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“Think forwards and backwards – invert, always invert.” – Charlie Munger

I talked about the inversion concept during the DraftKings Deep Dive this week. Essentially, to solve a problem, start making a list of items that would guarantee you do not solve your problem. Once you are done with your list, do the opposite of the items on your list – problem solved.

I often try to apply concepts that I learn in other industries or interests and relate them back to DFS. The problem that I am trying to solve is the main GPP on DraftKings for UFC. I do not just want to win it but want to win it without splitting with 100 other people. For the record, I have never won it even including chopping it despite having success playing DFS for the past decade.

Using our inversion thinking, what are ways that I can guarantee to NOT win first place on DraftKings? Well, we know a ton of the field likes to use the full 50K salary cap and with just 12 fights on this slate, every combination of lineups using the full salary is likely duplicated. I also would play all of the same popular fighters as every one else (Nakamura, Hernandez, main event etc.) because these builds will be heavily rostered together which means I will almost certainly be duped on those teams. Lastly, I would target fighters that I do not expect to win inside the first round (Maverick, Quinlan, Vera etc.). By using all of these strategies, I know that there is basically a 0% chance that I will win first place this week by myself.

Now that we know what NOT to do, let’s do the opposite:

  • Leave Salary on the table
  • Target fighters you think can win in round 1
  • Do not play the same popular combinations as the field

The name of the game is leverage and I preach it every single week because it is the only way to win. You will not get different results from everyone else if you continue playing like everyone else. Period.

There are multiple spots on this slate that we can potentially gain leverage on the field.

Marcos Rogerio De Lima vs Junior Tafa

Never a dull moment in MMA as Junior Tafa steps in on 24 hour notice to replace his brother and fight this weekend. Despite his skillset and win condition being very similar to his brother, I expect the field to play this fight much differently. I still expect Tafa to get some ownership but not nearly as much as his brother was projected to get. I expect the field to shade more towards De Lima and while I am still picking him to win, the risk he gets knocked out early is still just as high as it was with the other Tafa.

Oban Elliott vs Val Woodburn

I expect much of the field to ignore Woodburn and currently have him projected at 15% in the large-field main GPP on DraftKings. I do not rate Woodburn’s skillset very highly but he is still very powerful and facing someone who I do not trust in Elliott. Elliott has known durability issues and if he got knocked out here I would not be surprised.

Rinya Nakamura vs Carlos Vera

Nakamura is currently projected to be one of the highest owned fighters on the slate. It makes sense why as he has the strongest odds to finish and projects as a great play on paper. But his salary at $9600 does make it tough to get up to him at this expected ownership. Every slate is different but slates like this where we have multiple fighters and fights in the mid-range that we expect to score very well, it makes sense that Nakamura could end up not finding the optimal lineup EVEN with a first-round finish. It’s not going to feel good because he probably finishes in round one at a decent clip but this is one of the best ways to get leverage versus the field in the case that he is not optimal this weekend.

Best of luck and I’ll see you in the streets.

-Jon