I've been doing some part time work for the folks at Fanduel and recently had the opportunity to interview ‘Headchopper’, who is one of the top players on the site. Headchopper (whose real name is David) is a 30 year old real estate agent from Texas. Some readers of The Waiver Wire might be interested in what he had to say. What follows are some of the highlights of our conversation.
Fanduel: You play in a pretty large amount of contests every day. I believe you’ve mentioned before that you were an overall winner in 2009. How much total profit did you make?
Headchopper: In 2009, I won various daily contests for $34,000+, and lost contests in the amount of $26,000. So there was a net profit of around $8,000.
Fanduel: Was your profit split among multiple sports, or did one sport account for the bulk of your winnings?
Headchopper: Football was my top sport this past season, followed closely by baseball. Basketball was a distant 3rd. Having the basketball season start while football is in full swing really detracts from the first couple months of basketball for me. And now as the basketball season winds down, preparation for baseball is taking place, so it takes a backseat again.
Fanduel: Do you play more traditional formats of fantasy games for any of those sports?
Headchopper: I used to play a lot of yearly leagues. But as I got into the daily sites, I have tapered off from those leagues.
Fanduel: How long have you been playing in daily fantasy contests, and how did you first find out about them?
Headchopper: I first found daily fantasy sports thru a link on a sports website in late 2008 or early 2009. I dabbled for a while, and then around June 2009 started playing in bulk.
Fanduel: Are you into sports betting, poker or any other forms of gambling?
Headchopper: I used to gamble on sports a lot. I also played a lot of internet poker. I found that ,although you can get on a hot streak and make some money, ultimately you’re not going to beat the sportsbooks. Fantasy sports lets you apply the same type of information to the daily sports games, but with a little more control over the outcome.
Fanduel: What do you think are some underrated aspects of strategy for daily fantasy contests that beginning players might overlook?
Headchopper: I always try to commit 15-20 minutes before lineups lock to update the status of players involved in that day’s contests. There’s nothing worse than being caught with a late scratch that could have been avoided. There are going to be times when you catch bad breaks with injuries and so forth, but knowledge is king. The more you know and keep abreast of the news, the better your chances to minimize those situations.
Fanduel: What’s your favorite thing about playing in the daily contests on Fanduel?
Headchopper: I love to find players who outperform themselves on that given night. And I love to see some guys cry about how lucky it was. But down inside, you know that you did the research and you had a hunch it was going to happen, so it's really not luck at all.
Fanduel: Is there anyone else playing on Fanduel that’s good enough that you’d prefer not to see them as your opponent very often?
Headchopper: I will, and have, played anyone who wants to play. But when dealing with the mathematics of winning percentage and what it takes to turn a profit, I would rather not be lined up against Tuffled1 or UCLA2 every night in basketball.
Fanduel: Is your opinion of Tuffled1 and UCLA2 based simply on their playing a lot, or can you tell from their picks that they're strong opponents?
Headchopper: When I first started playing at Fanduel, there weren’t nearly as many players as there are now. Every day I was up against those two guys. And they usually played the same players. I could tell right away they both had a great deal of knowledge about basketball and that it would be really tough to turn a profit if I were to play them every night.
Fanduel: Do you have any specific goals for your play in fantasy contests in 2010?
Headchopper: In 2010 I'd just like to establish some momentum to start baseball and carry it on into football season.
Fanduel: What’s something that you think could be even better about Fanduel in the future?
Headchopper: More games...More sports. Tap into the college fantasy market while it is still new. Because very soon it is going to grow to be as big as NBA and MLB fantasy. I fell in love with college football. So many players to choose from really benefits those who put in the research and I did quite well at that sport and hope you’ll offer it in the future.
Click here to register for the daily fantasy sports contests at Fanduel.