The constant battle between DraftKings and FanDuel since their emergence in 2011 and 2009, respectively, has pushed daily fantasy sports (DFS) forward to new heights.
The competition between the two industry leaders has led to the evolution of newly incorporated sports, new contest types and massive million-dollar prize pools. Now, DFS caters to its biggest audience ever with fans of major leagues and many niche sports having a platform to play real money DFS daily.
The two DFS kingpins are fully operational in all states except for Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada and Washington state. See below for our complete review and comparisons of DraftKings DFS and FanDuel DFS plus a look at an alternative DFS provider, Monkey Knife Fight.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Can and should I play both?
If you’re just starting out in Daily Fantasy Sports, no question. New users should be willing to try each site out at least to determine their preferences of contest types, lineup configurations and scoring.
FanDuel and DraftKings both make this a profitable proposition as they offer bonuses for new players:
This is real money for you to use playing actual DFS games. The bonuses apply whether or not a user is signed up at the other site.
All experienced and competitive DFS players also tend play games on multiple sites regularly. You can find some differences in the sports available you can play and they both offer a mix of contests with different kinds of scoring and player pricing.
You may ultimately find one more preferable (or more fun/profitable) than the other but there’s no reason not to try them both out.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: States available
As noted above, only seven states currently block users from playing at DraftKings and FanDuel. Alabama was the latest to open up to both providers while FanDuel recently started operating in Iowa.
DraftKings expects to launch its DFS and sportsbook platforms in Iowa either later this year or in early 2020. Pennsylvania may launch even sooner.
As the state-by-state legalization of sports betting continues, those still not permitting DFS are sure to open up eventually.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports the same as sports betting?
Technically no, but there are many similarities:
- Sports betting odds and DFS player salaries often work hand-in-hand for sports such as golf, tennis, MMA and auto racing. Even team sports are reflected, with comparable players from a heavy favorite often having higher salaries than those from the underdog.
- A DFS lineup requires each of those players to hit their best possible point total all in the same contest, much like how a multi-team parlay requires each one to win.
- The key difference between the two is DFS is a competition between users trying to amass the most fantasy points with infinite potential outcomes. Generally, sports bettors are choosing a single on-field result over another while competing only against the sportsbook.
If you’re looking to make a move from DFS to sports betting, prop bets are similar. In DFS, fantasy managers are trying to assemble a roster of players who will record the most fantasy points. Sports bettors can wager on players to reach individual stat projections.
Futures bets are the next closest thing, where you can wager on players to finish over or under certain projections or to lead their team or league, or beat a rival in a specified stat category.
Also, FanDuel is in Pennsylvania and Iowa.
DraftKings or FanDuel: Which app is better?
Both sites have separate apps for their DFS and sportsbook platforms. Also, both provide different DFS apps for Canada, while DraftKings has an app for the UK.
DraftKings provides a “Live” app for content, news and game monitoring.
The layout and step-by-step process of roster construction and contest entry are the same, generally. Every aspect of the web platform is available within the app.
You can deposit and withdraw money, search and enter contests, and monitor results in real-time.
DraftKings is considered to be the most responsive of the two with the quickest stat updates for fantasy scores and contest placing.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: What are the differences?
|Late swap is much more widespread than at FanDuel, which was initially completely against the concept.||Mini contests featuring smaller lineups.|
|Operates in UK, Germany, Malta, Austria, Ireland and Australia.||Season-long leagues with new lineups to be created each week.|
|1 point per reception in fantasy football vs. 0.5 at FanDuel.||“Guru suggestions” and “short lists” to assist in lineup construction by offering player recommendations.|
|Freerolls with no entry fee but a monetary prize.||Every referral earns you and your friend $15 in your account after they’ve played $10 in contests.|
|A free $10 ticket into a contest for every friend referred.||Sportsbook and Racebook platforms accessible from DFS home page.|
|Crowns can be used to gain entry into contests and used at the DK Shop.||FanDuel Points can be used to enter paid contests.|
|More high-stakes games with lower rake.||Experienced contests reserved for those with a certain amount of contests entered and/or money won.|
|Statistical milestone bonuses in fantasy scoring.|
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Sports available
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Games available
|Tournaments||Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs): Available for up to 100,000-plus entries with the prize purse guaranteed regardless of whether the contest fills. Only the top 10-20% of finishers win money with a top-heavy payout structure.||Y||Y|
|Head to Head||Compete against one other user either of your choosing or their’s. Winner wins both entry fees minus the rake.||Y||Y|
|50/50s & Double Ups||The top half of entrants win money, essentially doubling their entry fee minus the rake.||Y||Y|
|Multipliers||Triple or better your entry fee with smaller partitions of the pool winning money than in double ups.||Y||Y|
|Satellites and Qualifiers||Pay a smaller entry fee to compete for a set number of tickets into a larger contest||Y||Y|
|Tiers||Choose players out of set groupings. Similar to fantasy box pools.||Y||N|
|Beat the Score||Build a lineup that will top a preset fantasy-point total. All entries to top the baseline split the prize pool.||N||Y|
|Showdown Captain Mode||Often used for single-game contests. Users build a roster without need for specified positions but one spot costs 1.5 times their salary and earns 1.5 times the fantasy points.||Y||Y (But users need to set an “MVP” for their lineup)|
|Leagues||Set up privately among friends or opened to the public.||Y (Daily/Weekly)||Y (Daily/Weekly and Seasonally with new lineups each week but fantasy points accrue over the season.)|
|Beginner contests||Available to new users up to a certain number of contests and/or winnings.||Y||Y|
|Single-Entry Contests||Tournaments limiting each user account to a single lineup.||Y||Y|
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Free games and promos
DraftKings offer $20 free play on your first deposit. FanDuel offers $5 free without deposit and an extra $5 on deposit. Access those bonuses right here:
Free contest tickets can also be obtained, depending on your initial deposit and regular free contests run on both sites from Weekly NFL Pick’ems to March Madness Bracket contests.
