Daily fantasy sports has evolved tremendously since its introduction in 2007. The salary cap-style games that helped the activity take off on sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel are still available and widely popular. The two industry heavyweights have been joined by other platforms that have introduced their own spin on DFS.
For example, Betr Picks brings an element of over/under betting into the equation, while many of the offerings on Underdog Fantasy are similar to what you would find in traditional season-long fantasy sports leagues. In this guide, we’ll examine the current state of DFS, provide information on the best places to play, and more.
Best daily fantasy sports sites
Top 6 fantasy sports sites
- Underdog Fantasy — large selection of available sports
- Sleeper — variety of game types
- Betr Picks — exceptional odds boosts
- SuperDraft — great for traditional DFS
- FanDuel DFS — best salary cap fantasy option
- DraftKings DFS — great for niche options
Best places to play DFS in 2024
Daily fantasy sports contests have been around for well over a decade, but they’re still evolving and growing. That’s good news for prospective players, as it means a variety of platforms to try. Let’s take a closer look at the best places to play DFS.
Underdog Fantasy has offered two types of games since its debut in 2020. Users can choose between pick’em and best ball, and there are several variations of both types. The pick’em games are very similar to wagering on player props, while best ball involves snake-style drafts where you select players when it’s your turn to pick. New users at Underdog can get a first deposit match of up to $100, with the promo code LSRBET.
While Underdog has been a hit with users, the site has also dealt with additional scrutiny over its offerings, which has resulted in a mixed bag of availability. Underdog best ball and fantasy sports contests are available in 41 states, while pick’em is an option in 31 states. And the platform is not available at all in nine states.
Sleeper Fantasy has been steadily making headway as an option for season-long fantasy players since its debut in 2017. There have been continual improvements to the platform since that point, as well as the introduction of new ways to play on the app. Sleeper also offers daily fantasy sports games where you draft a lineup versus other users, as well as pick’em and over/under games.
For Sleeper Picks, you simply make the call on how a certain player will fare against a benchmark statistic or number of fantasy points. The over/under option allows you to do the same along with the option of making multiple selections at once for the chance at an even larger payout. New users on Sleeper can get a first deposit match bonus of up to $500 with the promo code LSRBET.
Betr Picks is a recent arrival in the world of DFS. The site made its debut in 2023 with simple pick’em-style games geared toward more casual sports fans and contestants. Users simply have to decide whether a player will put up points or stats that exceed a specific line. Betr Picks is offering new users a No Sweat 1st Entry up to $250 with the promo code LSRBET.
This type of contest combines elements of player props, total betting, and parlays. Due to the similarities to sports betting, regulators in a number of states are raising questions about these types of contests. At the moment, Betr Picks is available in 23 states plus Washington, DC.
SuperDraft Fantasy also offers a variety of ways to play. There are traditional games in which users build a lineup while staying under the salary cap, as well as various contests without a cap. Another popular offering is its multiplier contests, where you can assign a multiplier to players to amplify their potential points, and season-long best balls.
There’s also a pair of games that are geared toward casual players: Super 15 ($15 cap for a five-player team) and champions mode (five-player team with one assigned a multiplier). Since its debut in 2019, SuperDraft has expanded its offerings and prize pools. The platform is available in 39 states.
Following its debut in 2009, FanDuel was one of the driving forces behind the meteoric rise of DFS. The site emerged from a crowded field to become the industry leader. In 2015, DFS captured the attention of regulators, and there were questions about whether the contests would survive.
FanDuel did survive the scare, but it also lost the top spot to DraftKings in terms of the biggest DFS site. The two competitors were close to a merger at one point, but that fell through. Today, FanDuel DFS is still going strong. The site’s salary cap games remain a staple, but the company has also introduced new options through the years, including single-game DFS.
As DFS was on its upward trajectory, DraftKings launched in 2012. It wasn’t too long before the site became a popular place to play, and the arrow continued to point up. A few years after its introduction, DraftKings claimed the top spot from FanDuel as the DFS site with the most regular players and the largest prize pools.
After a prospective merger between the two companies failed to materialize, DraftKings continued to lead the way. Users will find a wide range of salary cap games and even DFS contests involving niche sports that other sites neglect. Other options on DraftKings include tiers, where users pick a player from different groups to form a lineup.
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History of daily fantasy sports
Daily fantasy sports contests were first introduced in 2007, offering a different take on the traditional season-long fantasy sports leagues in which contestants draft a team and manage it over the course of the season. DFS took that concept and boiled it down to a single day. For example, as opposed to managing an NFL fantasy team for an entire season, users could simply draft a team for a Sunday’s worth of games and win or lose based on their players’ performances in those games.
