Primer gives you the overview on Daily Fantasy Sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel, details a Cris Carter gaffe and takes a look at the hot water surrounding the Baylor football program.
It was a relatively light weekend in sports as we prepare for the onslaught of football season. Today we check in on two stories that made us shake our heads, then brief you on a concept that has two sports startups skyrocketing in value. And, just like the last 105 weekends, Tiger Woods didn’t win a golf tournament yesterday.
D’oh! Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter told NFL rookies they need a “fall guy” in case of trouble
It’s bad to tell first-year players that someone in their “crew” should be prepared to go to jail, should the player be caught in the legal wrong. It’s worse to do it at the official NFL rookie symposium.. while wearing a Hall of Fame jacket.. in a video that (until yesterday) was available on NFL.com.
That’s exactly what ESPN talking head Cris Carter did in 2014 (the video is at the bottom of this page – Warren Sapp’s facial expressions in the background are priceless). Carter, ESPN, and the NFL have of course backpedaled and apologized.
We have no further comment about this story because, as Carter can attest, sometimes it’s just best to keep the ol’ yapper shut.
Story of jailed Baylor football player is bad from all angles
On Thursday, Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of raping a Baylor women’s soccer player in 2013. He now faces 180 days in jail and 10 years of felony probation. Media scrutiny has focused on how Baylor head coach Art Briles handled Ukwuachu’s time at the school.
Before transferring to Baylor, Ukwuachu was kicked off of Boise State’s team for disciplinary reasons, which included an altercation with his then-girlfriend. The current controversy boils down to how much Briles knew about Ukwuachu’s history when he accepted him as a transfer.
The Baylor coach said he had no idea that Ukwuachu had a violent past, but former Boise St. coach Chris Peterson sharply contradicted Briles, saying he “fully apprised” him of the circumstances surrounding Ukwuachu’s dismissal.
Here’s the full story, which is likely far from over. The #4 Baylor Bears are a championship contender and the school president has called for a “comprehensive internal inquiry.”
Sources for this story included: ESPN, Yahoo Sports (Pat Forde, Jon Solomon), Sports Illustrated
In a ‘cringe-free’ football story – world’s best rugby player tries the NFL
27-yr-old NFL rookies aren’t commonplace. It’s even less frequent that they were formerly the best in the world at another sport. Meet Jarryd Hayne, the former rugby star now playing running back for the San Francisco 49ers.
Hayne turned down what would have been the largest contract in Australian rugby history (4.4 million USD over 3 years) to take his chances at making the NFL and earning the 435K minimum rookie salary.
To his credit, the questions have evolved from “can he learn football and make a team?” to “how good could this guy be?”. At 6’2’’ 220 lbs, he looks the part and has captured the league’s attention with a 53-yard preseason touchdown run. At this stage, Hayne will likely serve as a kick and punt returner for the 49ers. This story should be fun to follow this fall.
Thing to know: Daily Fantasy Sports
On Friday we covered the ‘Beginner’s guide to Fantasy Football.’ Today we profile the rapidly-growing industry of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).
What is DFS?
Much like regular Fantasy, in DFS you choose real players to be on your made up team to compete against other ‘owners’ in statistical categories. The main differences are:
+You choose your lineups daily rather than having one team for the full season.
+You have a set number of imaginary dollars to purchase players (who have different values based on expected performance).
+Oh, and you can play for and win real money. You can compete in contests ranging in size and buy-in from one dollar and ten people all the way to thousands of dollars and people. There are seemingly-endless options.
What companies do this?
You may have seen ads from the main two companies in the space, FanDuel and DraftKings. Each is valued above a billion dollars and recently raised massive rounds of funding from major investors (275M for FanDuel from KKR/Google Capital/Time Warner among others, and 300M for DraftKings from Fox and multiple sports leagues).
In 2014, 1.5M Americans played Daily Fantasy, paying more than a billion dollars in entry fees.
Wait, how is this legal? Isn’t it gambling?
US law allows skill-based gaming, and Daily Fantasy Sports are considered a skill game (like poker) rather than gambling. They are legal in 45 of 50 states.
So how do I cash in?
The notion of DFS as a skill game is both a benefit (it’s legal) and a downside to the industry. It’s increasingly dominated by the most skilled players, aided by mathematical models (and maybe too much time on their hands).
According to the Sports Business Journal, 91% of all profits this baseball season have been earned by just 1.3% of the players. And it takes a ton of volume to make good money – the top 11 individual players averaged 2 million in entry fees to earn 135k in profit.
It’s a classic case of a few sharks eating many minnows, where 80% of all players have an expected loss of ~25 dollars.
Bottom line? Daily Fantasy Sports are here to stay and are worth having on your radar. You may want to dabble to have a bit of fun (we’re right there with you). But don’t count on quitting your day job.
Sources for this story included: Sports Business Journal (Eric Fischer), and DraftKings.
One hit wonders
+No team has been hotter this summer than baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. After making multiple deals at the trade deadline, the Blue Jays have passed the Yankees for first place in the American League East. They’ve won 16 of their last 19 games and swept the Angels this weekend, scoring 36 runs in 3 games (MLB average is ~4 runs per game).
Note – Friday’s Primer will feature an ‘MLB season-to-date’ guide to ensure you’re up to speed even if you haven’t exactly been glued to the season’s first 125ish games.
+Tiger Woods ignited golf fans’ hopes this weekend, but in the end his forgettable season came to a close when he failed to hold onto his lead at the Wyndham Championship. 2015 marks the 2nd year in a row that Tiger earned less than a million dollars in prize money after reaching the mark for 17 consecutive years (1997-2013). Davis Love III picked up the win at the Wyndham, becoming the third-oldest PGA Tour winner in history.
+Cool story: turns out that for the last 30 years the NBA schedule has been made by one guy with a spreadsheet.
+The Green Bay Packers joined the growing list of teams afflicted by preseason knee injuries to Fantasy-relevant players. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson (QB Aaron Rodgers’s favorite target) will reportedly miss the entire season after tearing his ACL during Sunday’s game.
+The first college football AP (Associated Press) top 25 rankings were released. The SEC has 8 teams in the top 25 poll, and would have 10 if it was a top 27. Sheesh.
You’d get by without them, but where’s the fun in that?
We’re big fans of cool sports commercials, and Under Armour came out with a good one featuring Steph Curry, Jordan Spieth, and ballerina Misty Copeland. It invokes the Malcolm Gladwell notion of maestros achieving dominance through incredible repetition.
Word on the interwebs is there’s a Tom Brady commercial dropping soon, too.