To be able to understand the daily fantasy games that FanDuel offers, we at Footballguys wanted to get a jumpstart on the 2013 season and run an interview series with some of the biggest Daily Fantasy players in the business. What better way to learn the tricks of the trade, then by interviewing the guys that have the experience and results as some of the top players at FanDuel.
In this particular interview series we sit down with Daily Fantasy Games journeyman Headchopper (David) and dig up a little background on how the Daily Fantasy Games have evolved. Headchopper is one of the most well-known players in the industry and has a special talent for the bigger tournaments and any insight from someone with so much experience is always an extra bonus. The key phrase I took from Headchopper's interview was "Daily fantasy is profitable, but at its core is extremely entertaining." Be sure to follow Headchopper over on Twitter with any Daily Fantasy questions @headchopper
HEADCHOPPER (DAVID) INTERVIEW
First off, what is your Fantasy Football background?
I started playing fantasy football in 1998 when a friend came up with the idea to do this. It was a new concept to us and the league is still in existence. With the exception of a couple guys who have gotten switched out over the years, it’s the same 8 of us.
What first got you interested in the Daily Fantasy Games type of leagues?
I was drifting around a sports information site one day about 5 or 6 years ago and saw an ad for Snapdraft. At this point I was dominating season long leagues in all 3 major sports and I was in love with fantasy sports. So this was just a natural fit for me. I signed up, played and the rest is history.
How do you feel about Daily Fantasy Games compared to the Season long (Redraft/Dynasty) leagues?
I guess the best way I can sum up my feelings is by saying that at this point in time, the 1998 football league with my friends is the only season long league I play in. Everything else is Daily. I am a guy who was playing 15-20 season long football leagues and multiple MLB and NBA leagues just 6 years ago. Now it’s the friend league and 1 big draft in Vegas opening weekend and that’s it.
What is your reaction to the recent explosion on the Daily Fantasy Games scene?
It was only a matter of time. I knew this was going to happen and it will only get bigger. People love sports and they love playing fantasy. When they catch on to the daily fantasy concept they fall in love with it. Everyone loves entertainment. That’s why we go to the movies and download music. Daily fantasy is profitable, but at its core is extremely entertaining.
The name “Headchopper” is a household name in the Fanduel community. Can you walk us through a typical week preparing for that particular weeks NFL games?
On Tuesday morning I’ll start looking at next week’s matchups. On Wednesday I’ll start dipping into the salaries and trying to peg the stud and value plays that may be worthwhile that week. By Thursday I am signing up for all the different types of games I want to play that week. Some are head to heads, some 50/50 games and those tournaments with big prize pools that interest me. On Friday I will put together my teams. Then on Saturday I kick back and watch a full day of college football. Then on Sunday I tweak those lineups based on news that comes in.
You are currently ranked 17th overall in Rotogrinders ‘Grinder Rankings’ and 4th overall in their Tournament Player of the Year rankings. How do you continue to maintain such a respectable reputation year in and year out?
It probably comes down to passion for me. I’ve had the pleasure to speak with some of the best players out there and they are all very smart guys. Some are computer and spreadsheet wizards. A lot have great mathematical skills. I probably can’t compete with them on that level, but I can compete with them when it comes to loving sports and spending the time to prepare for each game. That is the place I gain any edge.
Being one of the proven stars in the tournament style games, can you give some further insights and strategies on how you put together a weekly roster?
Every week is different. You cannot have one set formula and use it every week. Sometimes Wide Receivers are better plays than Running Backs. Sometimes you need to spend on Tight Ends. There are times when you need to play a contrarian lineup to set yourself apart from the masses and other times just ride the guys that everyone knows are sleepers. The best strategy is to stay flexible and roll with the punches.
Can you discuss some of the Fanduel features you like best when it comes to playing daily fantasy football?
The best feature about Fanduel is the huge guaranteed prize pools they have. They are the best in the industry at offering big prizes and fantastic tournaments. Heck I’m on my way to Vegas in 2 days to play in a Fanduel tournament where someone is going to walk away with $200K. They are flying us in, keeping us at a 5 star hotel and renting out an entire venue for us to watch the games. Nobody else offers those types of opportunities just for playing fantasy sports.
Is there anything you think Fanduel could improve upon with their football leagues and contests?
Well I’d like to see them catch up to the other sites when it comes to their live scoreboards for the big tournaments. Other sites spent their money on bells and whistles for their live scoring and it seems like Fanduel spent their money on offering these huge prizes. That’s cool and all, but I’d like to see a better scoreboard. Otherwise, can’t complain about anything.
With a variety of league types that Fanduel offers (H2H, 50/50, 3-man, 5-man, 10-man, 20-man, Tournaments), which ones do you play regularly? And Why?
I’m a H2H and 50/50 guy first and foremost. That’s a great way to build some bankroll up and offset the cost of taking the chances of playing those big GPP’s.
What advice or tips would you give to a “Rookie” just starting out in the Daily Fantasy Games scene?
If fantasy sports are something you love to do then don’t give up on daily fantasy if you struggle out the gate. There are some growing pains most of the time. But they don’t last long. Don’t get upset or go on tilt just because it’s rough at first. Play calm and keep grinding and it will work out. Everyone goes on bad streaks. It sucks when that streak happens when you first begin, but give it a chance.
What other players in the industry should people be looking out for?
Well Naapsterman is the king of the big prize pool games right now. He’s tough. Al_Smizzle has kind of burst onto the scene this past year and I’m anxious to see how he does in football. There are quite a few guys out there who are really doing well right now. This football season is going to be a blast.
It is week 1 of the NFL season and you just got a free $100 to play with on Fanduel, how do you spend the money?
$50 of it is going to H2H games and $50 of it is going to try and qualify for the Fanduel Football Championship
How are you planning your bankroll management (percentages) for the upcoming football season?
For football I might spend maybe 30% of my bankroll on any given week. Of that 30%, I usually spend around 65% on H2H’s and 50/50’s. 20% on the Fanduel football championship and 15% on other nice GPP’s that may have overlay in them.
What type of daily fantasy football information would you like to see in the future from the Footballguys community?
I love matchup based articles. More of that is never enough. I love it when experts break down the X’s and O’s of the upcoming games. That’s the type of information that can set your prep apart.
More from James Brimacombe:
FanDuel Plays of the Week: Week 2 - September 11
FanDuel Plays of the Week: Week 1 - September 4
Daily Games Introduction: Exploring the FanDuel Scoring System - August 26
Kick and Punt Returners: Rankings and Depth Chart - August 26
Daily Games Intro: Different Game Types Offered - August 22
What if Jordan Cameron is lost for the season? - August 2
Player Spotlight: Jay Cutler - July 24
Daily Games Introduction: What is FanDuel? - July 21
Player Spotlight: Kendall Wright - July 11
Player Spotlight: Ben Tate - July 2