In the world of daily fantasy sports (DFS), two companies dominate the playing field.
DraftKings and FanDuel have become synonymous with DFS. They offer the biggest prize pools and attract the largest number of users to their platforms. Both are regarded as being top-of-the-line and ahead of the competition.
The DFS industry itself has made tremendous strides since the early days. Top prizes of $1 million for winning a single contest were once unheard of, but that’s now a regular, expected occurrence. DraftKings and FanDuel have led the charge by pushing the envelope, and they continue to hit the right notes with consumers.
The two companies have also spread their wings into the world of legalized US sports betting. Early returns suggest that DraftKings and FanDuel will find lots of success in this realm as well, not to mention having a whole new ballpark to compete in for the hearts and minds of users.
Here’s one area in which the two DFS giants are completely in tune. Players in more than 40 states are free to play daily fantasy sports on DraftKings and FanDuel, and there are clear laws on the books that say so in most of them.
Those who live in the following seven states cannot legally play DFS on either site at present:
Alabama and Iowa have recently passed legislation that makes it legal to play DFS, but there aren’t any operators serving either state as of yet.
Also, the two sites are completely in line with where they offer real money online sports betting. That’s not a coincidence, as the four states which are served by both are ahead of the curve in comparison to others when it comes to legalized online sports betting.
This list will continue to grow as additional states pass sports betting legislation. For now, DraftKings and FanDuel have been well-received in the markets they have entered for sports betting.
When deciding which is better for you, DraftKings or FanDuel, it’s a good idea to look at an overview before diving into the details.
Here’s a quick look at both operators with links to where you can learn more:
DraftKings DFS: In terms of revenue and users, DraftKings is tops in DFS. The company has achieved its status by offering massive prize pools and tweaking the scoring and strategy from traditional fantasy sports.
DraftKings is ahead of FanDuel in one way as it offers a flex roster spot to round out lineups. Players selected for lineups receive bonuses based on achieving certain milestones.
For example, an NFL quarterback will receive three bonus points for having a 300+ passing yard game.
DraftKings sets the bar high with live championship events for the major sports. Also, it was the first operator to offer a top prize of $1 million for a single online DFS event.
FanDuel DFS: One of the first operators to gain serious traction in what was once a niche offering, FanDuel is still going strong in DFS.
From its infancy with small prize pools, which attracted a small number of players, to today’s massive events that attract hundreds of thousands of users, FanDuel has been there every step of the way.
The company has gone above and beyond with its live finals presentations. Also, it has been a leader in terms of offering online championships.
FanDuel hasn’t been shy about adapting as needed, either. New sports have made their debut on FanDuel in response to market demand, and scoring and roster requirements have been tweaked when the situation was warranted.
The answer to this question comes down to your user preferences.
Here’s what we can tell you: DraftKings and FanDuel have made substantial investments in technology. The result has been platforms that are smooth and efficient, both for the online platform and the DFS apps.
On the app side, you can perform all of the same functions as the full online platform. Depositing and withdrawing funds is a snap, as is editing and entering lineups.
For both DraftKings and FanDuel, the latter is probably one of the best parts of the mobile experience.
While you’re naturally dealing with a condensed piece of real estate on mobile, the lineup editing function is just as smooth as what you’ll find online. In browsing the lobby, you can easily filter and find what you’re looking for on mobile devices.
There are a couple of notes you need to keep in mind if you’re looking to download the apps.
Watch our video below to see some of the core differences between DraftKings and FanDuel walked through by DFS expert Matt Brown:
The two major players in DFS are in line in several ways, but there are also nuances between DraftKings and FanDuel. First, let’s take a look at the contest offerings, which are available on both platforms:
Next, let’s take a look at where both companies line up on some key attributes one would expect to find on a DFS site.
|DraftKings DFS||FanDuel DFS|
|New Player Bonus||$20 free||$5 free + $5 on deposit|
|Lineup Tools||Standard plus advanced for multi-entry.||Standard plus advanced for multi-entry.|
|Player Resources||numberFire, DK Playbook||numberFire, The Duel
|Total Prize Pool for NFL Live Final||$10 million||$2.5 million|
|Online NFL Championship||No||Yes|
|Max Entries Per User for Large GPPs||150||150|
|Loyalty Points||DK Crowns: Awards vary by contest and entry fee.||FD Points: Five points for every $1 in real-money played.|
DraftKings and FanDuel want you to try their platforms out and hopefully stick around. To that end, both companies provide a bonus offer for new players:
If you sign up at either site via our links and make the required deposit, you’ll get a free $20. This bonus is an excellent way for new players to get their feet wet without risking a lot of their funds.
