UFC 295 did not go well for me in DraftKings and I blame most of that disaster on my penis. I was clearly thinking with the wrong head when I made the ridiculous decision to be all in on Mackenzie Dern. As if that wasn’t enough on its own, I faded Jamall Emmers and Jared Gordon because I didn’t imagine a world where they were both top five scorers on the entire slate. I probably would have had more fun setting my money on fire last week. Time to turn it around!
For this upcoming weekend we are heading back to the Apex for UFC Vegas 82. The main event features impressive grapplers Brendan Allen and Paul Craig. The rest of the slate under that is loaded with prospects that people actually care about, some making their official UFC debut. All things considered this should be a decent event, especially for this time of year on a non-ppv card. Let’s begin the hunt for redemption from last week’s slip up!
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.
PAYTON TALBOTT – $9500 (-800)
Payton Talbott is coming in to make his official UFC debut against Nick Aguirre. Talbott won an incredibly active three round decision on his DWCS opportunity that has led him here, but couldn’t quite get a finish in that bout despite landing over 140 significant strikes. That is concerning to me in this spot because at $9500, and without significant wrestling or grappling upside, he would quite literally need a quick win bonus finish to pay off this salary.
The reason that is concerning is because he has never had a first round finish in his entire career, including his amateur run. The earliest knockout finish he has achieved was early in the second round. Talbott’s volume is solid and he can score adequately with volume and a second round finish, but I don’t believe that it will get to what you need it to be at $9500. Tablott’s opponent, Nick Aguirre, is also a variable in this situation that I don’t feel like I have a great read on either. Aguirre’s only time in the UFC cage was spent being controlled for 10 minutes of a 15 minute fight against Dan Arguetta. Aguirre is a very talented grappler, and actually has more first round finishes from strikes in his career than Talbott does.
All of those factors considered I personally will be staying away from Talbott in cash contests unless his ownership comes in very, very high. That is a possibility due to the incredibly wide betting line here, but in my perfect world I would just leave Talbott as a fighter to roll the dice on in tournaments.
BRENDAN ALLEN – $9400 (-405)
The UFC Vegas 82 main event features Brendan Allen fighting fellow grappler Paul Craig. Allen has been surging in the division winning his last five fights, and four of those were by submission finish. Obviously submission finish might be a stretch here, as getting involved in grappling with Paul Craig quite literally opens the door to the only path that Craig may have here. For that reason I believe that Allen, who should be the better striker by miles in this contest, will keep this on the feet and cruise to a decision win or possibly find a late finish through club and sub or Craig feeling the weight cut at middleweight for a five round performance.
Allen will be a lock for my cash lineups on this slate. I understand I am getting poor value with him being significantly less favored than Payton Talbott, and even less favored than Lucas Alexander who would come at a slight discount from Brendan Allen. When it comes to tournaments, especially the small-field single-entry contests that I prefer to play I would be more likely to punt with Paul Craig, assuming I roster a fighter from this fight at all. I do believe that there may be some merit in fading this fight completely when it comes to tournaments, but obviously the risk exists for an early stoppage by knockout in either direction in this one.
LUCAS ALEXANDER – $9300 (-510)
Lucas Alexander is making his third appearance in the UFC, after suffering a loss to Joanderson Brito in his debut, and then being on the winning end of a dominant decision against Steve Peterson. His opponent for this fight is Jeka Saragih. You may remember Jeka from earlier this year when fighting for the Road To UFC championship against Anshul Jubli. Saragih was Jacob’s ‘Lock of the Week’ for that fight, and unfortunately, his performance was anything but impressive.
Lucas Alexander is a solid striker who will look to use his length and technical skill to push a pace on Jeka Saragih, and if I had to make a prediction, I believe he absolutely melts Jeka. That prediction could just be me being heavily slanted against Jeka from his last performance where he cost me many DraftKings entry fees however.
For my entries I will be avoiding Lucas Alexander in cash contests and look to use him in tournaments. I do believe that he will be the second lowest owned fighter in this salary range, only more owned than Ribas, so you could potentially see some leverage in large tournaments as well should Jeka fall apart like I expect him to.
MICK PARKIN – $9200 (-330)
In the world of fighters that I have a very unwavering and specific opinion regarding, Mick Parkin is near the top of that list. Parkin is fighting for the second time in the UFC after seeing a boring win against Jamal Pouges, where I would say Pouges did more to lose the fight than Parkin did to win it. This weekend Parkin will be fighting Caio Machado who is making his UFC debut.
Mick Parkin is often praised for his grappling, but upon watching the tape on him from his pre-UFC fights, I think his grappling is incredibly sloppy. I actually lost count of the amount of times I watched him have a dominant position and then lose it because he wasn’t dialed in with his submission attempts or transitions. Parkin’s striking is active, but I don’t really see much big power coming from him, and if I am being honest I think Machado might be capable of pushing a slightly more active pace.
I will be avoiding this fight for the most part, but if I was to play either side I would most likely roll the dice on Machado for tournaments. There is not a prayer that I use this fight in cash contests. I think that we might see a three round decision here and I am just not interested in that at $9200 with what I believe to be very limited grappling upside.
MICHAEL MORALES – $9100 (-310)
This is my favorite fighter on the slate, I have been drinking the kool-aid since his very first appearance in the UFC. Morales is very capable of wrestling and grappling, which he should have a monster advantage doing in this particular fight. In most of his time in the UFC however, he hasn’t really needed those skills much, and has been getting wins through his skilled and powerful striking.
Morales’ opponent in this fight, Jake Matthews, is a fairly skilled striker in his own right, but his takedown defense is absolutely terrible. I believe that Morales wins this fight anyway he wants it, but the smartest way would be to take advantage of his wrestling and look for a submission against a fighter with poor takedown defense and multiple submission losses.
Morales is going to be a lock in my cash lineups assuming his ownership warrants that play, but I don’t really see a world where it doesn’t. As far as tournaments go, I am a bit less convinced. The reason for the hesitation is that a big score relies on Morales doing things that he hasn’t really done much of in the UFC. If he continues to stand and strike like he has been, then the score may not be what you need for a tournament entry.
AMANDA RIBAS – $9000 (-230)
Amanda Ribas is making her return to the cage following the bully beat down she received courtesy of Maycee Barber. Ribas is a well rounded fighter who is capable everywhere, and for what it is worth, I think she is the easily the better fighter here against Luana Pinheiro…but Pinheiro does have power, and that makes things a bit shaky due to Ribas’ struggles with power in the past.
With Ribas moving back down to 115lbs. I do believe that she will perform here, but the options at this salary point make it difficult to put much faith in her from a fantasy perspective. I will likely be ignoring Amanda for all contests, and just enjoy the fight while I hope that Jacob’s future wife gets her hand raised.
This is the last week of fights we have before the Thanksgiving break, and considering it is an Apex card, it really is pretty solid from an entertainment perspective. I think that most of the true value on this slate will be found in the middle salary range, but that doesn’t change that navigating the top and bottom of the slate is half the battle.
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.