Interviews

SCOFF winner ‘DayOfVictory’ joined FanTeam less than a year ago

SCOFF winner ‘DayOfVictory’ joined FanTeam less than a year ago and already well over €100,000 in profit.

The winner of this year’s hugely successful SCOFF tournament and winner of the €100,000 first place prize was ‘DayOfVictory’ from Ukraine.

DayOfVictory was well placed after the first gameweek but still had to make up ground to those at the top of the leaderboard. Not only did he make up the points to the leaders but he flew past them with a huge second gameweek to become our SCOFF champion. 

DayOfVictory only found FanTeam as recently as November but has used his background as a professional gambler and knowledge of advanced football statistics to become a regular at the top of the leaderboards, culminating in this huge win. 

In this interview we find out a little more about DayOfVictory and how the final day played out.

Interview with SCOFF winner ‘DayOfVictory’

FT – First of all Congratulations, ‘DayOfVictory’ on your recent win in the SCOFF, how does it feel to have won?

Rephrasing Erling Haaland’s famous interview after scoring his hat-trick in the UCL for RB Salzburg: it feels good! However, apart from the Norwegian I will elaborate on that just a little. I happened to ride my luck in the event where it matters the most. In this regard, there couldn’t have been a better scenario. Though as you will soon find out there could have been an even better outcome overall 😉

FT – I have to ask, what are you going to do with the €100,000 prize money?

Having no unfulfilled material needs I lack a particular plan at the moment. Eventually I will use it for something that will increase the quality of my life. Also being aware of the destiny of people who all of a sudden obtained some reasonable sum of money either by winning a lottery or getting an inheritance I definitely don’t feel obligated to make some stupid purchases just because I can.

FT – What is your background? What attracted you to FanTeam in the first place?

For the most part my background is gambling.

I came across FanTeam via an article on a Russian poker forum Gipsyteam in the end of November 2020 (the advertisement has certainly worked out!). Having read the article I immediately got interested and started looking for additional information about how that works, meanwhile estimating what amount of income it can bring. Large prize pools in the weekly monsters and the ability to enter 100 teams looked inviting.

Being a professional bettor and having worked with advanced football statistics for a number of years it didn’t take me much time to figure out how to play this game.

FT – You are a very successful player on FanTeam. Do you play DFS professionally or is this more of a hobby?

It is a professional activity by aspiration and an amateur’s hobby by execution. At the moment I fail to put enough effort in order to meet my own requirements of what could be considered as professional play. Due to frequent time mismanagement I miss some tournaments out and don’t put as much preparation as I want to for other contests.

There is no need to look far for an example. Just before the kick-off to the second round I entered my teams in a hurry virtually at the very last moment and was forced to miss the Season Final Frenzy out where 116.5 points would be more than enough to win. As long as anything similar keeps happening, I can’t pretend to treat it professionally.

Anyways, congratulations to FFNinja for winning it!

FT – Your entry that won was on 70.5 points after the first gameweek and had a lot of points to make up to first place. Was there a temptation to play it safe to make the money or were you always going for the win?

After the first gameweek my very best entry was 29th with a 17 points gap to first. With that in mind I’m wondering what was so good about it that would make me incentive to defend it and play safe.

Rational considerations aside, I couldn’t despise more a strategy like this when from one hand you have guts to enter a big tournament but then in the decisive moment opt for shitting your pants and trying to limp to the ITM instead of going for it!

FT – What was the thinking behind your team? I see you went with 3 Man City players in midfield with Kevin De Bruyne as your captain, did you go with those for any particular reason?

Let me start from the second question; no, there wasn’t a particular reason for neither Man City midfield trio nor De Bruyne captaincy choice.

In fact, in my second best entry after the first round, which had just half a point less, I went for the default Salah(C)-Mane-Trent combo. As far as Man City captains are concerned, I had both Sterling and Mahrez wearing the armband in some other teams since I expect them to be more or less equally good.

Talking about the thinking behind my team, I can’t see anything fancy there that might draw attention:

Man City

With City surprisingly showing up nearly the best starting XI, they looked very appetizing given the prices, definitely worth building a few teams around them

Arsenal

Transparent trio Pepe + attacking fullbacks, also had Aubameyang instead of one of fullbacks in another team

Tottenham

Son + Kane, well… that just goes without saying

Sheffield United

Ramsdale + Stevens + McGoldrick, this one is more interesting, having filled the team with 8 reasonably popular picks I needed to dilute it with some players that most people will tend to steer clear of.

