Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is the perfect way to satisfy your sports craving – millions around the globe play, and there are cash prizes to win at every level.
There are a handful of companies trying to make their mark in the DFS world, but the two that have ruled the scene since the very beginning remain the same – DraftKings and FanDuel.
FanDuel was the first company to really start making some headway, bringing DFS to the masses with their inception in 2009. DraftKings followed suit shortly after, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The question is… who really reigns supreme in the battle of FanDuel vs DraftKings? We did a deep dive on the most important parts of both companies, so you could choose for yourself.
Even though FanDuel was the first DFS company to plant their flag, DraftKings has surpassed them with their sheer number of players and growing number of high-end prize pools.
That’s not to say that FanDuel is the lesser of the two though – they’ve maintained their fair share of users through their unique DFS contest offerings and top-notch loyalty program.
In fact, the two companies are so similar that they almost merged back in 2017 – but the deal inevitably fell through.
The good news is this – if you’re playing in the United States, chances are you’ll be able to join either company. Like most fantasy sports leagues, DFS is widely accepted as a game of skill (more on that later).
As such, most states will allow you to play, but there’s a few that haven’t jumped onboard yet, including:
It’s important to note that these states require applications for ALL DFS platforms. Playing DFS in the above states is strictly prohibited. However, if you’re anywhere else, the legality of the game isn’t in question.
If you’re someone that’s never played DFS before, the two companies probably look very similar.
In many ways they are. Both offer a bunch of the same games and contests, and both have the same roster requirements for almost all of their offerings.
However, there are a bunch of distinct differences that are very important to consider before you go ahead and make your initial deposit.
The way the two platforms handle scoring was a big deciding factor in our preference for DraftKings over FanDuel, especially as it pertains to the NFL. First, DraftKings gives players a full point per reception (PPR) in their leagues.
This is significant for two reasons. First, this is the default scoring metric for global fantasy sites. It makes it much easier for players to keep track of which players are performing well, and which might be worthy of a repeat start the following week. Secondly, there’s nothing more frustrating than losing a matchup by a half point – you’ll never have to worry about this with DraftKings.
Scoring on fumbles is also an area where we prefer DraftKings to FanDuel. FanDuel punishes players a lot more when they lose a fumble, docking you two points for each one. This is an important thing to consider when drafting your lineup, as the same player you might stay away from on FanDuel can be rostered confidently on DraftKings. Both these scoring differences can easily be the difference between a win and a loss.
Imagine you’re locked in a tight matchup and your starting QB fires an 80-yard touchdown down the field as time expires, sending him over the 300-yard mark for the game. Shouldn’t that be worth something?
While FanDuel doesn’t offer any sort of scoring bonuses, DraftKings does, and it’s often the difference between you cashing for a contest and finishing on the bubble.
DraftKings offers three-point bonuses for 300+ yards passing, 100+ yards rushing, and 100+ yard receiving, which adds a little bit of juice and a competitive edge to each matchup.
This is a clear advantage for DraftKings, as the site rewards exceptional play better than FanDuel.
Both sites offer a cap that players will need to work within, but it differs a bit between the two.
Almost every contest on FanDuel has a fixed salary cap of $60,000. This cap number is higher than most everything on DraftKings, so it’s a bit easier to field a high-scoring team.
DraftKings cap differs between different sports and leagues, but generally speaking there’s usually a $50,000 number players will have to work around. We preferred the lower salary cap on DraftKings, as it forces players to be more strategic with their lineup choices.
Both sites offer players loyalty programs that reward players for frequent contest entries. DraftKings offers players daily rewards in the form of either crowns (their loyalty currency), contest tickets, and DK Dollars. While their system does reward you for playing, it’s fairly linear.
FanDuel’s loyalty rewards are much more layered and ultimately, better for the player. Players reach different levels commensurate with how much they’ve spent and played, with larger increases in freeroll prize amounts as you move up the tiers.
The membership tiers go all the way up to a GOAT level – which comes with a monthly freeroll contest worth $25,000, as well as site merchandise and a personal account manager. It gives you a greater incentive to keep playing, and rewards you much more than DraftKings’ program.
Both sites offer a lot of the same contests. Tournaments with guaranteed payouts, head-to-head tournaments, and 50/50 tournaments where the top half of players will cash.
