DraftKings vs FanDuel – Which Site to Play At?

By Kody Miller
Published on November 15, 2016
Draftkings vs FanDuel Logos

The age old question in the daily fantasy sports community still stands: where is the best play to play daily fantasy sports games on a regular basis?

It’s possible the battle between DraftKings and FanDuel is ultimately made moot. The two sides are rumored to be in aggressive merger talks and before long, we all may have the question answered for us.

But for now, there are two giant DFS sites to consider, and that begs the question;

DraftKings or FanDuel?

It’s an easy, straightforward question, but the answer might require a few layers. Whether you’re a newbie or an avid player, there are several different areas to the DFS experience that you may keep tabs on when trying to decide between the two sites. Here’s our look at those sections, leading to an ultimate decision on which daily fantasy sports site is best:

Promotions and Welcome Bonuses

One of the first things new DFS gamers look for is free contests or killer promotions. Both DraftKings and FanDuel compete well in this area, as they have a rewards system based on how much you play DFS contests and also offer free contests, ranging from cash prize games to unique special contests that award winners with rare VIP experiences.

From a daily perspective, FanDuel probably wins in one bonus area, as they give you more “FanDuel points” per entry than DraftKings does. That didn’t used to be the case, but DK changed the way they give out points based on offering other awesome promo features.

So, while FD offers you more “fake cash” back per contest you play, DK actually wins, overall.

DraftKings’ “Missions” is one reason why, as they offer an incentive to play specific game types and entry sizes. You can earn extra DK points in the process, while getting acclimated with different DFS genres and winning at the same time.

DraftKings also offers “Flash Bonus Blitz” games – usually on the weekend – where gamers can virtually earn free tickets or a free entry by playing select games.

Both sites offer plenty of free games and special contests, but DK has always lead the way in this area and that continues to be the case. If you’re looking for a place where you can play a bunch of free contests with a chance at getting experience and winning cash and/or prizes, DK is the pick.

Look and Feel

I don’t know about you, but for me personally, if I can’t stand the way a website looks, feels and acts, I’m not going to be visiting it regularly. This is a pretty good reason why other sorry DFS sites have died out in the past. Most can’t compete with DK and FD, but they also all seemed to be either trying too hard, or not at all.

DraftKings and FanDuel both do a terrific job of finding a nice middle ground between “play here!” and “we don’t care if you play here or not”.

Both sites land you at their game lobby instantly on their front page and don’t bombard you with a ton of SEO pages (although they exist, fair friends, they do exist).

That’s brilliant on their part, as you can enter a game the second you land on the site. The entire process of signing up and playing DFS games is made abundantly easy by both sites, so the kicker really comes down to which site looks better and that probably goes to DraftKings.

FanDuel is lighter and brighter, but their graphics and site comes off a little more generic. DK has the edge in the graphics department and has a little better showmanship. It can also border on cartoonish, but it feels a little more alive than FanDuel ever has.

That being said, FD recently reimagined their image and improved their logo and overall site feel. That makes this another borderline toss-up, but we like both. Neither of these sites are going to keep you away because of the way they look.

Site Versatility

For the longest time, this was one of DraftKings’ calling cards, specifically with the “Late Swap” in mind. At FanDuel, every single game locks at the start of the first contest for any contest’s slate and from that point on, you can’t edit your lineup.

Naturally, this would leave the ill-informed vulnerable to injuries or roster changes teams would make just before games start later in the night.

DraftKings solved this issue from the beginning by incorporating the late lineup swap, which allowed any players in lineups to be edited, provided their game hasn’t started yet.

DK did lose some brownie points in the DFS community by recently dropping this feature for just their daily fantasy basketball games, suggesting that it’d make the night less stressful and watching the games more enjoyable.

Sure, DK, sure. Whatever their motive is, taking away the Late Swap is a catch-22 either way you look at it, and at least when it comes to NBA games, DK loses some ground to FD.

Still, they only made this change to NBA DFS contests, and not site wide. Because of that, the Late Swap is still in play for daily fantasy football and daily fantasy baseball. Other contests like Nascar, Golf and MMA all go in with the same start time, so it simply doesn’t apply.

DK doesn’t just win in the versatility department because of the Late Swap, though.

DraftKings even initiated positional versatility to their NBA games ahead of the 2016-17 NBA season, which really opens things up for creating daily fantasy basketball lineups.

This wasn’t their first step toward maximizing lineup versatility, however, as DK has always included a Flex position in their daily fantasy football contests.

Social Aspect/Community

Both sites have taken big steps to get back to the basics in daily fantasy sports recently, with DraftKings initiating their “leagues” portion of the site and FanDuel incorporating their “Friends” portion of the site.

The two are very similar, as users can create groups to compete with their friends in DFS games and track their winnings and records throughout the process.

