Daily Fantasy, Daily Life: Volume XVII - USFL Week 1: "A" For Effort

There’s a scene in The Naked Gun that still gets me every time, despite the fact the actor in the scene is O.J. Simpson. In the scene – see it below – he gets shot, bumps his head, burns his hand, falls into wet paint, has a window close on his hand, lands face first in a wedding cake, gets his foot caught in a bear trap, and then falls off a boat.

That fictional series of disasters has never been matched in real life – that is, until DraftKings attempted to have some USFL slates this past weekend.

It’s an “A” for effort, DraftKings, but wowza: What a shizzshow.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to crack the USFL code last week, and by “inordinate,” I mean “ordinate,” assuming that’s even a word. As in, I read everything I could get my eyes on, listened to every podcast, read every Tweet.
I’m not even stretching the truth here – I really think I got everything.

I was building lineup after lineup and entering them in the 10 and 25-cent contests. That’s my method. It’s a bad method, but it’s mine, so that’s that. My plan – as always – was to then enter a bunch of them in higher-dollar contests. Or contests with a ton of overlay. Ideally, both.

And for a minute there, it seemed like the big GPP – $12 entry, $100K to the winner – was going to fit the mold. With a little more than 24 hours to lock, it was maybe 10% filled. I had visions of max-entering.

And then … well, DraftKings completely O.J. Simpson’d the whole schmear.

Basically, DraftKings sent out free entries to seemingly everyone in their database (except me). The contest filled, and I had zero entries in it. I was aggravated, and I used my Very Important Stature As a Professional Journalist to reach out to a DraftKings spokesperson to ask what happened. Was this planned? Was it an accident?

And despite my Very Important Stature As a Professional Journalist, I got no good answer. State secret, as to what happened.

All right, I can deal with it. Still plenty of other contests to play. I entered a bunch of ‘em.

And then …

Saturday night, Birmingham Stallions vs. the New Jersey Generals. Kickoff! Football! More ownership percentages than Ethan Haskell can shake a stick at! (What? Too soon? But you’re OK with the O.J. Simpson reference?)

But yes: DraftKings published not only the ownership percentages for the Stallions and Generals players, but also for all the players playing Sunday’s games.


To DraftKings’ credit, they sent out emails to everyone who was playing, alerting them of the faux pas and informing everyone that if they lost money on the slate, they’d get their money back.

Of course, since the ownership numbers were live, everyone who had a pulse started tinkering with their lineups to get off the chalk, except … except there was really no need, as the field had players who were not even in the league at 20% ownership.

Noting the ownership numbers, I decided to throw some money into the Sunday-only slate, figuring … well, of course I was going to play the Sunday only slate. Built me some lineups and then …

The last game of the slate, the Tampa Bay Bandits vs. the Pittsburgh Maulers, got postponed due to weather.

At this point, everything went haywire, starting with DraftKings … releasing the ownership numbers. Again. Everyone gets their money back.

Then came the announcement from DraftKings that since the game was postponed, all contests were finished. You had players in the Bandits-Maulers game, too bad.

And then DraftKings reversed course, saying nope, all good, the stats will count.

By the time the final whistle blew Monday night, the slates had come to a merciful end, I won a few bucks on the Sunday slate, lost on the main slate, so overall a positive weekend, and
oh, I almost forgot: For an hour or so there on Sunday the Michigan Panthers were getting the defensive stats for the Houston Gamblers.

All in all, it was a disaster, but of the all’s well that end’s well variety.

DraftKings made things right by giving back entry fees, there was football on TV during Passover and Easter, and I’m already neck deep in research for week 2 of USFL DFS action.

Hopefully next week will be more Priscella Presley and less O.J.

About the Author

  • Jeff Edelstein (jedelstein)

  • Jeff is a veteran journalist, now working with SportsHandle.com, USBets.com, and RotoGrinders.com as a senior analyst. He’s also an avid sports bettor and DFS player, and cannot, for the life of him, get off the chalk. He can be reached at jedelstein@bettercollective.com.

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