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  • JMToWin

    • x2

      2014 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2016 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    Hey, all!

    First off – I want to offer a massive congrats to one of RG’s own, Jakz101 (Eric Crain) on his Millionaire Maker win. If you’ve met Crain, you know he is genuinely one of the nicest guys you’ll ever come across. Super pumped for our newest millionaire!

    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly in some of your minds, I want to take a moment to address the “controversy” that has surrounded his win.

    For starters, it should be mentioned that any big win from a well-known DFS player/“tout” is going to generate at least some level of controversy. If someone writes articles and goes on air talking about the plays they like, people are going to comb through that individual’s thoughts from the week to see if they followed their own plays. Heck, the week Smizzle won the Milly, he had written up 7 of the 9 plays he used. People still complained.

    Of course, having cleared out that disclaimer, the situation here is admittedly a bit different.

    For those of you who are not Premium Content subscribers, here’s some quick background:

    Each week in NFL, Crain uses a lineup builder to create 150 lineups, which he throws into the Milly Maker. Because Crain is masterful at creating a sharp, narrowed-down player pool and turning this pool into a profitable weekend (while also – as witnessed this week – giving himself a clear shot at a huge weekend), I came up with the idea of a Premium article in which he would share some of the core pieces in his player pool (Crain writes this article for DraftKings Premium, while TheSeige – who is equally masterful in this area – writes this article for FanDuel).

    In theory, this was an awesome idea. As we saw this weekend – when Crain took first place (and three of the top four spots) in the Milly – having a look at some of his player pool could help readers a ton.

    The problem this week, of course, was that Crain listed 11 players in his article this last week, and only one showed up on his winning lineup. Naturally, this has led to some criticism and frustration from a handful of readers. If you will give me just three or four minutes, however, I would like to share some thoughts of my own, while also inviting you to collaborate with me in order to ensure we are continually putting out the absolute best product in the DFS industry.

    MY THOUGHTS:

    If you are a Premium subscriber, you know we have focused our product primarily on helping readers to make good picks on their own. Our flagship articles (my NFL Edge and MLB Edge, STLCards’ Covering the Bases, CheeseIsGood’s Million Dollar Musings, and JumpaHoo’s Jump Shot) are not written with the intention of “providing picks.” Instead, these articles are intended to, essentially, take a massive amount of research and transfer this research to the reader in an easily-digestible form. The NFL Edge, for example, takes me about 30 hours each week to research and write, and it takes about an hour to read – so in that hour of reading, you can pick up the 25 hours of research I accumulated myself. During MLB and NBA, these articles typically take around 20 to 30 minutes to read, and enable us to transfer 4 or 5 hours of research to the reader in that time. It was because of these articles that 12 different people told me at the DraftKings MLB live final in Toronto this last summer that they would not have won a seat to the live final without their Premium subscription.

    But we also, still, want to offer the more traditional-type articles – articles that are more picks-based. I know most of our readers have more of an interest in the research-driven pieces, but there are readers who prefer picks-driven pieces – and honestly, even those who do not prefer such pieces still typically click on these articles just to make sure there is nothing they are overlooking.

    The article concept I came up with for Crain and Seige was – in my mind – sort of a blend between the two. Obviously, no one can expect these guys to share their exact player pool each week, as this would lead to everyone plugging the same players into the Lineup Builder, and everyone ending up with nearly identical (or completely identical) teams. Instead, I envisioned this article being exactly what Crain’s was this last week: 11 to 15 players, with some obvious plays and some less obvious plays, and some thoughts on why these players would be cycled through his 150 rosters. What I did not have the foresight to envision, of course, was this situation occurring: a Milly Maker being won, with only one guy from the player pool on the team.

    First off, let’s be clear: this is totally on me, and I apologize to anyone who has been upset by this situation. I should have seen the potential for this to occur, and I should have made it more clear to readers what I saw this article being, or I should have come up with a plan to prevent this situation arising.

