Not all daily fantasy sites are made the same and it makes sense to pick one that suits your needs the best. Some have more contests whilst others may offer better prizes that enable you to potentially win more money.
Here you can find more details about the top 3 DFS sites in the US. It should be noted that these are fantasy sports sites only. If you’re looking for real money betting sites, we have that covered elsewhere.
FanDuel is one of the best fantasy sports sites in the US. They have it all, from the range of sports that includes everything from NFL and NBA to niche sports like tennis and golf to a solid range of promotions. You can claim their no-nonsense welcome bonus that grants you free entry to a fantasy contest of your choosing. Once you’re in, you can take advantage of their FanDuel Players Club rewards scheme.
But the thing we like the most about FanDuel is their fantasy sports betting app. It’s available on both Android and iOS and has great design, straightforward navigation, and all the goodies from the desktop version of their website.
Welcome bonus: Instant free entry to a DFS contest
DraftKings is the oldest fantasy sports site in the world, and they have stayed on top of the game thanks to their market-leading selection of sports and huge prize pools. They cover everything from football and basketball to the likes of NASCAR and UFC. If you want to compete for prizes that can be as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars, DraftKings is the place for you.
They also have a solid mobile app that is available for download on the App Store and the Play Store. You can also take advantage of their loyalty scheme or one of their many DFS promos. DraftKings usually has special tournaments and bonuses for big sports events such as Super Bowl and NBA Finals.
ParlayPlay is one of the newest DFS sites on the market. Unlike DraftKings or FanDuel, they have created a very simple platform that is excellent for beginners. At ParlayPlay, you play against the house, and there is no cap space, which creates a very relaxing surrounding great for casual players.
iPhone owners can download their fantasy sports betting app from the App Store, but Android users will have to play in the browser for now. If you want to see what ParlayPlay is all about, you can claim their excellent match deposit welcome bonus of up to $100, which should be more than enough for you to explore what this fantasy sports site has to offer.
Welcome bonus: 100% deposit match up to $100
Bonus code: Not required
Wagering requirements: 1x
Available in: AL, AK, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, KN, KY, MA, MI, NE, NM, NC, ND, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TX, UT, WI, WV, WY
The best fantasy sports apps are the ones that make it easy for you to play in contests and follow your entries as the event goes on.
It is not enough for an app to just offer a good user experience in terms of daily fantasy, but they also have to be technically sound.
Apps that you can only use in particular states, such as for fantasy sports, betting, or both, are generally prone to location errors, so it is important that these apps do not require constant confirmation of your location.
FanDuel offers probably the best daily fantasy app on the market. Its layout is very similar to the desktop site, so you’ll have an easy time switching to mobile. We love how they organized the list of your live contests and previous entries, which makes it really easy to follow your progress and learn from your mistakes. They also have one of the best sports betting apps, in case you’re interested in that as well.
The only downside of the FanDuel fantasy sports app is that its Android version isn’t available on the Play Store, meaning that you have to download an APK file directly from their website.
If you want to avoid this, try the DraftKings fantasy app, which is available on both Play Store and App Store. DraftKings app also offers a solid design and a market-leading selection of sports and huge prize pools.
How to Pick a Daily Fantasy Sports Website
There are a few key aspects that define a good daily fantasy site and that is the criteria we use to rank them.
It is important that sites excel in some of these factors as that leads to a good daily fantasy experience for users and makes the website worthy of our recommendation. Not following the same steps could mean you start playing DFS at a site that doesn’t fit your needs the best.
It is vital that a daily fantasy site is licensed to operate in the states they are available in as that makes them legal. Having a valid license means they are regulated and gives you peace of mind that the contests are played fairly.
Being able to set lineups and enter contests on your phone gives you more freedom as a daily fantasy sports player. A good mobile app should give you all the functionality of the desktop website, including the ability to check how you are faring in live contests.
Selection of sports
Having a range of sports gives you more choice for how you want to play daily fantasy. This is especially true if you are looking for contests in sports outside of the ‘big four’ and soccer, such as golf, NASCAR, and esports.
Getting extra rewards for playing daily fantasy sports is a fantastic additional bonus. The best promotions are ones that are attainable for your preferred sport and entry amount so you can get the most out of them. Free entries into contests are the most common promotions, and these can either be for specific contests or for one of your choice. Some DFS sites also have loyalty programs where you can trade your accrued points for free entries and other prizes.
