2014 DFBC Finalist: Leonem Books His Ticket to Vegas

April 23 4:26pm
Nick Sharp

Leonem thought he was going to have a quiet rest after his pick-up basketball game. Instead, he was in for a thrilling night of baseball that kept him up to the wee hours and ultimately ended with him winning a DFBC Finals ticket, a trip to Las Vegas, and a shot at $1,000,000.


How long have you been playing fantasy baseball?

I’ve been playing Fantasy Sports since I was in grade school, so about 15 years. I first started playing Daily about four years ago.

In your opinion, how does daily fantasy compare to season-long?

Both are a lot of fun and involve a ton of strategy, but I prefer daily. I like the immediacy of the results and the flexibility of being able to play when I want. I still play some seasonal leagues and always will but have definitely shifted my focus to Daily this year.


Sweet. Do you feel like your preparation for daily has helped your season-long performance? Or vice versa?

Definitely. In baseball specifically, I don’t think I paid enough attention to hitter platoon splits and different things of that nature that have helped me identify some under the radar guys in seasonal and making start/sit decisions. For Daily, I am constantly using stuff I learned from evaluating players in seasonal long leagues to gauge if those players are underpriced in general due to some sort of bad luck factors or perhaps there is a legitimate skill decline.

leonem picture

How would you describe your overall approach to drafting?

For picking hitters, I start with how good the batter is versus the type of handedness starter he is facing and vice versa. That’s the main thing I look at and then I try to weigh various factors from ballpark to how much success I think a hitter’s team will have on the whole.

For pitchers, it’s a pretty similar process, and I usually start with them since they are your safest source of points on a given night.


Describe the night of your DFBC Qualifier win.

I actually got pretty lucky. The tough choice that night for me was Jose Fernandez versus Yu Darvish. When Bryce Harper was scratched for the Nationals (who Fernandez was playing against), I ended up splitting my teams among Darvish-Fernandez and it allowed me to play Pedroia on my Fernandez team.

It was a somewhat low scoring night so the whole time I knew I had a chance but also knew I could easily get passed. In the bottom of the 9th inning, I needed 2 points out of Mike Trout. He singled and ended up scoring to tie the game so at that point I just had to sweat some guys (Cespedes, an Angels stack) in extra innings. Luckily the guy with the Angels stack was far enough behind that I was still able to win when he hit the walk-off homer.


So you stayed up the whole night?

Absolutely. I could not go to sleep until that game ended. I actually planned on going to bed when I got home from pick-up basketball, saw what was going on and ended up in front of my computer until 3 am.


What’re you looking forward to the most about Vegas?

The whole trip sounds absolutely amazing. I’m looking forward to the experience in general, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the part I’m looking forward to most is that I have a 1 in 70 shot at winning a million dollars. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around that one.


And what would you do with the $1,000,000 if you did win?

I’m not even sure. A really close friend of mine and my dad backed me this baseball season so they would get a share. With my share, I promised my wife we could put in a new kitchen. Outside of that, I haven’t thought about it too much – probably an awesome vacation though. I’m trying not to think about it too much so I don’t end up disappointed haha.

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