Taking Over Daily Fantasy: Interview with TheTakeOVER
TheTakeOVER is just your regular 26 year-old small business owner. He’s been playing season long leagues since he was 12, he loves Chipotle burritos, watching Breaking Bad, and drinking Patron Anejo plus Corona while out and about. You might’ve even noticed from TheTakeOVER’s profile photo, that he’s a big fan of the Office. However, when “TTO” (his catchy forum sign-off partially mocking FishCakeKing’s forum sign-off) isn’t out being a normal dude, he is crushing Daily Fantasy opponents.
His RotoGrinders profile has tracked a boat-load of winnings over the past 12 months (as of Feb. 16 2014), and that is only including about half of his winnings from DraftDay (TTO’s most profilic site). $530 and $215 buy-in contests are the norm for a man currently “taking over” the Daily Fantasy industry. Grinders was lucky enough to get some time to pick the mind of TheTakeOVER, and here’s what he told us:
RG: How did you get into Daily Fantasy Sports?
It all started a few years ago when I stumbled upon a site called Snapdraft. Before that I used to play the Smallworld salary cap games which eventually got bought out by The Sporting News. I had no idea what daily fantasy was or what it was going to become. All I knew was that I liked fantasy sports and it seemed like an interesting idea. My first ever game was 100 to win 180 (Grinders would go crazy if this was still the case) I had no clue what I was doing I started Joe Mauer who apparently had been out for the first month of the season. After that different sites started to materialize. It wasn’t until last March that I really started to focus on DFS.
RG: So, you’re currently ranked 18th Overall at the time of writing this article, but our Rankings don’t have results before Sep 1st from DraftDay…one of your main sites. However, you’re 6th on the Monthly Leaderboard, and 4th in NBA so far this season, which more accurately portrays your prolific daily fantasy prowess. When did you realize you were amongst the elite Daily Fantasy Grinders on the interwebz?
I consider myself to be The Elite, everyone else is just a step below. I don’t put up the volume or time into it that some other grinders do and thus my numbers may suffer, but any time that anybody wants to play I’m always up for a game.
RG: Was it a goal of yours to be one of the Top Grinders when you first started playing?
When I first started, Roto Grinders didn’t even exist. All I really cared about back then was having some action. I knew I had a better chance of winning at DFS then I did betting sports, so I stuck to DFS and any time I had an urge to gamble big I would just find my way over to a DFS site.
RG: OK, before things get too serious, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do for a living? Did you play any sports growing up? Sup’ with the Michael Scott avatar?
I am from quite possibly the greatest place in the world, home of the Brooklyn Nets. Currently I am a small business owner who just happens to have a passion for DFS. As a young boy I played baseball but by the time I got to 16 I was more worried about refreshing my Nextel in between innings to see MLB scores to see if I would hit any of my parlays I had going. As for Michael Scott I like to think of myself as the worlds greatest boss. Who wouldn’t like someone whose main objective is to make work fun.
RG: Back to Daily Fantasy: What is your preference between Heads-up contests vs. GPPs?
I prefer to play heads up, I have never been a good gpp player. I just can’t make different teams because I always go back to thinking my original players are the best selections. I would rather stick to one team and play it against anyone and everyone. If I do enter GPPs I just put in the same team over and over and hope to one day finish 1st -20th. Heads up you just have to beat one person, seems a lot easier to make money beating one person then a large field.
RG: You’ve been crushing the $500 heads up contests. How would you explain the difference between a $5 and a $500 heads up contests to more novice players?
I don’t really like to play any contests below 109s. I just think that if I’m able to play 109s and higher I shouldn’t be taking action from a 5 dollar player. A lot of times the 5 dollar player is just there to have fun, there is no reason to take his enjoyment away by making him play someone who is clearly superior. A lot of people play all levels, and it does make sense, the lower levels have weaker competition but that’s just not for me. I like to think of myself as a man of the people.
RG: What sport do you enjoy “grinding” the most? What daily fantasy sport are you most profitable at?
I enjoy grinding NBA and MLB. Basketball is my favorite game to watch. When it comes to baseball I just like to stack a team (preferably the DBACKS) because I just hate watching it. I hate changing the channel and waiting for my players to come up to bat, I rather track one game and hope Aaron Hill or Paul Goldschmidt go nuts. With the addition of Martin Prado the stack will be in even greater effect this season, so anyone who wants to play me in MLB you know whats coming, beat it if you can ☺
I think I’m most profitable in NBA. When it comes to DFS everyone goes on runs. I think my best runs come when I am focused on NBA. NBA is just a lot easier to predict and there’s no Will Venable at minimum price to ruin your night.
RG: What’s your daily research process? Are you a spreadsheet guy? Do you have your own projections? Do you rely strictly on player values?
My daily research process is fairly simple. I’m not a spread sheet guys, I don’t plug in numbers or look at values. I just put together lineups. I’d like to think of myself as an idiot savant when it comes to making lineups with a lot of emphasis on the idiot part. When I start a hot streak it really comes natural to me, there isn’t much thinking to it, I know exactly who to take and I stick with my instincts. However when I’m cold I’m ice cold and it’s a great time to play me. I don’t think I have an in-between level.
RG: Which site(s) do you enjoy playing on the most and why?
I enjoy playing on DraftDay the most. Last year when I really got into DFS it was the only place I played. I just found success there and went on a nice 4-5 month run. I just have loyalty to a site where I first find success. Right now it’s especially nice with RakeBack, however my success there right now is not so nice. In this industry it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hot on a site. It’s a crazy and vicious cycle. I have a lot of loyalty to DraftDay because of their customer service. To them it doesn’t matter if you’re a small stakes player or a high stakes player, they are always willing to help. When I first started I would put in very small amounts of $20 or $25, and every time it would get put on hold by my Credit Card company. All I would have to do is email them and they would immediately fix the problem for me. At that time they had no idea I would become one of their biggest rakers, because of those times I knew that no matter what the problem they would act quickly.
RG: Do you think that people will be able to make a living off of ‘grinding’ the Daily Fantasy industry? What are your long-term vision for the Daily Fantasy industry as it grows?
I think it’s possible to make a living off grinding, it just depends on what you want out of life. Can a person get by grinding? I think the obvious answer is yes. I could see people eventually making 50-75k without the help of a big tournament win. However a lot of people have those million dollar poker dreams, and I think maybe one day someone will become a millionaire playing DFS but that is a long ways away.
I think FanDuel is going to keep growing there tournaments and will eventually get to a point where they are giving away multiple 1 million dollar prizes a year. What I hope for is a chance at a million dollar prize without actually having to win a qualifier for an event. I wish, as I’m sure many other Grinders do, that DFS can one day have a WSOP type event. Obviously it will never be as big but a 5-7 day live event would be unbelievable.
RG: If you could give one tip of advice to newer Grinders what would it be?
I would tell them to trust their gut when they make picks. A spreadsheet helps but your mind is your best bet. I’d also tell them to practice good bankroll management, you can’t ever build up a roll if you have bad bankroll management.
RG: Are there any players you avoid grabbing games from? Who is the best “Grinder” in the industry, in your opinion?
I don’t avoid anyone, I like action. If I see a game and I want a 530 [$530 contest] I will take it no matter the opponent. I rather play one guy for $5,000 then 10 guys for $530 each. It’s much easier to beat 1 then 10. I’m all about the all-or-nothing strategy. The best Grinder in the industry is clearly TheTakeOVER, emphasis on the “over”.