Fantasy game types available
There are many different types of fantasy contest you can play and ideally you should use a site that offers a wide selection. All fantasy sites offer a classic draft type where you pick a team for a slate of games and showdown drafts which is just for one specific match. Some DFS sites have tiers contests, where there is no salary cap but you can only pick one player from each tier, with players of equal standard usually found in the same tier.
Being able to deposit in the way you want gives you more freedom and sites with the most options are more likely to be able to accommodate your chosen method.
Using these criteria can help you to decide which daily fantasy site you should sign up to and which ones you should not. It’s not crucial that a site is amazing in every aspect, so long as they are in factors you want.
If you prefer to play DFS golf, for example, then there’s not much point registering for a site that doesn’t offer it or if they are much worse at it than others.
Fantasy Sports Explained
Daily fantasy sports are a very simple concept. They are based on season-long fantasy tournaments, where you draft players for your fantasy team and earn points based on the players’ real-life performance. The winner is the player who has drafted the most successful team. Baseball is the first fantasy sport, but nowadays NFL and NBA are more popular.
DFS is very similar to the season-long fantasy tournaments, just boiled down to a single week or a single game. Instead of drafting a team for an entire season, you draft a new team for every game, making DFS betting much more dynamic and exciting. On top of that, prize pools for daily fantasy sports are much higher and can go up to thousands or even millions of dollars.
All the information you need about fantasy sports is below, including what types of contests are available and how to score points in daily fantasy sports (DFS).
Whilst different DFS sites operate in different ways, the basic idea generally remains the same across all of them so you can transfer knowledge from here to any site.
The great thing about daily fantasy sports is that it’s essentially the same regardless of which site you choose.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of how to play daily fantasy, you can use those ideas to hone your strategy as you play more DFS.
Pick a fantasy sports site
Use our list of recommended daily fantasy sports websites to choose the one that suits your needs the best.
Decide on a sport
If your chosen operator doesn’t have the one you want, you’ll need to select another site.
Choose your contest
Some contests can be as cheap as $0.05 per team whilst others will run you upwards of $10,000, so pick one that works for your budget.
Research the players
Check the stats of players to determine who will be best for your team.
Draft your lineup
A lineup generally has a salary cap of $50,000 and the key is to find a balance between top players and cheaper players who will overperform.
Follow the leaderboard
The leaderboard will be constantly updating as the game goes on, showing your position and how much you are winning.
Types of Fantasy Games
The most overwhelming part of DFS is choosing which type of contest is best for you because there are so many different ones.
Each kind is listed below and they are generally suited to different levels of player, so if you are totally new to daily fantasy, then there are contests specifically for novices.
Guaranteed prize pool
Shortened to GPP, these are the most popular types of contests because the money is guaranteed. Each GPP has a maximum entry limit but even if that is not met, then players are still paid out in full.
For example, a GPP offers $3,250,000 in total prizes with 192,000 entry slots, where the winner earns $1m. The winner is guaranteed to get that money regardless of whether 10 slots or all 192,000 slots are taken.
This is called a “cash” game where you can only win double your initial entry fee. You win if you place in around the top 45% of the contest but each winning player’s payout is exactly the same.
A double up that costs $20 to enter and consists of 222 players would see the 100 top-scoring players all receive $40 – whether they finish first or 100th.
These are games for two people where you simply have to score more than your opponent. It is winner-takes-all, minus the operator fee of around 10%, so all you need to do is draft a team that’s better than your opponents’.
As the name suggests, only inexperienced players can enter these contests. You are defined as a beginner when you have played fewer than a certain number of contests (usually 50) and have not had a “big win”. What constitutes a big win differs by operator but will be explained in their FAQs.
A multiplier contest is similar to a double up in the sense that winnings players all receive the same amount, although here it can be as much as 40x the entry fee. These are much harder to win, though, as there can be thousands of entrants whilst only a tiny percentage of players win.
As an example, a $4 Multiplier with 5,945 players will see the top 200 players all receive $1,000. It is a small entry fee for a big win, but you have to beat over 96% of players to place.
Instead of winning money, the prize in qualifier games are tickets for future tournaments. The value of the ticket will be higher than the entry fee for the qualifying contest.
Each of these contest types has a maximum entry limit, which is the number of teams you can enter by paying the entry fee for each one. Some tournaments are single-entry, which means each player can only enter one team, whilst others allow people to enter as many as 150 teams into a contest.
Obviously, it will cost you more money to enter more teams but this does allow you to play teams with different players in and gives you more chance of winning a contest.
New players should gravitate towards playing Beginner Only contests to get a grip on strategy and tactics before playing the bigger games.
