretty heavy favorite it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility for him to get knocked out.
- Israel Adesanya $9,100 – He’s undefeated. He lands strikes at a significantly high rate. He defends takedowns well. He has knockout power. There’s multiple paths to him meeting value. However, I think his opponent is going to be a good test and is absolutely a live dog in this fight and for that reason Adesanya doesn’t make it into the Elite category.
- Chris Weidman $8,500 – I like Weidman here and I don’t see too many scenarios where he wins this fight and doesn’t pay off value. He can get a knockout, a submission or a wrestling based decision, all wins that pay off value. He’s also the favorite as well. However, it doesn’t get as live of a dog as it does against his opponent and Weidman has been rocked numerous times in fights. Get some exposure. However don’t get carried away.
- Shane Burgos $9,000 – Burgos has a little more risk than Good and Adesanya. However, he has just as much upside as both of them. I like this play at this price point. He can win by knockout but he doesn’t have to because he hits hard enough to get some knockdown points and he lands strikes at a high enough rate that he can get 90+ points in a decision victory. Play him with confidence.
- Jason Knight $8,800 – If you need a solid play with upside and you can’t get up to Burgos, I don’t mind landing on Knight. He should dominate this fight and really should have very little trouble dispatching his opponent. He’s going to be SUPER motivated coming off three straight losses and I think he gets the job done here with a finish. 2nd round knockout if you make me call it.
- Jacare Souza $7,700 – He’s the only “good” play that I think is going to lose but he is the liviest of dogs on this card and should be in the winning GPP lineup if he wins. I will have him in many, although not all lineups that I don’t play Weidman in and if I could only pick one underdog to win on this card he would be my pick
- Brian Kelleher $7,900 – He’s the lower priced fighter in what is essentially a pickem fight and I like him to win this one. He has fought a significantly higher level of competition than his opponent. He lands significant strikes at a much higher rate than his opponent. I am concerned about him trying to keep this fight standing up, but if he follows a wrestling based game plan, I don’t see how he loses this one.
- Sheymon Moraes $7,000 – Moraes is a lock for me in cash games and I will absolutely have exposure to him in GPP as well. There’s several reasons why I like him. He’s 1-1 in the UFC but that loss was against Zabit Magomedsharipov who is a beast. He pushes the pace and while his opponent is tough, he’s not really a power threat. This fight has the 2nd highest odds to go over 2 and 1/2 rounds at -250 on the entire card. That means it is almost a guarantee to go to a decision. So realistically your probable worst-case scenario with Moraes is a decision loss where he’s probably looking at around 30 fantasy points in a loss. His best-case scenario is a decision victory where he’s probably looking at 70 fantasy points. Sign me up for that.
Fair Fighters – These are fighters that you can use to round out your lineups. You need one or two more picks and you can’t fit anymore Elite or good fighters? This is where you go next. Here you have fighters that should win but might be priced too high. You also have mid-priced fighters who are in really close matchups with not as high of an upside. Finally, you have cheap fighters that are either live underdogs or are worth a punt to make room for more Elite or Good fighters.
- Lando Vannata $8,900 – His lack of experience compared to other fighters in this playing pool is what keeps him away from the Elite or Good categories. However, I absolutely believe he’s a much better fighter than his opponent and I would be surprised to see this ending in anything other than a knockout for Vannata in the 1st or 2nd round.
- Adam Wieczorek $8,600 – He’s the favorite by a decent margin and I think he gets it done here. However, if you pay down for him (and I will in some of my lineups) there is the very real risk that he gets absolutely decimated in the first round. However, as long as he can survive that round, I see him cruising to victory. The other issue here is value. He needs 86 points to pay off value and that’s certainly not a given even in a fight that he should win.
- Sijara Eubanks $9,400 – She has the 2nd highest odds to finish for a reason. However, the reason why she’s not an elite or good play is because of price. At $9,500 with no wrestling upside, she has to win by knockout in order to pay off value. With a +320 inside the distance odds, that is concerning. She’s absolutely in play in cash. However, I’m fine with limited GPP exposure and I’m not even opposed to a complete fade.
- Karl Roberson $8,700 – This is certainly a winnable matchup for Roberson and I believe that he gets it done. He is the better striker. However, I’m always hesitant to pay up for a guy who has an experience gap and Roberson definitely has the experience gap to Marshman.
- Jack Marshman $7,500 – I think Marshman loses this one. However, he’s got a significant experience gap against his opponent and he also has power. That’s an excellent combination when you are looking for a fighter to pay down for in order to be able to fit in the fighters that you actually want and Marshmann will be one of the first places I go to in my lineups when I’m looking for somebody in the cheaper prices.
