Daily Fantasy Sports Sites for 2017
Interested in playing daily fantasy sports contests online? Chances are you're confused about where to play. Don't worry though, because we're here to help. We've researched and tested all of the available options, and ranked them accordingly. The following are our top recommendations, and we can confidently state that these are currently the best daily fantasy sports sites on the web.
|Rank||Daily Fantasy Sports Site||Sign Up Bonus||Get Started|
|#1||DraftKings||100% up to $600||Visit Site|
|#2||FanDuel||100% up to $200||Visit Site|
|#3||DraftDay||100% up to $600||Visit Site|
|#4||StarsDraft||100% up to $250||Visit Site|
If you live in the United States and have gambled online before, or considered doing so, then you're probably aware that using gambling sites comes with a few challenges. The US legal situation in relation to online gambling is confusing, and all the gambling sites that accept US customers are based overseas. This, understandably, can lead to concerns about whether they are safe to use.
You don't have to stress about that with daily fantasy sports betting though. Playing fantasy sports online is completely legal, even for real money, and most of the sites are based and operated from with the United States. They are reputable and very legitimate companies, so there's no need to worry about whether your deposits will be safe or whether you'll get your money when you withdraw. This applies even if you live outside the US too.
About Our Rankings
The above rankings have been compiled very carefully. We have only listed places that are completely reputable and entirely legitimate, and we're positive that our recommendations are the very best places to play daily fantasy sports.
In order to produce these rankings, we've tested a wide range of daily fantasy sports to see what they have to offer. We've also carried out some extensive research. We have then scored each site based on how they perform in all the key areas, and ranked them according to their overall scores.
If you're looking for somewhere to play, and don't want to have to do your own research into all the available options, then you should simply pick one of our recommendations. Alternatively, if you're prepared to spend a bit of time, you can put some extra effort into trying to find out which sites are the best ones for you.
Choosing Where To Play
Your goal shouldn't actually be to find the best site online – that's like finding the best girlfriend in the world. Your perfect girlfriend might have red hair, someone else's might have blond hair. Your goal should be to find the site that's best suited to you. We've compiled our list of the best daily fantasy sports sites by taking everything that they do into account. But what the various sites offer can vary dramatically. Knowing what's most important to you is step #1 in finding the right place for you to play.
We've listed the aspects that you should consider before making your first deposit at a daily fantasy site. Some of them might matter to you more than others. Some of them might not matter at all. But the information is here for you to consider.
Some daily fantasy sports sites offer a pretty limited selection of games to choose from. If those are the games you want to play, no problem. But if you're interested in trying a lot of different sports, look for a site that offers a variety.
One example of a site that specializes in just a few sports is FanDuel. They offer contests for four different sports, as follows.
Another great site, which offers a larger menu of sports to choose from, is DraftKings. They offer all the sports that Fanduel offers, but they also offer the following
Other sites offer contests that differ from the usual contests. They might offer contests for the same sports, but they play by a different set of rules. For example, there are sites with contests as simple as choosing three players from three different teams that you expect to perform better than the site expects. This is a totally different experience from most daily fantasy sites, but it might be just the trick for you.
The most popular sports are fantasy baseball and fantasy football, so almost all of the sites offer these games. But once you've found a site that offers the sports you like, take a look at their rules for lineups and scoring. You might prefer one scoring system and set of rules better than another.
It doesn't matter what sports they offer—if the site's look and feel confuse you or make you uncomfortable, you should move on down the list to find a site that you like better. This is a highly personal decision for a lot of people. You might hate the color green, for example. If that's the case, you might want to avoid a site with a lot of green.
More importantly, you need to be comfortable with the site's interface. Being frustrated with the user experience will sap all the fun from daily fantasy sports for anybody. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Does the information presented in the lobby make sense?
- Are you able to navigate the menu, even before you've signed up with an account?
Once you've given the public side of a site the stamp of approval, you should register an account. You can usually do this without making an initial deposit. The signup process will provide you with a sample of that particular website's approach to user experience. If you're confused or uncomfortable with the signup process, you'll probably face similar confusion when trying to sign up for contests.
Once you've registered, you can start to play around with the contests. You'll find that most sites make the drafting process super simple. In fact, we've never seen a site yet where it took more than 15 minutes to draft a team. You'll usually find a lot of useful information on the draft screen—sometimes including projected points.
Keep in mind whether you're going to spend most of your time playing on a laptop or a desktop. If you're more likely to be playing on a tablet or a cell phone, you should use the appropriate device when doing your due diligence. In other words, if you're going to be playing on your iPad, use your iPad when investigating the site.
Most sites are mobile-friendly now, but different designs offer different experiences on different devices.
One area where daily fantasy sports resemble the online gambling niche is in the deposit bonus aspect. When you're signing up at a new daily fantasy sports site, you'll usually be eligible for extra money in your account. This is almost always provided as a percentage matching bonus.
Here's an example.
Comparing these signup bonuses is one way of measuring how much you'd like to play at a particular website. Keep in mind, though, that the bonuses aren't released into your account immediately. They're released over time, as you play in contests.
On some sites, the deposit bonus is tied into your frequent player points account. You get a certain amount released every time you hit a frequent player milestone. On other sites, they just base it on the amount of action you've brought—you might get your deposit bonus released at a rate of 4% of the commissions you've paid in entry fees.
Signup bonuses often sound better in theory than they work out to in practice. Sometimes the release rate is so slow that you'll despair of ever achieving your goal of getting the entire deposit—especially if there's a time limit for how soon you have to achieve those milestones.
But bonus money is just that—bonus money. It's money you get to gamble with that didn't come out of your own pocket, and that's always a positive expectation move.