Each site differs in its reward, but they both offer referral bonuses.
Users can compete all season long through various stages of qualifying, divisional and world championship events for most of the major sports. Then, live finals are held for a specific contest slated near the end of the sporting season.
DraftKings’ 2018 Fantasy Football World Championship featured $10 million in total prizes.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Scoring
The most significant difference between the two — in any sport — is the full point per reception in football at DraftKings versus the half point at FanDuel.
DraftKings also offers bonuses for certain statistical milestones such as 300-plus passing yards for a quarterback or a double-double in basketball.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: How to Win
How difficult it is to win lies in personal preference. Each site offers a wide array of cash games that come with a substantially higher win probability than tournaments.
Since FanDuel has been around longer, it likely means many of its initial long-time users are more skilled.
The recent incorporation of beginner-only tournaments at both sites is a big step in encouraging new users who may feel they’re “late to the game” and overmatched.
Here are five tips if you are new to DFS:
- Research: There’s an endless amount of articles, YouTube videos and podcasts that offer general DFS tips and advice devoted to every imaginable specific contest or slate. Take in as much info as you can before submitting a lineup.
- Maximize Your Bonuses: Sites will give you free money to get started in DFS. Take advantage of this, and don’t start playing with your own money until the well goes dry.
- Know the Contest You’re Entering: Even within the same DFS site, different contests have distinctive rules for the payout structure, scoring and lineup configuration. Don’t just blindly submit a lineup thinking the same rules apply as your last contest.
- Focus on Cash Games: They may not be as exciting, and you may not become instantly rich and famous, but they’re the best way to ensure you can keep playing and turn some measure of profit.
- Stay Within Your Level: The higher the entry fee and the higher the prize pool, the stiffer the competition. If you’re a beginner, work your way through the beginner tournaments as you gain experience and build your bankroll. Once you’ve graduated, single-entry tournaments provide the best chance. Not everyone can afford the money or time to create 150 different lineups. So, keep yourself on an even playing field.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel vs. Monkey Knife Fight
Unlike at DraftKings, FanDuel and other standard DFS sites where the goal is to compile the highest possible fantasy point total.
You must predict whether an athlete will finish above or below the projection.
You can choose your entry fee and can win prizes based on how many players you include in your lineup. It’s not unlike parlaying prop bet selections. It’s choosing outcome A versus outcome B with only two possible results.
It becomes more and more challenging to win with the number of players included in the lineup or the parlay.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Cash-outs
- It needs to be more than $20.
- Withdrawals will pay to a PayPal account in three to five days or via check between seven to 14 days.
- Players must provide a valid mailing address, birthday and Social Security or Social Insurance numbers.
- PayPal: Within 48 hours.
- Online banking: Between two to four business days.
- Check: Seven to 10 business days.
- FanDuel can’t withdraw pending bonuses or promotional credits.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Points
- DraftKings Crowns: Every dollar spent on contest entry equals one “DK crown.” Players can use crowns to enter contests or redeem them at the DraftKings’ shop.
- XP Levels: Experience points earned depending on how much the user plays. It shows the users’ qualifications.
- Contest Tickets: Allows entry to some of the biggest contests for free. Once in, players can compete for real money.
- Earn achievements, claim daily rewards and complete missions.
- FanDuel Points: Every $1 in entry fees equals five FanDuel points. Players can use the points to enter contests.
- FanDuel Players Club: Earn points at a higher rate based on a player’s experience level.
- Promotions are run to increase the rate you earn FanDuel points.
- Points expire after one year of inactivity. However, the clock will restart and include all the FanDuel points once a user enters a contest.
Which came first, DraftKings or FanDuel?
FanDuel began in 2009 with DraftKings getting its start in 2011.
What makes DraftKings or FanDuel more popular than the other?
The sports offerings and the partnerships with local teams and leagues who promote each site on a state-by-state basis.
Does the same company own DraftKings and FanDuel?
No, they reached an agreement to merge in the fall of 2016; however, that agreement was terminated the following summer when the Federal Trade Commission blocked it.
Do DraftKings and FanDuel set up games against each other?
No, they do not.
Can I win more at DraftKings or at FanDuel?
It depends on the sport and contest type. Generally, DraftKings offers more high-stakes contests.
Which has bigger prize pools, DraftKings or FanDuel?
DraftKings does because it has more users, which equals larger prizes.
What professional leagues allow/have partnerships with DraftKings and FanDuel?
Both sites have partnerships with various NFL teams.
DraftKings is partners with the NHL and MLB. Hockey teams are free to partner with the site of their choosing while baseball teams cannot.
FanDuel is partnered with the NBA, while both sites have team partnerships.
DraftKings is partners with several clubs in the English Premier League.
What is the future of DraftKings and FanDuel?
It is bright. Sports betting will continue to expand as will the offerings of both sites.
Will DraftKings and FanDuel merge?
There haven’t been any further talks of a merger since the initial agreement was called off in 2017.