    At the same time, I also think there are things we can do better with the RotoGrinders Premium product. For example, I would love for all of our writers to update their articles later in the week. But readers of my own article know I have only done so twice myself, through the first eight weeks of the season. Once you shift to “roster construction” mode, the mental shift to going back and adding things to an article can be a weird one to make. But, again: it’s one we should all be attempting to make; this last week, I updated on Saturday primarily to convey that nothing much had changed in my thinking – but because I would love to set a precedent for readers that they can check back on Saturdays for my updated thoughts, I checked in to let readers know my thoughts were still in the same place (basically, a non-updated update, so readers can know each week that they should check back in case anything major has shifted in my thinking).

    Most weeks, in fact, Crain does the same thing. Most weeks, he updates his article with his late-week additions. It was quite unfortunate that this was not one such week – but this does open the door for us to discuss this, and to continue improving our product.

    My genuine goal is for RotoGrinders Premium to be the single most powerful and valuable DFS subscription any player can have. One of the great assets we have in this area is that all of our Premium writers have achieved consistent, reliable success at the highest level of play. We don’t just hire guys for Premium who “can do good research and write about it”; we don’t have a bunch of guys writing for us who do well with five dollars in play each week. Instead, we have a group of guys writing for us who have proven that they can take their research and turn it into successful DFS play at the highest buy-in levels, and against the toughest competition.

    This is awesome.

    What becomes a bit complicated, of course, is that writing DFS content is practically charity for most of these guys. For example: I had over $18,000 in play this last weekend – and I played only one lineup, and it was all on DraftKings. As you know, I am unique among “high-end” DFS players in playing only one lineup (and in often focusing my play on one site) – so if I had $18k in play on one site, with one lineup, you can imagine how much money some of these other guys have in play each weekend across multiple lineups and multiple sites. Moreover, most of these guys also play NBA at a high level (and are focused there on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – in between their Premium articles coming out, and NFL kicking off on Sunday). No matter how much we pay writers, they are always going to have far more of a financial interest in maximizing their time for roster construction. I fear that if we go too far with requiring writers to constantly update their articles throughout the week, we will actually sacrifice quality quite a bit. Most high-end guys will eventually decide, “The money I’m being paid for constantly updating this article is not worth the tradeoff for the time being taken away from my roster construction.” This might lead to articles that are updated frequently…but that are no longer written by actual, successful DFS players. It’s definitely a conundrum, and I’m not certain there is even an easy, simple solution.

    What I will say is this:

    1) I hope no one thinks Crain was intentionally attempting to mislead anyone. If you know Crain, you know this was not the case. And if you listened to Crain’s late-week GrindersLive shows, you know he talked about nearly all the plays he used on his winning team. This was just an unfortunate blend of situations – a week in which Crain’s thoughts changed a lot as the week went on, and in which he did not get a chance to update his article. Most weeks, the guys he wrote up on Wednesday would have been the same guys you would have seen on his winning Milly Maker lineup – and then, the whole discussion here would be how ridiculously valuable that article is for readers, instead of the discussion being what it is now. Truly, anyone who looks at the big picture – examining Crain’s Player Pool article and how it has lined up with his actual rosters throughout the season – will know and acknowledge that this was just a really unfortunate blend of situations.

    2) I genuinely feel the blame for this falls onto me, as I was the one who came up with this article concept, and I was the one who failed to foresee something like this occurring. To any readers who were upset by this, please accept my apology – and please, again, realize that probably 6 out of 8 weeks so far, a “Crain Milly Maker win” would have matched up with his “Player Pool” article in a big way. It just sucks that this was a week in which thoughts changed late and updates were not made. (Note: I was just informed that this was actually the first week all season Crain did not add a late-week update to the article, as he was sick later in the week. Again, just a really unfortunate blend of situations…)

    3) Regarding “updates being made,” you can count on me for the remainder of the season to update the NFL Edge. We are going to try to make sure Crain and Seige drop some updates in their Player Pool articles when they can as well. (For what it’s worth, CheeseIsGood usually updates his MLB article close to lock; I have no idea how that dude is able to put in so much research, put in winning teams, and update his article close to lock in a truly daily sport, but suffice it to say, he’s a beast.) We are also working really hard to get our rankers to update their Consensus Value Rankings throughout the week, to reflect their updated thoughts. And I am going to talk to other writers about updating their articles in the rare instances when it is necessary for them to do so.