Keep in mind that DraftKings and FanDuel have free-to-play contests to try out playing on the site risk-free. Some of the biggest free-to-play contests include:
Also, the two sites have loyalty programs in place in which you can earn rewards and entry into freeroll contests based on how much you play. See the “Points” section below for more.
One of the ways that DFS captured so much attention was via its live final events, with massive prize pools available to qualifying players. Here’s the scoop on what both sides have to offer for their biggest events of the year:
Users obtain entry into the live final events by winning qualifier tournaments, which are available at several price points each week. While qualifying is far from easy, the amazing prize pools and exotic locales make them worth playing.
Once again, DraftKings and FanDuel are in line when it comes to available sports. Here are the sports offerings on both platforms:
DraftKings offers some DFS sports which are not available to play on FanDuel as of yet:
FanDuel has followed the lead of DraftKings on the individual sports, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see MMA on the platform before too long. For the other ones, we’ll have to wait and see.
The game selection on the two platforms is similar, with both offering all of the major ways to play DFS:
From the early days of DFS, there have been several innovations. For example, single-game contests are a relatively new development. It’ll be interesting to see what comes down the pike in the coming years.
The most significant difference between the two platforms is that DraftKings will offer bonuses for individual player performances. For example, in the NFL, a 300+ yard passer or 100+ yard rusher or receivers will gain an extra 3-point bonus.
There are other slight differences to be found in scoring on the two sites. Using the NBA as an example, DraftKings awards 2 points for steals or blocks, while FanDuel offers 3 points for each.
For NFL, DraftKings awards a full point per reception, while FanDuel only awards half of a point. While these may not sound like significant differences, they can make a difference in which players are more valuable on which site for an evening of games.
Additionally, these slight variations are part of the reason why each platform has a dedicated following, which prefers one style of play over the other.
From a bottom-line perspective, there are differences to be found in scoring on both sites. Some are really small and barely noticeable, while others can make a real difference when it comes to lineup construction. The best course of action is to review the scoring requirements for the sports you are most interested in on both sites to determine which one suits you best.
In a word, absolutely.
Plenty of experienced players use both platforms; others specialize in one or the other. For those new to DFS, it makes a lot of sense to test drive both out to determine which one you like best.
You can also take full advantage of the beginner-only games (up to 50 contests) at each site.
You may find that you prefer the layout on DraftKings over FanDuel or vice versa. There’s a chance one scoring style works well with your fantasy strategy, while the other doesn’t align well.
You could find that you have more success on one over the other. The only way to determine all of that is to try them both.
Since the two operators both offer generous sign-up bonuses via our exclusive links, testing both makes a world of sense.
Winning on either of the two platforms takes a good deal of practice, patience, and persistence. A little luck doesn’t hurt either. To win consistently in DFS, a sound research strategy helps immensely. However, even the most well-researched lineups will have off nights.
After all, you’re talking about live players in actual games. Anything can happen once they step on the field of play. To put together a DFS lineup that wins a big tournament, everything needs to break just right. That said, there are ways to consistently cash in DFS while also taking your shots at the bigger prizes.
Many experienced DFS players use 50/50 games as a way to sustain and build their bankroll along the way. You can do the same, but be aware that this style of play is distinct from playing in tournaments. When trying to win a guaranteed prize pool (GPP), you need to take some risks and hope everything breaks right.
For 50/50s, consistent and reliable performance is the name of the game. Please note that it takes time to build successful lineups. We share this not as a deterrent, but rather to let you know that there’s a learning curve to DFS from traditional fantasy sports.
The salary cap and various scoring nuances can make building consistently competitive lineups a little challenging. However, that’s also part of the fun.
For new users, starting small and working your way up is always a solid approach. There isn’t any need to go for the high entry fee contests right away. They’ll be there waiting for you as your level of play advances. In the meantime, try out some different strategies in GPPs and 50/50s.
The bonus offers from our exclusive links make for a great way to get involved and start small. Start with some $1 tournaments and 50/50s as you learn the lay of the land. The experience you gain will be invaluable, and you may find enough success to move up in stakes before too long.
For both platforms, the cashier function is smooth and easy to use. Credit card options and PayPal are available on both, while FanDuel offers online banking.
In all cases, deposits process instantaneously. To deposit via credit card, you will enter the relevant info and the amount you wish to deposit. Funds will appear in your account in seconds after confirming the transaction.
For PayPal, you’ll see a new window pop up which will guide you through the transaction. You’ll need to log in to your PayPal account to complete and verify the transaction. On the withdrawal side, these don’t process quite as fast, but there aren’t significant lag times.
