Now in its third year, the annual FCK NBA Challenge is growing into the event its originator hoped it would be. This year’s field is up to 41 players, including many of the most well-known names in daily fantasy sports.
And early leader Tommy Gelati (known simply as Tommy G. in the DFS universe) couldn’t be happier about it.
“It’s a great event,” said Tommy, the daytrader and Sirius XM radio host known for his candor, confidence and GPP success. “I won’t say it’s the biggest 41 names in DFS, because we’ve got some that consistently duck this event, and we know who they are. But we’ve got some of the biggest names in DFS and a lot of these multi-entry guys get exposed because they’re fucking frauds.”
In one paragraph, we get a near-complete encapsulation of what attracts some of the well-known pros to the 20-contest series that aims to crown the world’s best daily fantasy basketball player.
It’s not the money; bigger paydays could be had for the $2,500 entry fee. It’s more about the fine line between camaraderie and cut-throat competition.
“I wanna swing a sword on Twitter for the next six months,” Tommy said.
Tournament founder Michael Hofeld (aka FishCakeKing) said it was a similar motivation that spurred him to launch the contest a little over three years ago.
“(It) started in October of 2013, in between MLB and NBA,” he said. “It’s when multi-entry debates first flared up. I felt that if I played the best in the world in single entry over a course of games I could compete.”
In a field that’s a virtual who’s who of daily fantasy personalities this year, Hofeld currently sits 40th out of 41 entrants.
But there’s time to catch up.
The tournament spans 20 contests from January-March. The top seven are paid each night, with $1,250 going to the winner, and players are ranked according to their place in each contest in terms of overall points and money won. Those rankings are combined to yield the rank in the overall standings.
Through the first three nights, Tommy G. has won twice, scoring big on Thursday as the only player to own Omer Asik, who chipped in 31.25 points. And in a small field of experienced players, finding that differentiation is increasingly difficult. On Thursday, for example, Langston Galloway, Derrick Williams, DeMarcus Cousins, Myles Turner and Jrue Holiday were all owned by at least 75 percent of the field.
Tommy said the ability for newer players to follow along and learn from what the pros do is a benefit to the entire industry. He said he’s fielding questions about his lineup every night on Twitter, and on RotoGrinders a follow-along challenge has sprung up this year for players who want to test their skills at a lower buy-in.
“This year I didn’t expect a big turnout and it almost didn’t happen,” Hofeld said. “We put it off because of all the legal entanglements.
“If not for DraftCheat chiding to play and take (two-time champ Drew Dinkmeyer’s) crown, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Once I announced it the response was overwhelming. I think it shows that the hardcore DFS enthusiasts have grown substantially. It could have been bigger than 41 people I just didn’t have the time or energy.”