When Montee Ball barreled into the end zone for a game-sealing 4th quarter touchdown, Lagasse's Stadium exploded with the excited screams of Travis Spieth and his 13-man entourage, cementing his place as the first ever one-day fantasy football millionaire and winner of the 2013 $3 Million FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship (FFFC).
Spieth (known as Tspiedo on FanDuel.com) had just completed a remarkable journey that began in his first week playing on FanDuel where, as he put it, "I turned $10 into $1,000,000", proving that the new player can win the big game on FanDuel with the right amount of skill and research.
Spieth wasn't the only FanDuel rookie who found his way to glory this season - several players who made their way to FanDuel's one-day contests via NBC’s Rotoworld found themselves living large and winning big at the FFFC alongside the million dollar champ.
Dale Ballenger, who goes by Xnavy64 on FanDuel, turned $35 into $39,000 by sweeping the $10 and $25 FFFC qualifiers in Week 5; turning one of his entries into a 6th place finish for $30,000 and the other into 25th place for $9,000 - not bad for a rookie! With his 6th place team, Dale seemed to have known something everyone else did not - he was the only finalist who chose the Kansas City Chiefs defense, and they came up huge with a whopping 26 fantasy points against the Washington Redskins. Sometimes, it’s all about having the right information.
Cheryl Gerlitz, otherwise known as Cager26, was not only the winner of FanDuel's Week 7 $10 Qualifier, she was the only woman to win a seat to the 2013 FFFC. On her time in Las Vegas, she kept it simple - "I was so very excited for this weekend. It was a BLAST!” After her $9,000 30th place finish, Gerlitz could be the first of many women to decide to take a crack at the FFFC in coming seasons.
These finalists enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime weekend from FanDuel; limos picked up every finalist from Las Vegas's airport, taking them to the luxurious Palazzo hotel and casino. The exclusive private party at LAVO Nightclub on Saturday night included an appearance by none other than the legendary Jerry Rice - who stole the show with his hall-of-fame charisma while taking individual and group photos with the contestants and their guests. Some of the ladies present were even lucky enough to get a dance from the ageless receiver - including Rotoworld's own reader Cheryl Gerlitz.
During the Sunday final, leading up to the madness that erupted for TSpiedo’s win, finalists enjoyed the lush amenities of Lagasse’s Stadium – the premiere sports watching experience in Las Vegas. While watching the games, finalists enjoyed top of the line food, leather couches, big screen TVs, professional masseuses – the works. Some finalists could be seen fastidiously poring over their iPads, frantically waiting for their score to update; meanwhile, Rotoworld reader and $7,000 winner Michael DeJong (“MrDeJong”) was cool as a cucumber – he finds FanDuel “a relaxing way to amp up the Sunday football experience”.
The fact that players such as DeJong, Ballenger and Gerlitz can’t wait to play again speaks to the one-of-a-kind nature of the FFFC. Even better, FanDuel is growing the prize pools of its tournaments each year as more Rotoworld users continue to join in.
Also be sure to keep an eye out for FanDuel’s Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship coming in the spring of 2014. It will once again have life-changing money for the winners.
In the meantime, there is still plenty of FanDuel NFL action left through the final weeks of the 2013 NFL season and playoffs.
FanDuel is a partner of NBC Universal and provides fantasy football, baseball, hockey and basketball contests that last one-day. It enables consumers to draft fantasy sports teams at any time in head-to-head or multi-player contests. For more information, or to play, please visit FanDuel.com.