Fantasy Draft Explained
There are a few different types of fantasy draft available in the world of DFS. They all involve picking players for your team, but there are some key distinctions that can impact strategy.
The most common ones are Classic and Snake drafts, which you’ll find at every daily fantasy sports site. If you’re just starting with fantasy sports betting, we suggest you focus on these two and leave the likes of Showdown and Tires for later.
You are directed to a draft page as soon as you enter your fantasy contest. From there, you can choose your picks and check your rooster. If you don’t have time to do this on your own, most sites, including DraftKings and FanDuel, offer an option to let the computer do the drafting for you.
In classic contests, you draft players from multiple games that are happening on the same day. This can be as few as two games or as many as 15 and your team has to conform to the positions available. For instance, in a Classic NFL contest, you have to select one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one D/ST, and one FLEX (which can be any RB, WR or TE).
Showdown contests are focused on just one game, and you are not restrained by position. You draft one captain, who will score you 1.5x their regular points at the cost of 1.5x more than normal, and then any other players can be drafted, provided you don’t go over the salary cap.
Players are assigned into a specific tier, and you simply select one player from each tier to put into your team. There is no salary cap for this draft type, but you can only choose one player from each tier, with those projected to score the most points put into higher tiers.
Much like a traditional fantasy draft, you simply select the players you want in your team from the list of players who have not been selected by anyone else. The difference with this is that there is no roster management or trades, and the highest scoring players are automatically your starting lineup.
The tournaments with the biggest prizes tend to use Classic and Showdown drafts, and these are also the most popular amongst DFS players.
Scoring in Daily Fantasy Sports
Most daily fantasy sites use similar scoring for each sport, so it is fairly easy to jump from one site to another and know what constitutes a good score.
However, scoring does differ greatly per sport and so a total that could be a good score in an NFL contest may not be a good score for an NBA contest.
The tables below show how DraftKings and FanDuel score NFL contests, and for other sports you should always check on the site to see what actions will score you points.
+0.04 per yard
+0.04 per yard
+0.1 per yard
+0.1 per yard
+0.1 per yard
+0.1 per yard
+1 per catch
+0.5 per catch
Fumble recovery for TD
Blocked punt or FG for touchdown
0 points allowed
1-6 points allowed
7-13 points allowed
14-20 points allowed
21-27 points allowed
28-34 points allowed
35+ points allowed
Touchdowns that are scored whilst the defense is not on the field do not count towards their ‘points allowed’ total.
As an example, if the New Orleans Saints beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20 but 12 of the Saints’ points were directly scored by their defense (two touchdowns), then the Buccaneers’ defense will only be deemed to have allowed 15 points rather than 27.
Extra point made
0-39 yard field goal made
40-49 yard field goal made
50+ yard field goal made
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fantasy Sports
As with everything, playing daily fantasy sports has its pros and cons, which are worth considering before you decide to start playing.
Daily fantasy sports don’t require a season-long commitment, making them much more dynamic and exciting than traditional season-long fantasy. On top of that, you have access to many more entertaining types of drafts and tournaments, like Double-Up, Head-to-Head, or Qualifier.
Unlike sports betting sites, daily fantasy sports are legal in almost every US state, meaning you can play freely wherever you go without having to worry about geotargeting restrictions. The entry is also much cheaper, as there are DFS tournaments for just a few cents. This makes daily fantasy sports very appealing for sports fans and casual bettors.
Pros of DFS
No season-long commitment like in regular fantasy
Range of different contest and draft types
You can enter DFS tournaments for just a few cents
Legal in almost every US state
DFS makes games more interesting
Prize pools can be very big
Cons of DFS
Often playing against professionals
Fields can contain hundreds of thousands of opponents
One bad pick can ruin a team
However, there are a few minor downsides to daily fantasy sports. It became very popular in the US, meaning that you face thousands of skilled players. Winning a major tournament at DraftKings or FanDuel can be very difficult, but luckily they provide a contest for players with different skill levels.
What Fantasy Sports Are Available?
As there are only a few daily fantasy sports operators in the US, the range of sports is incredibly limited compared to sports betting.
All companies offer the ‘big four’ sports but aside from that, options are restricted to golf, NASCAR, soccer, and esports for DFS. Betting sites usually offer many more sports.
Fantasy football is the pioneer of this industry, with its roots being traced back to 1962 – five years before the first Super Bowl was even played.
As such, the appetite for fantasy football really launched DFS sites into the mainstream as players embraced the fact that they could draft a new team every Sunday.
