RotoGrinders Premium Subscriber "Buffaloo" Wins FanDuel's NFL Week 1 Sunday Million
RotoGrinders member and Premium subscriber, ‘Buffaloo’, won the $1,000,000 top prize in FanDuel’s Sunday Million contest for Week 1, utilizing a Packers stack to storm up the leaderboard before holding on in the afternoon for the life-changing tournament victory.
We caught up with Buffaloo (Brandon C.) to get a little background on his DFS history, how he approached Week 1 lineup building, what he plans to do with the influx of cash, and more.
Congrats on the life-changing win! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who you are, where you’re from, what you do?
Thanks! I am originally from upstate New York, went to school in Buffalo (hence the screen name), and after school I moved to Massachusetts for work. I’m an Applications Engineer – I make automation software, mostly for large enterprises to help them operate more efficiently, save money, etc.
How long have you been playing DFS? What got you into it and how successful have you been so far?
A few years ago I started playing fantasy football in leagues with some of my friends, and I started crushing those fish (really though I just took it way too seriously because I’m really competitive) and won almost every league. I heard through the grapevine that a friend of a friend won like $50k on a DraftKings tourney and I was like: “Wow, I could totally do that”. That was probably around 3-4 years ago now and I started really slow with not much bankroll and just playing casually then, but I have been taking it increasingly seriously each year since.
I’ve been able to make quite a bit of ROI on Yahoo, but honestly haven’t had too much luck on DK. This was my first year really playing on FD heavily but I’ve been able to build a solid bankroll between satellites, overlay on NBA/MLB, and slaying fools at League of Legends DFS.
What does your typical DFS weekend look like (i.e. what contests do you play, how much volume do you play, what your process is)?
I usually play much lower volume than I did this week. I think last year on average I would play like $100-300/week depending on how much I liked the slate and how much overlay was available. I play about 50-75% GPPs where I try to use more game theory, and then 25-50% in cash (mostly as an emotional hedge so I don’t feel like a donkey when the chalk, best plays go off). I actually made out with a pretty decent ROI last year doing that.
You’re a RotoGrinders member and Premium subscriber – can you tell us how you use RG to help you with DFS?
These are going to be some long-winded responses so I apologize in advance for that. I am an avid sports fan but when COVID hit, I needed something to watch so I started really building bankroll actually playing League of Legends DFS, which RotoGrinders actually had some really awesome content for (shoutout to Gimino for his slate simulations which were awesome).
Then, the NBA and MLB came back, and FanDuel started doing these satellite contests where you just had to make a cash contest and beat like 30% of the field with a $1 entry to get a $4 ticket. So I started grinding those tickets (using LineupHQ, RG Consensus Value Rankings, and especially Meansy’s Core Plays for NBA and Cheese’s Core Plays for MLB) and eventually got enough to max enter this FD contest for the first time.
After that, it was just back to the usual NFL prep – listening to RG’s podcasts, reading the content like Noto’s Core Plays, Expert Surveys, regularly checking the CVRs amongst RG experts, reading through the Grind Down, and then trying to do any of my own research and ranking the players accordingly for my lineup exposure. This was all super easy to do with LineupHQ player exposures and editable projections.
Talk about your overall lineup-building strategy for Week 1 and go into detail about the thought process behind crafting your winning lineup.
This was my first time MME’ing, so I built all my lineups using LineupHQ. After my research I decided I was going to eat the Jacobs, Davante, and Thielen chalk and go way overweight on them, match the field on CMC because I didn’t want him to bury me, and then go way underweight on some of the more thin popular plays (D Jax, Marquise, Boston Scott, etc).
I actually had a massive QB pool this slate (usually I stick to like 3-5 or so) because of all of the uncertainty with Week 1 and no preseason. I am a Green Bay fan so I was salivating at the thought of Rodgers at low ownership (especially against an increasingly bad defense in the Vikings). He was not getting any hype this week, so I went super overweight on him and sprinkled in some MVS/Lazard and also went heavy on Jones.
I used player groups and player stacks in LineupHQ to make sure to always pair my QBs with 1-2 pass catchers and 1-2 bring backs for a game stack. I was also watching the late game news and went very overweight on WAS D when I saw that most of their starting O line was out on Crunch Time. After setting my exposures and building all my rules, I literally just let LineupHQ build my 150 lineups and got some real luck with how they came together!
When did you realize you had a real shot at winning?
In the 4th quarter of the first set of games with about 5 minutes left in most of them, Allen Lazard was the only dud left in my lineup and I was in 4th place. He caught a pass and literally tripped over his own feet with no one between him and the endzone. I obviously started cursing and texted a couple friends I play DFS with that if he caught that TD I would be in first place. Then, Rodgers gives him another shot a play or two later and he comes down with a TD, which puts me in 1st. I was starting to sweat at that point but still not thinking it’s not going to happen as there were people right on my tail and still a lot of football to play. On the next drive, Thielen caught a bomb, and right after that Calvin Ridley caught another bomb for a TD, and then Thielen caught a TD and 2-point conversion, all in probably the last 2 minutes of the games.
I started losing it at that point because I was so far ahead of the person in 2nd place (so much that I disturbed my napping girlfriend on the couch who began eyeing me like I’m some sort of lunatic), but then I still had to sweat out the three 4pm games, so I kept thinking someone was going to knock me out of 1st. Mostert and Kamara started really strong so I was worried for a while, but they didn’t end up even coming close.
When you realized you had won, what were your initial thoughts? Where were you and who did you celebrate with?
I didn’t think it was real. I just kept thinking something was going to happen with a stat correction or something to knock me out. I just kept refreshing FanDuel over and over. In fact, it still doesn’t feel real. I was just at my apartment with my girlfriend, and we had a bottle of champagne that we popped as soon as the last game ended and there was still no one close. I texted a couple close friends and called my mom to tell her.
So, you’re a “millionaire” now. Any purchases in the near future? Any plans?
Well, I’m only a millionaire until the taxes hit me. I’ve been looking at houses for a while and probably going to pull the trigger on one now. Never even dreamed I would have the ability to buy one with cash. I’m also going to have to buy a Davante Adams jersey.
Any final shoutouts and/or words of advice for fellow Grinders striving to win big?
Keep grindin’! Make sure you capitalize on discounted satellite tickets (at some point FD was pretty much giving them away for free). When you see overlays in contests, that is free money that you should capitalize on (RG extension calculates overlay for you on the fly so you don’t even have to be a math wiz). Focus on building bankroll first and foremost and eventually you will have enough to throw at some of these top heavy contests.
I literally could not have done this without the content and tools available through RotoGrinders, so I just want to give a huge thank you to the whole team at RG.
Many thanks to Brandon for taking the time to answer some questions, and a huge congrats on the $1,000,000 win!