DraftKings vs FanDuel: Which DFS Site Is Better?
There are betting companies of all shapes and sizes competing for customers from around the world, but when it comes to Daily Fantasy Sports it really is a two-horse race. DraftKings and FanDuel are by far and away the most popular DFS sites in the world, and between them account for around 14 million players. Another popular DFS site, even though not as big, is Monkey Knife Fight. Check out the full review for MKF.
The duo has been dominant in the world of DFS for more than a decade now, and the competition means that each spurs the other on. Both are constantly innovating and evolving their respective services, as well as signing exclusive sponsorship deals with some of the top sports leagues and teams in the US.
With the arrival of legal sports betting in the US in 2018, both have also expanded into the world of sports betting. DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook are some of the biggest competitors in the US sports betting market. While it’s early days for both on that front, it’s safe to say Daily Fantasy Sports has undergone an incredible transformation in the US since DraftKings and FanDuel arrived on the scene.
Today, players can choose between dozens of sports, hit their share of multi-million dollar jackpots, take part in exclusive contests, earn prizes via loyalty schemes, and much more.
With so much going on at each site, new players inevitably come around to the same question: which one should I choose to play at?
That’s where we come in.
We’ve created this page to explore the differences between DraftKings and FanDuel and help you decide which one to sign up with. We’ve left no stone unturned, and we dig into topics like:
- An overview of Daily Fantasy Sports
- The history of each site
- Where can you play DFS?
- What types of games can you play?
- The sports available for fantasy games
- And much more
If you decide you want to sign up for one or both of the sites, make sure you do so via our exclusive links to get set up with a welcome bonus. For more sportsbook bonuses check out our list of the best sports betting bonuses and promotions in the US.
DraftKings vs FanDuel: An Overview
Both companies were founded at the beginning of the 2010s, and both enjoyed a meteoric rise over the course of the decade. With sports betting illegal in the US, Daily Fantasy Sports represented a novel way that sports fans could have fun with their expertise, and win real money along the way.
Even though DraftKings was founded later in 2011, today it’s the bigger of the two companies with around 8 million players. FanDuel was launched in 2009, and both companies enjoyed exponential growth in the first half of the decade. By 2015, DraftKings had signed a huge $250 million advertising deal with ESPN, while FanDuel was reported to be worth $1 billion.
In 2017, the companies agreed to a merger that would see them join to become by far and away the largest DFS provider in the world – but it was ultimately blocked by the Federal Trade Commission.
Since legal sports betting began to be rolled out in the US, both companies have scrambled to pivot into the new industry, with FanDuel recently acquired by European betting giant Paddy Power Betfair. But Daily Fantasy Sports are still as popular as ever around the country, especially since most states are still waiting for sports betting to arrive.
DraftKings DFS has marginally more sports available than FanDuel DFS and has larger maximum prize pools. DraftKings also has more flexibility in its DFS rules, thanks to the ability to swap around players on your roster up to the moment the game begins. FanDuel on the other hand locks your roster before the round of games begins, meaning it typically requires less micromanaging on behalf of players.
The scoring is also largely more simple at FanDuel, making it arguably more beginner-friendly. On the flip side, DraftKings scoring tends to reward a more technical understanding of the sports.
Both sites also have bonuses for new members, mobile apps for both Android and iOS, and similar sign-up processes – all of which we cover on this page.
Quick Comparison Table
|Owners||Listed on Nasdaq||Flutter Entertainment|
|Number of reported users||8 million||6 million|
|Number of sports/leagues you can play||16||11|
|Number of states you can play from||43||43|
|Pro Sponsorships||NFL, MLB||NHL, NBA|
What Is the Legal Situation Around Daily Fantasy Sports?
That really depends on where you are playing. DraftKings and FanDuel are now available in the vast majority of states in the US, with some exceptions.
The actual legal situation can be loosely divided into four categories:
- States where DFS is explicitly legal
- States where DFS have not been legally recognized, but where DraftKings and FanDuel operate
- States where DFS have not been legally recognized, and DraftKings and FanDuel have decided not to operate
- States which have explicitly made DFS illegal
The situation is somewhat fluid, but the overall trend is overwhelmingly towards widespread availability.
DFS enjoyed a huge period of growth from around 2010-2015, largely without legal challenges in the majority of states. At that point, various state lawmakers (most notably in New York) began to question the legality of DFS, and some introduced legislation to explicitly identify DFS as a form of gambling, and therefore ban it.
Legal battles raged around the US, and both DraftKings and FanDuel regularly had to pull out of states at short notice.
The DFS question also became wrapped up in the move to legalize sports betting in the US, which culminated in the removal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act by the Supreme Court, opening the door to legal sports betting on a state-by-state basis.
Since PASPA was removed, DFS has become even more widely accepted around the US, with many of the new sports betting governing bodies tasked with also regulating DFS.
In What States Are DraftKings and FanDuel Available?
In the past, there has been some discrepancy between the states both sites are available in, but for now, DraftKings and FanDuel have the same availability in the US.
