Local man wins real money playing fantasy game

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Nick walked into his friend’s house Sunday afternoon for a relaxing day watching week 3 of the NFL line up.

“I had no intentions of making the play or investing any money or anything like that,” said Nick O., a Buffalo man.

Fifteen minutes before kick off Sunday afternoon, Nick’s friend gave him the idea to create a fantasy football line up using the site Fan Duel.

“We’re sitting there and I’m like ya know, maybe I’ll put one in,” said Nick.  “So I pull my phone out, talking back and forth, put the line up in.”

Nick says he has been a member of the site since 2009. He has a strategy – choosing mid-level players who can put up points but not who everyone will be choosing; for example, his quarterback was Cam Newton. When Nick was done picking his players, he had enough reward points to waive the $25 fee and enter for free.

“It was just a fluke thing that oh I have enough rewards points.”

The games go on, Nick and his buddies are tuning in and he said, he kept hearing the players names who were on his roster.

“Every time they went into a highlight for a different team it was one of my guys, it was so surreal,” said Nick.

By the time Sunday night’s game rolled around, he joked with his brother that he was probably in the top 10.

“I turn to my brother and he’s looking at the leader board and he’s like ‘Holy crap! You’re in first place!’” said Nick recalling watching the games Sunday.  “We’re watching intently from then on. There is still a slim chance there are over 200,000 people that are in it.”

His one entry was among 229,000.

By the time the Sunday night games rolled around, Nick still sat atop the leader board. One game, and one player in particular, stood between him and that title and check.

Monday night football came and he held a 40 point lead on the person in second place. The catch – that second place player had one of Green Bay’s biggest names on their roster – Randall Cobb.

“As you’re getting closer and closer, you’re just watching that time tick down, second by second.”

And when time expired, Cobb only put up 34 points for the the opponents team, minting Nick a millionaire.

“It felt like a dream,” said Nick. “I didn’t have [any] reaction. My brother had ‘If I had a million dollars’ playing on loop after that; everyone is going nuts and you’re just sitting there like ‘Okay, I guess I just won a million dollars.”

Nick said it took a few days to sink in. He woke up the next day with more than 30 text messages and phone calls. He says his mind has been spinning every since.

“You think a million bucks, yes that’s a lot of money but as soon as Uncle Sam gets his hand in the thing, that’s 40 percent gone right there,” said Nick.

He plans on using his winnings to pay off student loans, his car payment, buy a house and invest for future.

“Once you start calculating that and help some family out, next thing you know, you’re back to square one.”

All it took was a game made during one last minute decision with one line up to make a Buffalo man one million dollars richer.

“I am 29 and absolutely, I would say this a game changer.”

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