DraftDay offers daily and weekly fantasy sports contests with
cash prizes. The company is based in Manhattan. DraftDay is not
as large or as popular as its competitors, FanDuel and
DraftKings, but the site has perks and options that are
unavailable at many competitors.
The site was founded by the owners of Cardrunners, and if
you’re a poker player, the contests on the site should generate
a significant sense of déjà vu. That’s because the payout
structure and buy-ins are handled in a similar manner to a
sit-n-go poker tournament at any of the major poker sites.
In terms of the variety of sports, DraftDay offers slightly
more than FanDuel, but not as many as DraftKings. Sports
available at DraftDay include NFL and college football, Major
League Baseball, basketball, hockey, and golf.
One of the advantages of playing at DraftDay are the multiple
different kinds of contests available. They offer the same head
to head and 50/50 contests as their competitors. They also offer
the larger tournaments. But they also have other, more
interesting contests that their competitors don’t have. I’ll go
into more detail about these contest types later in this review.
Should you play at DraftDay?
If you’re interested in the hobby, there’s no reason to not
participate in the contests at DraftDay. The site has a clean,
easy-to-use lobby. They also offer a great variety of contests,
including some unusual contests that are unavailable at their
competitors. There’s an excellent signup bonus too.
Their only real drawback is the number of huge guaranteed
prize pool tournaments their competitors offer. For most people,
that’s not a deal-breaker. Of course, DraftDay has minor
differences in their rules and scoring rubrics, too. This might
matter to you if you have certain preferences about what kinds
of games you like to play in.
My recommendation is to give DraftDay a try. This doesn’t
mean you should ignore FanDuel or DraftKings, but being able to
take advantage of the $600 signup bonus is a perk you shouldn’t
walk away from out of loyalty to one of the other sites. You’ll
probably also like some of the more exotic contest types
available at DraftDay. If you’re interested in trying either of
the other two sites mentioned, you can read our reviews of them
on the following pages. Please keep reading for more about
One other thing to think about is the softness of the
competition at the various sites. It’s hard to say with a lot of
certainty where the softest competition is, because it changes
over time. The level of the competition at various sites
improves at different stakes, too. Get a few games under your
belt at each site, and you’ll have a good sense of where the
softest games can be found.
Below are some additional details on the bonuses and
promotions available at DraftDay.
Welcome Bonus – As a new player you get a 100% bonus up to $600 on your
first deposit. This bonus amount is released incrementally at a
rate of 4% of the entry fees of the contests you enter.
Refer-a-Friend Bonus – DraftDay offers a $15 bonus every time
you refer a friend who signs up for an account, makes a deposit,
and enters contests at the site. This is a different arrangement
from many sites in the niche, which usually offer a percentage
of the referred players’ entry fees.
The DraftDay $5 Challenge – If you want to invite a friend to the
site to try it out, you can set up a DraftDay $5 Challenge. Your
friend gets $5 free into his account which he can use to play
with you heads-up. It’s similar to a no-deposit bonus from a
casino or poker site, but it has a very specific use.
Ongoing Promotions – The site also offers multiple freerolls on an
ongoing basis. This isn’t a bonus, per se, but it is a cool
One aspect of the DraftDay website that’s a clear win is the
clarity with which they explain their signup bonus. FanDuel and
DraftKings both offer signup bonuses, but it’s hard to find
specific information on their sites about how much you can get
as a bonus and what the requirements are. DraftDay doesn’t have
this problem. The information is front and center and easy to
American players used to doing business with offshore
sportsbooks will be happy to know that DraftDay, being a United
States company, does all of its business in United States
dollars. You can deposit using any of the following payment
You can withdraw winnings via PayPal or via check. DraftDay
has some of the best turnaround times in the business for
withdrawals. The turnaround time for a PayPal withdrawal is 48
hours, but a check takes 3 to 5 business days to receive.
There are currently five sports available at DraftDay, as
I’ll provide some detail on how the contests work for each of
these sports shortly, but there are a couple of other things to
cover first. To begin with, I should explain how daily fantasy
sports contests work in general. Most readers probably already
know how fantasy sports work, at least at the season-long level.