The trouble for both is that if you aren’t an avid player or don’t know a ton of your personal real life friends that play daily fantasy sports, it really lacks any serious appeal.

That being said, both do a solid enough job. If you’re a big player in DFS or have a bunch of friends that play on either site, you can create a league and it’s fun to track your success to get “bragging rights”. Neither site wins here, as it’s a virtual toss-up as to who does this aspect “better”.

Sport Offerings

One area where DraftKings wins out rather easily is the variety of different DFS games they have to offer. Both sites offer games for NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS (soccer) and NHL, but DraftKings goes one step further by offering Nascar, MMA, Golf and eSports.

Anyone can make a case for either site as far as how they conduct each sport genre, but there is no denying DK covers more ground.

It’s fair to raise the question of whether it’s better to be great at a smaller amount of DFS games or good at several, but that’s really not an issue.

Personal taste is the only difference there, as DraftKings runs a good show with their DFS games and edges FanDuel out with a wide variety.

Naturally, more sports means more contests overall, and more opportunities for daily fantasy gamers to win cash.

Because of that, DK wins in that area by a mile.

Playability & Lineup Building

This plays into what sports and game types the sites have to offer a little bit, but it’s also its own thing.

How you build lineups is pretty big in daily fantasy sports, and it’s been something these sites have differed on across the board, as it pertains to actual roster positions, positional flexibility, the aforementioned Late Swap vs. Lineup Lock and even rules and scoring.

We don’t want to go over every single difference, but here are the big ones:

  • FanDuel awards Pitchers more points for Wins in MLB
  • DraftKings has Late Swap in MLB and NFL
  • FanDuel is notoriously stingy with points
  • DraftKings offers more PPR in NFL
  • DK says no to kickers in NFL
  • DK offers Flex in NFL
  • DK requires two pitchers in MLB
  • FD allows you to use fewer players from same team
  • FD tends to have better pricing in MLB and NBA

These really can distance you from either site quite easily. In daily fantasy baseball, it can be awfully tough to find two reliable pitchers to build a team around. You only need one on FanDuel, while the site also awards a whopping 10 points to winning pitchers, with DK giving up just 4.

Because of this, FD tends to be the better site to play daily fantasy baseball.

We don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the Late Swap was supremely attractive over at DraftKings. Taking it away from daily fantasy basketball levels the two sites in the NBA genre a bit, but still having it in MLB and NFL makes DK a fun place to play with no finite lineup lock.

FanDuel also loses in the scoring department. They’re extremely stingy with points – aside from pitcher wins – and even negate an entire point for turnovers in NBA games. DraftKings promotes more scoring with full point PPR scoring in NFL games, as well as milestone scoring (extra points for three-pointers, double-doubles, triple doubles, 100+ yard games, etc).

DraftKings also offers better overall lineup versatility, as they have the Flex position in NFL games and have updated their positional versatility for their NBA games. FanDuel offers very little lineup versatility, and even force you to draft a kicker in NFL contests.

Two other big difference in these sites is:

  • Stacking
  • Salary cap pricing

DK allows you to stack players from teams and games more, while FanDuel caps that are just four players from the same team. If you really want to take advantage of a matchup with one team or game, the best place to do that is DraftKings.

On the flip side, FanDuel’s pricing tends to be vastly superior in their DFS games. DK tends to inflate player value by upping their prices after good games, while FD really seems to lean on positional value more than actual player performance.

Naturally, this allows you to find more (and better) value across MLB and NBA games on FanDuel. In our personal findings, NFL contests don’t offer quite as much value at FanDuel. The elite players are often very expensive and the cheap players still tend to hover around $5k with kickers and defenses soaking up a minimum of $4.5k of your allotted cash.

Overall, DraftKings probably wins here. They offer more versatility, better scoring and you can still edit your MLB and NFL games after the first game starts. FanDuel has it’s good spots, too, but DK gets the narrow win here.

DraftKings vs. FanDuel: Where Should You Play?

You could honestly go back and forth between DraftKings and FanDuel all day. For every flaw one has, it also has 1-2 awesome features that the other may not.

Both of these sites are fantastic from top to bottom and the only real question ends up being what your preferred sport is and when you’re going to play it.

Depending on the sport and day, a unique slate should be what dictates whether you pick DraftKings or FanDuel. Any given slate can have DK or FD looking better than the other, as pricing and scoring upside can change drastically depending on how DK ad FD individually look at a sport and its schedule.

We definitely think both daily fantasy sports sites are worth a look, but if we had to pick one, right now we’d lean toward DraftKings.

FanDuel usually offers a little bit better value and they are probably the place to go for daily fantasy football, but DK has better promotions, better scoring and at least in two sports you can still use the Late Swap feature. There will be many nights where a slate/pricing demands you play at FanDuel, but for the most part, we like DraftKings by a hair.

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