DraftKings and FanDuel revolutionized the daily fantasy sports industry in the early 2000s and continue to be the dominant players in the DFS world.
Before DraftKings and FanDuel, fantasy sports was a comparatively obscure season-long activity pursued by mostly baseball purists. The internet and the immediate availability of sports data have since helped turn fantasy sports into something that anyone with even a passing interest in sports and a smartphone can play every day for real money.
Everything you need to know to pick between DraftKings or FanDuel as far as DFS is concerned is on this page. If you’re looking for their options for sports betting, head to our DraftKings sportsbook review or FanDuel Sportsbook review.
Can I play on both DraftKings and FanDuel in New York?
That’s a big yes. Daily fantasy sports are fully legalized and regulated in New York state. Both of the major DFS players are open and operating and there is absolutely nothing excluding you from opening up accounts at both DFS sites.
You should at least have a look at what both have to offer before choosing one over the other. Signing up for DraftKings or FanDuel through our links does not restrict you in any way. You’ll have free money if you try out both.
Make a note of the things you like and don’t like about each. Pay attention to things like roster requirements and scoring. Then you can decide which works best for you and your particular DFS strategy.
You can choose one or continue playing on both. Just adjust your strategy for each according to what you’ve discovered. That’s what the top DFS players in the country do.
Which is better, DraftKings or FanDuel?
1. DraftKings – $20 free
DraftKings has emerged as the world’s largest DFS operator.
Its software is available through a browser-based client and provides Apple and Android apps. Furthermore, its platform is the most responsive and flexible in the DFS industry.
DraftKings holds everything from massive contests with guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) for most major sports to qualifiers and head-to-head contests. DraftKings also offers 50/50 tournaments where half of the field gets paid.
In games called “multipliers,” a smaller percentage of the field is paid. League players can either start one among their friends or join in one already going.
You can find DFS contests for almost every sport imaginable on DraftKings. It also boasts the largest DFS player pool on the market and the biggest guaranteed prize pools for its contests.
2. FanDuel – Play $1 fantasy contest, get 1 free entry into Big Game Contest
If DraftKings is No. 1 in DFS, FanDuel is No. 1A. The operator claims to pay out more than $1 billion in DFS prizes annually. Its software is clean, functional and available through a browser-based client and iOS and Android apps.
While DraftKings is the biggest, FanDuel is the most prominent innovator in DFS. The operator is continually adding new game formats.
The standard GPPs, head-to-head matches, 50/50s and multipliers are all there. However, FanDuel has launched formats that include single-game contests and beginner contests, as well as things like “experienced player indicators” over the past few years.
FanDuel was the first to institute contest-entry limits to help new and amateur players compete. Also, its features include advanced entry, late-swap, third-party software blockers and simplified versions of various core games.
Only DraftKings offers bigger guaranteed prize pools and as much volume for cash games.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Which DFS app is better?
When it comes down to choosing between DraftKings and FanDuel, it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Both have separate apps for DFS and sports betting. Both also provide separate DFS apps for Canada. DraftKings even has an app for the UK and a “live” app for sports content, news and game monitoring.
The basic DFS apps don’t differ too much when it comes to layout, roster construction and contest entry. Plus, both apps do an equally excellent job of providing the same gaming and account functions as each operator’s web platform.
Basically, you can search and enter contests, monitor results in real-time, and deposit and withdraw money as easily on both apps, which is what DFS is all about.
If one DFS app has the edge over the other, it’s in DraftKings’ responsiveness. It seems to be the quickest of the two when it comes to updating stats, fantasy scores and contest placement.