    I want the RG Premium platform to continue being the single most valuable subscription platform in the DFS industry, and of course, the balance there is having elite DFS players writing for us…while also trying to encourage these elite players to take a break from roster construction, and to go back and add things to their articles and/or rankings.

    This is where I could use your help!

    Please chime in below with any thoughts you have – both on how we can improve things in this specific area, and on anything else you have been thinking of lately that you would love to see incorporated into, or changed, or improved, or adjusted, in Premium.

    If you don’t mind, please refrain from using this thread as an area to be accusatory and/or nasty. I’m sure there are other places you can go to do that. Let’s, instead, reserve this thread for constructive discussion (also: feel free to let us know things you like about Premium and do not want to see changed, so we can make sure to keep strengthening those areas).

    Thanks so much for your ear (and sorry for the length!)

    -JM

    (P.S. Monday-through-Wednesday is “NFL Edge research and writing” time for me, so I won’t be able to drop in a ton on this thread during the first half of the week. But I’ll do my best, and I will definitely come through here during the second half of the week – as will other RG guys, I hope/assume.)

  • Heterodox

    @JMToWin said...

    writing DFS content is practically charity for most of these guys

    I couldn’t let this go. It’s utterly absurd. It’s a privilege to write for an audience. It’s a privilege to be paid for advice. It’s also a responsibility. If you aren’t up to the responsibility, don’t charge people for what you write. It absolutely amazes me that the person who said this is RG’s premium content DIRECTOR. This is the guy steering the ship.

    I also can’t stomach this excuse of having been sick. I think Crain would have a lot more credibility here, as is so often the case, if he didn’t offer weak excuses for something that he doesn’t even think he needs to justify. He got his own lineups in, he did his show, he could have taken a minute to even just tweet something out. Of course, RG should have quality controls in place, but they don’t, because as I said in a previous post there is zero sense of obligation to subscribers. (EDIT: as I said in a previous post which was deleted for unclear reasons, as it attacked no one and made what I believed were constructive points.) Though, to be fair, that is industry wide, and not solely on RG.

  • crazydaisy2013

    @Cal said...

    Hey guys, I want to clear up something on Crain using Cruncher instead of the RG Lineup Builder.

    First, Crain did use Cruncher to build the lineups he entered into the Milly Maker. Second, JM didn’t know that. He assumed Crain used our tool, especially since Crain does Lineup Builder shows on RG. I’m trying to find out in our Slack channels if we mentioned anywhere else that Crain used our Lineup Builder. If we did, it was a mistake, but it was not a lie or an integrity issue. Fantasy Cruncher has a great product. Nicslim’s team is constantly working to improve ours and already reached out to Crain to see what he prefers about Cruncher’s tool over ours.

    It’s his second chapter in his NFL rotoacademy course. He has a whole chapter dedicated to using the RG lineup builder.

  • RustyNutz

    Well said Cal glad you cleared this up as this is what was at the heart of it.

  • bhdevault

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  • Bam79

    LOL…I love it, man.. So ridiculous.

    People whining that players they’re competing against didn’t spoon-feed them the correct information to beat them? ….Seriously? I read all the RG articles every week, and appreciate that I have the opportunity to access these SHORTCUTS to valuable info. I would never, ever, insert player X into my lineup because “that guy at that DFS site said he was a good play.” That’s ridiculous. Though, I’m glad that so many people, apparently, do just that. Saving me time by providing me with certain stats is something I value highly, and why I subscribe.