Needless to say it shouldn’t be random deadwood to make up the number so that it must bring some value which I think Sheffield United players did (goalkeeper + attacking fullback + primary striker of the team who takes penalties).

Moreover, a substantial part of managers who picked Sheffield United went for Jebbison in attack which cut the possession percentage of McGoldrick even more.

FT – You had an incredible last day racking up 116.5 points and won quite comfortably in the end. Were you watching it unfold and if so how were you feeling as the points came piling in and you became SCOFF champion?

Even though I was closely following the action, I wasn’t watching any particular match, mostly replays of goals, before the assists were awarded just to find out who is going to get 3 points.

With Livepool fooling around and De Bruyne’s goal assisted by Mahrez at the 11th minute, I climbed to the top 3 spots quite quickly which caught me by surprise. Just three minutes later De Bruyne made his most frequent move in life: assist. Given his modest 12% possession and tiny 2% captaincy, it already started looking good.

The middle of the first half: Sheffield United score! A few seconds later the name of the goalscorer is revealed — Didzy! Wow, let’s see the replay, Enda Stevens gets the ball near the half mark, that’s unfortunate, doesn’t seem like it is going to end up with a cross, he makes a pass to McGoldrick and the video is about to end, that’s promising, the Irish makes a run and shoots from distance. With Nick Pope being absent, it means nothing more than an assist for Enda Stevens!

Final minutes of the first half: Tottenham equalizes, Kane gets his goal and Son fantasy assist, great.

The beginning of the second half: Pepe scores! Assist? Chambers! Perfect, just perfect!

Unfortunately not everything in life is milk and honey…

74th minute, Liverpool scored their second goal. Please, let it be Wijnaldum or Thiago. In a few seconds of anxious wait comes the worst: Mane. Another few seconds: Salah gets the assist. It meant that some teams bridge the gap by 13 points instantly.

Annoyingly refreshing the tournament table, seems ok, still the first by a margin, haven’t they updated the points? Double checked it manually, turned out Pepe’s second goal, Sterling’s assist, Son’s second fantasy assist and Trent’s booking solidified the situation. Now it is better.

With 10-15 minutes to go I had the gap of about 15-16 points which was looking more than promising once again.

5 minutes to go, Kane makes an assist. Liverpool? Fooling around again.

The final whistle and the gap of 19.5 points — under no circumstances can recalculation of saves/assists change anything, finally allowed to breathe a sigh of relief. The SCOFF 2021 is mine.

FT – What is your process for selecting your teams? How do you do your research?

Whenever I manage to do everything right, the preparation roughly consists of the following stages:

  • turning the bookie odds into teams goal expectation, evaluating under/over priced ones compared to the FanTeam prices
  • watching replays of selected matches, analyzing teams and players stats
  • reading/watching fantasy previews/streams; surprisingly it is done not in order to find some useful information, but to understand what players/stacks/teams will be under/overheated and to estimate possession percentage
  • choosing the appropriate stacks for a given gameweek
  • composing teams from those stacks

FT – How many teams did you enter into the SCOFF and did it change the way you played it overall?

I entered 10 teams. It didn’t change my strategy at all and why would it? In any tournament you enter the teams that you think have the highest chances of winning.

There might be some differences in the second round where you may consider playing more straightforward with teams that finished the first round very high and more aggressive with the bottom ones.

I happened to have all of my teams finish the first round relatively close to each other obtaining from 55 points to 70.5 points so that there wasn’t incentive for something out of the box.

FT – Did you enjoy the format of the SCOFF and is there anything you would change for next year’s SCOFF?.

The only problem lies in the satellites to the SCOFF, even though it has already been addressed a number of times, I would like to raise it once more. As you might know, you can enter at most 10 teams into the SCOFF. However, there is a possibility of winning more than 10 tickets while utilizing your Step 2 tickets won in smaller satellites. In this scenario, FanTeam doesn’t offer a way of converting these extra tickets into anything.

You can’t convert them into money. You can’t convert them into tickets to the future tournament of that caliber. You can’t even convert them into tickets to a weekly monster!

Eventually those 1,100 Euro tickets just burn and you can’t do anything about that.

I sincerely hope that FanTeam will come up with a way of resolving this bizarre situation.

