There are some that would take offense to being called an underdog, but for Jay Blazejewski it’s a point of pride.
The Fantasy Football World Championship brings together 200 of DraftKings top NFL players from around the country for a decisive competition to sift out the wannabes from the legends. As a relatively new player at DraftKings, Blazejewski doesn’t have the résumé to match up with many of the elite players in the field. But there’s more than meets the eye with Blazejewski. “I’m a hard-working, blue collar truck driver that knows football,” Blazejewski said. “...I know my stuff. I’ve lived and breathed football for many many years.”
“I think I got a good shot. it’s stiffer competition but at the same time I measure up to them,” Blazejewski said.
|Favorite NFL Team:||Vikings|
|Most memorable DFS moment:||Winning the tournament for the trip to the FFWC!|
From a young age, Blazejewski watched his father work the land on their sprawling farm in northern Minnesota. At age 7, Blazejewski himself was behind the wheel of a tractor, doing his fair share of the daily chores.
Later, Blazejewski would find himself behind the wheel again, this time as a truck driver, trekking across the country for weeks on end. “I have no problem driving 600-700 miles,” Blazejewski said. “It’s therapeutic sometimes.”
Life on the road meant independence, but it often also meant isolation. Ready to settle down, Blazejewski returned home to Minnesota and settled into the rhythm of a more stationary life. He was still driving a truck, but now with a roof consistently over his head, watching his beloved football on weekends.
As fate would have it, it was Blazejewski’s passion for football that would give his life a bright new direction. Blazejewski met his future wife, Jen, at a Super Bowl party. They felt an instant connection. Jen loved his sarcastic sense of humor, which was much like her own; Jay loved her deep knowledge of sports, particularly her ability to rattle off members of MLB rosters from years back.
A year later at another Super Bowl party, Jay dropped to one knee and Jen said the “yes” that would mark the start of their life together. Jen and Jay live in a modest two-bedroom apartment. Both their living space and their budget were tight.“I used to worry about going to the grocery store sometimes,” Jen said. “‘Do we have enough money in the bank?’ We were living paycheck to paycheck.”
To make ends meet Blazejewski often found himself working longer hours and spending less time with his family than he’d like. It was hard work, but a lifestyle that he was used to. Through his ups and downs, he found comfort and satisfaction in his weekly DraftKings lineups.
Blazejewski is a veteran fantasy player of over a decade, but joined DraftKings toward the end of last NFL season. Initially, his success was inconsistent, that is, until he got serious with his research.
“I started doing more research of how lineups are put together and reading books about it,” Blazejewski said. “That’s when my stats increased.”This season was a different story for Blazejewski. He brought home cash prizes adding up to a few hundred dollars most weekends. And then came week 9….“I think I was up 300 and something dollars. Then it got to be $1,100; $1,400; and the pieces fell into place,” Blazejewski said.
After the Monday night football game ended, Blazejewski had finished fourth in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest, had high finishes in a few other contests and came in first in an FFWC qualifier. All told, he won over $300,000 that weekend alone.
Truly, this was life-changing money.“The first thing I did was I went out and bought my wife the proper ring I promised her,” Blazejewski said. “If i do well in this tournament I want to be able to give, I want to be able to help people out. It’s very important to me.” “He’s going to have more time at home, that’s really what he wants,” Jen said. Now debt free, the Blazejewskis are looking to move to a larger house. But their dreams don’t stop there.
“If I won the $5 million, my family would be very happy and I don’t know if I’d have to work again,” Blazejewski said. “This won’t change who I am, but it will take some of the stress away, not having to work so hard.” Blazejewski’s been a hard-working blue-collar guy his whole life. He’s a family man with big dreams. But most of all at FFWC he’ll be an underdog. But don’t worry, he likes it that way.