So I provide only the broadest overview of how the hobby works
in this section.
Fantasy Sports Basics
In a run-of-the-mill season-long fantasy sports league,
you’ll have between 10 and 16 participants. They hold a draft at
the beginning of the season to choose their players. In some
leagues, this draft involves a salary cap. In others, it’s
first-come, first-serve. And in some leagues, you get to keep
players from previous years’ drafts.
Once they’ve each drafted a team, they have a season-long
schedule (determined by the league’s commissioner) where they
play the other participants in the league. Their teams score
points based on how well the players they drafted perform.
Usually each participant has to set a line-up each week, which
adds to the challenge and fun of managing the fantasy team.
In most leagues, the teams with the best records play in
play-offs and then in a championship match. The winner gets any
prize money. It’s a fun way to add to your enjoyment of your
favorite sport season, but it’s also a commitment of time and
(sometimes) of money.
The daily and weekly version of these contests—the kind
offered by DraftDay–eliminates the time commitment (but not the
money commitment). Your team is drafted immediately upon
entering the contest, and your opponents do likewise. When the
games are done for the day or for the week, your team gets a
score based on your players’ performances.
Daily and weekly fantasy sports offer some significant perks
over the season-long version of the sport. For one thing,
instead of having to wait until the end of the season to get
your winnings, you get your money right away. For another, you
can start fresh every day or every week. One of the most
frustrating experiences in the world is playing a lousy team
through the end of the season, even when you have no hope of
It’s also useful to understand about the commissions in daily
Daily Fantasy Commissions
When you enter a typical contest at DraftDay.com, you pay an
entry fee. For the sake of the example, let’s say you paid $10
to play in a particular contest. In a 2 person contest, that’s
$20 in prize money, but DraftDay keeps a percentage of that in
order to stay in business. The standard fee in the industry is
10%, so the prize pool for this example contest is $20 – $2, or
This is similar to but not identical to a poker tournament’s
buy-in and payout structure. If you were playing in a sit-n-go
tournament at CarbonPoker, for example, you’d pay $10 +$1, or
$11, to enter the tournament. The prize pool would be $20, and
the site would still earn $2 for its trouble.
In poker, this kind of commission is called a “rake”. In
sports betting, it’s called “vigorish” or “vig”. All businesses
need to make a profit in order to continue to operate. So it’s
not something to be concerned about. It’s just something to be
I used poker as a comparison here, and it’s a comparison I
made earlier too. The way the buy-ins and the prize pools work
are almost identical to the way they work in poker tournaments
online, and there are some similar skill-sets involved too. One
big difference though, is the laws involved.
For Americans, daily fantasy sports are a nice, legal
alternative to sports betting or poker. Here’s why.
Online Gambling Laws
UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), made
it illegal to transfer funds for the purposes of illegal
gambling over the Internet. But the legislation specifically
exempts fantasy sports as a game of skill.
What does this mean for the player?
If you played poker, you might have been one of the thousands
of players whose money got tied up when the U.S. government shut
down and seized the bank accounts of companies like Full Tilt
and PokerStars. Getting your money tied up for months in such a
way is a drag no matter how you look at it.
Given the UIGEA’s exemption for fantasy sports contests, this
is one worry you don’t have to deal with. Many of the companies
running these contests are located right here in the United
States. Even PayPal, which is notoriously cautious about online
gambling transactions, welcomes their business.
Of course, the legality issue is a big plus in the advantages
column. In fact, a lot of the poker players who were uprooted on
Black Friday have transferred their energy and attention to
daily fantasy sports. The biggest reason for this probably has
to do with the safety of the funds. Dealing with offshore
companies just plain makes some people nervous, and if their
legal status is questionable, that raises even more doubt.
That being said, fantasy sports are not legal in every state.
Some states take into account whether or not something is
considered a “game of skill” when determining its legality
related to gambling. But some states have laws against betting
regardless of the skill element.
