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DraftKings For Breakfast: Steve Hillman’s Day Begins with the FBWC



Breakfast will never be the same in the household of the Hillmans after what happened on the morning of Saturday, July 13. Will the Herndon, Virginia family ever see such excitement again? Some future DraftKings results can only determine the answer to that question.

Steve Hillman, a 45 year-old real estate appraiser, was serving his daughter breakfast when he checked  his Twitter direct messages and had received a congratulatory note that he had won a qualifier to the DraftKings 2019 Fantasy Baseball World Championship. Steve had discovered he was going to Chicago in mid-August and would have his chance to compete for a $500,000 Grand Prize.

“I started jumping up and down,” he said. “I kind of screamed and said ‘we did it!’”

Hillman won one of 100 seats in the August 17 competition. He will get a three-night VIP experience at the Live Final. But this is not Hillman’s first trip to such a prestigious event. He has been to four FanDuel live finals in the past, and finished seventh in 2018, garnering $25,000. Winning it all is his goal, but he’s not finished trying to increase his odds.

“I won’t complain if I finish seventh again, because the DraftKings payout is pretty high ($100,000). But winning it all would be such a great accomplishment. That first spot gets you half a million dollars, so I am going to try and win another seat,” he said.

Hillman can qualify for the FWBC up to four more times until August 12. He estimates he has been playing Fantasy Sports over 30 years. “Since the days of getting box scores from the newspapers,” he said. He started playing DFS in late 2014, and in 2016, he said he started to take coaching lessons from a DFS Pro. Yet despite his latest trip to a live event, he is humble and says he is no “DFS Pro” himself.

“I just do this as a hobby,” he said, shooting down talk that he is on the level of some of the top players he will be joining in Chicago soon.

But his July 12 DraftKings results say otherwise. Hillman scored 213.05 points to finish first in Qualifier No. 63, winning $1,000 and beating out 322 other participants. He completed the feat riding the emotional night in Los Angeles, as the Angels honored the memory of Tyler Skaggs with a 13-0 win over the Mariners, which included a combined no-hitter.

DraftKings: Steve Hillman July 12 Lineup
Steve Hillman’s July 12 lineup on DraftKings

Hillman ran a four-man Angels stack, and he was rewarded with a 40-point night from Mike Trout, who homered and had six RBI. Justin Upton also homered that night and finished with 21 points. Andrelton Simmons had three hits and three runs scored and Shohei Ohtani added seven points.

“I had three other lineups that night, but that was the one I kept tinkering with,” he said. “I was thinking the Angels stack did not have a chance. Tampa Bay also went off for 16 runs that night against Baltimore.”

Hillman did have a very successful investment in the Rays 16-4 victory, though. It was from the pitching side. Yonny Chirinos was only 2.2 percent owned on DraftKings, but Hillman used him as one of his two starting pitchers. Chirinos rewarded Hillman with 29.35 points, striking out eight and allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings of work.

“I thought Chirinos was going to be a much more popular choice,” Hillman said. “When the late games started, I thought I was not going to have a chance.”

Hillman went to bed before the Mariners-Angels game ended, not knowing he had indeed built the ideal lineup. He did not feel comfortable with his roster construction, because he didn’t support the Angels quartet with a mini-stack. Instead, he used four one-offs.

“That was rare for me,” he said.

But his singular selections worked out well enough. Daniel Murphy (24 DraftKings points) doubled and homered. Manny Machado (19) had a homer and three hits. Jurickson Profar (14) chipped in with a HR  and Travis d’Arnaud (12) added a pair of hits.

“It was the Angels stack that really went off,” Hillman said.” Some of my other guys weren’t nearly as high scoring.”

So now Hillman gets another trip to a live final, and his experience serves him well as he prepares for it. He is not letting the upcoming event affect his usual Daily Fantasy Sports approach.

“I will try to treat every day between now and then as I would any other day,” he said. “I am not going to put any kind of different level of pressure on myself on any other lineup I do. Every day is a new, different day and I will try to not let little mistakes here and there get into the back of my head.”

It’s a mindset that has worked for Hillman already, and could work again before August 17, as he continues to attempt to win more qualifying tickets for the DraftKings FBWC.

His family will certainly be on alert now at the breakfast table. More exciting news could indeed come at any time between now and August 12. But the morning meal on August 18 in Chicago could potentially top all others.

Also Read: The FanDuel WFBC Road Goes Through Coors Field.

Featured Image of Mike Trout: Keith Allison

Scott Engel is a 20-plus year veteran of the Fantasy Sports industry and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Association’s Hall of Fame. He is a four-time FSWA Award winner and nine-time finalist. He won the CBS SportsLine Hall of Fame Award for his longstanding service and was a featured Fantasy analyst for Scott is a longtime and award-winning host on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He was the Managing Director and driving content force behind for more than a decade and helped launch the FNTSY Sports Network.

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