If you are at all serious about daily fantasy sports, one of the sites you have to play is FanDuel (along with number one DFS site, DraftKings). Since the 2014 season, FanDuel has lost some ground to DraftKings, but they are still one of the two largest DFS sites, offering some of the largest guaranteed prize pools tournaments with relatively low buy-ins. During the NFL season, FanDuel regularly guarantees more than $1 million per week. And during the “offseason” (outside of the NFL season) when fewer people are playing daily fantasy, FanDuel still offers huge contests at all major sports every single day.
FanDuel does fall short in a couple notable areas. For one, the sign-up offer is below the industry standard – 5 beginner contest entries worth up to $50. In addition, beyond the major sports, FanDuel doesn’t have much of a selection, but this is slowing changing. FanDuel will be merging with DraftKings sometime in 2017 but for now will be operated independently.
Still, even if everything about FanDuel was inferior to other daily fantasy sports sites, you simply can’t ignore the fact that you will be playing for a lot more money at FanDuel, day in and day out, than every other DFS site not named DraftKings. FanDuel is also a great site to use, stripping the bells and whistles down to a minimum while giving players an interface that provides them exactly with what they need.
FanDuel gives you a quick overview of the site here:
Receive up to $50 in FanDuel Free Contest Entries
Players from Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Nevada, Texas and Washington are not allowed to play on FanDuel.
FanDuel Sports Offered
Unlike DraftKings which features contests less popular sports, FanDuel only runs contests for the major North American team sports — football (NFL), baseball (MLB), basketball (NBA) and hockey (NHL) and most recently — soccer (EPL). No mixed martial arts yet but PGA contests have been recently added. FanDuel has stopped offering college sports contests.
FanDuel Contests and Prize Pools
During the NFL season, FanDuel boasts over 25,000 one-week football leagues each week, so there is almost certainly a buy-in level and contest type that will fit every fantasy football player. Obviously, those numbers are scaled back considerably outside of the NFL season, but you can find guaranteed contests for all the team sports every day of the week, with larger contest fields for the pro sports. Entry fees range from free (for practice, fun, and sometimes with cash prizes), to a dollar, to even $10,000.
As far as FanDuel’s contest types go, there are the popular guaranteed tournaments that usually feature huge starting fields and prize pools that are guaranteed no matter how many participants enter the contest. If you can’t afford the buy-in to some of those tournaments, there are “satellite” contests that allow players to qualify with a lower buy-in. Also available are:
- Head-to-head contests, where you take on one other player.
- 50/50s, where half the field gets paid and half the field doesn’t make the money.
- Leagues, which are basically smaller tournaments with a maximum number of entries and no guaranteed prize pools.
- Multipliers, contests where certain percentage of those that enter will win the same flat prize, often 2x, 3x, or 5x their entry fee
If you need help on the nuances of each of these games, refer to our guide on FanDuel contest types for detailed explanations and what you should look for from various contests.
FanDuel also offers players the chance to create their own contests for any active sport. You can choose the start time; whether the contest is a heads-up match or a league, public contests vs. invite only, and the buy-in level. For leagues, players have control over the number of entries and how the prize pool is distributed.
During the NFL season, prize pools for the largest tournaments can reach over $5 million (for an entry fee of just $25). If you are just playing recreationally, you can get excellent value out of $1 or $2 buy-ins with guaranteed prize pools in the tens or hundreds of thousands dollars. The biggest daily NBA contests routinely have guarantees of $100K to a quarter of a million dollars.
If the buy-in is too steep for the contest you have your eye on, check out FanDuel’s satellites and qualifiers, which allow players to win entries to their favorite contests.
While other sites’ interfaces might offer more options to sort through, one can argue that FanDuel’s might be the one that makes the most sense, giving players just enough control over searches to easily navigate the lobby without overwhelming them with too many options. Tabs on the top let players narrow the lobby down just by sport while tables on the left and top allow players to sort by contest type. On some tabs, a slider bar allows the player to customize how much they want to spend on an entry fee.
Every column in the lobby has an option to sort contests by size, entry fee, prize pool and start time. You will also be able to identify experienced players through badges, which are displayed in the lobby for head to head contests as well as in the entry details for other contests.
There is a mobile app available for iOS and it has received good reviews from most users. It gives players a lot of the same functionality of the desktop browser version (set lineups, join contests, monitor scores) in a slick package. Setup is very quick and players can watch a short tutorial video on how the app works.
