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UFC 194 DFS Playbook: value picks, who to avoid

UFC 194 ends the biggest week in UFC history on Saturday night and is another chance for fantasy players to win money on this big weekend. Below are our studs, value plays and fighters to avoid along with our personal line-ups for UFC 194 on Saturday night.

STUDS

Urijah Faber ($11,000)

Urijah Faber is the biggest favorite on the card and has the highest salary of the UFC 194 participants. He fights an unknown fighter in Frankie Saenz, who is facing the toughest opponent of his young career. Faber has been to the dance many times, and this harkens back to two fights in 2014 against Alex Caceres and Francisco Rivera, perfect fights made for Faber to bounce back in. With a title shot possibly looming for him, he is going to want to win in impressive fashion. Saenz will be a tough fight, but Faber should easily dispatch him within the distance.

Kevin Lee ($10,800)

Kevin Lee is a bright prospect in the lightweight division, with an 11-1 record and four straight wins. He is coming off an impressive first-round submission win over James Moontasri and is a big favorite in his bout against Leonardo Santos at UFC 194. Lee is more well-rounded than Santos and is a rising prospect. Santos probably won't do much in the division but he will be a consistent roster member. Lee is primed for big things and this is another showcase for him.

VALUE PLAYS

Gunnar Nelson ($9,300)

Gunnar Nelson meets Demian Maia in one of the more intriguing bouts on the UFC 194 card. Nelson is the underdog, and I'm not really sure he should be. He has the grappling to match Maia, and he is a better striker at this stage. Maia is a solid wrestler and has been around for a long time, but this feels like a passing of the torch moment at 170 pounds. Nelson at his price point is worth a look for value and I think he gets the win.

Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger ($8,700)

Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger makes her UFC debut on short notice against Tecia Torres, thus meaning she is a big underdog. She maybe shouldn't be such a big one. She is going to have a huge height and reach advantage over Torres and she will be able to exploit that well. Torres is a solid fighter, and is undefeated, but we saw her slow down in a tough environment against Angela Hill. Lybarger will pressure Torres and use her size to land. She is worth taking at her price though it is a tough match-up.

AVOID

John Makdessi ($10,300)

John Makdessi is coming into UFC 194 off a bad loss to Donald Cerrone in May that left him with a badly broken jaw. Makdessi talked about retirement after that injury, and any time that happens, you have to question the mentality of a fighter. He is a favorite over Yancy Medeiros, but Medeiros is solid competition. Makdessi has vicious power, but I don't see him finishing Medeiros. He is one to avoid at his salary.

Ronaldo Souza ($10,200)

This is a risky one because Ronaldo Souza is such a great fighter. He has a great opponent in Yoel Romero. Both are looking for a title shot. The match-up has the chance to disappoint with a boring fight. Both are strong grapplers and Romero's wrestling will likely negate Souza's jiu-jitsu. So, there goes Souza's big key to winning. They are equal on the feet though Romero is more flashy and may have the power edge. It doesn't look like a finish is on the docket for Jacare, so we regrettably suggest to avoid.

OUR LINE-UPS

RYAN FREDERICK: Urijah Faber ($11,000), Kevin Lee ($10,800), Conor McGregor ($9,900) Gunnar Nelson ($9,300), Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger ($8,700)

I like Faber and Lee to score finish wins in their bouts. I picked Nelson to win and I think there is a decent chance he finishes Demian Maia. I like Lybarger to score a decent amount of points as a fighter to fill out my line-up. And I'm going with Conor McGregor. He lands a lot of strikes and I see Jose Aldo leaving himself open to getting hit. I admit it being a risky pick, but sometimes to win money, you have to risk, and I'm doing exactly that.

PAUL FONTAINE: Max Holloway ($10,900), Tecia Torres ($10,700), Chris Weidman ($10,000), Yancy Medeiros ($9,100), Marcio Alexandre Jr. ($9,000)

Chris Weidman is an unbeaten champion who’s finished 2/3 of his fights in UFC. He’s also a prolific striker so if the fight goes five rounds, he should rack up a lot of point. Holloway is a lock to win and likely via early stoppage as he’s got the longest winning streak in his division, besides Jose Aldo. Tecia Torres is another unbeaten fighter who’s facing someone making her UFC debut on short notice. She’s looked better and better each time out and I really like her here. My pick for Medeiros is more a bet against his opponent John Makdessi. Makdessi suffered a brutal KO in his last fight against Donald Cerrone and it’s the kind of fight guys often have a hard time coming back from, especially just over six months later. Alexandre may be 0-2 in UFC but he’s looked good in both fights, battling Tim Means to a split decision last time out. His opponent Court McGee is coming back from a long layoff, which could hurt him.

PEACH MACHINE: John Makdessi ($10,300), Ronaldo Souza ($10,200), Chris Weidman ($10,000), Conor McGregor ($9,900), Gunnar Nelson ($9,300)

The fact that I can easily get both McGregor and Weidman AND Souza is awesome.  I like this hand.  I'm taking Conor, obviously because I think he will win.  I really do think that Conor has already beaten Aldo mentally.  Or he's over hyped this thing and will crack under the pressure he created.  I find that to be unlikely, however, I'll wait until after weigh-ins to make my actual bet.  Weidman over Rockhold.  I like Rockhold, but I think Weidman is the superior athlete and will make this a wrestling match, where he is easily one of the best.  I think Maia is done.  Sure he can beat guys like Magny on short notice, but Nelson is a far superior test than Magny and I expect him to beat Maia in every area.  Souza is awesome.  If he can get this to the ground, and drag Romero to the deep waters, it's very likely he'll get the submission.  John Makdessi is going to have to rebound after his KO loss to Cerrone, and Medeiros isn't that tough, so I expect Makdessi to win.