Bit of Advice for the Rookie Live Finalist
I’m depressed. No live final for me this year. But there is no crying in DFS, this article is about you the reader, the first timer at the live final. Screw the veteran live finalists, this is an article tailored to you.
You made it. Let me repeat You. Made. It. You are going to embark upon something you will never forget, a daily fantasy football live final. You are flying to a destination either Las Vegas or the Bahamas. You are running a range of emotions, you have told everyone or you have told virtually nobody. You have been analyzing the matchups for weeks or you are going to “stick with your normal routine”. This is it and you are one of the select few at the “final table”. You have climbed the mountain. You have a shot at life changing prize money and forever live in fantasy lore. Believe it or not, I was you! Twice! Want some advice? No? Well……why are you reading the RG blogs?! There is no “Grinders U” for Live finals (I checked). Let the advice wash over you, you are not required to listen to any of it although maybe one or two things you will find helpful. After all chances are the jackass giving you advice in RG chat isn’t going to help you take down the crown, why not give this blog a shot.
Prep before leaving: Make sure all the things you need are in order, the site should have communicated an itinerary, dress code for event(s), etc. Make sure you have everything you need, including passport(s) if applicable. Get all that stuff done well in advance if you can, traveling can be stressful, especially if you aren’t used to traveling. Do a little online research, RG used to have his coverage archived but that appears to have changed. Rotogrinders does have a Youtube Channel, I would recommend searching the channel for past live final coverage. Same can be done with Draftkings TV (DKTV). If nothing else it will give you some sense of the atmosphere, questions asked to finalists, etc.
Don’t be foolish: What does that mean? Don’t be the person that is “happy to be there” and going to throw something up against the wall and see if it works. This is a final exam. This is for “ALL” the money. Life changing money. “F U” money. This is a big deal. If you have a process, great! If you don’t, put a little extra effort into it this week. It does not matter how you got here either your 1st week playing daily fantasy or you have been grinding for years. It does not matter what stakes you normally play or the amount in your Daily Fantasy bankroll. Generally speaking, you are on a level playing field. The people fortunate enough with multiple entries cannot cover “all” the bases. Don’t dismiss this opportunity.
Business-cation: Yeah I made the word up. Its somewhere between business trip where you don’t leave your hotel room except to eat or go to work and vacation where you are never in your room. This will be an insane atmosphere, the hosts will have things planned, open bars will be flowing, there will be a media presence, and who knows what else will be going on. Just be you, don’t try to impress anyone. Be responsible, keep a clear mind. Remember, you will be making decisions soon, important ones. You don’t want to be handicapped going into it.
Don’t set a lineup prior to leaving: This was my mistake. The thinking behind it is you set your lineup early and you can just enjoy. That’s bullshit. Think of a regular week and how much changes from Wednesday to Sunday. Coach speak, injuries, weather, etc. You may paralyze yourself. The only way I would set a lineup early in the week is if that was my process all year long. My process was setting my lineups late Saturday evening, all the injury news was pretty much in and decisions could be made. I set my lineup on Wednesday or Thursday for the live final. Then I had trouble getting off those plays.
Formulate a Strategy: Decide how you want to play this, I would advise swinging for the fences. These prize pools are extremely top heavy, there is no sense “playing it safe”. Don’t be afraid to take some chances, there is no hard and fast formula obviously but taking players that “got you there” is complete nonsense in daily fantasy. I wouldn’t necessarily change the type of player you have been to this point but just keep in mind, it is hard to beat this many players in any week for any stakes. You may have to go out on a bit of a limb, don’t be afraid to do that.
Take it easy Saturday night: I’ll skip the lecture. Let me put it this way, you are walking away with X amount of money guaranteed. If you want to do a Vegas weekend after this with some friends, that would be the time to go nuts. In my opinion, now is not the time.
Stay in your room until lineups lock: Get a good breakfast. Then go back to your room. Don’t go to the event site early. FFFC 2013 there was a blizzard in Philadelphia and Reggie Bush pulled a calf in warmups. Don’t be caught off guard. Have the pre game shows on in your room. Have twitter going. If something goes down, if weather changes, you will have all the tools are your disposal. The event will have plenty of room for you, trust me.
Double check your lineup(s): There has been some crazy stuff that has happened at live finals, including somebody forgetting to submit a lineup. Yes, this really happened. Do not be that person, triple check everything. Sounds simple but don’t make a really dumb mistake that could cost you huge.
Once the games begin, enjoy! You will be nervous as hell. Try to relax a little and watch and soak it all in. If you are going to cheer like a maniac, try to tone it down a touch. You aren’t in your living room. That TD your guy got just ripped the heart out of the person sitting next to you. They call it “Sweat-quette” That’s a real term, I googled it. If it goes great for you, jot down a few words. Chances are they are gonna shove a microphone in your hand. Congrats you’re the next ambassador for DFS, winning seven figures will put you in the limelight. Embrace it. Don’t worry there will be another event next year (or next week at the rate the industry is going) and a new person will be able to take over for you.
If it does not go your way The odds are against you. But you already know that. Chances are this does not go your way. Try not to beat yourself up too bad. You put the time and effort in to make a great lineup. It is hard to win any contest at any stakes of this size. Count how many times you have finished at the top of even a 50/50 at this size. It is tough. Really tough. You had an experience others would give anything for. Free weekend away and coming home with a significant amount of money.
What’s it like? Wish I had words to explain it. You’ll find out soon enough. Good Luck
cb35 is an insurance professional residing in the Boston area. He is currently a top 250 ranked Grinder. He was fortunate enough to qualify for the Fanduel 2013 FFFC (15th/50), the Draftstreet 2013 DFFC (10th/40) both held in Las Vegas. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @cb35x