With all of that covered, let’s now take a look at each sport
available at DraftDay in more detail.
Fantasy Football at DraftDay
You can play in both NFL and college fantasy football events
at DraftDay. These events happen over the course of a week’s
games, in order to get in all the games from the weekend.
You get a $100,000 salary cap with which to recruit your
fantasy football team. Your team consists of 9 players, and you
can choose from any of the football players who are playing in
this week’s games. One thing you can’t do is choose all the
players from one team. You’re required to choose players from
multiple teams in your lineup. That’s to avoid the possibility
of placing what would essentially just be considered a sports
Your DraftDay fantasy football team will have the following
players on the roster.
Running backs (2)
Wide receivers (2)
Tight ends (1)
The number of points each players gets is tied directly to
his performance in the games. The scoring system works like
Each passing touchdown is worth 4 points.
Each passing yard is worth 0.04 points.
An interception is worth -1 point.
Each rushing yard is worth 0.1 points.
A rushing touchdown is worth 6 points.
Each receiving yard is worth 0.1 points.
A reception touchdown is worth 6 points.
Each reception is worth 1 point.
A return touchdown is worth 6 points.
A 2 point conversion is worth 2 points,
A lost fumble is worth -2 points.
A sack is worth 1 point.
An interception is worth 2 points.
A fumble recovery is worth 2 points.
A touchdown is worth 6 points.
A safety is worth 2 points.
A blocked kick is worth 2 points.
A kickoff or punt return touchdown is worth 6 points.
0 points allowed is worth 10 points.
1-6 points allowed is worth 7 points.
7-13 points allowed is worth 4 points.
14-20 points allowed is worth 1 point.
21-27 points allowed is worth 0 points.
28-34 points allowed is worth -1 point.
35+ points allowed is worth -4 points.
DraftDay shows your score and your opponents’ scores in
realtime as the games are played. When the official scoring is
done, your score becomes final and the winners for the contest
Fantasy Baseball at DraftDay
Fantasy baseball is an action junkie’s dream. You can have
money on the line almost every single day. On the other hand,
that’s a little bit more action than some people can or ought to
handle. A season long fantasy baseball league is a huge
commitment, but playing the occasional daily contest can be a
lot of fun.
As in the football contests, your salary cap is $100,000,
with which you put together a roster consisting of the following
Compared to fantasy football scoring, coming up with the
scores for fantasy baseball is easy.
Getting to first base (a single) is worth 5 points.
Getting to second base (a double) is worth 10 points.
Getting to third base (a triple) is worth 15 points.
Home runs are worth 20 points each.
RBIs are worth 5 points each.
A walk is worth 5 points.
Stolen bases are worth 5 points.
Each out, calculated as bats – hits, is worth -1 point.
A win is worth 10 points.
An earned run is worth -3 points.
Each inning pitched is worth 3 points.
Each strikeout is worth 3 points.
A walk is worth -1 point.
Each hit is worth -1 point.
Pitchers can also earn 5 bonus points for any of the following.
A complete game.
A no hitter.
A perfect game.
DraftDay displays the running total of points for each team
in realtime. The winnings are awarded after the official scores
Fantasy Basketball at DraftDay
DraftDay only offers professional (NBA) fantasy basketball
contests. If you’re looking for college basketball action, you
might be happier playing at FanDuel, which offers both.
As with the other games on DraftDay’s site, your salary cap
is $100,000. You use that money to draft a roster consisting of
the following players.
The scoring system is simple enough.
Points are worth 1 point each.
A 3 point field goal is worth 1 point.
A missed field goal (MFG) is worth -0.25 pts.
A missed free throw (MFT) is worth -0.25 pts.
An assist (AST) is worth 1.5 points.
A rebound is worth 1.25 points.
A steal is worth 2 points.
A block is worth 2 points.
A turnover is worth -0.5 point.
Teams can also earn 2 bonus points for a Double-Double or a
As with the other sports on the site, you’ll be able to watch
your score in realtime while the basketball games are taking
place. When the official stats come through, the contest winners
Fantasy Hockey at DraftDay
DraftDay’s fantasy hockey games are NHL based. As in their
other contests, you get a $100,000 salary cap to play with. Your
roster consists of players in the following positions.