    Congrats on the win(s), Eric! Super cool, man. I hope you’re feeling better soon.

  • Razzle11

    This is just getting absolutely ridiculous. Butthurt because each person couldn’t take down a GPP. I will point out your first comparison is comparing a RB (to which there are less playable each week) to a WR, which is always full of plays.

    The post I quoted was taken down…but the above is in response and the person knows who they are.

    So what is it people? Do we want guys that provide premium services to get their plays out early in the week or at the end of the week? Do we want guys to actually play DFS that provide services or are we now going to bitch until either A) The better plays stop providing services to help or B) They stop playing to be paid by sites for their services, and then make themselves available all the time to make sure they are updated every day?

    Do you want each guy to list EVERY player they are using and the % in their articles/content? This is absolutely ridiculous. Some people seem to think that since he only provided 15 players or so that he should have ONLY those 15 in 150+ unique lineups? It’s absolutely comical.

    I can’t wait for the post that says this is going to be a thing that brings DFS down, as there inevitably will be some that automatically go to the black eye theory when, in all honesty, there is NOTHING to see here.

    JM, I do not think that you should be apologizing for ANYTHING. There are always going to be people with pitchforks and kleenex’s who believe they were wronged for no reason at all.

    Eric, congrats again on the win. Make sure you enjoy yourself and at this point (even though I do not believe it to be in your personality) tell the negative nancy’s to get bent. It’s always great to see some of the guys that I ran across years ago, over and over in the poker world, have great success.”

  • Heterodox

    @Bam79 said...

    People whining that players they’re competing against didn’t spoon-feed them the correct information to beat them?

    I don’t pay for information, I don’t need anyone’s picks, and I think there’s a problem here which reflects a problem across the industry. Care to address what that might be, or do you just want to take shots without actually knowing what’s up?

    I thought this thread was supposed to be for constructive discussion. All I see is name calling and people congratulating Eric. I’ll jump in on the latter. Congrats Eric! I don’t know you, have never listened to you, nor have I read anything you write, but I continue to think it’s an awesome thing that people can win a million dollars playing fantasy football, and the fact that known players keep topping these massive fields to do so is a boon to the game.

    I also think your excuse of having been sick is weak AF, and the fact that RG’s content director refers to what you do as “practically charity” is appalling. In addition to that, I think your post would have been stronger without the polemics at the end.

  • mattdogg2443

    Literally at the bottom of every RG page.. “Contributors reserve the right to use players or strategies not discussed in their content on RotoGrinders.”

    Everyone needs to move on and let Eric enjoy his pancakes.

  • crazydaisy2013

    @mattdogg2443 said...

    Literally at the bottom of every RG page.. “Contributors reserve the right to use players or strategies not discussed in their content on RotoGrinders.”

    Everyone needs to move on and let Eric enjoy his pancakes.

    He literally faded every QB he mentioned in his “player pool” and totally misdirected the premium paying people with his other picks.

  • crazydaisy2013

    @Bam79 said...

    LOL…I love it, man.. So ridiculous.

    People whining that players they’re competing against didn’t spoon-feed them the correct information to beat them? ….Seriously? I read all the RG articles every week, and appreciate that I have the opportunity to access these SHORTCUTS to valuable info. I would never, ever, insert player X into my lineup because “that guy at that DFS site said he was a good play.” That’s ridiculous. Though, I’m glad that so many people, apparently, do just that. Saving me time by providing me with certain stats is something I value highly, and why I subscribe.

    Congrats on the win(s), Eric! Super cool, man. I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    You either didn’t read his article or like being lied to.

  • crazydaisy2013

    For what it’s worth I have to blame myself for not doing more investigating. These guys don’t have any fiduciary responsibility to help us win money, only drive traffic to their site to drive up sales content and advertising revenue.

