Football, Interviews

2 years ago

WCOFF 2019 Champion Talks Strategy, Luck, Emotions

Fscottl has taken FanTeam's World Championship of Fantasy Football 2019 by the storm, pocketing €30,000! We didn't rate him as favorite despite his lead after Day 1 (forgive us!), but he proved us wrong. Let's hear what a relatively new player on FanTeam has to say about the Finals and his impressive victory.

Congratulations on winning the biggest and most prestigious tournament of the year on FanTeam! What a feat for someone who has played only about 200 tournaments on the platform to date! How did you come to learn about daily fantasy sports?

The first daily sports game I remember playing about 10 years ago was called Fantasy Stakes, then Totel, and more recently, Playon. All of these had a far smaller number of entrants than FanTeam and probably didn’t have enough backing, so the first 2 closed while Playon went on to concentrate on other sports rather than football. It was then that I started to look for a new Daily Football game and thankfully came across FanTeam.

*Fscottl's FanTeam data prior to his WCOFF win

Have you played any season-long fantasy before trying out DFS?

My first taste of fantasy football was through season-long UK national newspapers, probably around 25 years ago. Back then, you had to mail your transfers or phone them in (Pre-Internet). I started taking Fantasy Football semi-seriously through the Telegraph season-long game and was Chairman of my works league. With the advent of Daily Fantasy Sports, I took season-long games less seriously and concentrated on the Daily side.

Was anyone cheering for you during the finals, or you kept the whole thing solely to yourself?

I mentioned to my family (I am married and have 4 sons) that I had won an entry to a big tournament but didn’t give too many details. While the tournament was in progress, I was working away from home and didn’t tell anyone during the tournament how I was doing. My family obviously knows now, and all have their own ideas of how the winnings should be spent.

Did you watch any matches of the Day 1 game week? 

Because I was at work, I could only see some of the evening games but watched all the highlights.

Were you surprised to finish Day 1 at the top?

I was very surprised to find myself top after Day 1.  Apart from Jahanbakhsh, who was a last-minute choice due to budget constraints, I felt that most of my choices were safe if uninspired ones. I hoped that would put me in contention so that I could decide whether to play safe or look for a few (or a lot) of differentials on Day 2.

My thoughts were only to try to finish the tournament in any prize position.

Did you employ any specific strategy for Day 2? Who did you think was your most dangerous opponent?

Being new to FanTeam, I hadn’t time to learn the big successful names. However, once I realised I was in with a chance of winning a serious amount of money and as there were only 116 entrants, I checked for players with more than 1 team in the final.

It quickly became apparent who the very serious players were. Gaffel with 3 teams, in 2nd and 6th place with totally different line-ups and formations, I thought was the obvious favourite.

Siggen had 2 teams in the top-20 and Wizel was well placed. I have to take my hat off to Wizel, who was brave enough to not only pick Jesus but captain him, knowing that the Safety net rule wouldn't work in case he was benched. A gamble which so nearly paid off.

My strategy was still based around finishing in the prize money as only 11 points were separating the top-20, and I only had a 2 point lead. I felt that the teams in the top-20 would keep to the core players that had got them into that position, and as I was now playing to protect my position.

 I wanted to cover the main picks that the others in contention would probably choose.

Being able to see the teams from the first round allowed me to make a list of the most popular players from the top-20 teams. For instance, De Bryne and Aguero were picked 11 and 9 times in the first round, so I couldn’t ignore them. I chose Tomkins as 3 of my nearest competitors had him in their first team. After scoring in the first round, I thought it unlikely they would drop him as he was cheap as well.

Next time I will definitely try to get 2 or 3 teams into the final!

You probably had a choice or two to make during the finals. What was the hardest? 

In the first round, I was torn between Aguero and De Bryne as Captain. This was one of the few choices where I wasn’t lucky. I had a core of 7 players I wanted. The remaining 4 were budget players. I thought there was a chance Schar or Shelvey might be on penalties with the added possibility of Shelvey assisting Schar at a set-piece. In the end, Schar scored from an Andy Caroll knockdown.

They both came back into my second team because of this and also because they were cheap. I wasn’t too lucky with this as they both got injured early. In almost every other decision, I was incredibly lucky.

How do you prefer watching football games in general before we get to the roller-coaster of emotions of that final Liverpool game?

As I live in Scotland, I don’t get to go to English Premier League matches. In fact, I have only ever been to Stamford Bridge and St James Park. I go to watch Inverness Caley Thistle when I can. Because I work away from home, I watch a lot of football at night with friends and colleagues. I believe there is no substitute for watching games if you want to be serious about Fantasy Football. When I am home I am lucky as my wife Julie is a football fan and I have 4 sons.

So, tell us about the final minutes of the final Liverpool game?

I was watching the game at work with about 10 others. They know I play Fantasy Football and that I had an interest in the game, but they had no idea of the stakes involved. When Mane scored, I outshouted the Liverpool fans in the room. I couldn’t believe it when Salah was subbed, and I think my reaction probably confused everyone else.

I couldn’t look at the FanTeam site after Salah was subbed and waited 15 mins after the final whistle before checking it, as I wanted to be sure the site had updated. I was amazed I was in 1st place!

I knew the Salah substitution was important as so many people had him as Captain, but I thought I would be in 3rd or 4th. To see me in 1st place was amazing, but as we were all on 146 points, I wasn’t sure what the deciding factor was, and I knew late updates were possible.

When I eventually got to sleep, I kept waking up through the night, checking to see if there had been any changes.

I had to get up at 6 am to start work and probably only had 2-3 hrs sleep, but I didn’t feel tired at any point of the day.

Will you be recommending daily fantasy to anyone after such an emotional victory?

I have introduced quite a few people to DFS over the years.  It’s a great way to keep an interest in every game on TV without handing your money over to bookmakers.

If you had to captain the same player every week in every EPL DAILY fantasy tournaments, who would it be and why?

This is a difficult question to answer as I almost always base my captain decision largely on the opposition.

It is difficult to see past the two big Liverpool scorers and Man City's attacking midfielders and forwards. However, if I were playing in a contest with a large number of entries, I would often choose a less popular attacking midfielder.

What is next for the WCOFF 2019 champion? Will you try playing more expensive tournaments, different leagues, sports?

FanTeam seems so full of expert players that know exactly what they are doing, so I can't see me playing many NFL, Baseball, or Basketball games! I may dabble in some of the other sports but won't play large buy-in games unless I surprise myself and actually win something.

I will definitely be using some of my winnings to play more of the big stake football games, so I am sure the FanTeam big names hope my luck doesn’t continue as it did for this competition.

*Inverness - home of the WCOFF champion

We want to thank fscottl again for his time and hope this win is one of many to come! Want to dive into daily fantasy yourself? Register with our link below, receive free entry to the Weekly Monster on FanTeam and fight for €50,000 every week!

Alexey Bobrov

Alexey Bobrov

Alexey, also known as KJIIOIIIKA, has been playing daily fantasy football since 2015 on various European sites. Scratches his fantasy itch on FanTeam, where he has a net profit of €6000+ with more than 2500 tournaments played and a 30%+ ROI. FanTeam's 2018 World Championship of Fantasy Football finalist. As Head of Content at DraftGym, his mission is to help our young European fantasy community grow. A proud father of two, plays ice-hockey at the regional level, loves board games.