A huge difference between the two though, and something distinct to DraftKings, are the satellite contests they offer. A satellite tournament has a pretty low entry fee compared to the larger ones, but instead of a cash prize, the winner gets a ticket into a much bigger tournament – with a much larger prize pool.
It’s an awesome way for low-level players to get into a major tournament that they otherwise couldn’t afford.
FanDuel vs DraftKings: Sports Available
If you’re focusing on the major sports leagues, at least in the United States, either site will have you covered. Both sites offer tournaments for all of the following leagues:
Still, DraftKings has an advantage over FanDuel here. They offer a few niche sports you can’t find on the other site. Specifically, there’s a bunch of international leagues that you’ll be able to play. These include:
Considering the popularity of the sport, it wouldn’t be surprising to see FanDuel begin to offer MMA tournaments sometime in the near future.
FanDuel vs DraftKings: NFL
The bread and butter of all DFS, and fantasy in general, is the NFL. It’s no surprise then that the tournaments with the biggest prize pools all revolve around the NFL, and both sites offer a tournament with a massive guaranteed prize pool (otherwise known as GPP), and the top payout will net you at least $1 million.
FanDuel’s premier offering is the NFL Sunday Million, a tournament that only costs $25 to enter, but gives players a chance at a substantial GPP ($6 million in total) and a $1 million first prize.
Of course, $1 million is nothing to sneeze at, but it is a little bit less than the biggest prize from DraftKings. The NFL Sunday Million also costs a little bit more to enter, and you’ll be competing against a little over 275,000 players on any given week.
For DraftKings, their crown jewel tournament is the Weekly Millionaire Maker. As mentioned, the entry fee of $20 is less than FanDuel’s Sunday Million, and you’ll have a chance at bringing home a top prize of $1.2 million from a GPP of $7 million (!).
The Weekly Millionaire Maker is the biggest DFS contest in the entire industry – and with that comes a substantial pool of players you’ll have to claim the top spot, 400,700 to be exact.
Even if you aren’t interested in jumping into the massive player tournaments, both sites offer the standard fare of head-to-head tournaments, 50/50’s, weekly leagues, and smaller tournaments to sink your teeth into. There’s also beginner games available on both sites that will let you test the waters before jumping in with the sharks.
FanDuel vs DraftKings: DFS Championships
The granddaddy of them all, and the biggest tournament either site has to offer, are their yearly live NFL championship events.
These tournaments have their finals held in gorgeous destinations. FanDuel’s was most recently held in Puerto Rico, while DraftKings hosted their extravaganza in Miami. Both give players a shot at claiming true global fantasy supremacy.
Also, both sites hold multiple qualifiers at several different price points, allowing nearly anyone to compete for a spot at the championship leading up to the main event.
FanDuel’s championship consists of 80 players in total vying for a top prize of $500,000 from a $2.5 million prize pool. However, much like their weekly tournaments, DraftKings offers a much grander stage for their biggest competition to be decided – 180 players competing for a piece of the $10 million prize pool, with the top dog coming away with an eye-popping $2 million.
FanDuel vs DraftKings: DFS vs Sports Betting
DFS has enjoyed protection in many states because of the way it’s classified and marketed. Fantasy sports are classified as a game of skill. As such, lawmakers and others do not view it as gambling, which is considered a game of chance.
You can think of fantasy sports the same way many view Wall Street investing. Investors make smart, skill-based investments based on the data they have, much like players make the same skill-based decisions about the players they want to roster.
There are two other determining factors when it comes to differentiating between DFS and sports betting which are:
- DFS can often be played for free, and there are no fixed odds when it comes to DFS.
- Because of this, it’s unlikely that the legal status of DFS changes anytime in the near future.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
No, DraftKings does not own FanDuel. They are two separate companies.
There’s no reason not to have an account on both sites. In fact, this might even increase the chances of you finishing in the money for a tournament. Many players that sustain winning often compile tons of lineups across both platforms.
At the very least, players should try out both of the sites and see what they like best about them individually. This will only enhance your experience, and allow you to have more fun while playing.
Overall, we prefer DraftKings to FanDuel when it comes to DFS. However, there isn’t really a wrong answer, and a lot of it will come down to personal player preference.
For more fantasy football advice, check out our list of the best fantasy football advice sites.
- DraftKings Rules. Retrieved from https://www.draftkings.com/help/rules/1/58
- Why fantasy football is legal. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2015/10/06/news/companies/fantasy-sports-legal/index.html