The scoring is calculated as follows.
Shots on goal are worth 0.5 points.
Goals are worth 3 points.
Assists are worth 2 points.
A penalty minute is worth 0.25 points.
A power play point is worth 0.5 points.
A shorthanded point is worth 0.5 points.
Blocked shots are worth 0.5 points.
A win is worth 3 points.
Goals against are worth -1.5 points.
Saves are worth 0.3 points.
A shutout is worth 2 points.
As with all the other sports, you can keep up in realtime on
the site, but you have to wait for the official, finalized score
to determine which fantasy team won.
Fantasy Golf at DraftDay
In fantasy golf, you get a $100,000 salary cap with which you
recruit a team of golfers. They score points as follows.
Golfers score points hole by hole on the following
Par is worth 0.5 points.
Birdie is worth 4 points.
Eagle is worth 12 points.
Albatross is worth 30 points.
Golfers also get round bonuses as follows:
A bogey free round is worth 6 points.
Par or better on all 4 rounds is worth 10 points.
All 4 rounds in 60s is worth 25 points.
A hole in one is worth 20 bonus points.
The biggest opportunity to score points is based on how each
1st place is worth 30 points.
2nd place is worth 25 points.
3rd place is worth 20 points.
4th place is worth 15 points.
5th place is worth 14 points.
6th place is worth 13 points.
7th place is worth 12 points.
8th place is worth 11 points.
9th place is worth 10 points.
10th-15th place is worth 8 points.
16th-25th place is worth 6 points.
26th-40th place is worth 4 points.
40th-60th place is worth 2 points.
Types of Contests
This might be the most interesting section of the review.
DraftDay offers the traditional daily and weekly fantasy sports
contests, like the 50/50s and the H2H contests. They also offer
tournaments. But they also offer several unusual game types.
Here’s a full list.
Modified Salary Cap
The Perfect Lineup
These are what are referred to as tournaments on other sites.
If the “standard game” doesn’t get a specific number of
entrants, it’s canceled. Everyone gets their money refunded.
This is the opposite of a guaranteed prize pool tournament.
These are also tournaments, but the prize pool is guaranteed
regardless of how few entrants they get. DraftDay covers the
additional funds for the prize pool themselves.
These are sometimes the best value of all, mathematically. If
you can get into a guaranteed game, or GPP, as they’re called on
other sites, where there aren’t enough players, you’re in a
positive expectation situation.
Here’s how that works. Suppose a tournament is supposed to
have 100 entrants paying $10 each to play. The prize pool is
$900 ($1,000 – $100). But if only 60 players enter, then they
each have a correspondingly higher chance of winning some of
that prize pool.
This kind of situation is called an overlay. If you can get
into an overlay situation, even one that’s not as extreme as the
example given, you should. It’s pure positive expected value.
This is an unusual format. The tournament has a point target.
Everyone who hits that point total gets an equal share of the
prize pool. All the players who come in short of the target get
These resemble traditional fantasy sports more than the other
contests on the site. Instead of a salary cap, everyone drafts
in a random order, but they maintain their place in that order
as the draft ensues.
These are for people who want to get into action fast. These
contests only use players from the teams playing in the early
This is a very traditional type of contest. The players with
scores in the top 50% of the field share the prize pool equally.
Modified Salary Cap
These games work like the standard salary cap games, but
there’s a difference. The modified salary cap is either higher
or lower than the standard.
This resembles a prop bet in a sportsbook. You choose which
players are going to score the most fantasy points. If you get 3
correct, then you win. They also offer a “RapidFire Max”
contest, where you have to pick all 5 matchups correctly in
order to win. You’re only allowed to enter one of these per day
The Perfect Lineup
This is another DraftDay specific contest type, and it also
resembles a prop bet at a sportsbook. This contest is specific
to the NFL. The great thing about this one is that it requires
no entry fee. You choose the players in each position who you
think are going to score the most points that week. The top 50
scorers split the prize money.
