THE San Francisco Giants Blog

My Thoughts on the DFS *Scandal*

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on October 7, 2015

Not much fun to be a Yankee fan these days, right? They looked old and disinterested last night. I wonder if CC saw the game? It was cool to see the Astros celebrate like kids on the field after the final out was secured.

Quick comment on this fantasy sports *scandal*. There is a lot of misinformation out there starting with using the term “insider trading.” I am familiar with Ethan Haskell (the draftkings employee at the center of this controversy). I’ve followed him on twitter for over a year and have had several exchanges with him on that site about various sports topics. Huge Boston sports fan. Has always seemed sharp to me, despite his dumbass appearance.

To win big in a fantasy sports tournament you need to have a bunch of low owned players produce big results. It’s really that simple. Any dipship can build a roster with an outfield of Harper, Trout and McCutchen. But those guys will eat up most of your salary. All the rest of your players will be bargain basement prices and those are usually the lowest owned players on a daily basis. And they have to produce as well. At issue is whether Ethan, a draftkings employee, had an unfair advantage by knowing who the lowest owned players would be on a given day and whether he began using them to score in big tournaments. A couple of weeks ago he finished 2nd in a big tournament at fanduel and won $350K. He also did very well this Summer in other large field tournaments.

Here’s what no one is talking about: if you truly know how to play fantasy sports, it’s really not that hard to predict ownership percentages. It’s actually a skill you need to have to be successful. If Blade were still in the country he could tell you about a text exchange he and I had earlier this Summer. I told him that as a daily practice I pick 10 random baseball players and try to predict what their ownership % will be that day in a tournament. It’s something I got very good at doing, usually coming with 2-5% of the actual number, often nailing it cold.

Here’s another point: most players are low owned and it’s not that hard to figure out why that is or who they are going to be. It is much harder to play them and have them produce big results for you.

Final point is that if you CAN’T reasonably predict ownership percentages you probably shouldn’t be playing daily fantasy sports in the first place. And if I know this premise to be true, then Mr. Haskell didn’t really have the advantage that some people say he had. It certainly shouldn’t be considered “insider trading.” The truth is, like many professional daily players, he’s good at his job. And there are a lot of players making a lot more money than he is who don’t work at a fantasy sports site who are just very good at predicting ownership percentages on a daily basis. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, they are good at picking low ownership players who PRODUCE. Again, anyone could plug Kevin Frandsen into a line up and congrats to you, you nailed a low owned guy! Now watch your team finish last in the tournament you play…..

I do believe Haskell was using his knowledge of player ownership % to build his line ups but it guaranteed him nothing. Those players still had to perform. Additionally, I believe reform is needed and the easiest thing would be to ban employees from playing for money at any site. I think a lot of employees would quit because this is their livelihood but it wouldn’t be difficult to restock the industry with people who just want to work at the site and not play professionally.

Those are my 2 cents and believe me I know what I’m talking about regarding this issue…….


48 Responses

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  1. Flavor said, on October 7, 2015 at 6:31 am

    30 minutes after i posted this thread, Fanduel came out with an official statement. Predictable move and one that was prudent.

  2. sfsarge said, on October 7, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Thanks for the thorough explanation, I don’t really care one way or another since I don’t play. But, from what I had been reading the situation sounded a little suspect. Sounds like with the information he had, it still didn’t guarantee anything.

  3. sfsarge said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Just watched the video of the Astro’s celebration. And it’s nice to see them in the postseason, they’ve been so awful for so long.

  4. wilcojoe said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I agree Flav. Predicting player ownership is akin to predicting the Vegas line on any given Sunday NFL game.

  5. wilcojoe said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Where I see a shit storm ensuing, is when some dumb fuck college football player tweets that he won a thousand bucks playing fan duel after scoring a touchdown.

  6. willedav said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Zum, John Shea in Chron today makes the same case you did a week ago for signing Greinke…weakens LA (who he does say would go after Price) and strengthens Giants. Also that they wouldn’t have to face him any longer–he’s 7-0 with 2.19 ERA in 10 starts vs. SF.

    Course by opting out he’s turning down 3 yrs at $71, so Shea figures it would take 5 yrs at $150. Greinke will be 32 this month and has been durable since 2008 and including this year, but that could also be a red flag.

    Hope Stros can take down annoying Royals fans who are still butt hurt about last year.
    NO, he wasn’t going to score an inside the park HR with cut off throw in Crawford’s hands.
    And you were not beating Bum, ever.

  7. willedav said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Call it post season if you want, but it took Giants 17 games last year to win it all as WC.
    They beat Cards and Nats by only allowing their opponents to win once each, so potentially they could have played 3 more games.
    If you make WC 2 out of 3 and eventually make the next series best of 7 instead of 5, it could add almost 25 games to 162 reg season.

