How It Works
1:16 | Fantasy
How It Works

A one-week fantasy player like Evgeny Shmukler went from being your run-of-the-Millennial video gamer, wasting his free time away in his gaming chair, to being a very rich young man—all from playing FanDuel.

Goodbye, controller. Hello, being in control of your fantasy fate and financial future.

Shmukler, 30, was in credit card debt in his modest apartment. This year his life changed.

He was July’s $50K Boston Fantasy Baseball champion, won $45,000 in FanDuel’s World Fantasy Baseball Championship (WFBC) on Aug. 22 and, coincidentally, had a $132,000 night in another FanDuel league just days before departing for the WFBC. Before those final two victories, Shmukler estimated he won three times his annual salary in three midsummer weeks.

“Daily fantasy is the future of sports,” Shmukler said before heading to the all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas.

It’s also how he broke the monotony of video gaming and living paycheck to paycheck. Now, he is preparing to upgrade his old, hand-me-down Honda Accord into a fancy new ride. Here’s some knowledge straight from Schmulker—and a few other big one-week fantasy winners—to help you win too:

Winner’s Tip No. 1: Know the players.

Over-analysis can lead to fantasy paralysis. After all, during the football season there are myriad channels to consume football news, and every outlet is pushing its spin on a story. Shmukler’s path to riches was to ignore the noise and focus on his knowledge of players, their playing time and status.

Having a rolodex of trusted fantasy information can help you think for yourself in setting winning FanDuel lineups like the $1,000,000 fantasy football contest for Week 1. You can even enter now for just $5. First place wins $100,000.

Winner’s Tip No. 2: Cover your bases.

Your first-thought lineup might not be a winner. You need to explore a variety of angles to make sure you have some variance calculated into your lineups.

You like a pair of games to be high scoring? Play some multi-entry contests, where you can stack players from both games into lineups. Give yourself the best chance to win by spreading your lineups around.

Winner’s Tip No. 3: Invest in yourself.

Like most football fans, you spend countless hours watching the game and formulating personal opinions. Use that time investment as your edge in fantasy.

Whether you are an avid season-long player or not, you can capitalize on your knowledge of teams, setting well-reasoned lineups based on an opponent, plan of attack or weekly circumstances (playing time or injury).

Winner’s Tip No. 4: Unfortunate injuries can make for fortunes.

Football is a contact sport that features injuries each week. Get in on a breakout backup early — before playing time is determined and prices rise.

A running back goes down Sunday, the next week’s contest prices are set, then the coach comes out mid-week with the bombshell: Player X is out for the season.

“Next man up,” as they say in the business.

That next man is underpriced and undervalued. In season-long leagues, you are in a competitive position to try to pick the newfound starter up off waivers. On FanDuel, that new starter is there for anyone at a bargain rate.

So, in addition to knowing the players, the news, depth charts and injuries, know next week’s opportunities.

Winner’s Tip No. 5: Enjoy the ride.

Win or lose, there’s learning to be done and fun to be had, as FanDuel players can attest here.

Lee Asher, who has turned pro in fantasy sports, said: “We get to choose players and make money. There’s nothing better than that.”

Asher said in July that if offered, he would turn down a $1 million job working for a big-league baseball team. His passion-turned-profession was just too much fun, in addition to being profitable.

Yes, there’s money to be made on FanDuel, but the payouts? That’s just gravy. First and foremost, FanDuel is about fans. Fans who want to prove they know best—with more to watch on Sunday and more to celebrate on Monday. Are you fan enough?

FanDuel is running a $1 million fantasy football league for Week 1. Enter now for just $5. First place wins $100,000.

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