The world of fantasy sports leagues has ultimately boiled down to two options: FanDuel and DraftKings. Everyone wants to ask, “Which is the best?” The typical cop out answers you find online are both or neither. The reason for these types of vague answers is because they are both well worth your time.
It’s like asking if you want a 10 carat princess cut diamond or a 10 carat marquise diamond. Either way you’re getting a 10 carat diamond. The only difference is one of flavor and preference of the user.
And that’s what we’re here for. We’re going to clear the air and show you all of the differences so you can decide which style you prefer and move on with life. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you’re in a league and winning some money, versus sitting around banging your head against the wall over details.
Bonuses & Promotions
Let’s get this out of the way. I wouldn’t recommend making your decision based on a one-time sign-up bonus, simply because they only impact you once. However, it’s a common question. There are various promotional codes floating around, where some have expired and some are still good. You won’t find one that’s so much better than another that you need to try to hunt them down online. The other nice factor is that both will apply the best current promotional code for you if you don’t have one on hand. You’ll never miss out!
The bonuses are always related to your first cash deposit. For instance, here’s the general sign-up bonus you find at either company with only slight variations in them over time:
DraftKings will reward you more than FanDuel if and only if you make a larger deposit. That’s nice if you understand how to play and you’re ready to rock and roll. What you should know about these bonuses is that they are unlocked based on your payments to join leagues and the bonuses expire, forcing you to play more frequently to earn your entire bonus. The bonuses also can’t be withdrawn. They can only be used to join leagues. The unlock rate is around 4% for both companies. For instance, if you pay $50 to join a league, you will unlock $2 of your bonus. This continues until you’ve unlocked all of it or it has expired.
Anyways, these bonuses only provide a temporary benefit you can’t even activate immediately. Let’s look at the real factors that will affect how you play.
Commitments & League Options
The nightmare scenario for any fantasy league player is having a season-long commitment to a set of players. One example is the situation where one of your players is injured early on. These types of setbacks won’t effect you on DraftKings or FanDuel thanks to their daily and one-week leagues. You won’t need to deal with trading or ruining your carefully balanced salary expenditures.
Regarding leagues, each is going to offer you the typical college basketball and football options and of course the major league options such as MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL. Where they differ is that DraftKings also offers PGA, NASCAR, Soccer, and even MMA leagues. Within these leagues you can play free games to get a handle on the operations and then move into paid games.
While DraftKings may have more league offerings than FanDuel, FanDuel offers a flat 10% rake, while DraftKings starts at 10% and reduces to no lower 5.66% based on volume of players and barrier to entry. So while you may earn more as a lower stakes player at FanDuel, you’re going to encounter much larger pots and chances to join VIP (high pay) games with specialized customer service.
The only other differences come with the salary caps, player prices, and bonus points. DraftKings has a salary cap of $60,000 while FanDuel’s is $50,000. DraftKing’s player prices tend to be just a bit lower as well, both basing their prices off of proprietary algorithms that take into account past performance, popularity, and even the weather of that week’s games. DraftKings likes to place a bit more emphasis on bonus points, offering them up for extraordinary circumstances surrounding fumbles, receptions, passing, and receiving yards. That’s just a football example and carries over to each sport.
How to Make the Choice
You can ask yourself a few questions and keep tally of which company will provide the benefit appropriate to your style…
Are you a high roller? DraftKings is going to provide you with further reaching bonuses and larger pots (which make up for the decreasing size of the rake as the pot grows).
Are you analytical? Do you like to restrict your opponents choices? If you feel you’re smarter than your opponents and can see the patterns, then FanDuel will provide you with a tighter salary, higher player prices, and no flex players. If you can use that to your advantage, FanDuel should be your choice.
Are you into every sport or just the main ones? If you want to try your hand at golf, mixed martial arts, and car races, you’ll want to go for DraftKings.
Don’t fall for the false dichotomy of having to choose one over the other. Many fantasy players will sign up for both sites because they play a lot of matches at lower entry fees, allowing them to maximize the deposit bonuses. If you’re on the surface and just enjoying yourself, then either company will be just fine for you. But if you’re very serious about earning some big winnings over time, then use the questions above to choose which will most accommodate your play style and allow you to dominate over the opposition.