DFS sites usually offer both NFL and college football, with particular emphasis on NFL over any other league in any other sport due to the sheer volume of players who get involved every Sunday between September and February.
Fantasy NFL is available at every DFS website, but DraftKings is the best DFS operator for NFL because of their famous Milly Maker, a $20 NFL contest that rewards the winner with $1m.
Both NBA andNCAA basketball are available on DFS sites, although there is a much greater focus on NBA.
The volume of games played means that daily GPPs have lower prizes compared to NFL, with the exception of popular slates like on Christmas Day, and there are usually plenty of promotions to get stuck into.
DraftKings offers rewards for both NBA and college basketball. Completing these challenges rewards you with crowns, which are DraftKings’ bonus currency and can be used instead of money to enter contests.
Those looking to enter hockey contests are tied to NHL, as operators only offer that league. Other major hockey leagues like KHL and SHL are not available for daily fantasy.
Much like sports betting in the US, hockey generally takes a backseat in the world of DFS with lower prize pots compared to other major sports. There aren’t also that many dedicated promotions, but the good news is that you can use all the general promotions even when playing fantasy NHL.
FanDuel is the best fantasy hockey site in the US because they offer the most tournaments and the highest prize pools. The coverage is still much worst than for NFL, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t find a suitable NHL DFS tournament at FanDuel.
Baseball and statistics have always gone hand-in-hand, so it’s no surprise that fantasy MLB continues to be extremely popular amongst fans of the sport.
The great thing about MLB is the fact that each team plays 162 regular season games, which gives you plenty of DFS options almost every single day from April through to November.
Baseball is probably the most difficult sport of all for daily fantasy because of the sheer amount of variance, with the best players unlikely to justify their hefty price tags most days.
If you want to get a real taste of fantasy MLB, we suggest you give DraftKings a try. They are known for having very high prize pools, which in times of World Series can go up to tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can also expect some dedicated promotions on top of the regular fantasy bonuses offered at DraftKings.
DFS sites offer both PGA Tour and some DP World Tour events, and the difference with golf compared to other sports is that tournaments stretch across multiple days. This makes it much more relaxed and gives you more time to think about your moves. If the NBA is too fast paces, golf may be the right thing for you.
Most fantasy golf players prefer to enter teams for the entire event, which usually lasts from Thursday to Sunday, but there are also options for just each day.
The key thing to note with DFS golf is that players cannot be replaced after a tournament starts, even if they have not teed off yet. So, in order to win DFS golf tournaments, you should keep your eyes on the news and previous performances and focus more on reliable players.
FanDuel is our favorite fantasy golf site, but not only because they cover all the major tournaments and offer a plentiful of games. FanDuel fantasy app is the best option for anyone who likes to check results on the go, which comes very handy when a single golf tournament can last for a few days.
Fantasy NASCAR is available on the big DFS sites, and tournaments are for the main race only, rather than both the race and qualifying.
The high volume of crashes, with each race averaging around six incidents, increases the variance as an expensive driver crashing out can completely ruin your lineup. That makes DFS NASCAR even more exciting, which is why people love it in the first place. But as general advice, try to diversify your picks as much as you can, and don’t focus only on players who’re known to be prone to risky takes.
DraftKings is by far the best fantasy sports site for NASCAR fans. They offer the biggest range of tournaments and decent prize pools. Rewards aren’t nearly as high as for NFL, but you can still find some big opportunities for popular races, such as Daytona 500.
Most states worldwide consider fantasy sports gambling, meaning DFS sites require a gaming license to operate. However, the situation in the US is a bit murky because different states take different stances about fantasy sports.
It all started with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Reinforcement Act of 2006, which deals with online sportsbooks and casino payments. However, this act exempts fantasy sports altogether.
But the tricky part is that states treat this act differently, which leads to a situation where DFS is legal in some states and illegal in others. On top of that, fantasy sports sites also operate in a sort of a legal grey area in states such as Texas.
The only states that have made fantasy sports illegal are Iowa, Washington, and Montana, but most operators also aren’t available in Hawaii, Alabama, Idaho, and Nevada.
The good news is that two of the best daily fantasy sports sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, operate in over 80% of states, including the ones such as Texas or Illinois. The situation is different with smaller DFS sites, which usually aren’t that widespread. For example, ParlayPlay was available in 26 states at the time of writing this article.
Fantasy Sports Bonuses
The bonuses available on fantasy sports sites are much scarcer than on betting sites, largely due to the difference in age between the two.
Whilst there is a mad scramble for new customers in the world of legal sports betting in the US, the DFS industry is more mature, and so bonuses tend to be more modest.
