Last event’s Chalkboard article absolutely crushed, hitting on Aliskerov being the highest scorer in the range and managing to avoid that Jubli and Ankalaev bomb that many entries were blown up by. Unfortunately for me, I still missed cash because I had used Walker as one of my dogs and stacked the main event where Volkanovski scored nothing. This time around we hope to avoid those mistakes. Because of the depth of the field this week I will be breaking this week’s article into three categories and then listing the fighters within those categories.
This week we are headed to Brazil for UFC Sao Paulo, and this is one of the events that always seems to deliver in my opinion. Once again, the original main event for this event was changed with a short-notice replacement. We now have rising star Jailton Almeida fighting the knockout king of the heavyweight division, and MMA veteran, Derrick Lewis. In line with what a normal international event looks like, the rest of the slate is loaded with Brazilian fighters thwhore hungry and looking to make a name for themselves in the UFC. I expect the event to be very entertaining and this slate should come down to how you navigate the 9k range with so many potential slate-breaking fighters in that range.
For anyone that hasn’t read this article before, The Chalk Board is a DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports article where I attempt to navigate the $9000+ salary range by offering you insight into who I will be using, considering, or fading from my personal lineups. In turn, this can help navigate the lower salary range as well by design. If you choose to alter your lineups based on my statements in this article, please understand that I am not a professional gambler or DFS player, so that decision is yours. Live with the results YOU get from the decisions YOU make.
SAFEST PLAYS IN THE RANGE
JAILTON ALMEIDA – $9600 (-500)
Jailton Almeida is an absolute force on the rise in the UFC. In reality he should be fighting at 205 and not at heavyweight, but he has had a great run and looks to want to continue until the wheels fall off. In my personal opinion, that would have been this fight had his original opponent, Curtis Blaydes, remained in the fight. The new opponent is now Derrick Lewis. Obviously there is always a chance that Lewis can finish his opponent early, but this fight will most likely go exactly how the betting line suggests that it will.
Assuming the ownership is there on Jailton Almeida, he should be a popular cash play and he of course has the skill set to put up a big score as well. For larger tournaments however, I would almost prefer to take the shot on Derrick Lewis while saving salary, and this could be effective due to the amount of fighters in the 9k range that are capable of big scores.
GABRIEL BONFIM – $9300 (-600)
Gabriel Bonfim is the more accomplished of the two Bonfim brothers, and is the only remaining undefeated Bonfim brother. Bonfim is quite honestly great everywhere. He is a very proficient striker, has solid wrestling, and his grappling is out of this world. This time around he is fighting Nicolas Dalby, who I believe to be a step down in competition from his last fight.
Dalby has decent striking, but no power so the floor is very safe on Gabriel Bonfim. Dalby also has highly questionable takedown defense, which makes the ceiling potential for Bonfim very high as well. Lastly the betting line shows him as the most favored fighter on the slate. I will for sure use him for single entry tournaments, but when it comes to cash I will be looking to use Almeida instead unless Bonfim’s ownership is higher than Almeida’s, and in that case I will swap their roles in my lineups.
RINAT FAKHRETDINOV – $9100 (-350)
The betting line here may keep Rinat Fakhretdinov’s ownership low to the point where he gets relegated to my tournament lineup, but right from the jump let me tell you that I want to use him for cash. My confidence level in Rinat is through the roof, and I just don’t see a world where I can’t play a guy that scores like Rinat does in one way or another.
Rinat’s opponent here, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, is a seasoned veteran who is actually a really good, well-rounded fighter. The issue for Elizeu in my opinion will be his middle of the road takedown defense, and the fact that he is nearing the twilight years of his career. I think that recipe spells disaster for him and should produce another massive score for Rinat to add to his collection of impressive DFS performances.
RISK IT FOR THE BISCUIT
EDUARDA MOURA – $9400 (-515)
In this fight we have newcomer Eduarda Moura making her official UFC debut against one of my personal favorite WMMA fighters, Montserrat Ruiz. Moura is a well-rounded fighter with quite the propensity for violence. In her undefeated professional career of 9 fights, she has 8 finishes. Ruiz on the other hand is not much of a finisher, and despite her impressive wrestling background, is just too small to really make waves in this division in the UFC.
