DraftKings Reignmakers: Strategy Tips from a Reluctant Whale
Matthew Wiley will never forget where he was when he got a 1-of-1 Davante Adams Reignmaker card.
The golf and NFL DFS player and podcaster, sat in his car in a Walgreens parking lot and opened up his phone, clicked on a Legendary pack and watched the video play. There, on the top of his screen, was the Adams, resplendent in yellow.
“And I sat there like, wow, this is a very, very powerful card,” said Wiley, fondly.
The card is currently the only Adams Reignmaker in existence in DraftKings’ new NFT-based game and it was inside one of more than 60 Legendary packs Wiley decided to purchase when the game launched in August.
It was a big leap for Wiley, who has been critical of NFTs on social media.
“When this first came out — I’ve been pretty adverse to NFTs and I think I've been pretty public about that for a long time — and so as soon as they market this as an NFT play, I didn't have any interest in it,” said Wiley in an interview with Lucky Trader. “But then I saw the amount that DraftKings was gonna give away week to week in locked-in, guaranteed money. And I thought maybe early adoption here would be prudent for me to do.
“And then I just started firing.”
Wiley’s first mission was to get inside the top 10 in Franchise Score, which awards holders of the largest collections, with a premium on the higher tier cards like Reignmaker and Legendary. The top 10,000 leaders as of Sept. 7 received a share of $250K and prize packs. The top 10 on Nov. 30 (after Week 12), get to qualify for the World Championship (a $25,000 value, according to Draftkings).
To do that, he started buying Legendary packs, which cost just a penny under $2,000.
That led him to the Walgreens parking lot. And the 1-of-1 Adams. And another Ja’Marr Chase Reignmaker. Then he bought a Cooper Kupp Reignmaker for $16,000.
There are only three Kupp Reignmakers.
“There's a few guys that are put in, you know, even more than I've got and they've got incredible portfolios, but again, if you look at the payout, I'm OK with finishing third,” he said. “And I can bink one or two maybe in the first few weeks, which I'm not even factoring into my return model.”
One of Wiley’s first observations was that the players he saw on the entry pages for the Reignmakers contests mostly lacked DraftKings experience badges next to their usernames. Experience badges show how many DFS contests a user has entered and possibly won.
“It doesn't mean I'm gonna be more successful all the time, but they're also NBA guys, who are super sharp, who bought some, who've never played NFL or don't play NFL,” Wiley said. “Like if I consider the top contest at Reignmaker, a Thunderdome (high-stakes DFS contest) on steroids, right? Probably a double Thunderdome. You would never in your life see non-badged or low-badged people play in a Thunder. It's always the same guys, right? The Empiremakers, you know, all of them.”
Bringing DFS principles to Reignmakers
Wiley is counting on his more expensive Reignmaker and Legendary cards to set him apart, giving him unique lineups. He’s also focused on grabbing lower serial number cards, due to their use as a tiebreaker.
His advice for players in the lower tier contests: Try to be a little unique.
“Play a defense. No, one's gonna do that. Play a kicker. No, one's gonna do that. Play a tight end — (people are) rarely gonna do it,” he said. “Sometimes that's gonna be on the optimal and that's gonna be your sort of low-owned 0.1 percent WR3 that no one thought about that.”
Wiley also advised players to take note of a player’s SuperStar status, as only one SuperStar can be played in a lineup and the rarity tier of the SuperStar has to correspond with the contest tier.
Rashaad Penny, Legendary (Bought for $1,500)
“OK, so I hope nobody reads this because I'm gonna give away my best ball strategy. (Seattle Seahawks RB) Rashaad Penny, I think his last six games of the season last year, I'm convinced he's gonna be Barry Sanders. Okay. So my last, my last year's gut call was (Jaguars RB) James Robinson — that worked out for me. Mine this year is Rashaad Penny. I mean, if you look at his college numbers, he's sort of freakish a little bit. He's just been sort of hampered by injuries. And I just feel like a lot of the weight of the season's gonna be him just running the ball. And so I, I hope you don't include this, but I felt like investing in Rashaad Penny was something I was going to do.”
Derek Carr, Legendary (Bought for $2,100)
“It’s going to be probably no surprise to anyone that I probably will, in most cases, stack (Raiders WR) Davante Adams with Carr. Now this is not traditional DFS. You don't have, there doesn't have to be correlation. There's no price here. So if you have (Bills QB Josh) Allen, he is probably is gonna outperform Carr regardless of what Adams does every week, but I'm gonna stack Carr with Adams most weeks. And then maybe do a runback. I think he's a very, even in best ball, I think he's like a (Rams QB Matt) Stafford) too. I think they're very good quarterbacks with very, very, very high ADPs. I think that they're just sort of being overlooked. Like I'm surprised (Niners QB) Trey Lance is more valuable than he is.”
‘I’m all in’
Despite his aversion to NFTs, Wiley is embracing the daily grind this particular NFT-based project is providing.
“I wake up at night with pictures of these, as I scream out loud at 2 a.m. in a cold sweat,” he said. “...I'm all in now. I want to go to live final. I want to win every week. This is, it has stopped me from even thinking about classic DFS golf or anything else because it, it adds so much mind stimulation.”
He admitted that he’s sort of pot committed now.
“I was panicked about it because you cannot liquidate right now — I mean, you can liquidate for about a third of what you invested or less,” Wiley said. “I don't suggest it's for everyone and I don't suggest everyone doing it, because you may not run well. But I feel good about it now.
“I don't think it's a whale game. I think that you can compete and be distinct enough at a very reasonable level, even Elite and have some fun doing it.”
For a full podcast interview with Wiley and to hear extra strategy takes, go to the Lucky Trader Apple Podcasts page.