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If you’ve ever played season-long fantasy sports, then I’m sure you’ve at least heard of either FanDuel or DraftKings. The concept of daily games has completely changed the landscape of fantasy sports as we know it.
What used to be solely for entertainment, can now earn you a full-time living if you’re skilled enough. Some successful players are even making 6-7 figures a year playing on FanDuel or DraftKings. And while that is obviously not the norm (most players are small losers), it’s crazy to realize you could make that much from fantasy sports.
I’ve personally been playing on FanDuel for the past 4 years. And while by no means am I earning a full-time income from it, I am glad to say I have never lost money in a season. For me, it’s a form of entertainment that provides some nice side hustle money (I made ~$9,000 in 2016).
So I wrote this review for those of you who are thinking about playing DFS, but are undecided on which platform to play on, FanDuel vs DraftKings?
I’ll take you through the decision process that ultimately led me to choose FanDuel, and also provide a link at the end, to the one and only tool I use every season to help me win $.
Let’s get started!
Software (Winner: FanDuel)
Having played on both sites over the years, I can say pretty confidently that FanDuel has always had better software. From a user experience point of view, the design is cleaner and a bit more intuitive.
Here’s a picture of what FanDuel’s main lobby looks like. You can pick a game from the top tabs, and choose a slate on the left-hand side. Underneath the main tab, you’re able to filter out what type of game you want to play in each sport, whether you want to play head to head, in a 50/50, or in large field tournaments.
Also comparatively, this is a recent screenshot from DraftKings lobby. As you can see they use a darker theme for their site, and the filter by game type is on the left-hand side of the screen. They’re quite similar here, but some key differences show up in the software UI/UX once you try and draft a team.
The Draft Area
As you can see, the work-area where you are actually drafting a team looks quite different. In my personal opinion, the software just looks dated on DraftKings. It feels like they never upgraded their site from 2013. FanDuel’s, on the other hand, is just more intuitive, and you can really start to notice when you drill down and click on a players name to research them.
The Drill Down Area
Once you drill down and click on a player (I chose Aaron Rodgers for this example), you can see that FanDuel lists its data in a more friendly and consumable format. Instead of just pasting a table of stats like how you might find on any stats site, you can look at a graph of recent performances, with different color codes, etc.
Gameplay (Winner: Tie)
When it comes to gameplay, the two sites are virtually identical. While there are slight differences in the way fantasy points are scored, and what positions you need to draft, they both operate largely the same way:
When you enter a contest, you get a total imaginary budget that you can spend. Within that contest you have the ability to draft players of varying salaries and build a team that you think will score the most fantasy points for that night. The trick is utilizing your budget and getting the most value out of your players.
Both sites offer very similar contest types:
Head to Head: where you can play against just 1 other person.
50/50s: where you play versus a large pool of people, but only need to score more than half the field to double your money.
Tournaments: these can vary in size from 3 players all the way to 30,000 players. And the prize pools can get pretty ridiculous. Both sites are offering huge tournaments to kick off the NFL season, where if you snag first place you win over $1 million.
Game Options (Winner: DraftKings)
As of this writing, DraftKings offers a wider variety of sports than FanDuel.
They both have all your major sports: NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, Golf, and Soccer.
But where DraftKings differs is that they also offer: Nascar, MMA, and eSports.
Although these are more off-beat fantasy sports, if you have knowledge in these areas it could provide you with a significant edge over your competition. It remains to be seen if FanDuel will increase its offering in the future, but currently, DraftKings holds the edge in total game options.
Size & Ease (Winner: Tie)
It used to be that FanDuel was the clear leader in size, but in the past few years, DraftKings has used extra funding in advertising to catch up. They are virtually identical now in terms of total player pool.
Both sites have millions of registered users, and they take up over 90% of the daily fantasy market when combined. Recently the sites tried to merge, but the FTC didn’t like the monopolistic vibe of the merger, so they scrapped the plans.
If I had to guess, I would say that FanDuel might have the slightest edge in the ease department, only due to the fact that they have fewer games available. Less games available to play, means more players are playing fewer games, which theoretically should mean more beginner-level players that you could beat in the major sports.
But there’s no hard and fast way for me to quantify that hunch, so I will give this a Tie.
First Time Player Promo Code (Winner: FanDuel)
First-time player promotions are huge! It’s important that you maximize any edge you can get, especially if you’re a new player.
At the time of this writing, the sites are offering the following promotion for new players:
DraftKings: $3 entry into a contest of your choice.
FanDuel: Up to a $120 refund if you lose your first contest.
FanDuel’s promo blows DraftKing’s out of the water. On DraftKings, the most the promo could be worth is $3. On FanDuel, it could be worth up to $120.
I.E.- You deposit $100 into your FanDuel account. The first tournament you register for is a $25 NFL tournament. You lose your first contest. FanDuel gives you your $25 back.
Obviously, any losses after your first game are coming out of your own pocket.
Some Closing Thoughts
(My winnings from last year’s NBA season)
Playing daily fantasy sports is fun. It adds a level of excitement to watching a game that you couldn’t otherwise have. I personally love it and play every basketball season…
BUT HUGE DISCLAIMER: Don’t ever play with more money than you can afford to lose!
Like anything in life, being responsible is key. And while it is definitely a game of skill that you can consistently make money from, I would put daily fantasy sports firmly into the high risk-reward quadrant I wrote about earlier, along with activities like trading stocks or playing poker.
If you’re considering playing on FanDuel; I highly recommend you sign up for RotoQL as well. It’s my “secret” tool I use to win, and I swear by it. It’s a projection/lineup optimizer app, that will give you a serious edge over your competition.
Or just sign up to FanDuel through this link and get your first $120 refund promo.
(No code necessary – Just clicking the link is fine!)
If you hit it big and win a million dollars, please don’t forget about me! 😉
Mr. Smart Money