With the rise of daily fantasy sports (DFS), we at Never Manage Alone felt that it was time to provide some more in-depth analysis, to help our patrons with picking their lineups for the DraftKings Premier League and Champions League fantasy games. After some discussion, we decided to bring in the Daily Fantasy Sports Gods, a pair of gentlemen who have created their own company to do just that. Starting in Week 9, they will be providing tips and tactics in the hopes of helping you line your pockets with some cold, hard cash.
Josh Kronfeld and Nick Collie, the President and CEO of Daily Fantasy Sports Gods, were kind enough to sit down with me this week to answer some questions and chat about themselves, their goals, and what they hope to bring to Never Manage Alone.
NMA: So, tell us a bit about yourselves and how your business got started.
JK: I was born and raised in NYC my entire life, rooting for the Yankees, Giants, and Rangers. Despite my father being a Manchester United fan, I went my own way and fell in love with the Kop. After graduating from Indiana University in 2013 with a major in Sports Communication and a minor in Journalism, I worked for eight months with the Yankees, followed by a position with NBC Sports covering the EPL and other sports. Nick and I had been playing DFS for about a year and a half, and we started tweeting out free lineups about two months ago. We did so well that our followers began sending us voluntary cash tips, and a business was born.
NC: I grew up in Boca Raton, Florida as a die-hard Heat and Canes fan. I later fell in love with Liverpool and Indiana basketball, which led me to attend IU. I majored in Sports Public Management, and after college I became a production assistant on a variety of HBO shows, and a few films. Wanting to stay in the entertainment industry, I focused on sports and moved on to a job at ESPN, creating various highlights for a number of shows across their family of networks, as well as their mobile app.
NMA: It seems that this is not just a hobby that you stumbled into or take lightly; you’ve both obtained degrees in the field of sports, and have worked in the industry with some impressive companies. How has that helped with your knowledge of DFS?
JK: Part of what makes us different in this industry is that, unlike many of the "experts" you’ll see out there, we have found charts and algorithms to be a nuisance. We instead build our lineups based on a general knowledge and understanding of the sport; when we compared these lineups to the "expert charts" we would find that they caused us to second-guess our instincts and lose. We truly believe that our sports knowledge and passion for DFS have proven to be infinitely more useful than any chart or algorithm we’ve come across.
NC: It has helped to some extent; however, as far as the knowledge we possess, it stems back to the stone age of fantasy—when you had to track your league using pen and paper in the Priest Holmes Era. Having played sports my entire life, I’m a natural student of the game, and with my extensive experience with fantasy sports, I’ve come to understand the games from a managerial and scheme level.
NMA: That’s helpful with soccer DFS especially. Most sports, you choose the lineup based on projected stats. With soccer, you need to know not only the player, but also their current situation—the lineup around them, their matchup, etc—in order to build an optimum team. And then, you still need some luck!
JK: Absolutely. With soccer DFS, you need to know the mindset of each team’s manager, the importance of each match—for example, does the team have a big Champions League match coming up in Eastern Russia that might lead them to rest players? These are monumental elements that a computer simply cannot tell you about using numbers.
NMA: Which is what makes every tiny bit of information vital in soccer DFS. To that point, what do you guys tend to focus on when looking not only for value, but deciding who may be overpriced or a risky play?
NC: We start with the current form of each player, combined with their matchup—both the opponent and the location. Form is huge these days, as manager will ride the hot "foot" and build their lineups around them. And that is often a primary factor, for example, with our picks coming out of an international break like the one we are in; so a player like Alexis Sanchez, who looked great for Chile against Brazil, has added value. Secondly, we focus on home/away combined with price. Players in the BPL tend to perform better at home due to managerial tactics and style of play.
JK: Everyone knows the big names—Ronaldo, Messi, Alexis. Because of this, maybe the most important factor of soccer DFS is that DraftKings will set those guys with price tags of 12k-14k, knowing people will pay. The reason insights like ours are so valuable is that we know when to include the big guns--if only because 80% of your opponents will—and when to fade them with cheaper players who will put up similar numbers and allow you some flexibility with the rest of your lineup.
NMA: Your Twitter account shows how well you guys have performed lately. However, our readers love statistics, it’s the backbone of fantasy soccer. Can you share of your numbers with us?
JK: We started from scratch two months ago with nothing but ambition and a Twitter handle. Since then, our lineups have performed so well that we made $15,000 just from followers tipping us from their winnings, all voluntarily, and from offering short-term premium membership subscriptions, with our members receiving at least 3-5 lineups per Champions League and Premier League match week. We have now taken all the legal steps necessary to become an LLC as an official DFS consulting firm. We envision a future in which this immensely diverse DFS community can—and will—benefit from going after the "sharks" of DFS: the 1.3% who consistently take the winnings on FanDuel and DraftKings. To that end, our NFL Week 1 customers took $30 worth of entries and converted them into $700—all on a $25 subscription.
NMA: That’s one heck of a return! What are your plans for the soccer side of the business?
JK: Lately we have been focusing on providing free lineups for Champions League, which we will continue to do. However, our BPL lineups consistently win 50/50 games, so we are focusing on two lineup strategies—a safer lineup for double-ups, and a low risk/high reward lineup for tournaments for our Premium members. That way, even if we have a bad day, our followers know they will likely break even.
NMA: Well, it sounds like you have a great plan in place. Our community here at NMA is a diverse group; while not all of our members are DFS players, it sounds like your analysis will help our regular fantasy players as well. What are you guys looking forward to providing as the season moves along?
JK: One of the most pleasant surprises from starting this venture is seeing how many followers we have help who are members of the Armed Forces, or just "Average Joes" working a day job and taking care of a family. We’ve helped college kids who just want a little extra cash for the weekends. At the end of the day, getting messages of thanks and knowing that we’ve helped someone while simply doing something we absolutely love, nothing beats that feeling. We want to bring a "Robin Hood" mentality to NMA every time we submit content, and help people beat the sharks. In the words of Mr. Jurgen Klopp, "We have a bow and arrow, and if we aim well, we can hit the target."
NC: We plan to bring access to our information and content, whether it be news, podcasts, or any DFS advice—not just for soccer, but for any of the sports we specialize in. The emphasis for us is making sure the public wins, because we know how happy it makes our followers and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to offer them everything we can.
NMA: Well, I think I speak for the entire staff when I say that we are excited to have you on board. We look forward to your first piece next week as we return from an injury-filled international break. Anything else you’d like to say to the lads and ladies?
JK: We think this is the PERFECT time to get on board with Never Manage Alone. The Premier League is as wide open as it’s ever been, and with the transfer window coming up in a few months, you can count on us to let you know who will undoubtedly be under-priced and unknown to the general public. Let's make DraftKings an ATM machine for this community!
Are you excited for the addition of more daily fantasy sports content? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section! You can follow the DFSportsGods on Twitter @2dfsgods and you contact them via email at Josh@dfsportsgods.com or Nick@dfsportsgods.com.