Interview with 2013 DFBBC Champion HeadChopper
He’s a busy-man right now, what with winning the title of FanDuel Basketball Champion and $50,000 in Las Vegas then immediately heading home to gear up to compete for another $50,000 and the title of DraftStreet Basketball Champion (he was eliminated in the 2nd round of the DSBBC for those curious). Yet “Chop” was kind and humble enough to make time for an interview with us amidst the chaos.
It’s ironic that the growing character trait associated with a man named ‘headChopper’ is “kind and humble”, but that’s the reputation of one of the best players our game has ever seen. Heck, the man named after a guillotine has told me he had to miss NFL game-time decisions because he’s attending Church. That’s no fantasy murderer to me, and yes, I’ve seen the Godfather.
Maybe he’s referring to the heads he’d knock off on the field? I know he used to play linebacker at one point. But is he a Ray Lewis? They both ‘wear’ purple and black, but I don’t think so. What do we know about the man sporting an iconic, unproportional, neon logo? Well, he is damn good.
It’s tough to declare someone the ‘best’ at any one activity, especially in an industry like ours with so many site, sport and contest-type variables. But if ‘Chop’ isn’t the best Daily Fantasy Grinder we’ve seen to date, then who is?
He got my vote for the 2012 Player of the Year, but wound up finishing 3rd with 10 points behind uber-deserving finalists DP47 (1st, 19 pts.) & CSURam88 (2nd, 11 pts.). I’m not trying to call out my fellow voters at RotoGrinders, but I was a bit shocked that Chop didn’t win. Listen, that comment is absolutely nothing against DP47 and CSURam88; Their resumes make me look like I’m playing Daily Fantasy Pop Warner. I would put up more than my lunch money on each of them daily. But when I did go to cast that vote, a voice in my head was telling me that their voting points were too influenced in 2012 by the recent NFL championships (both won a six-figure prize in December, the month of voting). Sure, this was subjective voting, but only DinkPiece and Chop had “notable results” from the “Big 3” sports listed in DB’s column. Of those results Dink’s came from 2 sites…Chop’s came from 5.
The purple-guillotine can pick up any sport, on any site, and win with very little of what us normal folks call “research”. In poker the best players have that intangible gift to be able to “read” what cards their opponents are holding. Chop has that equivalent for Daily Fantasy, and he used that gift very well in 2013 Q1 to take home arguably the most prestigious basketball title of this year. I don’t know if only finishing 3rd in the 2012 P.O.Y. standings was a motivating factor or not, but last weekend Chop added the elusive “Champion” feather to his cap. I don’t think there’s as much argument now as to who the best game is, but what do I know? I’m just happy that we got to speak with the man about his win last weekend, and what got Chop to the top. Here’s what he had to say:
Interview with 2013 DFBBC Champion HeadChopper
It’s been a long time coming for you. How does it feel to finally take one of the championships down?
To actually watch the clock tick down and win felt really, really good. I know how hard it is to win one of these things. The time, effort and variables that go into earning the trip to Vegas is hard enough, but then when you get there you still have to beat out 14 (or 24 for football) other top notch guys in a 1 day contest. The odds are so stacked for any single person to win a championship like that. So when I knew I had won, it just felt like all the effort had paid off.
Last year at this time, you had never been to Vegas in your life. In the last 8 months you’ve been 3 times. How has Daily Fantasy changed your life?
Great question, because the answer really isn’t as simple as fun trips and nice amounts of money. The truth is that before DFS came along, I had worked in a restaurant for the last 15 years after I dropped out of college. I was at a point that I actually hated my job and thus it hurt my quality of life outside of work. When Daily fantasy came around I thought that there was a chance this could work. I thought I could make money at this. So I saved up some money, quit the job I hated, enrolled back in college to study something I actually liked and started playing DFS for some side cash. So the actual concept of daily fantasy sports altered my life more than most people could ever realize.
So you get home, and you immediately need to get to work on the DSBBC. What was your gameplan heading into the DSBBC, where you could potentially win another $50,000?
Originally I was going to stay in Vegas til’ Tuesday. But when I realized that I was going to be on a plane at the time when I needed to be watching news and setting my lineup I canceled the extra day and came back on Monday. My game plan was to change nothing from what I have done. It has worked so far. Play the guys I feel good about and let the chips fall where they may.
What’s in store for the Chop now? After the DSBBC is over are you going to take some time off and let it sink in, or is it right back to the Grind?
Time off? We are called Grinders for a reason. It’s because this is a grind. There are too many great things happening around the industry in the next month to sit back and celebrate now. When NBA winds down and MLB is in the infancy stages of the season, then maybe I will take a little time off to relax and let it sink in. But for now there is far too much unfinished business out there.
What was different in your mindsets heading into the Fantasy Football Championship vs. the Fantasy Basketball Championship? Did you learn anything during the FFFC that helped you during the DFBBC?
Well the biggest thing for me is that I feel I am a better basketball guy than NFL. So I felt my odds were better in that respect. But in football I think I overthought things too much and tried to make a “perfect” lineup. In the DFBBC I just put together a team that I would have played that night on Fanduel in a H2H game.
Cliche’ time: What are you going to do with the money?
What are your plans for the baseball season? Is qualifying for the DFBC going to be a top priority now?
I will absolutely take a crack at it. It will be the toughest sport to qualify for just because the variables in baseball are pretty great, and to put together that perfect lineup just on a Friday is going to be a challenge. But I will give it a run and continue playing the normal way I do – Take some shots at big ones, but never lose focus on the H2H & 50/50’s
If you could give any advice to the new players looking up to the headChopper now, what would be your #1 tip for them?
If you like/love fantasy sports and you find yourself not winning as much early on in your DFS career – DON’T GIVE UP. When I first started playing I lost plenty of $20 and $50 deposits I made. I had to reload my account plenty of times before things started clicking. If I had stopped playing after I lost my first deposit then I would not be sitting here looking at an oversized $50,000 check. Don’t stop playing if you are passionate about it.
Who is going to win the 2013 NBA Championship?
Easy. The Miami Heat will win the championship. The surprise is that in the finals they will get taken to 7 games by….my HOUSTON ROCKETS!!!