Smart players might realize that if they can find a site where the competition is soft, they can make more money. Unfortunately, the only way to really figure this out is to actually play some contests at a site to see how well you stack up to your opponents. Our experience has been that the level of competition (at least at the major sites) is roughly the same.
Our suggestion is to stick with the larger sites that advertise on television. Logic tells you that you'll find more fish in those waters than at the smaller sites, because Joe Sixpack probably saw an ad on TV and signed up just for the hell of it. A smaller site might offer some kind of specialty that the players there are well aware of. They might eat you alive while you acclimate to their games.
If you pay attention and follow the strategy advice on this site, you should be able to hold your own on any of the daily fantasy sports websites. But even a tiny increase of 1% or 2% in your win rate can result in major changes in your ROI (return on investment).
It's worth it to keep records of how you do at the various sites. If you think the competition is softer at Fanduel than DraftKings (or vice-versa), you should think about putting more money into action at the former and less at the latter.
We recommend playing at multiple sites, though. You want to take advantage of as much signup bonus money as possible. You also want to try the different options to see which ones suit your needs best.
One other consideration to look at is the availability of freerolls. A freeroll is a tournament with no entry fee but which still offers cash prizes. Some places offer daily freerolls with small prizes. Others offer weekly freerolls with larger prizes. And some places are spoilsports and don't do a lot of freerolls.
This isn't a make it or break it feature for everyone, but it might be for you. After all, you should be looking for every dollar of expected value you can find. So if everything else is equal, you should do business with the site offering more freerolls. Then again, you could have accounts at multiple sites, and just take advantage of freerolls at all of them.
One wise use of freerolls is to use them when you're getting started in order to familiarize yourself with the actual physical aspects of signing up for contests and setting your lineups. If you make a mistake in a freeroll, it's not that big a deal as you don't have any of your own money on the line.
GPPs & Overlays
A GPP is a tournament with a guaranteed prize pool. Most contests at these sites base their prize pools on the amount of entry fees they collect. Most of them subtract a commission before setting the prizes. Here are a couple of examples of how typical contests work.
A contest might have 100 entrants and a $25 entry fee. The prize pool is $2250—the $2500 in entry fees less the 10% commission. If the contest doesn't fill, it isn't held. Your entry fee is returned. No harm, no foul.
But in a GPP, the prize pool is guaranteed whether or not enough players enter. In the example above, if the site were offering a GPP of $2250, and only 75 people entered the contest, the website will make up the extra entry fees that weren't collected.
At most large sites, the GPP tournaments fill up most of the time. But when you can find one that doesn't fill up, you've found yourself in a situation where there's an overlay. These situations add to your expected return because of the extra money in the prize pool.
Here's a simple example of how and why that works:
Since the prize pool is based on having more people in the contest, you get potentially more money for defeating fewer opponents. Think about it this way. The payout structure assumes 100 people are playing. In this overlay situation, 50 of those competitors started off and ended with a score of 0. They never signed up, but their money's still in the prize pool.
Taking advantage of overlay situations and GPPs is simply a smart idea. You should take advantage of these situations wherever you can find them.
Smaller sites often have overlays because they're new, and they're more motivated to attract new customers by offering these opportunities—even if they cost a little money in the short term, the site justifies that by the long-term positive expected value of having more long-term players.
Not all fantasy sports sites offer any kind of community, so you'll have to decide whether or not this is a selling point for you. Some sites do offer community. You can participate in message boards and chat with the other players. For players who are looking for more of a human connection while they play, this might be a big selling point.
We're not sold either way. If a site has a community and chat features, that's cool, but it's far from necessary. The other features on this list are more important in our view. We'd rather get a bigger signup bonus than make new friends who play fantasy sports.
We can see how people who have limited social interaction in real life might find these features useful. If that describes you, look for information about what kind of social interaction is available on the site. You might be pleasantly surprised.
It's never a bad idea to see what kind of customer reviews a site has in general. If the customer service at a company is poor, you can bet that people have written about it on the web. On the other hand, some sore losers might complain about a company just because they're unhappy about losing.
It's a standard in this industry to offer customer service via email or via a helpdesk support ticket. It is disappointing though that more sites don't offer live chat and toll free numbers for their customer service. Most of these companies respond to help desk tickets within an hour or two, but in the internet age, sometimes we want an answer to our questions instantly. Live chat and/or a toll free number would enable that.
It's not a bad idea for someone new to a site to ask a few questions at the beginning of their relationship with a site just to get a feel for what they can expect from customer service. If they're not able to answer your questions about deposits now, when something big comes up later, they'll be unlikely to satisfy you then, either. Better to find out earlier rather than later.
Daily Fantasy Sports FAQ
If you're new to playing daily fantasy sports online then there's a very good chance that you have a few questions you'd like to know the answers to. There's also a very good chance that those questions are ones that we've heard before, as most beginners want to know the same things.
That's why we've put together a comprehensive FAQ on the subject of daily fantasy sports, where we answer all of the following questions in detail.
Advice for Getting Started
You can find a lot of different ways of comparing the various sites, and there's no right or wrong here. The best advice we can offer is to sign up at multiple sites. You don't have to make big initial deposits at all of them. Just try them out to see which ones you like.
One of the advantages of doing this is figuring out where the tough competition is. You want to avoid the tough competitors. The reverse is true, too—you want to seek out the soft competition. There are also the advantages we've already alluded to; you can claim more bonuses and take advantages of more freerolls.
The important thing to note is that you can count on all of the sites that we recommend to offer (at the least) competent customer service, fun contests, and reliable withdrawals and deposits. We also refuse to list sites with bad reputations or a bad user experience.
In other words, you can feel safe trying any of the daily fantasy sports listed here. They really are the best online.