My expectation of this fight is that Moura gets Ruiz on the ground and finishes her inside the distance. Where I question myself, and the reason that this fight is in the middle tier rather than the safe tier, is because I am unclear on how long that will take. Also, you can add in that WMMA can be a bit unpredictable to begin with. I will be using Moura as a single entry tournament play and hoping for the best, but unless the ownership is outrageous I will be ignoring her when it comes to cash games.
VITOR PETRINO – $9000 (-235)
Vitor Petrino has the skills to put up a big score here, especially if his opponent, Modestas Bukauskas, can’t keep his feet. Unfortunately, he is also a bit questionable in the fight IQ department, and slightly questionable in the cardio department. I haven’t seen him gas completely out yet, but he has certainly slowed down in any fight that extended for him.
Modestas Bukauskas has a very suspect chin, but otherwise has good striking – especially in the clinch or pressed against the cage. If Petrino secures takedowns then I think this could be one of the better plays on the slate for tournaments, but if he swings big and misses a few times early then the rest of the fight could be too low volume to really produce the score needed at this salary. For me this would be a tournament play only.
TREAT THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE – STAY AWAY
ISMAEL BONFIM – $9500 (-465)
The last time we saw prospect Ismael Bonfim in action he fell short against Benoit Saint-Denis, and the most important thing we were forced to acknowledge in that fight was that Saint-Denis was highly underrated. We still havent seen exactly what Bonfim is capable of in the UFC as far as I am concerned. I doubt we see it here either with his opponent being the aging veteran Vinc Pichel.
Bonfim should certainly win this fight, but due to the lack of the UFC minutes we have to go on for Bonfim, I don’t really feel great including him in any of the contests that I play with the depth of the salary range. I don’t feel great about Vinc Pichel either though, so for me this fight will be one where I am rooting for a big performance from Ismael Bonfim, but not too big because I don’t want him to score much as I will be ignoring him. I could certainly see using him as a leverage play (ownership willing) in the salary range for your larger tournaments, but for anything else I just don’t think the score will be high enough to justify the cost.
CAIO BORRALHO – $9200 (-300)
Caio Borralho is back in action and this time he will be fighting Abus Magomedov coming fresh off his loss to now champion, Sean Strickland. Caio is a grappler by nature, but seems to possess decent striking as well. Abus is a wrestler who seems to prefer to strike. For me this spells stand up battle with most of the knockout equity on the Abus Magomedov side.
For that reason I will be fading Caio Borralho from everything I enter, however I do expect that with a ceiling performance he could produce quite the leverage for you in a large tournament – I just don’t play those so for me it’s a total fade. The Abus side is a much more appealing play for the contests that I enter with only his cardio possibly being in question. I don’t see Caio finishing him unless he gasses out, so I think I would be more comfortable taking a shot on the $7000 dog in my lineups.
The Sao Paulo slate is very appealing to me, and I believe that with the amount of boom or bust scores that could play out in the 9k, this one should be very interesting in the fantasy realm. If you are reading this for the first time please know that I only play cash and small-field single-entry contests, so I don’t know a damn thing about playing large multiple-entry tournaments. When it comes to cash and single-entry though, I feel like I have a really solid read on this slate. Only time will tell if I am correct or if I was full of shit though.
Hopefully, this Chalk Board article has helped you at least reduce the number of options in the upper salary range, and in turn isolate a few dogs you feel good about. I would like to take this time to again remind you to make YOUR OWN decisions. Don’t buy into anything I say unless it makes sense to you as well.
Good luck this week! If you need any help with your DraftKings entries you can join the free Discord server which has loads of very capable DFS players and I am sure you will find an opinion that will give you the confirmation bias that most people seek. If you need additional help then reach out to @WeWantPicks on Twitter, or you can shoot me questions as well if you like @WebGuyWWP. Thanks for reading, see you guys next week.