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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.)

  • SuPaLaBa

    Congrats on the big win! There is a lot of strategy in 150 lineups as I am learning and the best thing to do is analyze the top lineups and study % owned, pivot plays, and value plays. Part of the fun of DFS is figuring out this puzzle and not just filling in lineups with picks that other people suggest! Keep learning and do it in a way that you enjoy. The success will come if you put the time in!

  • Oldschool92

    For those that call conspiracy I have 2 word for you. Golden Tate. ‘nuff said.

  • DomTwan

    @Oldschool92 said...

    For those that call conspiracy I have 2 word for you. Golden Tate. ‘nuff said.

    Could you please elaborate?

  • NYSea

    @CleverGroom said...

    Would you guys feel better if Crain quit? I’d quit a job mired in controversy and bitterness if I won well over $1m. Maybe even in an ostentatious, tactless fashion. I’m not proud to admit it, but there it is.

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: you should be buying insight into Crain’s process, not his picks. I don’t see how he can sell you his picks without falling afoul of DK’s community guidelines, as well as acting against his own self-interest. If his last-minute prevarication is anything like mine, it’d also be very tricky logistically. There’s only so much time to express your Sunday epiphanies while simultaneously scrambling to fix all of your lineups.

    I think it’s really a matter of expectations. You shouldn’t be expecting people to spoon-feed you their picks. Maybe that’s what you’ve been made to expect, and maybe that’s not your fault, but it shouldn’t be the expectation moving forward. I don’t see how that model would make sense for Crain, for DraftKings, or for you. Certainly would leave you in the lurch if Crain takes the entirely reasonable decision to retire from these scandals and become a man of leisure instead.

    TL;DR: Nobody’s going to give you the picks to win the Milly, even if you’re willing to pay for the privilege. Learn how they did it instead. Git gud.

    THIS. People keep quoting my posts and responding to them as if I’m expecting Crain, Noto, Seige, BigT, etc. to give you their picks… I’m not. I’m asking for them to update their pool and explain why they did so. In this case, they could have just added Amari to the list and kept Julio/Evans/TY on there, but explain why they are thinking about Amari now when they weren’t earlier in the week. It may make the pool bigger, but will at least let you know how these guys are coming to the conclusions they are.

  • Butterjc81

    @DomTwan said...

    Could you please elaborate?

    See here’s my problem with your complaints. If you followed Crain’s picks this season you know he went down with the Golden Tate ship for a couple weeks before finally having success with the play a few weeks ago. Everyone who followed his articles/shows knew he was on Tate and that he played him, which made it sweeter for him the week he finally played well.

    Now here you are the week after he wins the milly to complain about transparency, but no where to be found previous weeks. Did he just decide this week to deceive because he knew he would win the milly this week? Did he use Dean’s sports almanac to do it? See how silly that is?

  • CUTiger81

    @crazydaisy2013 said...

    It’s a major impact if he can sway people off one play to another at even 1%. It impacted my games since I swayed more towards Hopkins and less towards Cooper. Fractions of points are s all that’s needed to win

    And Hopkins was in a great spot. I heard RG hosts all week talk about what a great spot this was for Cooper. If you chose to go Hopkins over Cooper that wasn’t a bad decision, it just didn’t work out for you this time. Hopkins wasn’t a bad recommendation. And had he recommended Cooper it wasn’t a lock to go off. Jimmy Graham and TY Hilton were in fantastic spots…people were recommending them all week and they both tanked. It happens.

    I literally can’t even believe this is a discussion…just like anyone else, I’ve been on the wrong side of some RG recommendations before but I still had to click that player’s name. And as I’ve grown as a player I’ve learned how to take people’s opinions and factor them into my pool of information as opposed to just running with what someone else says. Anyone who’s complaining about this should probably do the same. If you are relying on someone else’s pick and not willing to do the work yourself, that’s totally fine but don’t sit here on RG and bitch about misinformation…take you money and go somewhere else where you think you’ll get better advice. Good luck with that…..

  • coach232

    • Blogger of the Month

    I am a relatively new DFS player. I have not won much doing this and I am on the edge of quitting due to the fact I am not being profitable at this. I’m not able to find good plays and have difficulty leveraging data to build winning GPP or Cash lineups. Much props to Crain or anyone else who have won the milly maker. I got on Carr/Cooper after hearing Crain talk about them on the Sunday show, but moved off them because I thought Winston?Evans was the better play even though they were the chalk and the trend was that the chalk had been hitting in previous weeks and I still played Cooper. I could not have seen Carr throwing for 500+. I say that to say this I got on Carr/Copper based on what Crain said on Sunday, but outsmarted myself again as i am sure many others did last week. I so suck at this

  • B_Edelman

    This will all be water under the bridge by this time next week.