In 2009, FanDuel made its debut and quickly rose to the top of what was still a relatively small industry. It didn’t take too long for that to change, and FanDuel was one of the driving forces behind making that happen. The company faced plenty of competition through the years, with other sites popping up, some of which lasted, while others fell by the wayside. DraftKings entered the fray in 2012 and steadily gained traction, eventually surpassing FanDuel as the top name in daily fantasy sports.
DFS has dealt with various regulatory hurdles and questions about its legality through the years, but contests are still available, in some form, in a large number of states. Additionally, newer spins on DFS have emerged on sites such as PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy. However, with these new options has come additional scrutiny. Some states have cracked down on the newer pick’em-style games, while other states have specific regulations in regard to which sites can operate. You can read more about the availability of DFS on a state-by-state basis via the link below.
Types of DFS
Pick’em fantasy sports apps
Daily fantasy sports have continued to evolve since bursting onto the scene. In recent times, pick’em style games from platforms such as PrizePicks, Betr Picks, and Underdog Fantasy have grown in availability and popularity. These games are very similar to wagering on player props and parlays in states in which sports betting is legal.
For example, a platform may present a range of players and assign a set number of fantasy points to each. Users can then choose two or more players, in each case picking whether they think the player’s points will be over or under the set number for that player. If you get all of your picks correct, you win a prize based on your entry fee and the multiple attached to the number of selections that you made.
Traditional fantasy sports
The main form of DFS is the one that you’ll find at DraftKings and FanDuel, with variations at a variety of platforms. In the dominant version of DFS, users select a sport and a contest to enter. Then they select a team of players, under a salary cap that the site sets. (The site assigns each player a value in terms of fake dollars, and users must construct a roster of players while staying under the salary cap.)
Once a user has picked a team, all that’s left is to wait for the real games to begin and watch how your team stacks up against the competition. If your team does well, you get a prize. Contests can vary widely in terms of how much they cost to enter (free or 25 cents, all the way up to $10,000) and how they are structured. Here are some examples:
- Guaranteed prize pools: You pay a set entry fee to compete for a share of a fixed prize pool; GPPs run regardless of whether they fill up or not.
- “Cash games”: You can either join an existing league or create your own league, in which the best-performing fantasy teams win prizes. These are smaller than GPPs and not guaranteed to run.
- Head-to-head: Two contestants face off against each other; the winner receives the entire prize pool.
- 50/50: Contestants in the top half of the field nearly double their investment; the other half of the field receives nothing.
There are also a number of other variants of DFS that stray from the DraftKings/FanDuel model, although they have the common thread of always being based on player statistics. In some forms, players are selected without a “salary” attached to them. There are also versions where you try to predict how well a certain player or players will do in comparison to a line that the DFS site sets.
Sports offered in daily fantasy
The major North American team sports are the most popular for DFS:
- Football (NFL)
- Basketball (NBA)
- Baseball (MLB)
- Hockey (NHL)
The big four sports attract the most attention from DFS players, with the NFL being the most popular, followed by the NBA. However, FanDuel, DraftKings, and other sites don’t stop there. You may find a wide range of options, depending on what’s in season. Other popular sports for DFS include the following:
- College football
- College basketball
- Mixed martial arts
- Formula One
- Esports (like League of Legends)
Frequently asked questions about DFS
How long have daily fantasy sports been around?
Daily fantasy sports contests were introduced in 2007. The activity was a niche offering in its early days, but it began rising to prominence with the debut of FanDuel in 2009. Other major DFS sites debuted in the following years, including DraftKings.
Is DFS available in all states?
Daily fantasy sports contests are available to play in the majority of the United States. However, some states block the activity altogether, while others have specific rules on which types of games they allow. You can read more about where you can play DFS here.
Is DFS just a form of sports betting?
The opinions on DFS range from the belief that it is 100% a legal game of skill to a form of gambling just based on player statistics. From a casual standpoint, most people consider it a form of skill-based gambling. In the United States, DFS sites are generally set aside as something different from legal sports betting sites.
What are some DFS platforms not named DraftKings or FanDuel?
There are dozens of DFS operators on the market. Some of the larger ones include PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy, SuperDraft, and Betr Picks.
Do you have to pay taxes on DFS winnings?
Yes. For more on this topic, see this series on DFS and filing taxes.