Daily fantasy sites continue trend that started with NFL, NBA
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings, FanDuel Are Now Boiling Daily Fantasy Baseball Down To Single Games

Daily fantasy baseball 2018

It’s time to set your daily fantasy baseball lineups for Opening Day. And now there’s another way to do it.

DraftKings is rolling out its single-game daily fantasy sports product — Showdown — for Major League Baseball. FanDuel also launched single-game contests for the first day of the season.

The games are a twist on similar products at DraftKings and FanDuel for NFL and NBA; they’re fantasy contests based on single real-world games. Showdown at DraftKings attracted 1.4 million entries for the Super Bowl, according to the company.

Showdown for MLB

The gameplay for Showdown fairly simple: It’s a salary-cap contest, much like DraftKings has run throughout its existence. But it’s only for individual games throughout the season.

The first one will be based on Thursday’s game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers that starts at 7:10 p.m. Eastern. FanDuel is also doing a contest based on that game.

DraftKings is putting a lot more stock in the product early on. FanDuel’s biggest contest is $15,000 guaranteed. DraftKings, meanwhile, has two contests guaranteeing $30,000 each and seven guaranteeing at least $15,000.

For Showdown, entrants select a lineup of six “flex” players (hitters and pitchers) from that game based on preset salaries for those players. At FanDuel, you pick five players: an MVP (that player’s points count 1.5x normal scoring) an infielder, an outfielder, and then any two hitters.

Showdown will be available for most Sunday Night Baseball matchups and other key games throughout the season. 

Showdown concept worked for DraftKings with NFL

DraftKings began the Showdown idea during the NFL playoffs this year, and FanDuel has also been doing single-game contests ever since.

The concept for NFL works in a similar manner at DraftKings: Each entry must include one offensive player from both teams. Lineups consist of four offensive players and two defensive players who rack up points for touchdowns, tackles and much more.

There also is a daily fantasy basketball version of the game at the two sites functioning with similar rules.

Showdown’s single-game concept appears to walk up to the legal line on performance not being based on the outcomes for an individual athlete or team. It narrows the focus to one game while including multiple teams and athletes.

While a variety of state-level DFS laws clarify the legality of these contests, the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act maintains that fantasy contests must consist of “multiple real-world sporting or other events.” At this point, it’s clear that DFS operators now believe the “events” the UIGEA is referring to can come within single games.

Adam Candee
- Adam Candee covers sports business and news in Las Vegas. Adam arrived in Las Vegas in 1989, and is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun and KLAS-TV.