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The Orion

Giant checks, small bank accounts; Daily fantasy sports

Orion file photo.

Their ads are everywhere.

From Facebook to ESPN, the fantasy sports service, DraftKings, wants you to know who they are and what they do.

DraftKings is like the fantasy football league with all your friends on steroids. They host weekly fantasy football competitions that feature hundreds of thousands of betters.

Once participants pay an entry fee (ranging from $.25-$5,000), they are given a $50,000 budget to create a fantasy lineup. They must select one quarterback, three wide receivers, two running backs, one tight end, one flex (consisting of any of the three positions mentioned before) and one defense.

The better the player, the more it will cost to put on your team. Once your team is selected, you submit it and watch your money stack up or go right down the drain.

I can almost assure you, you are not good enough to win money in daily fantasy sports.

In poker, the best players are called “card sharks,” and in daily fantasy, it’s the same idea. These “fantasy sharks” spend hours upon hours studying lineups and entering more than 1,000 lineups on a weekly basis. Some of these top-notch fantasy players risk up to $140,000 in entry fees, where the lower end sharks risk up to $8,000.

According to, the top 10 players combine to win 873 times daily. The other 20,000 players, win just 13 times a day.

Even with all these warning signs, during week 1 of the NFL season I created an account and deposited my hard earned $5 into DraftKings. Being an avid gambler and fantasy football nut, unfortunately DraftKings was my perfect storm. Plus, it was just $5, right?

Now before I go any further, when I say fantasy football nut, I mean fantasy football addict. I read countless articles daily. I also listen to three to four hours of fantasy football podcasts every day, and I am always refreshing Twitter to get the latest updates. My knowledge of fantasy football is above the average fan.

I entered three lineups that day. One finished at 13,963 out of 331,400 people for a $3 prize. Another finished at 1,524 out of 37,300 people for a $10 prize, and my last one finished at 863 out of 57,600 people for a $35 prize.

I turned my measly $5 I had earned pouring wine all summer into $48. Can you guess what my first thought was?

“I can’t wait until I can play next week.”

Over the course of the season, it’s almost certain I will give back my $43 winnings back to DraftKings in entry fees. By week 17, I have been chewed up and spit out by the daily fantasy-gambling monster.

Now, you might be thinking, “Who does this guy think he is? Is he telling me I can’t win and then he goes and plays himself?”

In fact, yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

This is one of those cases where you should do what I say, not what I do. Because in the end, when all your friends are meeting up for a burger at the Bear, you’ll have to tell them you won’t be able to make it because you lost all your money on DraftKings.

Nick Martinez-Esquibel can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.

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Nick Martinez-Esquibel
Nick Martinez-Esquibel, Sports Editor

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