FanDuel also released an app for Android users. The mobile version of FanDuel’s website is very good and easy to navigate, it’s just not as slick or as clean presentation-wise as the mobile app or the full browser version.
FanDuel also has its own blog/news section, called “Fantasy Insider.” If you’re looking for information and strategy about players and setting lineups, you’re going to want to look elsewhere, as the content is definitely more bloggy than strategy.
FanDuel doesn’t reinvent the wheel for drafting and scoring. You pick a contest, draft a team that falls under a salary cap, and play. Salary caps are either $55,000 or $60,000.
Here is a quick rundown of how the different sports are drafted.
- NFL: QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, DST (Defense/special teams), K
- NBA: 2 PG, 2 SG, 2 SF, 2 PF, C
- NHL: 2 LW, 2 RW, 2 C, 2 D, G
- MLB: P, C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 3 OF
- EPL: 2 F, 3 MF, 2 D, GK
- PGA: 4 golfers for Rounds 1-2, 4 golfers for Rounds 3-4
Scoring follows industry standards for most sports, with a .5 points-per-reception method used in football. Here is a full breakdown of NFL scoring at FanDuel.
Selecting a team is extremely easy. The pool of available players pops up with their position, average fantasy sports scored and their salary. You hit the “+” to add a player, and the “-” to remove them from your roster. Your remaining salary cap is calculated automatically. Looking for a specific player to draft? Just type their name in the search box.
If a player has a news item or an injury status, it is indicated next to their name. Clicking on a player takes you into their bio, where you can read recent news related to the player, their stats and their game log for recent games.
Like any fantasy sports site worth its salt, you get instantaneous scoring updates once your contest goes live.
You can make a FanDuel deposit by using Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Paypal.
When making a FanDuel withdrawal, you will have the option of paying paid via Paypal or check. Paypal withdrawals are typically made in 2 days while up to 10 business days with a check.
Fan Duel offers a money back offer if you play and lose your first fantasy contest (up to $100). Note that the offer is meant for players who “did not enjoy their first real money experience.”
Withdrawals can be made via Paypal or check.
FanDuel Deposit Bonus
Because of the other benefits and value you get from signing up at FanDuel, the initial deposit bonus isn’t as good as other daily fantasy sports sites. While most sites will match your deposit dollar for dollar with a bonus that will unlock over time, FanDuel currently only offers the FanDuel 5-Pack — up to $50 in beginner 50/50 entries when making a first deposit.
The amount of your reward will depend on the deposit amount – five $0.25 entires for a $10-$24.99 deposit, five $1 entries for a $25-$99.99 deposit, five $5 entries for a $100-$199.99 deposit or 5 $10 entries for any deposit of $200 or more. Players must use the contest entries within 35 days of signing up.
FanDuel includes several great promotions. Most notably, they offer a loyalty system based on how much you play, called FanDuel Points.
FanDuel also runs four levels of freerolls, depending on how many points you accrue during a month:
- Bronze: $2,000 freeroll, requires minimum of 1,000 monthly FDP
- Silver: $3,000 freeroll, requires minimum of 5,000 monthly FDP
- Gold: $5,000 freeroll, requires minimum of 15,000 monthly FDP
- Platinum: $8,000 freeroll, requires minimum of 50,000 monthly FDP
If you reach a level, you can enter all freerolls below that level (i.e. if you reach gold, you qualify for the gold, silver and bronze freerolls).
You can also use use FDPs to enter any cash contest, instead of using money. The cash-FDP conversion rate can be seen when you enter a contest (approximately 10 per $1 in buy-in) and you will be given an option to use FDPs, if you have enough. FanDuel Points are worth approximately $0.0004 per points when using the points for real money contests.
FanDuel also occasionally runs seasonal promos. For instance, occasionally the site will offer ways to qualify for live fantasy events.
FanDuel Referral Program
The FanDuel Referral Center is a way for players to earn money for getting other players to sign up for real-money play at the site. Players start out earning 20% of their referrals’ entry fees. In order to earn more than 20%, you have to have five or more active referrals. You can earn up to 35%, but your referrals have to play more than $5,000 worth of contests in a month, making it fairly difficult to trigger.
The referral center allows you to easily track your referrals’ activity.
FanDuel $50 in free contest entries
If you want to play in the biggest fantasy contests around each week, you need to play at FanDuel. Between the interface and the sheer variety and number of contests available, FanDuel (with DraftKings) is simply hard to beat. If you’re looking for more value out of an initial deposit, you might want to try a smaller site. But in the long run, FanDuel is one of the best sites around.