Announcing the 2016 Tournament Player of the Year

He has been called a robot, a shark, a genius and everything in between.

But now, one of the best players in the daily fantasy sports industry has another title to add to his trophy case: Player of the Year.

We’re happy to announce that the winner of the 2016 RotoGrinders Tournament Player of the Year is…saahilsud!

Saahil Sud (aka maxdalury) becomes the fifth person to win the TPOY crown – joining Erik “ehafner” Hafner, Jonathan “McJester” Zellers and Al “AlSmizzle” Zeidenfeld as the most recent victors.

The Final 2016 TPOY Standings

Rank Player Points
1 saahilsud 110,185
2 papagates 99,527
3 ChipotleAddict 87,580
4 ehafner 86,119
5 youdacao 81,409
6 Theclone 75,254
7 scout326 72,038
8 awesemo 68,062
9 AssaniFisher 67,394
10 aejones 66,568
11 emitnulB 66,551
12 peteyt 64,044
13 jae686 63,213
14 mbomb44 58,879
15 jakz101 58,551
16 csuram88 55,726
17 chess_is_ok 55,671
18 Troll4MVP 54,959
19 draftcheat 53,176
20 Rotomania 52,983
21 flavorflav 52,533
22 McJester 49,880
23 AshyL4rry 49,390
24 Dahladino 49,187
25 fallfromgrace 48,641

Crowning a Champion

The race to the finish was anything but. Saahil Sud’s triumph was as much of a wire-to-wire victory as you’ll see in DFS.

As alluded to above, Sud rose to DFS fame under the username “maxdalury.” No matter what name you call him, his achievements are undeniable. He’s currently ranked number one in the RotoGrinders Overall Rankings, TPOY Rankings, Monthly Rankings, Super Heavyweight tiered rankings, and Sports Rankings for NFL, MLB, NBA, and PGA. His lone blemish is that he’s “only” ranked 2nd in our NHL Rankings. His rise to the top included success in tournaments and cash games alike.

Sud has qualified for a whopping 17 live finals since 2013. This year, he secured a staggering 31 entries into live finals, including the FanDuel WFFC (3x), DraftKings FFWC (4x), FanDuel WFBC (3x), DraftKings FBBWC (3x), DraftKings FBWC (6x), FanDuel WFBBC (3x), DraftKings FGWC (6x), FanDuel NFL Playboy Mansion (2x), and the 2016 FanDuel NBA Playboy Mansion (3x).

Sud’s big wins stretched throughout 2016, securing his place at the top of the TPOY Leaderboard and cementing his leagacy. Although he never won a seven-figure prize in any one contest, he consistently dominated. Some of his biggest victories were:

— 3rd place in the DraftKings NFL $2.5M Sunday special
— 7th place in the FanDuel $5M Sunday Million a week later
— 1st place in the DraftKings NBA $1M Year End Special
— 2nd place in the DraftKings NFL $1.75M WildCat Championship
— 2nd place in the DraftKings NFL $5M Main Event Millionaire

And this is just a sampling of his top scores! Although all of these finishes were important for his TPOY bid, it’s worth noting that many of his strongest showings occurred in December, helping him fend off late-season pushes from challengers beneath him.

Sud’s success isn’t newfound, either. He’s arguably the highest volume player out there – and one of the longest tenured, too. Sud has been a member of the RotoGrinders community since 9/20/2011. He sat down with our own Dan Back in September to give his side of the multi entry debate and reply to some of his biggest critics in this edition of the Fantasy Fix podcast.

This was a year of firsts for Sud in more than one regard. In January 2016, he founded and launched RotoQL, a DFS toolset.

Sud’s run has been a dominant one, and we’re extremely happy to have him as our 2016 Tournament Player of the Year! Stay tuned for additional interviews about the man behind the screen name.