    At that point, if I’m the players then rosters have to expand to 27 for reg season and beyond. If teams are already reticent to have an SP throw 200 reg season innings, what about adding in another 5-6 starts?

  8. snarkk said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:17 am

    It will take more than 5/150 to get Greinke, even at 32. Shocking to me if Giants go for him, moreso if they get him…

    • chipower9 said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Unless Evans is blowing smoke up everyone’s asses, he has said the Giants will not be players for any of the big names (Price, Greinke, Cueto, etc.).

  9. xoot said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Wilco probably knows a lot more about all this, but the turn-around of the Astros, since the new owners bought the team in 2012, is just astonishing to me. For a discount, the purchasers agreed to move the team to the AL. Then the team lost 111 games in 2013–third 100-loss year in a row. Can you imagine how the fan base felt? The new owners also raked in a big revenue-sharing check to help pay off some of the loans, and for that first year they sure didn’t spend the rev/sh on players. In 2013, Houston’s entire opening day payroll was $26 million. Meanwhile, ARod’s individual salary for 2013 was $29 million. But the team hired good front office people, used their high draft picks well, and now they’re one of the most exciting and likable teams in baseball. I hear the owners are even going to get rid of that hill/flagpole gimmick in CF.

    • wilcojoe said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Perfect analysis. To add to all of that, prior to this year, there was a three year carrier dispute between Comcast Sports Net Houston and all of the non Comcast cable/satellite providers. Something like 75% of the Houston market (myself included) was not able to watch Astros or Rockets games. CSN Houston has since folded and is currently in bankruptcy proceedings.

    • snarkk said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Niners should take a lesson and tank, get high draft position. Executing a good draft is another story, tho…

    • chipower9 said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

      This is why I like the Stros. Built, ground-up with smart money (not tons of money like the Bums or YankMees). Come on Cinderella…let’s go to the big dance!

  10. snarkk said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

    One thing I did not know about these big 2 fantasy game sites is that several of the sports leagues are part owners. I don’t know what issues that raises, but somehow that doesn’t look right at first blush …

    • chipower9 said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Agree, snarkk. I saw something on that last week when this whole shit storm started to brew.

  11. chipower9 said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:25 am

    “Not much a YankMee fan these days?” Never have been. They are, and always have been, the “Evil Empire” in my book. I am so glad they got their asses whupped by the upstart Astros, in their own house. Fuck the YankMees…and I hope they have a nice off-season of fishing, hunting and golf. Go Stros!

    Regarding the whole fantasy sport bruhaha, I agree with FanDuel’s move that NO emplooyee of a fantasy site should be able to play for dough at their site. IMO, this is a good first step, and ultimately, all of these sites need to come out with similar rules. At the end of the day, regardless of whether or not employees of these sites are privy to inside info or not, it is certainly ripe for people to percieve that, and you know what they say, “Perception is Reality.”

    I have been, and remain, a NO on Greinke. Too much dough for too long a contract to a guy who will be 32 (durability be damned). I think the Giants will be fine if they just add a couple of middle of the road starters (like Leake, Samardzija, etc.), and perhaps some fine-tuning of the bullpen.

    NL WC tonight…GO CUBBIES.

  12. snarkk said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I just read that this Eddy Martinez kid out of Cuba has Not signed with SF. Premature infatuation?…

    • zumiee said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:38 am

      He hadn’t officially signed, I guess, and backed out. There’s still some legal murkiness when dealing with the Cuban players.

      • zumiee said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:39 am

        I’m guessing he decided his market value is higher.

  13. willedav said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Question: who would win battle of the mgrs. this year with Bochy and SF out of the picture? Btw, I think he’d school all of below:

    Maddon, Matheny Collins DTT Hurdle?
    Hinch Yost Gibbons Bannister?

    • zumiee said, on October 7, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Maddon’s the leader of that pack, IMO. He has the ability to draw the media heat to himself and off of his players. And he knows the Xs and Os of baseball well.

  14. Flavor said, on October 7, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Snarkk— MLB is saying it was *surprised* to learn that employees from these sites play daily too. This shows you how clueless MLB is since it is not something that’s hidden. The employees tweet pretty much all day long about who they like, who they don’t like, they congratulate each other publicly on wins, etc…. But by saying they were “surprised” it makes it look (again) like something shady was going on. If you are openly playing and discussing it all day in public social media forums, how is that shady? That’s the opposite of shady. That’s right out in the open for everyone to see.

  15. twinfan1 said, on October 7, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Aw, you’re full of it. It was just bad luck that Uggla and Featherston didn’t come through for me…

    • sfsarge said, on October 7, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Hey twin, glad to see you on. Glad you and your wife and dogs made it out ok.

