lamp3122

For many in New England, Fall Sundays have a familiar routine: assemble the crew, load up on snacks and drinks, and gear up for some New England Patriots football. For James Lampropoulos and the rest of his crew, the routine is a cherished part of the season.“I definitely need to have a Pats guy in my lineup each week,” James said. “Gronk, LaFell, Edelman, somebody’s going to score.”

With a healthy bite in the air, the gang gathers at Alex’s, James' brother, sleek loft just outside of Boston. It’s a bachelor pad decked out with framed Patriots photos and other sports memorabilia and of course, plenty of beer. But this football Sunday carries extra significance as the unbeaten Patriots square off against their nemesis: the New York Giants. And little does the rest of the crew know that James is playing Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. in his DraftKings lineup that day.

Make no mistake, James is a Pats fan through and through, but when it comes to building lineups on DraftKings James is decisive, targeting players based on their fantasy merit. Once his lineup is set James enters it into multiple contests, saying that if he’s going to have a good day with this one lineup, he wants to have a really good day.

DK username: lamp3122
Hometown: Boston
Favorite NFL Team: Got to ask this? lol PATS
Most memorable DFS moment: Winning over $24,000 on DraftKings the weekend we filmed this video

It's this go-big-or-go-home mentality that helped James punch his ticket to the DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship earlier this season, when huge performances from T.Y. Hilton and the Patriots' own LeGarrette Blount won him the day.

It's easy to see from where James' loyalty to the hometown team stemmed. James' father—who James and his friends affectionately call Homer—used to take James and Alex to many a Boston game, be it the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins or Patriots. “My dad couldn’t even actually tell me I was going to a sporting event until the night of because I was a hyper kid and couldn’t sit in class,” James said.

The Lampropouloses are from Ipswich, Mass., a small coastal town known for its fresh clams. Although James attended college in Florida, he returned home after graduation and joined his father in the family seafood business. It's work he takes pride in and like many New Englanders, James embraces this hometown, family identity. James’ relationship with his dad and brother are clearly meaningful to him and continue to shape him both personally and as a DraftKings player.

“It’s been great having two young kids that loved sports as much as I did,” Homer said. “I think it helped James a lot along the way getting into DraftKings.”

“Hopefully I can take it home and bring the championship back to Boston and maybe even have a little parade in my hometown.”

While for many, an unwavering loyalty to the hometown team while building a DraftKings lineup can sometimes be a liability, for James it’s an advantage. Though Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick is as much of a genius as he is an enigma, James has watched enough of his play-calling over the years to feel like he can anticipate his game plan.“Being a diehard Pats fan playing DraftKings definitely helps,” James said. “Knowing what the game plan’s going to be, what Belichick is going to do, I have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen in these games.”

It’s a skill that James will likely look to exploit at the FFWC where he will yet again be creating just a single lineup on which all his hopes will ride. Success will mean a shot at unrivaled glory in the world of fantasy football. Reflecting on it, James talks of hometown parades and retiring from work—and one gets the sense he’s only half-kidding.

But those are tomorrow’s victories. Back with James and his crew who have now set up shop at a crowded Boston bar: today’s drama centers around the Patriots and the Giants, who seem up to the task of snapping the Pats’ unbeaten streak.

A Manning-to-Beckham Jr. touchdown sends a wave of boos and frustration around the bar, except from James. He watches his lineup continue to climb up the leaderboards. James’ growing excitement at his prospects for a big day at DraftKings is matched equally by his growing anxiety as he watches the Pats fall behind to the Giants in the fourth quarter.

Then comes the inevitable—TB12 takes the field and leads another trademark fourth quarter, come-from-behind, game-winning drive! The bar erupts. Shirts are removed. Tables are danced on. Hugs and fist bumps abound.

This Sunday, like many Fall Sundays in New England, had a similar routine: the crew was assembled, the Patriots notched yet another victory, celebrations ensued. But unlike others, this was the Fall Sunday in New England that clinched James’ his ticket to FFWC.

Soon, James and his crew will gear up for one more football Sunday, albeit in warmer climes, cheering on the hometown team and preparing for epic celebration, this time, though, the hometown team will be James’ own lineup. The goal will be the same: bring yet another championship title back to Boston.