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DraftKings and FanDuel Merger: Pros and Cons of Reported DFS Union

By Kory Walker
Published on November 24, 2016

There has been a lot of buzz in the daily fantasy sports community for months, as there had been a wild rumor circling that DFS giants DraftKings and FanDuel had been in merger talks.

It was ultimately more than just chatter, however, as the two sites went public last week about the merger, which has been agreed upon and will be official in late 2017.

While the ramifications of the DraftKings and FanDuel merger may not be felt throughout the DFS industry until late next year, the speculation has already been running wild.

What will become of DraftKings and FanDuel? Will they operate independently? Does a company merger call for a site merger? If so, what happens to two very different daily fantasy sports products?

Speculation is the name of the game to this point, as it may be months before even crazy rumors make their way about precise DraftKings and FanDuel merger details.

For now, we can only ponder the pros and cons of this impending DFS merger, which has us wondering if the new site (IF there is a new site) will be more like DraftKings or more like FanDuel. In that DraftKings vs. FanDuel vein, here’s a look at the good and bad for both sides and what a unified DFS supersite might look like in the end:

DraftKings and FanDuel Positives

  • Easy pay and play
  • Fantastic promos and free contests
  • Widely popular – two biggest/best DFS sites online
  • Safe and secure
  • Strong game versatility
  • Designates pro players vs amateurs
  • Beginner games available
  • Player limits watch
  • Friends and Leagues

The nice thing about DraftKings and FanDuel is that for the most part, they align where it matters. These are the top two daily fantasy sports sites for good reason. They’re widely respected for their ease of play, they’re effortless to sign up for, they’ve proven to be very safe and you can pay and withdraw cash quickly, easily and in a variety of ways.

There are no serious issues with any of that. In fact, the only issue at all is that the “playing” is a little different. But even if your taste has you choosing one over the other, it’s hard to argue with the product as it stands for either side.

You could also make a case for one site having a leg up over the other in the promos and contests department (that probably goes to DraftKings), but both do a great job of rewarding their loyal users and also providing beginners with a nice environment to learn on the fly and face equal competition.

That wasn’t always the case in the past, but both sites now at least supply labels to their players, which helps you see who is most experienced. There are also strict beginner tourneys, so you know you can compete for some big cash prizes without worrying about the pro sharks swooping in and dominating you.

These sites are also at the top of the DFS industry because they cater to their users’ needs. There are a plethora of DFS genres being accessed and there are also a litany of game types. Users can play almost any pro sport they can imagine and they can test their luck and skill in a wide variety of game types.

Overall, DK and FD win big across the daily fantasy sports landscape because they have a fantastic, versatile product that really only can rival each other. At both DraftKings and FanDuel, you’re usually going to find a competitive game, you know what you’re getting into, you can play whatever sport you want (provided its in season) and you know its safe, secure and once you want your money, you’re getting it.

There are no trust or performance issues with either site. They aren’t scam sites and this isn’t full blown online gambling. Both sites even incorporate a protective “player limits” section to your account, which can assist any users that for some reason get a little out of control with their DFS gaming.

In addition, both sites have taken action in the past year to make sure that their product wasn’t just about hitting it big in a GPP, but also going back to the basics and making fantasy sports what it should be about – competing against your friends for bragging rights.

With leagues and friends play, both DK and FD hit home runs in that area.

That’s just one more facet the two sites align together on and for the most part, they’re very similar and it comes down to a taste preference or which specific sport you may enjoy better on one site over the other.

Key DraftKings and FanDuel Differences

  • DraftKings has a better mobile platform
  • DK interface is a little newer and more fresh
  • DK offers lineup late swap in NFL and MLB
  • FD tends to be stingy with DFS scoring
  • DK offers more DFS genres and game types

As much as DraftKings and FanDuel are aligned on all the big issues, they do have some sharp differences. One big difference is DK being a little more mobile friendly. Both sites have surprisingly strong mobile apps where you can sign up, deposit and withdraw money and of course enter contests and create DFS lineups on the fly.

DraftKings’ app is a little easier to use, however, especially when it comes to in-game roster editing. They have an easier (and faster) path to the lineup, and instead of kicking you out of the section you’re editing each time, they make the lineup editing process far easier.

