Big Marley’s UFC 223 Draft Kings Fantasy Breakdown

If you are just starting out in DFS MMA here are some common terms and their meanings that you will hear every week along with the general rules of MMA DFS:

GPP = Guaranteed Prize Pool (aka tournaments where the top ~25% of the field get paid)
Cash Games = H2Hs, 50/50s, Double-Ups
Stacking = Using both fighters from a fight in the same lineup (typically cash games only)
Over/Under Weight = Your % of exposure to a fighter compared to the projected field %

Significant Strikes +0.5 Pts
Advance +3 Pts
Takedown +5 Pts
Reversal/Sweep +5 Pts
Knockdown +10 Pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win +90 Pts
2nd Round Win +70 Pts
3rd Round Win +45 Pts
4th Round Win +40 Pts
5th Round Win +40 Pts
Decision Win +30 Pts

There is a lot of money to be won this week on DraftKings including a top prize of $25k in the main tournament. I will be going pretty heavy this week chasing the big prizes because we don’t get them very often in MMA, so I have to take the shots when I can get them. I have been pumped for this card the entire 3 week break we had off and I watched almost every Khabib and Ferguson fight I could preparing for the big fight. And now it has been cancelled once again. The UFC did a great job getting Max Holloway to step in for Ferguson to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov on 6 days’ notice. Also, we have had more madness from Conor McGregor this week which has forced his teammate Artem Lobov off the card along with his opponent Alex Caceres. Now that we are down to 12 fights we will have to be just a little bit more contrarian in that big GPP if we want to have a shot at that $25k top prize without tying twenty other people. Here are a few plays I like this week and one fade as well.

Cash Game play of the week – Khabib Nurmagomedov ($9,100)

Since DraftKings came out with salaries before the Ferguson injury we get Khabib at the price he would have been when he was a -250 favorite against Tony which is 9.1k. That is $100 cheaper than Ray Borg (-300) and the new betting line on Khabib is -450.

Stacking Khabib and Holloway in cash games is definitely OK as well because the two will most likely combine for over 100 points and using Holloway as a punt at 7.1k allows you to get more favorites in your lineups. If you want to use just one and not the other that is fine as well but if I go that route the one I will be choosing is for sure Khabib.

Khabib has been training hard for this fight for months now and Holloway is coming in on 6 days’ notice after asking for this fight to take place at 170 lbs. That tells me he will be spending more time cutting weight for the fight than he will be to take on a dominant wrestler like Khabib. I see Khabib getting this fight to the ground and finishing the fight at some point with ground and pound or a submission and score over 10x his salary of 9.1k. I think Khabib is a safe play for cash games and he will 100% be in my lineup.

GPP play of the week – Ray Borg ($9,200)

To be clear, I like Ray Borg in GPP formats only and that is because he will come with a low ownership. Everybody and their mother are going to want to start their lineups with Zabit and Khabib so that will give us Ray Borg at a 10-15% ownership in tournaments and I can see a way he ends up scoring the most points on the card which will pass a lot of the field if that happens and he is in our lineup.

I think there will be a lot of strikes and ground transitions in this fight and I see Borg getting the better of both for the majority of the fight. In DraftKings, the ground game is usually where points add up the fastest and these two grapplers could make for a fun all around MMA fight. I think Borg will get a number of takedowns or reversals and add advance points onto those while possibly ending the fight with a submission which could put him well over 100 points. If we are going to separate ourselves from the field in a tournament with 17.6k entrants we have to be different somewhere and this is a good spot to do it. I will personally be overweight on the field and see myself having at least 20-25% of my lineups with Borg on them.

Underdog play of the week – Anthony Pettis ($7,600)

Anthony Pettis would have been a -500 favorite over Michael Chiesa if this fight took place 5 years ago, but now we get a fading Pettis as an underdog and $1,000 cheaper than Chiesa on DraftKings. I think Pettis can keep this fight standing for most the fight and that should give him a big edge. He is also dangerous on the ground himself and if he is taken down I think he will be able to get back up if he isn’t able to get a submission of his own. If Pettis can win a decision then I think he will pay off his DK price tag and will be a good underdog to use so you can save salary in your lineups. I can also see this fight ending early from Pettis dropping Chiesa with a body kick and if that happens he will likely be on the winning lineup if he can make it happen in round 1.

Editor’s note: Unfortunately, the Borg vs Moreno and Pettis vs Chiesa fights were cancelled due to Conor McGregor’s attack on the fighter bus and the subsequent injuries Borg and Michael Chiesa suffered.

Fade of the week – Karolina Kowalkiewicz ($9,000)

Karolina is priced right below Zabit, Borg, and Khabib on this slate which makes it really hard for me to click on her name. I do not see KK going for any takedowns in this fight so she would most likely need a finish to score higher than the three of those guys and I don’t see that happening. I do think KK will get a win but I see it being a 29-28 decision and if that is the case I don’t see her getting a score of 10x her salary. By that, I mean KK is priced at 9k so we need her to get at least 90 points to meet the “value” I would like.

Written by Kyle Marley

9x DraftKings Qualifier, MMA handicapper for MMAoddsbreaker, MMA Expert for CBSSports & SportsLine, NFL & Lead MMA coach at DFSArmy.

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