The table below shows you the legal situation for each state.
|DraftKings Available||FanDuel Available|
The availability of DFS in the US has historically been somewhat volatile, although it has stabilized in recent years. As with sports betting, the signs point to both DraftKings and FanDuel becoming even more widely available in the future.
Types of Games and Special Features
In a broad sense, DraftKings and FanDuel both offer similar products. The overall concept is the same – build your own unique team with a fixed salary cap and compete against other players. The better your players do in real life, the more points you earn.
Within that broad definition, there are different ways you can play against others.
Both sites offer the following fantasy contests for example:
- Tournaments including guaranteed prize pools (gpps)
- Head to heads
- Private leagues
However, each site has also created its own unique games and special features that we’ll get into next.
What Are the Different Features of DraftKings and FanDuel?
- At DraftKings, NFL players receive a full point per reception, while FanDuel only awards players half a point – which is a major strategic difference. DraftKings also includes bonus points for players that achieve certain statistical milestones, like a double-double in the NBA matchup. There are other minor scoring differences between the two sites too, which require different tactical adjustments from players.
- The NBA rosters are slightly different. FanDuel includes 9 spots on the roster, rotating around the traditional positions. DraftKings has 8 roster sports, including a “utility”player.
- As a rule of thumb, the salary cap in FanDuel is higher for most types of games. This means it’s easier to assemble a high scoring team at FanDuel, while DraftKings requires more careful managing of your finances. The salary cap also tends to change depending on the game with DraftKings, which requires more tactical flexibility.
- Although both sites have satellites, DraftKings probably have more of a focus on providing beginning or low-stakes players with ladders into higher value tournaments.
- Of the two sites, FanDuel is arguably the more creative in terms of coming up with new types of games, and generally experimenting with the format. For example, FanDuel created a form of NFL fantasy which ignored player positions entirely, and let you draft any number of players from the same position. Innovations like this are more common at FanDuel.
- With FanDuel, your roster is locked from the moment the first game begins. DraftKings allows you to make a late swap right up until the moment the game that the player is involved in begins. In this regard, DraftKings is probably more suited to players who are in a position to constantly monitor team news and make last-minute changes to their team.
- Generally, the prize pools on DraftKings are bigger and it currently has a larger player base.
For the most part, none of the above differences are necessarily “better” than their counterpart. Rather, they are just differences and some players will like one format more than the other.
- Biggest DFS site with a lot of sports available and more players than FanDuel
- Bigger prize pools and jackpots
- More professional sponsorships (official NFL partner)
- Late swaps are an option
- Requires more tactical flexibility for roster choices
- Rewards good players
When it comes to major sports, there is very little between the two sites. The likes of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and soccer are well represented on both DraftKings and FanDuel, with lots of types of games available.
Beyond the most popular sports, DraftKings has a slightly larger menu. If you’re looking for more niche fantasy games, you are more likely to find them at DraftKings.
The ability to play e-sports fantasy games is probably the biggest factor that sets the two sites apart in this category. DraftKings lets users compete on games like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, and Street Fighter which appeals to a whole unique base of fans.
It’s also worth noting that the sports menu at each site is subject to change, and gets updated in response to the start of new seasons, etc.
|Sports||Available at DraftKings||Available at FanDuel|
|Canadian Football League||✓|
College Football and DFS
While both DraftKings and FanDuel offer the activity, The availability of college fantasy football depends on the state.
Some states which have introduced legislation to oversee and regulate sports betting and DFS have explicitly banned betting on college sports – which includes DFS.
If college fantasy games are your priority, it’s best to double-check the legal situation in your state first.
Bonuses at DraftKings and FanDuel
Both DraftKings and FanDuel offer special bonuses for new members, in addition to on-running promotions like free games and friend referral programs.
The types of bonuses on offer are subject to change, but at the moment DraftKings and FanDuel are offering very similar welcome bonuses for new members.
Both bonuses offer a 20% boost on your first deposit worth up to $500. This means to get the full $500 value, you would need to deposit $2,500 up front – which is quite a lot. At both sites, the bonus cash is subject to similar playthrough requirements before it can be withdrawn.
On-running promotions are subject to even more change than welcome bonuses, and both sites regularly create special offers to promote upcoming leagues or matches. Both sites also have loyalty bonuses, free bets, and other bonus offers and promos.
|Welcome Bonus||20% up to $500||20% up to $500|
|Refer a Friend Bonus||✓||✓|
Particularly since the current deposit bonuses are basically the same at each site, there’s not much to choose between the two in this section.
DraftKings vs FanDuel Apps
Both DraftKings and FanDuel have mobile apps available for download, from their respective websites or from app stores for both iOS and Android.
Both apps are well designed, and both offer all the same functionality as the websites – you can sign up, make a deposit, edit your rosters, join competitions, cashout, and more. The software for both apps is smooth and easy to use. This is why we have DraftKings and FanDuel at the very top of our Best Sports Betting Apps list.
The biggest stand-out in this section is the upcoming addition of live streaming to DraftKings sportsbook app, thanks to a partnership with Sports Radar. It hasn’t launched on the DFS app just yet, but when it does it should probably give DraftKings the edge in this section.
