Confessions of a Dangerous 39-Year-Old Daily Fantasy Virgin: Part -1

If you’ve noticed, daily fantasy football is the shiznit. Everybody who’s anybody is playing this new way to play the game. I wanted to give it a go and document the experience, so here’s week one.

I had to confer with an expert in the field, so I got on a Google + Hangout with “Autotune” Davis Mattek to figure out how to start. While I was aware of the general daily fantasy concept, I’ve heard about so many different sites that I didn’t know where to go. Mr. Mattek steered me toward Fan Duel. He sent me an affiliate link so he’d get a “taste”. The taste wasn’t going to be much.

There are three ways to play on this site. You can go head-to-head, pick your team based on the site’s salary-cap restrictions and the winner is the winner. There’s a 50/50, in which a large group of people enter and 50% win. It’s kind of like head to head but it takes out some of the luck factor. Then there are tournaments, in which a really large group of people join and the top 10% or so win, with the opportunity to win a bigger amount or get into an even bigger tournament in future weeks.

I deposited $25, which offered a “bonus” of $11.17. It’s very specific. I think you get your bonus after being with the site for a while but I’ll report back. You get a bigger bonus for depositing more (around $60 for $100).

I decided to go with a head-to-head matchup, and found a $2 matchup. You get the following lineup to fill with a salary cap of 60k (yes, that is a rather arbitrary number):

QB: Russell Wilson ($8500)
RB: Darren Sproles ($6600)
RB: Knowshon Moreno ($7700)
WR: Jarrett Boykin ($6300)
WR: Victor Cruz ($7200)
WR: Antonio Brown ($6700)
TE: Jordan Reed ($5400)
K: Matt Prater ($5600)
D: Chiefs ($5900)

Turns out I lost to the following lineup:

QB: Brees
RB: Lynch, Moreno
WR: Randle, Colston, Terrance Williams
TE: Tony G
K: Dan Bailey
D: Panthers

The final score was 105.98-101.86. Why did I lose? Well, Brees had a five-TD day and got 33.18 points. I lost the kicker-D matchup 26-13. Otherwise, I won handily. Sproles was a bust. It was his worst fantasy performance of the year. My opponent had some bad luck as well, with Rueben Randle getting a goose egg and Marshawn Lynch strangely underinvolved in the Seattle game plan. Hell, Lynch’s previous season low in touches was 17, and he had nine this week.

What have I learned? As Mr. Mattek told me, it does make sense to diversify and play more than one game to get a real picture as to how you are as a daily fantasy-er. I like not having to worry about a year-long team, as the two I have are plenty. I’ll check out Jonathan Bales’ book on daily fantasy. If you’re interested in playing, it is pretty easy to start and there’s as much advice out there for daily as there is for weekly, at least I didn’t have any trouble finding some.

I’ll be back, mainly because I still have $23.08 in the bank with a pending bonus. Tune in next week when your former daily fantasy virgin tries a little experimentation. Next week, we’ll try it with the lights on.

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