Footballguys Interview: Subscriber Joe Shinn

An interview with subscriber Joe Shinn on how he finished third at the FanDuel World Fantasy Football Championships for a prize of $100,000

Footballguys Interview Series with Subscriber Joe Shinn who

A big congrats to subscriber Joe Shinn who took third in the FanDuel World Fantasy Football Championship. Joe was gracious enough to spend some time giving some insight into his background, his win, the overall day, and what's next for him after the big win. He also experienced one of the craziest endings in FanDuel history in what is simply being called the $30,000 kneel down.


Name- Joe Shinn

How long have you been playing DFS?
I first got into DFS three years ago but started to take a more serious approach this season.

How long have you been a Footballguys subscriber?

I have taken advantage of the Footballguys season-long services for the past three years and started to utilize their DFS content this year.

How did you qualify for the event and in general what is your strategy/bankroll allotment for qualifiers?

I qualified for Fanduel’s World Fantasy Football Championship (WFFC) during week 12 by winning a $550 100-person qualifier. I haven’t typically entered these qualifiers, but had success on Thanksgiving and decided to give it a shot.

What does a typical week of preparation look like for you? Is there a particular feature(s) on FBG that is part of your normal weekly research routine?

My usual routine is to take advantage of FBG’s great lineup optimizer early in the week and start to build some lineups. Then, as the week progresses, I will do more research on the matchups and start to narrow my lineups down to the ones that I think have the most potential. Once Sunday morning rolls around, the ones that I have the most confidence in will then be selected and entered into the different contests.

The Lineup Build

Before you clicked on a name to enter your lineup, what was your strategy heading into the day? Did the contest payout structure have any impact on your strategy?

I spent a lot of time studying matchups and obsessing over the data during the three weeks between my qualifier and the live event. For the first two weeks, I focused on looking at the matchups while my main goal during the third week was to build some different lineups based on my research.

Because there were only 75 teams that I would be competing against, my approach was similar to any 100-team contest. The payout structure also played into my strategy, though, because the payouts were very top heavy. This caused me to focus on more low-priced “boom or bust” players than I normally would, especially at running back.

Explain the thought process behind your lineup construction from this tournament?

One of the things that I have noticed this season is that the defensive statistics for points allowed to different positions can be misleading on the surface. For example, going into Week 15, San Francisco allowed the 12th fewest points to quarterbacks in the league at home, which would seemingly imply that the 49ers were a tough matchup at home for quarterbacks. If you look at their matchups, however, they only faced one top 15 QB at home (Goff). To better account for the quality of the players that teams faced, I started to look into how players performed against certain teams relative to their average performance. This analysis showed that, on average, quarterbacks who faced San Francisco on the road scored 7% more points than they typically would on the road, which was eighth highest in the league. Because of this, I considered playing Russel Wilson.

Using these stats, I slowly started to eliminate and highlight players based on their matchups and prices. Eventually, I was left with a list of 35 players (excluded defenses) that I was comfortable playing and then it was just about building lineups and choosing the one that I had the most confidence in.

Who were the toughest calls to fill out the last few spots?

My most difficult decision was definitely at QB. The three that I was looking at were Brady, Trubisky, and Cousins. All three had decent matchups and had the potential for huge games. Each of the options, however, also had big bust potential and, in the end, I wasn’t overly confident in any of the options. Since I was indifferent between the three options, I ended up going with Brady because he was the only one who played in the late games and the last thing that I wanted was to go into the late games knowing that I had no shot at competing for a high finish. Brady ended up finishing with fewer points than both Trubisky and Cousins. Luckily, though, the additional points would not have affected my overall place.

What time did you submit your lineup and if it was earlier than the last minute was there an urge to go in and change it? Did you go in and change it?

After obsessing over my options all week, I set my lineup early on Saturday. The one spot that I just couldn’t let go of was my TE. Before setting my lineup, I was going back and forth between Evan Engram and Vernon Davis. Neither had great matchups but had the potential for big games because of injuries on their respective teams. I ended up deciding on Engram, but I kept going back and forth through Sunday morning. In the end, the friends who came with me told me that I should stick with my gut. Thankfully I listened to them because had I switched to Davis, I would have lost 8.9 points and fallen 8 spots, costing me $70,000 (thanks Neamand and Keane!).

The Day

What was your favorite part of the live final experience?

The environment as a whole was just incredible. Fanduel rented out a bar and I got to experience all of the highs and lows of the day with people who had the same at stake as I did. I must say, however, that my favorite part of the day was when I received the giant check and got a picture with Ray Lewis.

At what point did you have an idea that you had a chance at a high finish?

After the early games I was sitting in about 20th place with Brady, Antonio Brown, and Samuels still to play and I was able to see that I could reasonably catch anyone who was currently in front of me.

Was there a specific point in the games that when you look back at the event you will remember the most?

The last minute of the Patriots-Steelers game was a roller coaster of emotion. On the Patriots last drive, I was sitting in third place with Brady, but the guy right behind me in fourth had Edelman. After a couple of catches by Edelman, I now sat in fourth, just 0.14 points behind third. The last-minute drop was tough to swallow since the difference between third and fourth place was $30,000, but I was still happy with my day. A couple of kneel downs by Roethlisberger and that’s all she wrote.

But then I looked at my lineup one last time and noticed something; I was back in third! Then it hit me, the guy in third had Roethlisberger and the two kneel downs at the end of the game cost him 0.2 points, allowing me to take third by only 0.06 points. I went absolutely nuts with my friends when we realized that those two kneel downs gave me an extra $30,000!

Future Plans

Any big plans with the winnings?

Ha! I have come to realize that as I get older, the answer to that question becomes less and less fun. Ten years ago, I would have said that I was going to buy a new car or a boat. Honestly, this money has come at a really great time. My wife and I are in the process of opening a small ice cream franchise Sweet Charlie’s and this money will greatly help with that. That’s not to say that we won’t splurge a bit to make sure Christmas is great for us and our two boys.

I also plan to hold some of the money aside for a DFS bankroll so that I can start to take it more seriously and, hopefully, find my way back to the WFFC Live Final next season!

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