      • twinfan1 said, on October 7, 2015 at 10:49 am

        Should be on a bit more now. Our homeowner’s has us in a nice hotel while they get us a long term rental while they build our new home.I miss Mickey, though. He slept with one or both of us for nearly every night for 10 years.The chances of finding him are growing slimmer by the day.

      • chipower9 said, on October 7, 2015 at 12:01 pm

        Twin – glad to hear things are moving in the right direction. When we last talked you and Merna were staying in the cabin on Clear Lake (without wifi, etc.) of the veterinarian who befriended you in the shelter. So happy to hear that the insurance will be building you a new home. While there are many things you cannot replace in a devestating loss like this, you and Merna made it out with at least some of your animals, so for that I am happy. I am keeping up the hope that you find Mickey.

  16. Irish Kevin said, on October 7, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    BF I am totally surprised you didn’t mention me in this sentence!! Ha ha ha

    Final point is that if you CAN’T reasonably predict ownership percentages you probably shouldn’t be playing daily fantasy sports in the first place. (Irish Kevin)

  17. Carstie Clausen said, on October 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Should worse come to worst and the LaBumbos actually cop a ring by way of their pair of Aces there could be a silver lining even in that. Donnie Two Trips would return as their manager.

    • djloo27 said, on October 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Don’t you think he’s improved some?

  18. Flavor said, on October 7, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    man this Pitt game is reminding me of last year. Their crowd was totally maniacal, just like tonight. At least, until Crawford hit that bomb and then they went silent……

  19. djloo27 said, on October 7, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Sign of the times: You can’t tell who the home team is by their uniforms.

    • Paul Sorensen said, on October 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Nor by the sound of the crowd. Cub fans are louder than Buc fans. Kinda like a certain SF team we’re all familiar with, actually……

  20. zumiee said, on October 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Lots of young folk in that Cubs lineup.

  21. xoot said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    now we’re talking–Cubs deserve to get plunked throughout the PS

  22. alleykat69 said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    About time pitchers get plunked.
    They don’t have to deal with it in the Pee Wee Herman league(AL) but back where REAL baseball is played, an eye for an eye..

  23. Paul Sorensen said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Except it didn’t appear (to me) that Arietta plunked anyone on purpose…..

  24. alleykat69 said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Pitt fans have a little more fire due to the bench clearing, but in the end it will be the Cubs drinking the bubbly, just like are Giants did, who silenced that crowd with the Crawford Slam..

  25. xoot said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Pittsburgh led mlb in HB with 75. AL teams ranked 2-5, until the Phillies weighed in with 61. Giants were mid-level at 50. Cubs were way down the list at 43. But the Cubs, starting in ST, did the damage I remember. eff em; plunk em.

  26. Flavor said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Sean Rodriguez sparring with the Gatorade bottle was one of the most epic moments of the year, at least in terms of humor……..

    • Paul Sorensen said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Agree. Idiot. I’m guessing that’s the 1st time he did that, because if he’d done it before, he would’ve learned… 🙂

  27. Flavor said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    sorry, but this is so awesome in its stupidity. For the love of God make sure you unclick the volume button at the bottom right of the Vine.

    • Paul Sorensen said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      I especially like the way he looks down at the defeated Gatorade jug on the floor of the dugout, with a look of “yeah, beeatch, I beat your ass”…. tool. Going into this game, I was pretty sure I was for the Cubs, but I also could’ve appreciated Pittsburgh winning. Nah. Happy to hear silence in that park for the 2nd year in a row. Up until now, of course, still the 9th to play….

      • Flavor said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        you’re absolutely correct. The look-down was the best. I would like to see a clip of his dumbass right after the look down. Everyone is ignoring him. Does he just wander off? Or look for another jug to dominate?

  28. alleykat69 said, on October 7, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Actually Paul,
    That idiot Sean Rodriguez broke his right hand punching a locker back in 2012 while playing in Tampa Bay for then manager Joe Maddon who’s was totally ticked off at him for being a juvenile hothead…

    • Paul Sorensen said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Oh, I guess he didn’t learn, AK …. And there was Hurdle, just kind of looking on… sort of like Matt Williams at the “far end of the dugout”….. Can you imagine that happening in SF? No way.

  29. eddacker said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Although cubbies are my lifelong #2 team, kinda feel sorry for a good Pitts team going out back-to-back in the WC. hahahaha

  30. Flavor said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    what’s the over/under on Rodriguez getting in a fight tonight? +/- 80%? Hopefully he leaves the strippers alone…….

    • Paul Sorensen said, on October 7, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      I was thinking the same thing: hope there’s not a wife or girlfriend waiting for him at home….. yikes. Wow, shut out two years in a row in the play-in game. Ouch. Depressing way to end an otherwise pretty darned good year.

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