Dave Loughran has made a name for himself as the prolific, good-humored writer and podcast host for a leading DFS content site. He reaches and interacts with an audience in the thousands daily, and gives his two cents on the DFS implications of the ups and downs of the NFL and NBA seasons. Although sports have been a lifelong passion, it’s only recently been the basis of his career.

For five years Loughran worked at a juvenile residential drug and alcohol facility. In this time he estimates he was a counselor for hundreds of different teens, ranging from 14 to 18 years old. “I loved working there mostly because of the clients,” Loughran said. “Trust was absolutely everything. If they didn’t trust you they didn’t respect you.”

DK username: loughy
Hometown: Newtown, PA
Favorite NFL Team: Eagles
Most memorable DFS moment: Qualifying for the FFWC in Miami this past September.

It’s a profession that requires practical wisdom, dedication and consistency. At that point in his life, Loughran had all of those traits in short supply. “I could identify with the majority of these clients because my life at that point in time had no direction. I was lost. I didn’t have a future, I was going nowhere.”

As a recovered addict who struggled through a “bad” period during his own late teens, Loughran was able to empathise with his clients in a way few others could. And at a time when his own life lacked definite direction, Loughran poured himself into helping others, and in doing so helped himself move forward. “I got clean at a young age, 21, and I think that spoke volumes to clients,” Loughran said. “They knew that I was coming from a place of understanding and not judgement.”

In retrospect, it’s easy to see why Loughran was such a natural fit for the job. An affable extrovert with a sharp sense of humor, Loughran quickly became a favorite among the teens in the facility. One former client fondly recalls numerous stories of Dave leading group outings to Philadelphia 76ers games, creating on-going inside jokes among the teens and playing lots of Madden on the video game console. Often, it was Dave’s passion for sports that served as a common bond with his clients and formed the basis for many strong relationships.“When I first cleaned up my act, sports were an incredible outlet,” Loughran said. “It allowed me to forget about the negativity that surrounded me for such a long period of time.

“I’m not saving lives, but being able to contribute to something I’m passionate about is really what makes it rewarding.

Loughran’s time at the facility was truly transformative, not only for the many he helped, but for himself. In 5 years he graduated from a member of the line staff to counselor, and on to a caseworker. Loughran proudly recalls that he was the only member of the staff to have ascended to becoming a caseworker who did not have a college degree.

And yet, Loughran became a victim of his own success. His new role saw him spending more hours pouring over paperwork and spending less time interacting with clients, the part of his job he had grown to love. So Loughran pivoted, leaving his career behind in order to follow another of his passions—fantasy sports. The hard-working Loughran earned tenure at a daily fantasy content site and quickly became the lead NBA writer. “I’m not saving lives, but being able to contribute to something I’m passionate about is really what makes it rewarding,” Loughran said. “It feels great to be able to provide people with content. We have a lot of listeners who are, each day, waiting for that information.”

Though Loughran downplays the comparison, it’s easy to see that he went from one career of dedicating himself to helping others to another where he could continue to do the same thing. Considering Loughran himself was once not so different from the troubled teens he helped, the life he has built for himself and the careers he has thrived in are no minor accomplishments.

Loughran was able to change his life for the better by helping others do the same. And on the eve of the largest fantasy football tournament ever, Loughran will look to change his life once again.