Slight edge: DraftKings
Differences between DraftKings and FanDuel
There are only a few differences in key metrics between FanDuel and DraftKings. Here’s a look at how they stack up against one another in several fundamental categories:
|DraftKings Vs. FanDuel||FanDuel||DraftKings|
|New Player Bonus||Play $1, get 1 free entry into Big Game Contest||$20 free|
|iOS app ||Yes||Yes|
|Credit Card Deposits||Yes||Yes|
|Standard Lineup Tools plus advanced for multi-entry||Yes||Yes|
|Player Resources||Yes (numberFire, The Duel)||Yes (DK Playbook)|
|Online NFL Championship||Yes||No|
|Prizepool for NFL Live Final||$2.5 million||$10 million|
|Single Entry Tournaments |
Max Entries for GPPs
|Max Entries for GPPs||No||No|
|Player Loyalty Program||5 FD Points for every $1||DK Crowns earned vary by contest and entry fee|
In the meantime, here are some of the critical differences between FanDuel and DraftKings:
|Late swap more widespread||Mini contests with smaller lineups|
|1 point per reception in football||0.5 points per reception in football|
|Scoring bonuses when players achieve certain milestones||Lineup construction assists including player recommendations|
|More high-stakes games featuring lower rake||Contests reserved for experienced players|
|DK Crowns can be used for contest entry and at DK Shop||FD Points can be used for contest entry|
|Free $10 ticket for referrals||$15 for referrals after $10 in contests played|
|Freerolls with cash prizes||Season-long leagues with weekly lineups|
|Operates outside US in UK, Germany, Malta, Austria, Ireland, Australia.||Sportsbook and Racebook accessible from DFS home|
Free games & promos at DraftKings and FanDuel
Both DraftKings and FanDuel offer bonus cash for new players.
- DraftKings gives you $20 free when you make your first deposit.
- FanDuel gives you1 free entryinto Big Game Contest when you play a $1 Fantasy Contest.
DraftKings and FanDuel also offer free contest tickets to new and existing players depending on their initial deposit. Both also run free contests open to all players regularly. These contests include everything from NFL pick’ems to March Madness bracket contests.
In addition, DraftKings and FanDuel offer referral bonuses to all players.
Plus, both allow players to qualify for championship events for most major sports, many of which feature live finals near the end of the season.
These events include DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship and its $10 million prize pool. Plus, the FanDuel World Fantasy Football Championships and the $2.5 million in prizes.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Sports available
DraftKings and FanDuel feature contests for all major sports, as well as some rather obscure games from around the globe. Here’s a look at the sports that DraftKings and FanDuel feature:
|Auto Racing (NASCAR)||Yes||Yes|
|Canadian Football League||No||Yes|
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Games available
|Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)||For 100,000-plus entries. Prizepool guaranteed regardless of entires. Top 10-20% paid. Top-heavy payout structure.||Yes||Yes|
|Head to Head||One on one competitions. Winner earns both entry fees minus rake.||Yes||Yes|
|50/50s or Double Ups||Top 50% of the entrants win double the entry fee minus rake.||Yes||Yes|
|Multipliers||Win triple the entry fee or more with smaller percentage of the field winning compared to 50/50s.||Yes||Yes|
|Satellites or Qualifiers||Smaller entry fee contests offering entry into larger contest as prizes.||Yes||Yes|
|Tiers||Lineups with players from set groups only.||Yes||No|
|Beat the Score||All entries that beat a preset fantasy-point total split the prizepool.||No||Yes|
|Showdown Captain||Positionless single-game fantasy contests with one roster spot both costing and earning more.||Yes||Yes|
|Leagues||Public and private daily, weekly and seasonal contests.||Yes||Yes|
|Single-Entry Contests||Players limited to one entry.||Yes||Yes|
|Beginner contests||For new players only.||Yes||Yes|
How is scoring different on DraftKings vs. FanDuel?
For the most part, fantasy scoring is the same on the DraftKings and FanDuel platforms.
The one significant difference is that DraftKings offers bonuses when players reach certain statistical milestones, like 300-yards passing for a quarterback or a double-double in basketball.
Plus, in football, DraftKings gives players a full point for each reception versus half a point at FanDuel.
Which is easier to win on, FanDuel or DraftKings?
Whether you choose DraftKings or FanDuel, your chances of winning increases in head-to-head cash games compared to GPPs and larger tournaments. The number of professional DFS players with deep pockets entering multiple lineups in GPPs makes these contests challenging to win.
Single-entry and beginner contests can provide a greater chance of success.
FanDuel has been around a while longer, suggesting there is a larger group of long-time skilled users you must compete against than DraftKings.
