With a series of victories in state legislatures across the country—including the all-important Empire State—and a long-awaited rollout of its UK product, FanDuel wrapped up a largely successful summer by crowning it’s 2016 World Fantasy Baseball Championship (WFBC) winner, as well as the inaugural champion of its Single Entry Entry Series, a contest that was co-sponsored by DFS fan hub Rotogrinders.
Repeat Champs, and a Photo Finish for Second at WFBC
The WFBC was won for a second consecutive year by renowned DFS pros rayofhope, who took down the live final with a score of 222. The duo, Cory Albertson and Ray Coburn, had the maximum three entries among the 75 total seats in the WFBC, and took home the first-place prize of $250,00 with a lineup that featured Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray as their top scorer with 69 points, and that had both Astros outfielder George Springer (43.6 points) and White Sox slugging first baseman Jose Abreu (30.9 points) leading the way among the hitters. Houston players Evan Gattis (15.2 points) and Carlos Correa (12.7 points), as well as the White Sox’s Melky Cabrera (19.2 points) were notable contributors to the winning lineup as well.
The final moments of the WFBC were not without drama, as another perennially successful DFS pro, lovesbases, overtook prezvxk by the thinnest of margins, 216.70-216.50, to secure second place. Lovesbases’ most prolific scorer was the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, who contributed a whopping 35.4 fantasy points in the thin air of Coors Field. With a difference of $50,000 in prize money between second and third place, the photo finish represented much more than just a close call!Movie Rings (2017)
Successful Debut for Single Entry Series
Meanwhile, the first-ever edition of the Rotogrinders and FanDuel initiative known as the Single Entry Series featured a much more intimate field of four. The championship, which represented the first live final that was qualified for exclusively through single entry contests, was won by user sysear, who held a comfortable lead throughout and won with a final score of 199.60. The margin of victory was near 60 fantasy points, as his closest competitor, zshoom, mustered 138 points.
Much like rayofhope, sysear rode the arm of Ray and the bat of Abreu to victory, but also saw the Nationals’ Bryce Harper (21.7 points), the Cardinals’ Jeremy Hazelbaker (22.2 points) and the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez (18.7 points) make important contributions. The win netted sysear $10,000, with the remaining three contestants—zshoom, doctor_doom and rjmazeika—taking home $7,000, $5,000 and $3,000, respectively.
Positive Outcomes for Both Live Finals
Both live finals unfolded in Nashville, Tennessee, Rotogrinders’ home city. Although the overall prize pool for the WFBC was reduced as compared to the 2015 edition as we previously covered, the event nevertheless featured an impressive total prize money haul of $1.5 million. Furthermore, with some of the company’s legal expenses possibly dwindling as the mission of legalizing fantasy sports is accomplished in an increasing number of states, a bump in the prize pool for 2017 is conceivable, but far from a certainty.
The Single Entry Series seemed to receive very positive reviews from players, making it likely that it returns next year for MLB, and perhaps expands to other sports offered by FanDuel as well. The concept is one that certainly helps champion the skill game argument that the industry has consistently advanced in the face of legal challenges, and provides users of varying bankroll size to participate and have a realistic opportunity of qualifying.