$2M DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship Winner Pledged Half to Charity

A decisive first-place victory by ChipotleAddict in the DraftKings World Championship Final on Sunday, for a $2 million first-place haul, means that the co-first place finisher is charity.

Real name Tom Crowley, currently the third-ranked Grinder, he pledged on Dec. 13 prior to kickoff of the 180-entry contest to donate half of proceeds to charities working with the Double Up Drive, which matches donations benefiting 10 separate causes:

Thanks to a dominating offensive performance by the Atlanta Falcons, from which the 29-year-old Denver resident had rostered Matt Ryan, Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones (with no thanks to a goose egg by Austin Hooper), as well as Davante Adams and Joe Mixon and Jaylen Samuels, he cleared 174 points, 10 more than the second-place competitor.

Why so many Falcons?

“I knew that not many people would have them and they’d have a chance to have a massive game,” said Crowley, who was at home building NBA lineups while watching the Sunday slate unfold.

Adding up winnings from each of the 10 entries across the DraftKings Final and the FanDuel $2M WFFC Finals, for a $2,254,000 haul, Crowley netted $1,127,000 for the charities participating with the DoubleUpDrive, plus any funds that get matched. Those charities include the Malaria Consortium, Helen Keller International and The Good Food Institute, top-rated charities according to GiveWell, a group that measures which organizations use resources most effectively. In other words, they’re bringing a DFS mentality to charitable giving.

“These charities are very well researched, the most effective organizations in respective fields,” Crowley said on Monday by phone. “The most effective animal charity, the most effective human suffering and environmental charities. They’re evaluated by a couple different organizations, the biggest one GiveWell, which looks for the most effective as far as what they accomplish per dollar.”

Crowley also said he intends to give an entire one-half of his winnings, in other words not reducing the sum to account for taxes. If the entirety gets matched via the Double Up Drive as he expects, this single donation could blossom into over $2.25 million, plus any additional contributions inspired by Crowley’s generosity. Crowley pledged the funds in advance, noting that it’s a psychological technique that helps him frame his mind before the event begins.

This isn’t Crowley’s first foray into high-stakes charity. In 2017, same year he won the award for RotoGrinders Tournament Player of the Year, Crowley and his brother Martin (ranked fourth on the RG leaderboard, ‘papagates’), made contributions totaling over $700,000 to a drive by professional poker player Dan Smith in conjunction with Raising for Effective Giving (REG), a campaign that ultimately surpassed $1.7 million.

The DraftKings final event brought 180 entries together for a crack at $10 million total prizes. ChipotleAddict had a total of six entries in the field, cashing at 18th for $65,000, for $30,000 at both 51st and 56th; $20,000 for the 119th-place finish and finally $15,000 for the anchor at 153. His best finish in the FanDuel contest was fifth, for which he generated $42,000.

A former professional poker player like Smith, Crowley turned to DFS as his full-time, primary focus in 2015. It’s been working out very well for him, for a variety of charities, and of course, by association, Chipotle.

As for the all-important question, why?

“A lot of people are selfish and to be honest, I’m quite selfish as well,” Crowley said. “But one thing people don’t realize is that giving money is one of the most effective ways to promote your own happiness, self-worth and fulfillment. So that’s a big part of it. I’ve realized I could spend this money on a boat, or spend it saving lives. And it will literally make me happier to give it away.”

About the Author

Brett Smiley (bsmiley)

Brett Smiley is Head of Sports Betting Content at RotoGrinders, focusing on news and features. In 2017, Smiley co-founded Sports Handle, a website dedicated to covering the expansion of legal sports betting in the U.S. He’s a lifelong sports bettor and fantasy sports player (DFS and season-long), dating back to the late ’90s era of loose-leaf box scores. You can find him on Twitter @brettsmiley.