There are a few different types of bonuses that are available and are worth familiarizing yourself with before you begin to play fantasy sports.
Welcome bonus – This is the bonus you receive for registering with a daily fantasy site, and it is usually dependent on how much you deposit. The bonus will come as funds that can only be used at that site and cannot be withdrawn.
Deposit bonus – Some sites will reward you with a bonus when you make a deposit, giving you extra funds to use. These are quite rare and are usually only received if you’ve not made a deposit in a while.
Tickets – Instead of bonus funds that can be used on any event, tickets are restricted to one specific contest. They are usually received by opting in on the site’s promotion page and entering a specified contest, which then earns you a free ticket for another contest.
If you’re searching for fantasy sports sites with the best bonuses, check out the table below, where we have picked the best options for each bonus type. FanDuel is usually the most generous operator when it comes to DFS promotions. However, even smaller operators have something to offer, such as ParlayPlay’s 100% deposit match bonus of up to $100.
It is important that a site has a range of deposit methods as it allows you to fund your account in the way you want. Our highly-recommended sites all give you plenty of options, and that is one of the main reasons they are rated as strongly as they are.
The variety of payment methods on DFS sites is not nearly as large as on sports betting sites, but they all use popular methods such as PayPal and major debit cards, meaning that most of the players should be pleased. However, you won’t have access to other popular payment options such as Play+ and VIP Preferred.
On the other hand, the minimum deposit is set pretty low at only $5. Most sports betting sites set the limit at $10 or more, so this is a welcome change. If you deposit with PayPal, you can also get your money back within a reasonable time of 2 to 3 days, which is in line with what most PayPal sportsbooks have in place.
Average withdrawal time
Fantasy Sports Tips and Strategies
As with sports betting, you should treat daily fantasy as entertainment and not as a way to make extra money or as a side income.
That said, there is some general advice that can help you on your DFS journey and give you a better chance of winning.
DFS tips and strategies
Research. After deciding which type of draft you want to do, research the teams and players who are available. Discover which players are going to miss the game and determine how that will impact their team, and make sure to check stats to give yourself the best chance of success.
Max out your entries. Big GPPs are always entered by professional DFS players and to give yourself the best chance of winning, you need to enter as many teams as you are allowed. Devise a pool of players who you think will perform well and select your teams from that group.
Stack players. Stacking is where you select multiple players from the same team and is particularly prevalent in NFL contests. If you think a wide receiver is going to play well, then it stands to reason that his quarterback is also going to play well. The best DFS players usually stack a QB with at least one other skill position player from the same team.
Look for value. You can’t just pick all the best players for your teams because the salary cap won’t allow for it. Instead, you should be looking to find some low-scoring players who can hit their ceiling and score more points than players who cost more than them.
Play differently in GPPs compared to other contests. In GPPs, you want to finish as high as possible and so you have to employ some potentially risky plays, such as hoping a low-cost player has a game that exceeds their value. In other contests where all prizes are equal regardless of finishing position, such as double-ups, you should be looking to players who are consistent and not trying to find that contrarian player who could end up scoring a load of points or absolutely nothing.
Daily fantasy sports is a great alternative to sports betting for those who either can’t legally bet or are fans of fantasy sports. Being able to pick and choose which days you want to play fantasy on holds plenty of appeal for people who don’t want to, or can’t, commit to an entire season.
Being successful at DFS is very difficult but at the very least it can make games more entertaining as you can enter a contest that costs as little as $0.25 and win as much as $1,000.
What is fantasy sports?
Fantasy sport is where people select real players for their imaginary team and earn points based on how they perform in real games. Their statistics are converted in points with each fantasy manager aiming for their roster to score the most points each week.
Are daily fantasy sports legal?
Daily fantasy sports is legal in almost every state as it is considered a game of skill more than chance, unlike sports gambling which is still argued to be a game of mostly luck. DFS is legal in every state except Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.
What’s the best daily fantasy sports site?
DraftKings and FanDuel are the best daily fantasy sports sites. You can find our list of recommended DFS sites here where our team of experts have rated each operator on a variety of factors.
What’s the best app for fantasy sports?
There is no one best fantasy sports app as each one excels at different things. Our top-rated fantasy sports apps are broken down into categories for a range of aspects that make your DFS experience as strong as it can be.
How does fantasy sports work?
Fantasy managers select real players for their team based on how they think they will perform in real games. Their actions in the game, both good and bad, are converted into points for the manager’s virtual team with the aim of scoring as many points as possible.