  • cvalenti

    it costs me less than 1 buck every day to get all the info i want from rg. It definitely saves a boat load of time and for the most part is accurate. I feel people who are crying conspiracy and all that other b.s. don’t know sports that well. If you profit at all, you’re good. if you lose money, consider yourself average. I have never heard eric’s podcast but i will this week. Why not? (maybe I’ll skip a week though given the law of averages, lol.) If it were all b.s. and lies the site wouldn’t have very many people or good reviews and for such little money, who cares? If you think he and all the others are full of it, do the opposite. It takes more guts to give out advice in the business than it does to take it as all the criticism clearly proves. I can’t say that I’ve ever sent out any thank you messages for all the good info I’ve used, anyone else? Lastly, don’t you want a guy you pay for advice to do well? I wouldn’t pay a prison inmate for legal advice.

  • Kgdarealmvp

    The other big issue that I don’t believe is receiving enough attention is the thread is his use of the RG lineup builder.

    On Crains’s Twitter page, his pinned Tweet says” have you ever wondered how I put 150 NFl lineups every week? Heres’ my RotoAcademy course on RG!”

    Now he is openly admitting he didn’t use the RG LU builder to make his 150 lineups. Seems like some false, misleading promotion here. If you combine that with not using his picks that people paid to see, you can see why some people are scratching their heads.

  • Dmurphy104

    • Blogger of the Month

    Here’s my 2 cents—and it’s probably worth less than that.

    I basically stopped listening to the podcasts and reading the articles leading up to game day. Not because the information wasn’t good or potentially valuable—but because it would lead to me to second guessing my process, and making changes or adding more lineups to add exposure to some players that were pumped up in the articles, on the radio shows, etc. I do enjoy the shows after the slates to get insiights on the prior week, but I no longer have the desire to listen to the pros picks for the upcoming week.

    For NFL and NBA, I do look at consensus rankings to make sure that the clear top value guys didn’t slip through the cracks when I develop my projections, but I’m off the daily articles..and I now trust my process instead of muddying up my lineups.

    Also, in my opinion, the sites should do away with the ‘touts’. Whenever someone that publishes content wins, it (usually unfairly) adds controversy, which is not good for the industry. The sites should focus on general strategy, and I do like the articles that deconstruct prior week rosters, and the like. Too many people are looking for spoon fed plays and lineups and when those lineups don’t work out for them but they see the pros have huge weeks, there will be some angry customers – justified or not.

  • Cal

    RG CoFounder & Admin

    • 389

      RG Overall Ranking

    • $1M Prize Winner

    • x4

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    @Kgdarealmvp said...

    The other big issue that I don’t believe is receiving enough attention is the thread is his use of the RG lineup builder.

    On Crains’s Twitter page, his pinned Tweet says” have you ever wondered how I put 150 NFl lineups every week? Heres’ my RotoAcademy course on RG!”

    Now he is openly admitting he didn’t use the RG LU builder to make his 150 lineups. Seems like some false, misleading promotion here. If you combine that with not using his picks that people paid to see, you can see why some people are scratching their heads.

    I made a post about this on page 2. I agree with you that it would be out of line to position Crain’s win in any way as a win for our Lineup Builder. The onus is on our dev team to make Lineup Builder good enough that Crain would use ours for free instead of paying for a competitor’s. In the meantime the answer is probably for Crain to edit his RotoAcademy article to discuss Cruncher. Going to discuss this with the guys now.

  • crazydaisy2013

    @CUTiger81 said...

    And Hopkins was in a great spot. I heard RG hosts all week talk about what a great spot this was for Cooper. If you chose to go Hopkins over Cooper that wasn’t a bad decision, it just didn’t work out for you this time. Hopkins wasn’t a bad recommendation. And had he recommended Cooper it wasn’t a lock to go off. Jimmy Graham and TY Hilton were in fantastic spots…people were recommending them all week and they both tanked. It happens.

    I literally can’t even believe this is a discussion…just like anyone else, I’ve been on the wrong side of some RG recommendations before but I still had to click that player’s name. And as I’ve grown as a player I’ve learned how to take people’s opinions and factor them into my pool of information as opposed to just running with what someone else says. Anyone who’s complaining about this should probably do the same. If you are relying on someone else’s pick and not willing to do the work yourself, that’s totally fine but don’t sit here on RG and bitch about misinformation…take you money and go somewhere else where you think you’ll get better advice. Good luck with that…..

    Don’t waste your time quoting me if you’re going to take it out of context.

  • crazydaisy2013

    @CUTiger81 said...

    And Hopkins was in a great spot. I heard RG hosts all week talk about what a great spot this was for Cooper. If you chose to go Hopkins over Cooper that wasn’t a bad decision, it just didn’t work out for you this time. Hopkins wasn’t a bad recommendation. And had he recommended Cooper it wasn’t a lock to go off. Jimmy Graham and TY Hilton were in fantastic spots…people were recommending them all week and they both tanked. It happens.

    I literally can’t even believe this is a discussion…just like anyone else, I’ve been on the wrong side of some RG recommendations before but I still had to click that player’s name. And as I’ve grown as a player I’ve learned how to take people’s opinions and factor them into my pool of information as opposed to just running with what someone else says. Anyone who’s complaining about this should probably do the same. If you are relying on someone else’s pick and not willing to do the work yourself, that’s totally fine but don’t sit here on RG and bitch about misinformation…take you money and go somewhere else where you think you’ll get better advice. Good luck with that…..

    I don’t care about the outcome. I care about the misleading conduct.

