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UFC 192 DFS Playbook: value picks, who to avoid

UFC 192 comes your way on Saturday night from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Headlined by the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on the line when Daniel Cormier defends against Alexander Gustafsson, the show brings a stacked card, but went through a last-minute change. Hopefully that didn't make too much of a difference to those drafting their teams on DraftKings for this week. Let's take a look at some studs, duds and value plays as you set up your team for Saturday night.

First off, let's briefly recap last week. We had our studs as Diego Brandao and Takeya Mizugaki. Brandao won quick by knockout in the first round, and he had the highest point total. Mizugaki won a decision, scoring a solid amount of points. Our value plays were Roy Nelson and Yusuke Kasuya, both of whom lost, but Nelson did score a good amount of points as his fight went five rounds. We told you to avoid Gegard Mousasi and Katsunori Kikuno, and we hope you did because they scored the two lowest point totals last week.


Rose Namajunas ($10,600)

I like Rose Namajunas in her bout against Angela Hill. While Namajunas is just 2-2 in her career and has lost two straight fights, she meets someone who she actually has the experience edge over in Hill. Hill is just 2-1 in her career and is coming off a loss to Tecia Torres where she didn't look all that impressive (neither did Torres for that matter). You can attribute that to the altitude of Mexico, but Hill has been suspect to submissions in her short career, as seen on TUF 20 when she lost to Carla Esparza. Namajunas has excellent submission skills, and I expect her to be able to score a finish on a fight card that may not see a lot of them.

Sage Northcutt ($10,500)

Sage Northcutt is getting a lot of hype coming into the UFC as a 19-year-old, but he has the skills to back it up. He is getting a bout against a tough opponent in Francisco Trevino, but one who is near the bottom of the list when you rank all of the lightweights. It is a showcase to see if Northcutt is the real deal, or if this is all coming too quick for him. He has finished all five of his opponents, and only one fight has gone past the first round. Trevino only has one loss in his 13 professional fights, so he is no easy match-up. I do expect Northcutt to finish him though. Also, Trevino missed weight on Friday by a large margain.


Alan Jouban ($9,100)

Alan Jouban is relatively cheap on this card, and a good look for an underdog. He has a tough fight against Albert Tumenov, who has shown solid striking and good wrestling. Jouban has power and is good on the feet, and the betting odds are a lot longer than I expected. That made the salaries of the two a greater distance than I expected, so Jouban shot to the top of my list of value plays. He has a solid chance at finishing Tumenov with the power in his hands.

Jessica Eye ($8,700)

Jessica Eye has something to prove when she meets Julianna Pena on Saturday night, and she wants to get that win and that finish. She is a big underdog to Pena, who is only 6-2 in her career, and lost two fights to lesser competition before she joined the UFC. Eye has fought tougher competition and is hungry to get back into the win column. Pena is too big of a favorite here, and she gets a tough opponent. This fight likely goes the distance, but with Eye's boxing, you have the chance to score a lot of points with significant strikes. She is worth a play at the price tag.


Viktor Pesta ($10,000)

I'm avoid Viktor Pesta in his bout with Derrick Lewis. It is a heavyweight bout and those guys hit hard, but Lewis hits extremely hard. Pesta has good finishing abilities, or at least he did before joining the UFC. He hasn't shown that power in his two UFC bouts, whereas Lewis always shows that power. I actually expect Lewis to score a finish in the fight, and it gives me all the reason to avoid Pesta.

Ryan Bader ($9,300)

Ryan Bader hasn't finished an opponent since submitting Vladimir Matyushenko in January 2013. He has won four straight fights, but all have been lackluster decision wins. His fight against Rashad Evans will likely go the distance. I think Evans wins the fight too. Evans may have missed two years of action, but he is still a top-level fighter unless those days are behind him after the knee injuries. Bader likely will not be able to finish him, unless we see a completely different Ryan Bader. I'm not counting on it.


RYAN FREDERICK- Daniel Cormier ($11,000), Sage Northcutt ($10,500), Yair Rodriguez ($10,400), Alan Jouban ($9,100), Jessica Eye ($8,700)

I like Northcutt, Jouban and Eye for the reasons stated above. I like Cormier to finish Gustafsson in the middle rounds, and with Gustafsson leaving himself open to eat punches, I see Cormier scoring some solid points on significant strikes. I like Rodriguez to score a finish as well as he has excellent skills and a good submission game. I do like Northcutt and Jouban to score finishes as well, and Eye to land a lot of volume on an opponent who likes to eat punches.

PAUL FONTAINE- Sage Northcutt ($10,500), Albert Tumenov ($10,300), Rashad Evans ($10,100), Adriano Martins ($9,700), Derrick Lewis ($9,400)

Martins is one of the most underrated fighters in the division, who's only lost to Donald Cerrone in his UFC career. He's also a finisher. Lewis is likely to score a knockout and pick me up some big bonus points. He's a bit of a front runner, so fighting against a fighter ranked lower than him is probably a recipe for an early KO. Tumenov has two first round KO's in his four UFC fights and the other two went to the judges but he landed a lot of strikes so he should be good to rack up some points and likely to win against Alan Jouban. Sage Northcutt is a future star and a finishing machine and I think he'll make an auspicious debut against an overmatched Francisco Trevino. Rashad is likely grind out a decision win over Ryan Bader and probably land a lot of strikes in the process.

PEACH MACHINE- Daniel Cormier ($11,000), Joseph Benavidez ($10,900), Rashad Evans ($10,100), Chris Cariaso ($9,200), Jessica Eye ($8,700)

You have to take the champ.  This is going to be a frustrating night for the Mauler, and with this expected to last five rounds, that's a lot of points. A volume striker vs. a plodder,  Benavidez should pay off big points with his high speed combos. I love Rashad. I even named my one of my dogs after him. (My dogs names are Hendo, Shogun, Sugar, and Rowdy.) This is more a pick with my heart. Normally I would not touch a potential boring wrestling match up, but Sugar fell within my salary cap, so I had to pick him. I thought Cariaso looked good against Cejudo, a superior opponent.  I expect him to get back on a win streak. Eye looked good in round one against Tate, another superior opponent.  I like the fast turn around here because she has something to prove.  I expect her to come out strong and get a first round finish. I think she hits harder than Pena. I don't like picking one round knock out fights in the heavyweight division.  You either win big, or get nothing, and it's basically a coin toss.  My strategy is to score in every pick, even if it's not the max.  Just get in the money (which I failed to do last time).  Luckily, living in the great state of Tennessee, DraftKings won't let me sign up because we have antiquated laws here.

RYAN- 279.00
PAUL- 266.00
PEACH- 212.50