FanDuel 2018 NBA Single Entry Series Championship Recap

The championship round of FanDuel’s NBA Single Entry Series, presented by RotoGrinders, took place on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018.

Having the best cumulative score across a week’s worth of single-entry contests was the price of admission into the SES Championship. A player’s best four scores counted toward the total. There was a different buy-in amount for each week, ranging from $3-$100 per contest.

af1italian (1439.40 total points in qualifying) joined RotoGrinders members dainfamousac (1322.60), whiterock (1407.20), pattywhackers (1331.60), jahust11 (1425.40), and cubsfan_2007 (1377.50) in the championship, where they competed for $30K in total prize money.

Led by LeBron James, whiterock took home the $10,000 first place prize with a solid lineup from top-to-bottom. whiterock answered some questions for the RotoGrinders community about his winning lineup and DFS journey. You can find his story and SES Championship fantasy team below.

—Contest Link—

RotoGrinders: Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and how you got into DFS. What DFS sports do you play and when did you start playing? Which pro teams or players are your favorites?

My name is Joe Pahnke, aka, whiterock in the DFS community. I currently live in Louisville, KY and work as an executive for a major retail company. I grew up near Chicago, so I am a huge Bears/Cubs/Bulls/Blackhawks fan.

I got into DFS in late 2013, when I was flying home from Vegas and noticed a FanDuel ad in a magazine. I thought I was decent at season long fantasy sports, so I thought why not give DFS a try. About three weeks in, I had my first tourney win in a FD football contest and then went on to have a solid rest of the season. It wasn’t until after the 2013 season that I found RG when searching for content on basketball.

I’ve been playing since then, with your typical highs and lows, but not low enough to give it up, and not high enough to take it too serious. I’ve had some good success in football and a little in baseball over the years, but recently have had a lot of success in NASCAR, and am enjoying my best season in basketball. I also enjoyed playing college football DFS, which we all miss dearly.

RotoGrinders: How did you find out about the Single Entry Series? Do you play FanDuel NBA regularly?

I’m on the RG website every day reading content for various sports, so I became aware of the Single Entry Series through RG because they were sponsoring the contest. I play NBA every night on FD, but was not chasing this tournament until I took down the $10 (single entry series contest) on January 30th with a score of 431. I knew that if I could be consistent the rest of the week, I would have a chance to qualify for the final.

RotoGrinders: You won the Week 3 qualifier ($10 buy-in) by nearly 21 points. What was the week-long qualifying experience like?

The week-long sweat is tough. I put up a big number early in the week and was in the top 10 the whole time, so I paid close attention. I was top 5 going into Saturday and knew what number I needed most likely to move into the top spot. I was fortunate enough to put up a strong score, and then just had to sweat Sunday’s rough slate. My strategy all week was to try to put up a combined 1400 points over four contests, because I knew it would be tough to beat. I played it pretty chalky all week, and it paid off.

RotoGrinders: Talk about your roster construction and the key decisions you made for the final.

It was one of the tougher decision-making nights I’ve had this season. I did not like the point guard position, and was very worried about Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo on a back-to-back, in which AD had an injury the night before. I was locked in on Zach Randolph, Kyle Kuzma, and Clint Capela all day, and as the day went on, I started wavering on these guys. I was chatting with Seige in his Tactics Package, and he really gave me great advice on how to approach the slate and a six-man tournament. I ended up on Rondo even though I didn’t feel safe with him, but thought the rest of the field would follow (he was 67% owned). I was higher on Ben McLemore than most, and liked that Kobi Simmons was starting. But the key decisions for me were LBJ over AD, I just thought power forward was so much deeper, and Marc Gasol over Capela and Kosta Koufos, though Gasol only put up 33, it was still more than those two.

RotoGrinders: What was the sweat like during this seven-game slate?

No matter what I was walking away with at least $2K, so the sweat was pretty low-key. My wife was understanding of the time I had put in up to lock, so I put my two daughters to bed, and enjoyed a glass of wine with her. I had five guys going early, which was contrarian in last night’s slate, so I knew if the Memphis guys did well, I would be sitting pretty good. Gasol and JaMychal Green didn’t meet value, and then AD dropped 20 in the first quarter and I thought it was going to be a long night, so I actually fell asleep. I woke up toward the end of the west coast games, and saw that it was a pretty tight race. Ultimately, LBJ and Aaron Gordon put me over the top, but had AD not exited the game, I may have not won the tourney.

RotoGrinders: What are your plans going forward in DFS?

I really enjoy playing DFS as a hobby, and consider myself a pretty typical grinder. No major changes in what I do, I’ll continue to invest a small percentage of my bankroll each day on basketball, and baseball coming up, and try to take down a major NASCAR tournament this season. Eventually, I think it would be fun to qualify for a live final, but it can be tough on the bankroll in trying to do so.

RotoGrinders: Congratulations on becoming the 2018 NBA Single Entry Series Champion. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share about the FanDuel Single Entry Series or RotoGrinders?

I think it was nice to see six ordinary players qualify for the Single Entry Championship, and goes to show that anyone can run hot, not just the pros. Again, I would like to thank TheSeige for providing me with his insights on game theory which help guide my lineup construction. I also want to give a shoutout to Stevie, who does phenomenal work on RG, and his NASCAR package for helping me be successful during the racing seasons.

Congratulations to whiterock and the five other Single Entry Series finalists for their sustained success in this tournament. Hopefully we can run it back again soon!

About the Author

  • Nicole Valencia (nvalencia30)

  • Nicole Valencia found DFS at the beginning of the 2012 NFL season and has been steadily losing interest in her favorite teams’ win-loss records ever since. She idolizes college basketball coaches who don’t automatically bench their star players for picking up two fouls in the first half. Nicole is a software engineer who lives in Colorado with her husband and two kids.


  • bmandozzi

    Just a suggestion for next seasons single entry tournament:

    Instead of basing the winner on total score of the best 5 lineups it should be lowest average finish of your best 5. This eliminates people winning because they played on slates where the scores were high regardless of where they finished. Point being you should get rewarded for coming in 1st place.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Still love the single entry series and can’t wait for the MLB one!

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