You can filter the choices of contests by sport and by
contest type by clicking on the appropriate boxes in the lobby.
The contests are also sortable by column, so you can put them in
order from lowest buy-in to highest or vice versa.
The prize structures work the same way at DraftDay as they do
at most other daily fantasy sports sites. The prize pool is the
total of the entry fees less than 10%. In some of the higher
buy-in contests, that percentage goes down a little bit.
DraftDay has a big “help” button on the top right of the
screen. It takes you to a pop-up with an email form to submit
with your customer support request. It also includes buttons
where you can connect with the site’s customer service via
Facebook, Twitter, and email. There’s an FAQ section on the
site, too, where you can find answers to common queries.
I was bummed that there was no visible information about
hours of operation. I had the same complaint with FanDuel and
DraftKings. It seems like posting customer service hours would
be a no-brainer, but it looks like this is a standard industry
I also hate it when sites don’t offer customer service over
the telephone. On the other hand, I understand that staffing a
call center with customer service people is an expense that a
company might not be interested in adding to their balance
sheets. Still, I’d prefer the human touch of being able to make
a phone call on an 800 number.
Neither of these minor complaints are deal-breakers. In fact,
you should probably think of them as the grumblings of a cranky
older person, which I am. I have an account at all of the major
sites in the niche, so it’s obviously not such a big deal to me
that I’d not continue doing business with them.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked
questions about DraftDay.com:
Is this legal?
Yes, this is legal. Fantasy sports are games of skill. There
are some exceptions though. In some states, any type of
wagering, skill-based or not, is flat out illegal. In those
states, DraftDay is not legal. They don’t accept players from
those states anyway, though, so it probably won’t come up.
One of the telling facts about DraftDay is that they’re able
to use PayPal to conduct transactions. PayPal has a notorious
reputation for disallowing any transaction that even hints at
online gambling. The fact that they have no problem working with
DraftDay tells me that it’s a safe and legal enterprise.
Can you make a living playing fantasy sports on DraftDay?
In order to win the 50/50s and H2H contests consistently
enough to show a profit, you’d have to win 55.56% of the
contests you enter. That’s frankly beyond the skill of most
players unless they’re good at finding fish to play against.
Some of the players on DraftDay, just as some of the players
on all of the fantasy sites, are sharks. If you could figure out
how to avoid them, it wouldn’t be so bad. But it’s probably
going to take more time and effort than the average person is
willing to invest in order to make a living at DraftDay.
How does DraftDay compare with other sites in the niche?
I always recommend that players try multiple sites. DraftDay
should certainly be one of the sites on that list, too. They
offer everything a daily fantasy sports player might need. Their
signup bonus is generous, too, so you might as well try to get
your hands on some of that.
Summary & Verdict
DraftDay is smaller and less well-known than some of the
other players in the daily and weekly fantasy sports industry,
but they’re a strong option. They have a generous signup bonus.
They also offer a number of unique contest types that aren’t
available at other sites in this niche.
DraftDay also does a better job than many other sites of
making their rules easy to find on their site. They’re all
located in the FAQ section. I did have a hard time finding
information about the lineup requirements for sports that
weren’t currently active, but I suppose that’s no big deal. When
those sports start, the information will become available.
The only downside of this site is that they don’t offer a
huge variety of sports when compared to DraftKings. They do,
however, offer more options than FanDuel. The sports available
are the most popular, though—so for most players, DraftDay is
going to work just fine.
Another minor issue is the new player referral bonus.
Theoretically, at the other sites where you get a percentage of
a player’s lifetime revenue, you could earn a lot of money
referring players. But with DraftDay, you’re limited to that
one-time $15 referral fee. It’s a minor quibble, but it’s still
a notable difference.
My view is that DraftDay is an excellent option for fantasy
sports fans. Not only do they offer all the most popular fantasy
sports, but they also offer all the traditional daily contest
types. The additional contest types they make available are
interesting and affordable, too.
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