Again, this goes back to taste and style preference, but it is our opinion that DraftKings wins out here.

DK also has a better looking interface and they use better graphics and have more engaging media and promotions. FD is pretty close to DK, but they lose here by a hair, as well. FanDuel did a light rebranding not too long ago and made their logo look a little slicker, but they’ve always had a fairly bland looking site. In the look and feel department, DK remains slightly ahead of FD.

This is more preference than anything else, but still, we prefer DraftKings from an aesthetic perspective.

Perhaps the biggest draw at DK might be the sheer makeup of a lot of their game lineups. They used to offer the lineup Late Swap site wide, but have taken it away for NBA contests. This can be quite useful when players are scratched late in the day or week due to illness or injury. DK still offers this for NFL and MLB games, while FanDuel doesn’t allow it for any sports.

For a lot of DFS gamers, this is a crucial difference, and there are two sides to it. On one hand, some people love not having the late swap at FD, as it gives the people who research better a distinct advantage. However, you can also look at it the other way, as random players being held out of games is out of everyone’s hands. Taking that randomness away from the contest might be best – especially for an industry trying to further distance itself from any type of gambling.

Another massive issue for most people who end up choosing a side is the scoring and rosters. FanDuel only makes you roster one pitcher in baseball and gives users a whopping 10 fantasy points for a pitcher win, but they also make you roster a kicker in NFL contests and lack any real positional versatility.

DK only awards pitcher four points per win and actually demands you use two starting pitchers for daily fantasy baseball contests, but does not use a kicker in NFL games and also offers far more versatile lineups in their DFS leagues.

One other edge in favor of DraftKings is the sheer amount and variety of DFS genres. They offer everything FanDuel does, and then some. This goes right along with their superior promotions, as they do a fantastic job of marketing and presenting their product and they give the DFS user everything, from the basics like NFL, NBA and MLB to MMA, Soccer, Golf and even eSports.

Overall, there are some pretty big difference between these sites that naturally can lead you to one over the other. To this point, DK feels like the “winner” between the two, and that may be a big reason why the closed the gap and ultimately could have played a hand in this DraftKings, FanDuel merger.

What a Truly Unified Site Might Mean

All of these DraftKings vs. FanDuel narratives aside, the true question everyone’s asking right now is what will a DraftKings and FanDuel merger look like.

Will the two sites still work independently to give their entire fanbase two separate products? Or will they join together to create one big site? Maybe a Draft Duel, or something similar?

The simple truth is we have no idea.

However, perhaps we’ve started seeing the early beginnings of both sites slowly morphing into one. DraftKings taking away their NBA Late Swap could be the precursor to a site-wide change with no more Late Swap being how they run their contests across the board.

In other words, it’s quite possible if the two sites fully conjoin and make up just one functioning website, we can expect the following:

  • Great, safe place to play
  • Awesome games and promotions
  • No late swap
  • More options

No matter what a new standalone website ends up becoming, the ability to play whatever DFS games you want in a fun, competitive and safe environment isn’t going anywhere.

The awesome games and promotions will probably only get better, too. You’re talking about two corporations that can now combine their marketing forces to promote killer contests, as well as their gaming expertise to figure out ways to improve and enhance to similar products that are already great.

Late Swap might be history, but then again, with likely a litany of options coming out of a DraftKings/FanDuel merger, we can’t rule out the very real possibility of the company allowing us to play in any kind of leagues we want.

Perhaps that could mean special “late swap” leagues. Heck, maybe there will even be different site skins, where you can go to one big DFS site, but you can access to different DFS sites within the one main site.

We can’t know for sure where this DraftKings, FanDuel merger is going. One thing we do know, however, is that two revolutionary daily fantasy sports sites combining their efforts probably isn’t a bad thing.

There was always a ton to love and a little to hate for both sites. The two merging into one might not change that and it’s impossible to say for sure that everyone will be pleased. On the whole, however, this merger is definitely exciting and the possibilities are endless. We won’t be holding our breath for any new announcements, but come late 2017, we won’t be indifferent, either.