Draftkings and “House Money”

I am a customer of Draftkings. I deposited $25 about 18 months ago and played hundreds of $2, $3, and $5 games until my account ran dry after Week 2 of this NFL season. Considering all of the hand-wringing that has occurred regarding DFS since, I decided not to make any more deposits.

On Saturday, I received an email from Draftkings stating that I had been offered a free entry (worth $20!) into their final “Millionaire Maker” game of this NFL season. Who can pass that up, right? I did a little math in my head and figured that four people in the contest would win “life changing” money ($100,000 or more). If 250,000 people entered, that gave me in the neighborhood of a 1-in-62,500 shot, which are MUCH BETTER odds than buying a lottery ticket and a whole lot more fun too!

So my son and I took about an hour on Sunday debating which lineup to send out there.

In the early games, I only had three players going. But all three did well. Panthers receivers Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen combined for three touchdowns and emerging Bills star Sammy Watkins hauled in two more. By 4:30, I was not in the top 150,000 in the standings (because so many entries had more players playing) but I was averaging nearly a half point per player minute, which put me in contention to make a little money as this contest paid the top 63,000 finishers.

The 4:00 games did not help my cause at all.

I had selected the Bengals defense after debating between them and the Chiefs (that one hurt). Cincinnati gave up some garbage-time points and really didn’t do much at all. My other late afternoon player was (Fat) Eddie Lacy. I can hear the groans from many of you Lacy owners from here. Two measly points. I was pretty much finished. Why didn’t I pick Danny Woodhead? Why?

The Sunday Night game came on and I had one guy playing. I was really only keeping one eye on that game after Lacy had pretty much buried me. Except that one guy I had was Arizona running back David Johnson, who immediately cashed in a touchdown before 8:45, then another before halftime, and another in the 3rd quarter. 47 fantasy points later, and I was back to .40 points per player minute, which projected into the top 63,000.

After all of the trouble I had picking players this fantasy season (I rode CJ Anderson heavily in my drafts this year) it was difficult to be optimistic about the three players that I had going in the Monday Night game. Detroit’s Matt Stafford and Golden Tate and New Orleans wideout Brandon Cooks.

But holy moly Stafford hit Tate for an early touchdown and just like that I went from 125,000th to 50,000th. We had a ballgame. Then midway through the second quarter Stafford found Tate in the end zone AGAIN. By this time, I’m sniffing the top 20,000 and looking at a $25 payday! I guess you can tell by now that I’m not what Vegas-types would call a “whale”.

With about a minute to go in the half, Drew Brees lofted a pass down the right sideline to… Cooks! TOUCHDOWN! I’m 11,000th! But replay showed that he didn’t get in. Back to 23,000th place.

Draftkings PrizesA little aside here: Another fun thing about playing in a “big money” game is the ability to track the drama at the top of the leaderboard, where the life-changing money is changing lives. Entering the game last night, 16 of the top 17 entries had no players playing Monday Night. Entrant “cflanders002” was leading for the million dollar prize with 272 points (a little over .50 points per player minute). His lineup included basically all of the weekend’s superstars (Cam, Woodhead, Antonio Brown, David Johnson), the definition of “hitting the jackpot”. But lurking in 4th place (the $100,000 spot) was entrant “lazgetsfit”, who entered Monday night with 258 but with the Saints’ Tim Hightower yet to play. Right after Cooks’ touchdown was reversed, the ball was placed on the one-yard-line and Hightower ran for the touchdown. Putting “laz” in GREAT SHAPE for winning a million dollars. But there was a FLAG ON THE PLAY. One more unsuccessful Hightower carry and a couple of braindead plays by Saints players and coaches ended the threat. I can’t imagine what “laz” and “cflanders” were going through.

Anyway, in the third quarter, Brees found Cooks for a legit touchdown (along with several other catches by Cooks and Tate) which, for a short while, moved me into the top 2,500. That would have meant a $100 payout! Alas, the final few minutes saw TD passes to other players which dropped me into 3,086th place with 219 points (.41 points per player minute)Draftkings3

“cflanders002” is a million dollars richer. Tim Hightower caught an 18-yard pass on the game’s final play, lifting “lazgetsfit” past three players and into second place. Going from 5th to 2nd on that play was worth a whopping $360,000 to “laz”. Entrant “tholl99” lost $200,000 on that final play. I bet his alarm went off early this morning.

My Draftkings account now proudly boasts a $75 balance. Common sense says cash it out and use the money for something sensible like that new pump for the well that we’ve had our eye on. But that’s not going to happen. I’ll play hundreds and hundreds of $2 games over the next several months, winning some and losing some, and eventually the “house money” will be gone.

But it won’t be boring!

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