The Finalists

While there can only be one champion, it would be a shame not to give due credit to the other fantastic DFS players who round out the top 10 in our final 2016 TPOY standings. Each one of these guys had an incredible year of DFS success and should be commended on what they’ve been able to accomplish.

#2 – papagates

Sure, he didn’t win our TPOY, but wouldn’t we all take a one-day million-dollar paycheck as a consolation prize?

Papagates currently sits in the Top-10 of our Grinders Rankings, TPOY, Monthly Rankings, Super Heavyweight tiered rankings, and Sports Rankings for NFL, NBA and MLB.

In terms of his biggest single-day achievements, papagates won the $1 million first-place prize in the DraftKings NFL $4.4M Fantasy Football Millionaire on Sep 24th, 2016. He also qualified for this year’s FanDuel WFFC (3x), DraftKings FFWC (5x), DraftKings FBBWC (2x), DraftKings FBWC (3x), and FanDuel MLB Playboy Mansion (2x).

Not too shabby of a showing at all for the TPOY silver medalist!

#3 – ChipotleAddict

Tom “ChipotleAddict” Crowley is a former professional poker player. While he didn’t win a million-dollar prize in 2016, he did take down the DraftKings $7M Millionaire Maker ($1.2M to 1st) in 2015.

That’s not to say ChipotleAddict’s 2016 wasn’t eventful. He qualified for the FanDuel WFFC, DraftKings FFWC, FanDuel WFBC (2x), DraftKings FBBWC (3x), DraftKings FBWC (4x), FanDuel WFBBC (2x), DraftKings FGWC, FanDuel NFL Playboy Mansion (2x), and the FanDuel MLB Playboy Mansion. He currently sits in the Top 10 in the Grinders Rankings, TPOY, Super Heavyweight tiered rankings, and Sports Rankings for NFL, NBA and MLB.

#4 – ehafner

The 2015 TPOY winner had yet another strong year. Erik “ehafner” Hafner is an ex-professional poker player and former RotoGrinders contributor.

At this point of his career, it’s more of a question of what ehafner HASN’T done. In 2016 alone, he won $1.6 million by finishing first AND second in the DraftKings NFL $4 million Main Event, secured 16 entries across 7 live finals, and ranks in the Top 10 of the Grinders Rankings, TPOY, Super Heavyweight tiered rankings and Sports Rankings for NFL and MLB.

Close Contenders

#5. – youdacao – While he didn’t conquer any Milly Makers, the fifth-place finisher had TONS of big finishes across large-field GPPs and high-dollar buy-in tournaments alike. Along the way, youdacao qualified for the DraftKings FFWC, FanDuel WFBC, DraftKings FBBWC (2x), DraftKings FBWC (6x), and FanDuel NFL Playboy Mansion.

#6. – Theclone – Theclone has been dominating the GPP scene since 2015. He currently sits in the Top 10 of the Grinders Rankings, TPOY, Super Heavyweight tiered rankings, and Sports Rankings for NBA and MLB. He also qualified for the DraftKings FBWC, FanDuel WFBBC (2x) and FanDuel NBA Playboy Mansion (2x).

#7. – scout326 – He has never qualified for a live final and might keep a low profile, but that doesn’t mean he’s not one of the most successful DFS players around. Scout326 won a number of daily contests this year and grinded his way to Top 10 rankings in the Grinders Rankings, TPOY, Super Heavyweight tiered rankings, and Sports Rankings for all three major sports: NFL, MLB and NBA.

#8. – awesemo – Awesemo grinds all major sports, including hockey. He’s currently ranked in the Top 10 in the Grinders Rankings, TPOY, Super Heavyweight tiered rankings, and Sports Rankings for MLB, NBA and NHL. This year, he qualified for the FanDuel WFBC, as well as the DraftKings FBWC and FABC.

