Understanding Daily Fantasy Sport League Contests


In nearly every daily fantasy sports lobby you will see something called “Leagues?” This term is a bit ambiguous with DFS. You might be asking yourself either “aren’t they all leagues?” or “how can they be a league if they are a daily contest?”

So what are these daily fantasy leagues and how do they differ from other DFS contests?

Daily Fantasy Leagues Defined

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Daily fantasy leagues at DraftKings are mixed with the guaranteed tournaments, so you may correctly guess that they are already very similar. In fact, you might hear some people refer to all DFS contests daily fantasy leagues as “leagues” but the broad definition most sites use is any non-satellite contest with three of more players that does not feature a guaranteed prize pool and that typically pays the top 10%-20% of players.

The term’s origins likely come traditional fantasy sports which are all generally referred to as leagues. These leagues last all season and are comprised of 3 or more participants, just like their daily fantasy sports counterparts.

What Do Daily Fantasy Leagues Look Like?

Daily fantasy leagues come in a variety of formats and styles. At DraftKings, you can find leagues with anywhere from 3 players all the way up to 2,350. Buy-in sizes also run the gamut — from $0.25 micro buy-in stakes to over $10,000 for the high roller types.

Although players that join league events typically are paid 10%-20% of the total number of entries, there are some variation in payouts. Lower entry leagues (leagues with 10 or fewer entries) usually pay the top three places. Winner Take All contests are available at nearly all buy-in levels.

In addition to joining an existing public or private league, you can also create your own league (again, either public or private) and set the league size (from 3 to 20 players), entry fee (from Free to $100) and the payout structure (Winner Takes All, Top 3 paid, Top Third).

Like guaranteed prize pool contests, you are often allowed to enter a single event multiple times. However, unlike guaranteed contests, if they don’t fill by the start of the slate, the contest will not be started and you will be refunded your money back.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, daily fantasy sports leagues really aren’t much different than any other daily fantasy contest you might join. Nobody will fault you too much if you still refer to daily fantasy sports contests as leagues, but it’s helpful to know where to look when you are looking for a specific type of contest.

Sometimes you find these contests under their own tab (such as FanDuel) while other times they are going to mixed with other contests (like at DraftKings which merges the contests with guaranteed tournaments).