  • AWoo

    @HoneyBadgerDFS said...

    I usually dont comment on most of ridiculous stuff that goes on here, but after reading that monologue i have to say something.

    This situation being handled so terribly is unacceptable considering all the minds at work here. Literally ALL Eric has to do is put a disclaimer in his post saying something like

    “These picks are my favorite guys going into week ___ as of today. However due to the fact that I MME tournaments, and late breaking news I may end up on plays not mentioned in this article. “

    Simple. The statement of “he was sick so blah blah” is by far the dumbest thing i think ive heard. PLEASE tell us another business you PAY for where a lack of accurate or quality service is allowed due to sickness?

    If u pay a stock broker, and they dont update you on a stock to invest in because they are sick but still have the ability to invest in it themselves thats okay?

    Dont put ya foots in your mouths with bad logic. Just post a disclaimer and carry on. Also you can Find an editor to update articles with notes based on late breaking news.

    Additionally, if Rotogrinders has ANY INTEGRITY at all they will stop saying its Pros are using that RG lineup builder when in reality they are using a competing service. I know you guys delete posts when they name a competitor but thats lying and False advertisement to say they are using it when they arent. This isnt the first time either so spare us the “it was an accident”

    - Badger Out

    Love your post. Congrats Eric. The fact he does a RG lineup builder show, but uses a competing service makes is quite lol (gotta love when the competing service spams all its users with mass emails about the milly maker winner)

  • Heterodox

    @frUnk said...

    I sincerely don’t think there was any intentions of him holding back his core picks this week, but just be prepared to take that heat from some people. Congratz on the huge win!!

    I sort of think there’s something to the idea that touts hold back some picks. I mean, the people who defend them always say things like “you think they’re going to give you all their plays?” so obviously there’s some sense out there that they’re not giving you everything.

    Is that wrong? I don’t know. I think it comes down to whether or not people now what they’re paying for. Are the customers expectations in line with what the content producer is delivering? I know I don’t expect air-tight analysis and rock solid picks when I listen to free podcasts. When I don’t think the host is really trying – which is shockingly often – I just stop listening. If I paid for that analysis, I would feel differently.

    Aside from holding back picks, I think there’s a big problem with a lack of commitment to paid subscribers. I know that if I wrote an article people paid for, I would think of those people as my children, or my students, people for whom I have taken on some level of responsibility by taking their money in exchange for my advice. The big issue for me is the apparent sense of entitlement, like they’re doing people a favor by producing content.

  • mwgdfs

    I do my own research, listen to several expert opinions, make my own models, look at other pro models, watch news daily through the week, etc

    someone may turn me on to a player but in the end I make my own decisions and don’t rely on what experts tell me to do. This works for me and I trust my process.

  • crazydaisy2013

    I think it’s also obvious that this was a major let down for me. I genuinely liked their content and the people who provided it. Can’t trust it now. It’s not being asked to have picks hand fed to us. It’s about being duped by a person(s) opinion you trust that solidifies a false confirmation bias. Normally I never comment on topics like this but it’s absurd how this played out. Congrats to Eric and I’m through with RGs content as I’m sure many other people might be.

  • KillaChap

    “Disclosures: All RotoGrinders content contributors are active DFS players. Contributor screen names can be found on their respective RotoGrinders profile pages. Contributors reserve the right to use players or strategies not discussed in their content on RotoGrinders.”

    Read this, which is displayed on the bottom of the page and shut up. Envy has become one of our culture’s biggest problems.

  • Jfud81

    Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but it would extremely helpful if there was an asterisk or something similar on the research homepage to denote an update to an article or ranking.

  • Heterodox

    @KillaChap said...

    Read this, which is displayed on the bottom of the page and shut up. Envy has become one of our culture’s biggest problems.