See our list of DFS strategy tips below for more on winning at DFS.
Is DraftKings or FanDuel better for cash outs?
DraftKings and FanDuel both make cashing out fairly easy. There is a minimum withdrawal on DraftKings of $20. It can take from 3-5 days (PayPal) or 7-14 days (check) to get your money.
FanDuel requires withdrawing players to provide a valid mailing address, birthday and Social Security or Social Insurance number.
FanDuel is marginally faster. It gets PayPal withdrawals processed within 48 hours, online banking between two to four business days, and a check out in 7-10 business days.
DraftKings Crowns or FanDuel Points?
Both DraftKings and FanDuel offer loyalty programs rewarding frequent players. Here’s a quick overview of each program:
- Earn one “DK Crown” for every $1 spent.
- Use DK Crowns to enter contests or buy loot at the DraftKings shop.
- Earn “experience points.”
- Get free contest tickets.
- Earn achievements, claim daily rewards, and complete missions.
- Earn five FanDuel Points for every $1 spent.
- Use Points to enter contests.
- Join the FanDuel Players Club and enjoy increased earning based on experience level.
- Increase earnings through promotions.
- Points expire after one year of inactivity.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel vs. Monkey Knife Fight
Monkey Knife Fight is not your average DFS site. In fact, the differences between DraftKings, FanDuel and Monkey Knife Fight are glaring.
Monkey Knife Fight is more like betting over/under props than it is entering traditional DFS contests. With Monkey Knife Fight, players wager on over/unders on specific player’s stat line. It bases its payouts on probability.
Sports available include golf, baseball, hockey and basketball. The only real similarity with the DFS contests you find on DraftKings and FanDuel is that these contests are also scored based on player stats.
Monkey Knife Fight is more like sports betting props. The differences lie in the presentation and the fact that Monkey Knife Fight positions itself as a fantasy sports game of skill.
How is daily fantasy sports different from sports betting?
FanDuel and DraftKings are also now fully licensed sportsbooks along with DFS platforms in states where sports betting is legalized. The two platforms themselves are different (make sure you download the dedicated app for each), but so are the games themselves.
Of significant importance, fantasy sports is a game of skill and sports betting is gambling.
Basically, sports betting is about wagering on the outcome of a single game; DFS is about successfully projecting the statistical performance of a variety of athletes put together on one team under a salary cap structure.
When the Supreme Court lifted a federal ban on sports betting in May 2018, it allowed states to legalize sports betting inside their borders. Helped by their tremendous success in DFS, FanDuel and DraftKings both jumped to the top of the online sports betting market as well, and have established both retail and online sportsbooks in several states.
Legalized online sports betting states where DraftKings and FanDuel are operating include:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
For the latest on New York’s expansion into sports betting, check our page here:
Can I play fantasy e-sports?
E-sports has quickly become the fastest-growing fantasy sports segment. Both DraftKings and FanDuel allow players to build eight-player fantasy league lineups full of pro-e-sports athletes under the e-sports-specific salary cap, trading and scoring rules like traditional sports.
It’s no surprise to see the growth of fantasy e-sports, considering it is projected to generate some $1.8 billion a year in revenue over the next few years.
DraftKings got the jump in FanDuel in this segment. However, its NFL, NBA, international football and MLB remain more popular. eSports remains just a small percentage of both the operator’s business, but it’s growing faster than any other sport.
FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook also provide e-sports wagering in New Jersey and are seeing growth there as well.
Beginners tips for DFS strategy
New to DFS? Follow these five tips to give you a better shot at making a return on your investment:
- Do the Research: Consume as much sports and DFS specific content as you can. Build lineups based on what you learn instead of just throwing darts at the board.
- Max Out the Bonuses: DraftKings and FanDuel will give you free money to get started in DFS. Take advantage of it and turn nothing into something right out of the gate.
- Read the Rules: Different contests have different rules and payout structures, scoring and lineup configurations. Don’t just blindly throw lineups into a contest. Reading all about it can give you an edge over those who don’t.