One note to keep in mind is that DraftKings will process your withdrawals based on how they are received. It’s all spelled out for you when you go to remove money from the site. However, make sure you’re receiving the money back in the method you prefer.
DraftKings and FanDuel offer loyalty programs for players.
On the former, users can earn DK Crowns, which players can redeem in DraftKings’ shop. For the latter, players earn FD Points that they can redeem. In both cases, the more you play, the more you earn.
Both platforms use a tier system where users can rise in the ranks based on how much they earn. On FanDuel, players will be rewarded with monthly freerolls, which are based on hitting certain milestones from their amount of play.
Over on DraftKings, players have the opportunity to complete missions and achievements to earn even more crowns. On an overall basis, the two loyalty programs are pretty similar. Neither company has a leg up on the other on this front.
While DraftKings and FanDuel rule the roost when it comes to DFS, there is a new player on the scene that has been gaining some attention.
Monkey Knife Fight offers yet another twist on fantasy sports. If you’re familiar with the concept of prop betting, you’ll catch on to what Monkey Knife Fight offers right away. As opposed to building out lineups, players need to choose whether players are going to achieve specific benchmarks or not.
There are other ways to play here, as well. For example, there’s a simple contest in which your task is to pick the three players who will score the most touchdowns. Unlike other DFS games, there’s no need to worry about a salary cap.
While this sounds a whole lot like sports betting, Monkey Knife Fight falls under the same branch of law that gives the green light to play DFS. If you live in a state where it’s legal to play DFS, you won’t have any trouble signing up to play here.
As the legalization of sports betting continues to be hammered out in various states across the nation, interest in the pastime continues to grow.
There’s a natural crossover appeal from DFS to sports betting, so you can be sure that curiosity will continue to pique among users.
When you add in the fact that the two most prominent names in DFS — DraftKings and FanDuel — are going all-in on sports betting in legal states, the tie-in becomes all the more natural. All that said, it’s important to remember that success in one of these endeavors is no guarantee of success in the other.
While there are similarities between the two pursuits, there are some key differences to keep in mind:
Also, there are several similarities, as well as skills that translate well from one to the other. Research and discipline are crucial to success in both, so the transition can be a little easier for players who are already stronger on those fronts.
If you find success in DFS and live in a state where sports betting is legal, you can begin dipping your toes in the water with prop bets. These bets revolve around things such as the specific performance of a player in a game, such as figuring out if a quarterback will hit a certain yardage benchmark.
Starting with concepts that you are already familiar with can also help to slow down the learning curve. If you’re interested in learning more about sports betting, check out our full beginner betting guides here::
Here’s one area in which we have a clear winner. If you’re looking to play DFS esports, you’ll need to play on DraftKings.
FanDuel doesn’t offer esports, but DraftKings features games revolving around League of Legends. You’ll find all of the various DFS game types in the lobby, some of which naturally attract more attention than others.
FanDuel was founded in 2009 and entered DFS first. DraftKings followed upon its founding in 2011. Once sports betting was legalized in New Jersey in 2018, they both went live with sportsbooks within a few weeks of each other. They have since expanded to other legalized states as well including Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
FanDuel was the recognized leader in DFS for several years, but DraftKings has overtaken them in terms of revenue and users. Larger prize pools do help; however, some users prefer one platform over the other and stick with their preferences.
No, DraftKings is a privately held company, but there have been several funding rounds that have split up the equity pool. FanDuel was privately held, but it’s now part of the Flutter Entertainment Group.
No, there aren’t any crossover games between the two platforms. However, the companies tend to mirror each other in terms of offerings.
DraftKings offers the larger prize pools overall, but there are no guarantee users can win more at one site over the other.
Users should try out both platforms via our exclusive sign-up links and see which one they like better, or continue playing on both.
DraftKings has the larger overall prize pools, but the largest GPPs on both sites allow users to win some massive prizes.
All of the major sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) have gotten on board with DFS at this point.
DraftKings and FanDuel have deals in place with both the leagues and individual teams. Most recently, DraftKings inked agreements to become the exclusive DFS partner of the NFL and an official sports betting partner of the NBA.
DraftKings and FanDuel have entered sports betting in legal states. As sports betting expands, that will continue to be a significant focus for them.
There also remains a vast market for DFS with contests currently accessible for players in 43 states. Both companies are poised to remain leaders in the industry in both industries for the foreseeable future.
A few years back, there were advanced talks of the two companies joining forces. The deal fell through, and FanDuel and DraftKings remained separate entities. It seems unlikely that merger talks will resume anytime soon, especially since FanDuel is no longer a privately held company.