    First of all, don’t tell me or anyone else to shut up. Seriously, that’s a fucked up way of going about things. Second, don’t accuse me of envy, when there is nothing I’ve said anywhere that is suggestive of envy. Quite the opposite. I’m thrilled that someone wins a million dollars every week. I wish it happened every day. I don’t even play the MM.

    Third, and most importantly, if the customers are upset because they feel duped, and none of them are aware of this disclaimer, the responsibility is on the entity which sold them the product but failed to make clear the disclaimer. If there’s a communication issue, it’s on the seller and not the buyer. If your attitude is “buyer beware”, that’s fine, it’s a solid philosophy to apply as a consumer, but I’m guessing you don’t run a business selling to the public, because that is not an attitude to increase sales.

  • DomTwan

    @JMToWin said...

    What becomes a bit complicated, of course, is that writing DFS content is practically charity for most of these guys.

    Well, it shouldn’t be when average people are shelling out hundreds of dollars a year for your “premium” content.

    I am not a premium member due to this mere fact that I don’t think any “top” DFS pro can accurately provide top level info AND mass enter a 400+ GPP lineup portfolio on any given Sunday.

    I’ll stick to listening to FREE podcasts and coming up with my OWN conclusions at the end of the week.

    I think you are going to lose a lot of customers over this controversy as many people will seek out free information rather than pay a premium for some “charity” work from top DFS pros.

  • Heterodox

    @crazydaisy2013 said...

    I think it’s also obvious that this was a major let down for me. I genuinely liked their content and the people who provided it. Can’t trust it now. It’s not being asked to have picks hand fed to us. It’s about being duped by a person(s) opinion you trust

    This is a paying customer. Contrast this with what Eric said in his post:

    “In the end, I don’t even believe this is a real issue. I think some people like to watch the world burn and like to watch the successes of others be torn down piece by piece. I can assure you, my payment from doing this article weekly doesn’t even remotely compare to what I have in play.”

    Your subscribers disagree, Eric, and I hope they pay close attention to that last part.

  • crazydaisy2013

    @KillaChap said...

    “Disclosures: All RotoGrinders content contributors are active DFS players. Contributor screen names can be found on their respective RotoGrinders profile pages. Contributors reserve the right to use players or strategies not discussed in their content on RotoGrinders.”

    Read this, which is displayed on the bottom of the page and shut up. Envy has become one of our culture’s biggest problems.

    When a persons article is titled “player pool” and that person TOTALLY FADES players in that pool or goes underweight compared to the field it’s an issue that has absolutely nothing to do with envy. The whole reason for the PREMIUM article is to pick players they’re going to heavily use and why. Eric faded every QB he mentioned in that article and was considerably under weight on other players while being incredibly overweight on others like 50% on Cooper without a mention

  • seymorskins

    @JMToWin said...

    Once you shift to “roster construction” mode, the mental shift to going back and adding things to an article can be a weird one to make

    This is a lame excuse… either say you’re not going to update articles or update them but don’t tell people you’re too busy making rosters while taking money from them…

  • DomTwan

    @seymorskins said...

    This is a lame excuse… either say you’re not going to update articles or update them but don’t tell people you’re too busy making rosters while taking money from them…

    Agreed.

  • seymorskins

    @JMToWin said...

    The article concept I came up with for Crain and Seige was – in my mind – sort of a blend between the two. Obviously, no one can expect these guys to share their exact player pool each week, as this would lead to everyone plugging the same players into the Lineup Builder, and everyone ending up with nearly identical (or completely identical) teams.

    so basically the writers are under no expectation to provide players they are actually using… I;m sorry but this defeats entire purpose of getting “winning players” to provide articles

  • SportsNBabes

    I have nothing to complain about as RotoGrinders & all the staff have given me exactly what i was looking for when i became a member here. I couldnt be happier for Eric & its super encouraging to know that i came to the right place for all my DFS needs. Keep up the great work & know there are a shit ton of us that truly appreciate the work all of you do #Cheers

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