#9. – AssaniFisher – Assani Fisher was the top-finishing RotoGrinders contributor! A former poker pro, Fisher publishes vlogs and podcasts for our site. While he says his best sport is NBA, he also is highly ranked for MLB and MMA, as well as boasting Top 10 rankings in the Grinders Rankings and Super Heavyweight tiered rankings. Over the course of 2016, Fisher secured 18 entries into 8 different live finals.

#10. – aejones – Best known for winning the largest prize in DFS history when he took down the $5 million grand prize at the DraftKings FFWC at the beginning of the year, aejones continued to enjoy success throughout 2016. The former poker pro qualified for six live finals in 2016, including the FanDuel WFFC (2x), DraftKings FFWC, DraftKings FBBWC, DraftKings FGWC (2x), FanDuel Playboy Mansion, and FanDuel NBA Playboy Mansion.

Other Highlights

Highlights include:

— Six different RotoGrinders contributors finished in the Top 50, including AssaniFisher (9th), jakz101 (15th), Wining247 (26th), squirrelpatrol (31st), BigT44 (36th), and stlcardinals84 (43rd). Six other RotoGrinders experts finished 51-100, giving us 12 out of the top 100 spots!

— McJester, the 2014 TPOY winner, had a massive 2016 and finished 22nd. In addition to securing eight entries into live finals, he also won a cool $100k by taking down the $1 million Wednesday NBA Mega Slam on Feb. 23, 2016.

— AlSmizzle, the 2013 TPOY winner, is one of the highest profile players in all of DFS. While working as an analyst at ESPN, he still was able to hit big throughout 2016. He won $1 million by finishing first in the DraftKings $5M Fantasy Football Millionaire and also qualified for two live finals. He finished 28th overall in the TPOY race.

— You can see the full TPOY Leaderboard here.

What’s in store for 2017

It was incredible year for the RotoGrinders Tournament Player of the Year race, and we want to give a huge congratulations to saahilsud for taking down the most prestigious award in daily fantasy sports.

We’re excited to see what 2017 brings and hope you’ll join the race to the top of the leaderboards! If you haven’t already, be sure to add your DFS screen names to your RotoGrinders profile to participate.

About the Author

  • Jonathan Moreland (Jonan)

  • Jonathan “Jonan” Moreland is a member of the RotoGrinders team. He likes boxing, whiskey and burritos. You can follow him on Twitter @morelandj.


  • Gus_Chiggins

    I for one, welcome our DFS overlord.

  • markvikings

    Wow these guys are amazing. Congrats everyone!

  • mrballer

    Congrats love to see everyone hustling keeps my hopes up for a better year then last!

  • FeliciaTheGoat

    no prizes?? smh

  • Cpjttogether

    congrats to the dfs champion.He is clearly the best player a very gifted mind. In my opinion dfs will need his leadership and possibly csuram to get dfs where it will survive long term. Maybe fan duel and draft kings should hire those guys before the merger. the guy is very intelligent and he probally could beat vegas too.I hope he helps fix dfs so I can play it is now I can not and there still is a huge problem in retaining players.but that’s another story. Sahillsud is the champ at dfs and that much they got right.

  • Shenaniagain

    Oh wow. This is whats happening? Haha this is unfortunate for a lot of guys like me who spend $10/week spread out over 0.25 cents, $1-3 and/or maybe a $5’er. I do see draftkings put a max entry of 50 or 150 entries but what keeps someone from having several screennames? Also draftkings has beginner tournaments and casuals but after 2 years of NFL no wonder I can break even in tournaments but have a tough time breaking into the big bucks.

  • Cameron

    RG Co-Founder

    • 2014 FanDuel NFL Survivor Champion

    • 2016 RG Season Long Champion: NFL

    @FeliciaTheGoat said...

    no prizes?? smh

    Beyond the pictured jackets that AlSmizzle, EHafner & McJester are sporting above, and the unique RotoGrinders badge, the TPOY Champion gets an all-expense paid to the RotoGrinders/DraftKings NFL Kick-Off bash, and an upgrade to the hotel’s Suite for the extent of their stay.

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