As far as the tournament is concerned, I entirely enjoy the current format and find it to be just right. The buy in, the amount of participants, two gameweeks, the prize structure — nothing seems unreasonable to me.

FT – Finally, what advice would you have for those new to FanTeam?

Since this is a broad question, I will split my answer into parts focusing on Weekly Monster contests.

1. Avoid simple mistakes when selecting a team

  • don’t include players from the teams playing each other. For example, when Aston Villa face Chelsea, include either Aston Villa players or Chelsea players, but never both simultaneously. Why? See “impact points”.
  • don’t include three defensive players from the same team.  You may have two defenders or goalkeeper + defender, but never three defenders or goalkeeper + two defenders. Why? See “stacking penalty”.
  • don’t leave out too much budget. Given 105 M to spend, use at least 103-104 M of it.  Remember, there is no way of converting the remainder into  real world money.
  • don’t pick defensive midfielders who do nothing but tackle and get booked. Examples being Fabinho, Fred, Kante, Bissouma, Ndidi, Romeu, you get the idea. Why? Not only doesn’t FanTeam scoring reward tackles but it also penalizes for getting booked! Seriously, the scoring rewards field players mostly for goals and assists. It is hard to get many of those from holding midfielders. Rare exceptions are the ones who either take penalties or set-pieces or can score a header, such as Rice,  K.Phillips and Soucek.

2. Allow Safety Net cover for you whenever possible

  • choose your vice-captain from a team that plays first in the gameweek and has revealed its starting XI. By doing that you will avoid the situation when both captain and vice-captain don’t start so you lose your double points for the armband.
  • don’t pick strikers from a team that is known to utilize a false nine tactic. Main examples are Man City (skip Jesus and Aguero, well the Argentinian is gone anyways) and Chelsea (skip Werner, Giroud and Abraham). Besides that small teams sometimes play against the top ones without a striker, for instance Brighton against Man City away from home so keep it in mind as well.
  • don’t pick both strikers from a team that may start with just one.  Avoid picking simultaneously Arsenal duo (Lacazette + Aubameyang), Man United (Cavani + Rashford/Martial), Liverpool (Firmino + Jota), Leicester (Iheanacho + Vardy, though mostly against big teams, for example Iheanacho didn’t start against Chelsea away from home), Newcastle (Wilson + Joelinton), Southampton (Ings + Adams) etc.
  • don’t pick the cheapest player in position if he is not certain to start. Safety net works only when there is someone cheaper.
  • sometimes you should even avoid picking the second cheapest player in position, for example Arsenal might start with Xhaka as the leftback and you will lose your defender even though he wasn’t the cheapest one, I got caught by this when Arsenal visited Newcastle.

3. Use Safety Net to get a decent player among alternatives regardless of who eventually starts the game

  • let’s say you want to pick an attacking midfielder from Man City, while you are keen on Foden, you have nothing against Mahrez and Sterling. Suppose the prices are the following: Sterling 14.0, Mahrez 13.8 Foden 13.7 Rodrigo 11.5. Being aware of the famous Pep roulette you can’t be sure that Foden starts and don’t want to get Rodrigo instead. In this case you can pick Sterling and get a good player regardless of who actually starts.
  • the same principle applies while picking two players from the same line: pick two the most expensive ones that you are fine with to avoid getting some cheap players as safety net

4 Prefer to use “positive” formations

  • the scoring favors midfielders, rather than defenders
  • unless you are create teams for a low-scoring tournaments such as La Liga or Euro, you should avoid formations like 5-4-1, 5-3-2 and 5-2-3
  • instead you should consider 3-4-3 and 3-5-2
  • meanwhile 4-4-2, 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 are acceptable as well

Brilliant advice, everyone take note! Thank you DayOfVictory for taking the time to answer our questions. 

Outlook

The SCOFF was a hugely successful event, it not only met the huge €500,000 guarantee but went past it with an eventual €525,000 prize pool and attracted the finest fantasy players on FanTeam. With the two gameweek format it was a true test of skill and the winner was always going to be a very worthy one so once again congratulations DayOfVictory! 

How to play the Euro 2020 Predictor Game lobby small

About the author

Herbert

Herbert, the former poker professional & author, Head of Education at pokerstrategy.com is all about Daily Fantasy Sports now. Herbert creates content with best practices and guidelines for Fantasy Sports Newcomers.

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