  • Thundar

    The early content has helped me win my Thur-Monday cash games every week this year in NFL.

  • troveur

    WAYYYYYYY TLDR…don’t care about fish that pay for picks and then cry about it when they don’t understand how all those picks are not in 150 different GPP LU’s. Nobody is giving you their full gpp player pool no matter what you pay duh.

    No controversy here — only crying by some not so smart people.

  • bestintheworld

    BITW

    1. This was so much less of a controversy in 2013 when Headchopper went through it. Ironically, the 3 year anniversary is coming up on Friday. (It was crap then, it is crap now. Ironically, the Raiders are involved again!)

    http://www.espn.com/nfl/recap?gameId=331103013

    2. Would this even matter if Eric hadn’t won the milly maker? No, it wouldn’t. If it would, where were the complaints weeks ago if he varied from his picks at all. If he wasn’t good at playing daily fantasy sports, you wouldn’t be taking his advice. So as someone mentioned above, if you played Tate ANY of the weeks Eric recommended him (pretty much most), before his breakout game, and Tate didn’t come through, why would you keep taking his advice?

    If Crain did this CONSISTENTLY, pivoting off a recommendation, cool. Investigate it. But do it before the guy wins a million dollars.

    Congrats, Eric.

  • CUTiger81

    @crazydaisy2013 said...

    I don’t care about the outcome. I care about the misleading conduct.

    So you believe he mislead you by recommending Hopkins (who Eric had 30% exposure to) and not Cooper just because Cooper was in his Milly Maker winner? There’s no logic to what you’re saying. People complaining about him using the FC lineup builder, that I understand. Those of you complaining about his picks being misleading just come across as potato.

  • jflo2k5

    Can we some detailed info about the RG lineup builder? When I use it for tournaments, seems inconsistent and unpredictable….I can’t determine what it’s actually giving me. I usually have to go back thru every lineup and edit by hand. Which I probably would do anyway, but it doesnt seem to capture what I was after. Maybe I’m just using it totally wrong. A man page would helpful. Perhaps the info already exists and I just need to be pointed to right place.

    Thanks

  • PigskinaBlanket

    • 151

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #26

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • x2

      2016 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

    No controversy/end thread. congrats Eric. Blues season tickets about 8 rows off the ice should be in your plans I hope.

  • dmoen21

    I’m not reading through this entire thread. I think it is great that Eric has so much success and I was cheering for him to ship the Milly.

    My only suggestion as it relates to the OP. Do these articles list a time and date stamp? If they don’t, please add one. That way, readers are aware that the writer had these plays in mind AT THAT TIME. I don’t make any roster decisions until 90 minutes pre-lock, because any surprise inactive/active can change the entire makeup of my lineup or lineups. To me, adding a time and date stamp for the original article and any updates would help immensely.

  • colossalchicken

    As a new subscriber who devoured every bit of NFL knowledge everyone provided last week, I just have to say thank you! As a player who has pennies to the dollar in terms of bankroll compared to many here I just appreciate anything extra. I spend many hours each week digesting information and would love to eventually strike gold on a single entry gpp so I can have some bankroll depth . Anyhow, I think this letter was excatley what I, as a new subscriber needed to hear in order to dull out the noise. Now if only julio jones and mike evans wouldn’t have destroyed my cash lineups this week…

  • ActionJunkie

    If anything, I think it should be obvious to everyone that Rotogrinders CARES and is receptive to feedback. Can’t ask for much more than that. Picks are your own responsibility.

    GRATZ again Crain.

  • crazydaisy2013

    I think I’m willing to let it go as long as people who have no clue what they’re talking about stop making comments.

  • JimmyDick85

    While I do think the optics of this particular situation are pretty bad, it’s really hard to see it as anything more than an unfortunate confluence of circumstances. As he wrote, the idea his article was designed to “deceive the masses” is pretty absurd – if that was the case, an article behind a RG paywall is probably one of the least efficient ways to do that.

    As for thoughts on addressing this type of issue going forward and improving premium in general:
    -I think this does highlight the usefulness of regular updates. While I know the schedules of various writers may make it impossible, I think a regularly scheduled update for premium articles would be hugely helpful. Knowing the premium content will be released by 9pm Wednesday is great in that I can work it into my regular research process, and having a predictable schedule of updates (e.g. by midnight Saturday, or something like that) would be similarly helpful. I don’t think it needs to be extensive – in many cases literally a few sentences or bullet points can be plenty – but it would allow writers to flag any major changes in thinking.
    -Since I’m still very much trying to learn process, I’d love to see more retrospective articles (I’ve really enjoyed seeing JM add his prior week lineup and thought process to the NFL Edge these past few weeks). It would be very interesting to see after the weekend what Eric’s final player pool looked like with some discussion of what plays he strongly considered and how he narrowed them down to the ones that ultimately made the cut. In most cases, I’m just as interested in why the experts don’t play someone as in why they do. As an added side benefit, this type of article also adds a level of transparency to help prevent this type of manufactured controversy from starting (e.g. those upset would see that Eric did, in fact, have significant exposure to the players in his article).

    Just my 2 cents. Congrats, Eric.

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