Much has been said about the initial piece that I wrote discussing DraftKings and FanDuel mishaps from the past week. A lot of discussion has been focused on DFS employee’s playing on other sites. To be 100% transparent this was my entire goal with the piece written about DraftKings. For a long time I have stood on the sidelines and wondered what info and data was available and to whom behind closed doors. The situation with Ethan Haskell releasing data early and also winning big on FanDuel was the scenario to get the ball rolling with this discussion. I may have focused too much on Ethan’s win and not enough on the discussion of all site employees having access to valuable information. Off the top of my head I can list four pieces of data that would be extremely valuable to all DFS players that only site employees currently have access to:
-Understanding of Player pricing algorithms and all data points that go into determining salaries
– Win/Loss records and how individual DFS players are actually performing
– Info regarding what is really winning each type of contest and the lineup construction that goes into it
– Player ownership information
The original story could have just as easily been about Matt Boccio who works in Product Operations at FanDuel.
By day Matt works at FanDuel where he does any number of activities on the product operations side. From those in the know it sounds like Matt is involved with the day to day pricing of players and the inputs that are used to determine salaries on FanDuel. Some have said he is the player pricing expert at FanDuel. By night, Matt uses his vast DFS knowledge to clean up on DraftKings under the screen name PetrGibbons. In fact, he is currently a top 50 overall DFS player by Rotogrinders rankings while only being able to play on one site. He has also amassed this ranking in the short time frame of June 16th to October 3rd. Giving almost all other grinders a 6 month headstart before beginning his winning ways on DraftKings for the year. Impressive to say the least.
The connection from Matt Boccio to PetrGibbons is easy to make but for those who are curious how the connection can be made…
Matt Boccio does not have access to player percentage data on FanDuel. I have been assured of that by FanDuel representatives. Matt also has done nothing wrong to cause any sort of red flags with regards to his day to day activities at FanDuel. In fact, from all reports Matt is a model employee at FanDuel who works very hard at his job. The issue that I am raising is if his knowledge and access of player pricing gives him a distinct edge when he plays at DraftKings. That is up for debate as to the extent of an edge this could provide to him. The major difference between Matt Boccio and Ethan Haskell is that there was no data breach Matt was at fault for. No admission of guilt or info given to the public which would have highlighted the data and information that is available to him. But the winnings that both employees have amassed over the beginning of the NFL football season are very comparable.
Now I bring up Matt Boccio only to show that this isn’t just a DraftKings issue. This is a DFS industry wide issue. Gone are the days where there was very little incentive for any employee to step outside of his own boundaries. The scary thing is that nothing appears to be in place to stop any employee from obtaining data that is not available to the every day player. That is what has to change. Something needs to be in place to police the data that DFS employees have access to or they simply should not be allowed to play DFS at other sites.
Now I do not want to turn this into a witch hunt but it is incredibly hard to have anyone care or get the discussion on employee data rolling without showing real world examples of this possibly occurring. Getting back to Ethan at DraftKings, my intent was never to call into question his win. I did make one assumption in the initial article. That assumption was that if Ethan had access to this sort of data before players locked he could easily have it before roster lock occurred on FanDuel. The whole problem and reason I wanted to bring this to light in the first place is because we have no way of proving one way or the other when Ethan had this data or even when he was capable of getting this data. And the scary part is we can never really know. We are left to take the word of DraftKings and Ethan and just believe it and move on with our lives. Again this is the case because we have absolutely no policing, absolutely no way of verifying any of the information that can be accessed by employees. Right now we are waiting on an official statement from DraftKings. So all we have to base our questions off of are the two statements that we have received so far. One of those was from Ethan initially in the Rotogrinders forum.
The other was from Cal Spears (Co Founder and CEO of Rotogrinders) as a comment on our initial post when he said he did speak to Ethan directly.
Its scary to look at Ethans initial response in the RotoGrinders forum saying that he is the only person with this data. But Cals comment on our previous article says that Ethan cannot access the database himself but he has to put in a request for a query. This would mean that at least one other DraftKings employee had to access the data and then give it to Ethan. Obviously, this would call into question Ethans original claim that he was the only person to access the data. With the story changing, red flags are already being raised as far as who has access to the data and at what point in time. And with the story changing already without an official announcement from DraftKings even taking place yet, how can we possibly believe that what we are being told is the truth? The small statements we have already been given don’t align.
Three major questions need to be answered in all of this and not just at DraftKings but at FanDuel as well.
What data do employees have access to?
When can they access this data?
Who has access to it?
Before all three of those questions can be answered and verified by some sort of governing board no DFS employee should be playing at any site.