- Play Cash, Win Cash: You might not win $1 million overnight, but the best way to make a profit in DFS is by playing one-on-one, head-to-head cash games.
- Stay in Your Lane: Contests with high entry fees may have higher prize pools, but these are the ones the pros play. Beginners belong in low buy-in and beginner contests where they don’t have to compete against people that play DFS for a living. Work your way through these contests, gain some experience, build your bankroll and when you’re ready, you can take a shot at big money.
What is daily fantasy sports?
The first daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests in the US began in 2007. The game is much the same as season-long fantasy: Players build teams of athletes under a salary cap and then use the statistical performance of the athletes to compete against one another.
Instead of players competing over a whole season, DFS contests have accelerated the process, pitting teams against one another as quickly as a day.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel: States available
The following states have all passed legislation legalizing and regulating DFS:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- West Virginia
However, FanDuel and DraftKings also run contests that are available to players in these states:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
In fact, the only states you won’t find DraftKings and FanDuel are:
- Washington state
Which started first, DraftKings or FanDuel?
FanDuel started in the DFS space in 2009. DraftKings didn’t jump in until 2012.
Founded by Nigel Eccles, Lesley Eccles, Tom Griffiths, Rob Jones and Chris Stafford, FanDuel launched as a DFS operator in July 2009.
DraftKings got in the game three years later, launching at the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball season. DraftKings was started by Jason Robins, Matthew Kalish and Paul Liberman.
DFS didn’t go mainstream until 2015 when its popularity exploded, and DraftKings and FanDuel advertising were suddenly all over TV sports broadcasts. Unfortunately, DFS soon became a victim of its success as lawmakers started taking a closer look at the industry.
By November 2015, New York’s then-attorney general Eric Schneiderman decided DFS contests were illegal under existing law. The battle started in New York, and DraftKings and FanDuel have spent the past four years continuing to fight for their lives.
The result is that DFS is now legal and regulated in 22 states and ignored or put up with in most others.
The activity is only illegal in Arizona, Montana and Washington state. However, DFS operators steer clear of Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada as well, since the attorney general in each of these states has expressed a negative opinion about it.
In the meantime, DraftKings and FanDuel continue to dominate in the states where it is free to operate. Both are in better than 80% of states with DFS activity, and together, they own more than 90% of the market.
Banking on existing DFS databases and the name recognition from that business, DraftKings and FanDuel have also moved into sports betting in states that have legalized that activity. Both have emerged as market leaders in sports betting as well.
What makes DraftKings or FanDuel more popular than the other in one state?
The more popular platform in a particular state usually comes down to advertising dollars spent. It also includes what kind of partnerships with local teams and leagues exist and the popularity of said teams.
Does the same company own DraftKings and FanDuel?
No, DraftKings and FanDuel are separate companies. They reached an agreement to merge in 2016, but the Federal Trade Commission blocked it.
Do DraftKings and FanDuel set up games against each other?
No, they do not. You play in DraftKings contests against other DraftKings players and FanDuel contests against other FanDuel players. There are even some subtle scoring differences.
Can I win more at DraftKings or FanDuel?
It depends on the sport you play and the contest, but DraftKings has larger GPPs and higher-stakes contests.
Which has bigger prize pools, DraftKings or FanDuel?
DraftKings has more users that can generate larger prize pools. It also posts the larger guarantees.
What professional leagues allow/have partnerships with DraftKings and FanDuel?
Both sites have partnerships with several NFL teams. DraftKings calls the NHL and MLB partners, while FanDuel is the official fantasy sports partner of the NBA.
In the meantime, both have team partnerships in all three leagues. DraftKings also calls several English Premier League teams partners.
What is the future of DraftKings and FanDuel?
Major sports aren’t going anywhere, so neither is DraftKings and FanDuel. The spread of legal sports betting across the US should continue to help both expand. Plus, growth in emerging fantasy sports markets will help as well.
Will DraftKings and FanDuel merge?
The initial merger agreement was called off in 2017. DraftKings and FanDuel aren’t even talking about it anymore. Plus, if they both continue to dominate the DFS market, the Federal Trade Commission will continue to block any merger plans.