- Derek Brunson $7,100 – If you want to pay up you have to save money somewhere and there are a lot worse ways to save money than playing Derek Brunson. He has the size and power. His problem lately has been putting it all together and there’s a very real possibility that he fails to put it all together yet again. However, I don’t mind taking some shots that he does at this price point.
- Marcos Rogerio De Lima $7,600 – I’ll have some shares in De Lima even though I expect him to lose because he is a live dog. He has a very real chance at a first-round knockout. However, if he’s unable to put him away, the very likely outcome for him is he’s going to gas out and lose.
- Montel Jackson $8,300 – I won’t have a lot of Jackson because I think he loses this fight. However, he has power and if he can get his timing down and his opponent struggles with taking him down, this is absolutely a winnable fight for him.
- Ben Saunders $6,700 – If you think Lewis has no chance and you think DC puts him away early so he’s not going to get 3 to 5 rounds of scoring, but you like his price, let me give you a much better option for only $100 more. Ben Saunders. Now make no mistake about it. Saunders has almost as little of a chance to win as Lewis. However, with Saunders, I see a much more realistic path to victory not only compared to Lewis but compared to every other fighter in the poor tier that’s not there because of the price. His opponent has had some issues and I don’t think it is completely out of the question for Saunders to surprise here. Plus, from an ownership standpoint, he’s going to get almost NO ownership because the masses are just going to pay $100 less for Lewis.
- Derrick Lewis $6,600 – There’s very little chance Lewis wins this fight against one of the greatest of all time. However, this is a heavyweight fight and in a heavyweight fight, anything can happen. At $6,600, you can play both Lewis and his opponent in cash and still have $8,400 per fighter to work with, take another underdog and then you can have almost anybody you want. You can also take Lews in GPP, fade his opponent and then you have almost $8,700 per fighter to work with. I don’t know if I’m going to go here myself. I might just fade him completely especially if he’s going to be 25% owned, which is certainly a possibility. However, I do understand the play and if you want to go there, it makes sense.
Poor Fighters – These are fighters that are either very unlikely to win or they are very unlikely to meet value. They should not be played at all if you are playing less than 20 lineups. If you are playing more than 20 and you want to play any of them, they should be the lowest owned fighters in your player pool.
- Kurt Holobaugh $7,200 – If you’re playing less than 20 lineups don’t bother with Holobaugh. This is going to be a very tough fight for him and I fight that I have no expectation of him winning. However, there is a path to victory. If he can use his jab and stay consistent, he could very well put himself in position to win this. If you’re playing more than 20 lineups and you need to expand your player pool outside the better fighters I listed above, I have zero issues with you going to Holobaugh. I might have a couple of shares myself just to shake things up.
- Jordan Rinaidi $7,400 – Rinaidi should lose this fight and he should lose pretty decisively. So I’m really not interested in playing him. With that said, if I were playing 50 or more lineups, I would have a little bit of interest because he’s always a submission threat. I’m not playing that many lineups this weekend though so he won’t be in my player pool this weekend.
- Jared Cannonier $6,900 – He has one of the worst takedown defense percentages on the card at 31% which isn’t the end of the world if you’re going up against a striker. However, he’s going up against a grappler. That’s a bad matchup for him and I don’t see it ending well. He’s not the worst pick on this card because he’s tough and his opponent isn’t exactly the best stand up fighter in the world. However, I really only have interest in Cannonier if I were maxing 150 lineups and since I’m not doing that this weekend, I have no interest.
- Matt Frevola $7,300 – I have zero interest in Frevola. He just rushes into fights with guns blazing and while that might have worked for him down in the minor leagues of mixed martial arts it’s not going to work against the level of competition here in the UFC. If you’re playing more than 20 lineups and you want to take a chance, hey go for it. However, I would much rather pay $200 more for Marshman or pay $200 less for Brunson. In fact, I would even go $100 less to Holobaugh before I pay for Frevola.
- Julio Arce $9,200 – I have no interest in Arce at all on this card. I simply do not see a path to him meeting value and I cannot pay $9,200 for a fighter that I don’t see a path to scoring at least 92 fantasy points. He’s 13th in inside the distance odds to win so a finish isn’t likely. He doesn’t wrestle. He does land a good amount of significant strikes per minute, but he hasn’t scored more than 80 fantasy points in his 3 wins in the UFC. If he goes out and gets 100 points, congratulations to you if you play him. I wouldn’t play him even if I was running out 150 lineups.
- Roxanne Modafferi $6,800 – This is a terrible matchup for her and she’s not going to win or return any value for you. The only reason why I’m not on her opponent is price to value. It has nothing to do with me giving Modafferi ANY chance of winning this fight or meeting value. I would rather play Saunders or even Lewis.