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DraftKings Best Ball Championship

Late in the 4th quarter this past Monday night, the 49ers faced 3rd and goal on the 2-yard line. Down by 14 points they had just two attempts at a touchdown. Little did they know that a fantasy player, a self-proclaimed guru, was watching intently in New York, with A LOT riding on this moment. With starting QB Brock Purdy out of the game, would they safely hand the ball off to All Pro running back Christian McCaffrey? Or opt for a passing play? The guru calculated that a McCaffrey rushing touchdown would cut his lead to a meager 0.2 points. A receiving CMC touchdown would vanquish his lead and drop him down to 2nd and eliminate him from championship contention. Fearing defeat, his closest opponent also rosters a red-hot Zay Flowers, who was watching the field intensely at Levi’s Stadium from the Ravens sideline.

With his heart racing and adrenaline pumping, the guru clenches his teeth as he watches Sam Darnold hand the ball off to McCaffrey. Stuffed. The Ravens elite defensive line penetrates the wall of San Francisco linemen, and McCaffrey gains zero yards on the play. 4th down and goal. One more attempt to cut the lead to one score. Sam Darnold drops back to pass; he surveys the field eying for an open receiver. Finding no one, he drops deeper back into the pocket and takes an unnecessary sack without the ball leaving his hands. A scene this Jets fan has seen one too many times he cares to admit. However, this time it pleases him. Ravens take possession, kneel the ball to run out the clock, and walk away victorious. Nearing midnight back in New York the fantasy guru has his fists pumping, hands clapping, feet stomping, hollering “Let’s go babyyyyyyyyyyyyy”. His sleepy, disapproving wife emerges from the bedroom and asks what happened. Grinning from ear to ear, he asks, “Have you ever made love to a millionaire?” 

As I sit alone in my living room late on Monday night a smile brightens my face filling myself with joy. As a fantasy sports competitor you fantasize about 6- and 7-digit scores. Of emerging from huge player fields in first place with gigantic paydays. I mean if you aren’t playing for these huge scores, to compete with the best, then why even play? And that’s what I told myself when I embarked on this 150-draft journey. If I wanted the best chance to win, I had to put in the time and the effort of max entering the millionaire contest. The time spent drafting 150 teams is the equivalent of drafting one week straight with no sleep. As Muhammad Ali famously said, “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” If you’re not in love with the preparation, and the daily grind, you don’t stand a fighting chance against those who do.

After 16 weeks of regular season NFL football, and approximately 1.2 million teams eliminated, only 1,364 teams are left vying for the top prize of $1 million dollars on DraftKings. The competition was successful in eliminating 149 of my teams. But there was one, just one, that remained too strong. And here ladies and gentlemen, is that team. Without further ado, I present you “Goff Super Stack”:

QB – Jared Goff, CJ Stroud, Kenny Pickett

RB – Jahmyr Gibbs, Breece Hall, Alexander Mattison, Zamir White, Israel Abanikanda

WR – Amon-Ra St. Brown, CeeDee Lamb, Chris Godwin, Nico Collins, George Pickens, Jayden Reed, Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks

TE –Sam Laporta, Dalton Schultz, Hunter Henry, Hayden Hurst

With the Lions vs. Cowboys playing on Saturday night, I will have a great idea of where my team stands before the Sunday games kickoff. If this game does not blow up, my chances are slim. If this game does go nuclear, my chances are pretty good that I can be a top 10 finisher, guaranteeing myself a 6-digit payday. Currently this game has the HIGHEST over/under at 53.5. I will have the uniqueness of having 5 Detroit Lions. Something that served me extremely well two weeks earlier. CeeDee Lamb is the perfect runback option on the other side. Already a prolific WR, he is enjoying a career-best season and should feast on the Lions weak secondary. 

CJ Stroud did practice on Wednesday, but he has yet to clear the concussion protocol. The fact that he was at practice AND already missed two games, I feel very good about his chances of suiting up on Sunday. Without Tank Dell, I am armed with the Texans top two pass catchers in Nico and Schultz. Treylon Burks is my runback option on the Titans sideline. But he has been a huge bust with only 210 scoreless yards on the season.

Jayden Reed also practiced on Wednesday, so I like his chances of suiting up on Sunday night. After missing one game with a toe injury, he should slide right back in as the top Green Bay play maker. Alexander Mattison is an excellent runback option with Green Bay being one of the worst run defenses in the entire league. IF he was the starter. Which he is not. Insert crying emoji. 

Based on how the schedule shakes out, I will have the luxury of building an early lead, with Breece Hall playing on Thursday, and my heavily game stacked Lions playing on Saturday. As well as having a potential late night sweat with Jayden Reed playing in the last game of the week on Sunday night, giving me a glimmer of hope of catching any teams in the standings. 

This journey that I have embarked on has got me thinking a lot of why I did it. Why did I decide to play? To answer simply, it brings me joy. So why not bring joy and play into your daily life? Which I believe is at the core of Windaily. Being your best, day in and day out. You don’t give anything but your best effort, no matter the endeavor. 

While reflecting, it reminded me of a part in “Shoe Dog”, the story of Phil Knight, the owner of Nike. Early in the book, Phil writes about moving back home as a twenty-four-year-old with his parents and twin sisters after seven years away. He wasn’t sure what to do with his life after earning a master’s in business from Stanford. While on a morning run through the woods of Oregon, it hits him like a ton of bricks. He writes, “The secret of happiness, I’d always suspected, the essence of beauty and truth, or all we ever need to know of either, lay somewhere in that moment when the ball is in midair, when both boxers sense the approach of the bell, when the runners near the finish line and the crowd rises as one. There’s a kind of exuberant clarity in that pulsing half second before winning and losing are decided. I wanted that, whatever that was, to be my life, my daily life.” 

And that is, in essence, why I compete in the fantasy sports realm. The excitement, the adrenaline rush, the uncertainty. The organized chaos that happens on a weekly, if not daily basis. There is preparation, strategizing, and then execution. Those are the three key elements that are essential for success. And this upcoming Sunday, I pray, and I hope, to feel that pulsating sensation that Phil so vividly writes about, as I envision myself emerging victorious against 1.2 million competitors, as a newly minted millionaire. 

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