- Simple and fun platform
- Fixed roster and salary cap
- Interesting games
- Fewer sports
Again, there is little to choose from when it comes to signing up. You need to provide essentially the same information for both sites – email address, name, date of birth, address – and the process takes literally a minute or two.
For both, you can sign up on either the website or app.
Best Banking Options
DraftKings and FanDuel also have similar options for both deposits and cashouts. Major credit cards are available, as is PayPal. Deposits are processed instantly on both sites.
However, FanDuel just edges it in banking thanks to slightly faster payout speeds and the addition of an online banking cashout option. PayPal withdrawals are credited to your account within 48 hours, while DraftKings takes 2-5 days. Both sites also offer paper check withdrawals with similar timeframes.
In terms of the software, the banking experience is similar, and generally very easy at both sites.
|Banking Options||DraftKings Deposit||FanDuel Deposit||DraftKings Withdrawal||FanDuel Withdrawal|
|Credit Cards||Yes (instant)||Yes (instant)||No||No|
|PayPal||Yes (instant)||Yes (instant)||Yes (2-5 days)||Yes (up to 48 hours)|
|Bank Transfer||No||No||No||Yes (2-4 days)|
|Check||No||No||Yes (up to 2 weeks)||Yes (up to 2 weeks)|
So Which One Should I Choose?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question!
It all depends on the player, and some will just find that one feels like a better fit than the other. It’s also no harm to try out both sites – even if just for a short time – to decide which one you like better.
In truth, DraftKings and FanDuel are both excellent platforms with a lot in common – streets ahead of all their DFS competitors – and we have no hesitation recommending both.
That said, there are certainly some differences between the two sites. We got our experts to put together a short pitch for each one.
The Case for DraftKings
DraftKings is the bigger company, with more sports available, more players (a reported 8 million to FanDuel’s 6 million in fact), and a bigger market share. In general, the prize pools and jackpots are bigger. If you want to play fantasy MMA, European basketball, or Esports, you can only do so at DraftKings. The company also has significantly more professional sponsorships, it’s the official daily fantasy partner of the NFL, and has the early lead in the burgeoning sports betting market in the US.
With a variable salary cap that is generally lower than FanDuel, DraftKings arguably requires more tactical flexibility when choosing your roster, and rewards better players. You can make late swaps at DraftKings, which gives DFS players more control. DraftKings also places a lot of emphasis on providing satellite tournaments that allow lower stakes players access to bigger fantasy contests. In 2020, Michael Jordan became an equity shareholder at DraftKings, causing the company’s stock to soar even higher.
The Case for FanDuel
Although slightly smaller, FanDuel is arguably the more simple and fun platform. Having a fixed roster is more suited to players who don’t want to have their whole weekends taken up with tinkering around with their team. The same is true for the fixed salary cap, which is probably more beneficial for casual players than the variable caps at DraftKings.
FanDuel has a reputation for creating more interesting and quirky games than DraftKings, and for thinking outside the box. Although there are technically fewer sports available at FanDuel, the truth is that the vast majority of players are only interested in the same handful of sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc), which are just as well represented at FanDuel as at DraftKings.
FanDuel’s recent acquisition by European sports betting behemoth Paddy Power Betfair is also likely to be good news for the future of the company – especially if you are also interested in sports betting in addition to DFS.
The Choice Is Yours
There you have it. Both are top quality sites, and whichever you choose we’re pretty confident you’re going to have a good time.
Although similar, DraftKings and FanDuel do come with some small but significant differences that make playing at each one unique. It’s always a good idea to play around with both to figure out which one you like the feel of more.
If you are brand new to DFS, we also recommend taking your time and learning how the sites work slowly at the beginning. Both DraftKings and FanDuel have games designed especially for brand new players, which are a great way to ease yourself in.
To get a more in-depth look at both DraftKings and FanDuel head over to our full reviews of each sportsbook. If you sign up via our links, you’ll also automatically qualify for a sweet welcome bonus. Good luck!
DraftKings vs FanDuel FAQ
What Is DFS?
Daily Fantasy Sports is a modern form of fantasy online sports. You build a roster of players from a fixed budget who receive points depending on how well they perform in real life, and compete for real money against other DFS players in the US. There are lots of different types of games and competitions within DFS.
Is DFS a Type of Sports Betting?
It’s debatable. To avoid legal objections, DFS providers argue that they are games of skill and not a form of gambling. Still, some states have legally declared that they consider DFS to be gambling.
Is DFS Legal?
It depends on the state. Some states have passed legislation to formally legalize DFS. Many states have no legislation regarding DFS, and for the most part, DraftKings and FanDuel can operate in them. A small number of states have made DFS illegal.
Can I Play DFS in My State?
Currently, the only states where you cannot play at DraftKings or FanDuel are Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.
What Sports Can I Play?
All the most popular sports in the US are available including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and soccer.
Which Is Better, DraftKings, or FanDuel?
It depends on the player’s preferences. Each site is different and has its own advantages and disadvantages.