Legal Sports Report

Daily Fantasy Football

Daily fantasy sports grew into an activity where billions of dollars started changing hands annually in recent years.

But much like season-long fantasy sports, the year for DFS is mainly focused around the NFL season.

Here are some questions and answers about playing daily fantasy football:

Best daily fantasy football sites 2020

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How does daily fantasy for NFL work?

At most DFS sites, daily fantasy football works a lot like season-long fantasy football.

From a pool of players, contest participants select a roster of players constrained by an artificial salary cap. That roster will usually include a quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, a tight end, a defense, and sometimes a kicker.

Each football player is assigned a salary value. Users may select any player they wish, as long as their entire roster fits under the salary cap, and they construct their roster according to contest rules.

There are several versions of how to play daily fantasy football, but the salary-cap model is by far the most common iteration.

This year DraftKings will also offer a new type of contest that does involve salaries or a salary cap, called DraftKings Pick’em.

From there, DFS sites offer a wide range of contests based on these formats.

What kind of daily fantasy NFL contests are there?

At core, all daily fantasy football contests are the same. You pay an entry fee in the hopes of winning a cash prize.

From there, sites offer several different types of contests

  • Guaranteed prize pools (GPPs): A fixed prize pool is offered by a site with a maximum number of entries, sometimes in the millions of dollars at the largest sites. They run regardless of whether they fill up or not.
  • “Cash games”: Players can either join an existing contest or create their own. These are smaller than GPPs and not guaranteed to run.
  • Head-to-Head: A contest that pits two players against one another; the winner receives the entire prize pool.
  • 50/50: The top half of the field nearly doubles their investment; the other half of the field receives nothing.

Who offers daily fantasy football?

The simple answer: Just about everyone.

The two biggest sites are DraftKings and FanDuel. They feature the most users, the biggest variety of contests, and the most money up for grabs.

Each site takes a different legal approach to differing state laws; check here for a snapshot.

There are some European- or rest-of-world-facing sites that focus on soccer and other sports. But if a site is serving the US market, it is offering DFS involving the NFL.

What happened in the 2016 season for daily fantasy football?

After a rapid increase in interest in daily fantasy football in 2015, things had leveled off in 2016.

In 2016, advertising blitzes by DraftKings and FanDuel and promises of massive prize pools attracted new users in droves.

A story involving a data leak at DraftKings set off a domino effect for the DFS industry, however, resulting in a pull-back in advertising and government officials questioning its legality.

As DraftKings and FanDuel dealt with the fallout, that resulted in fewer users and smaller prize pools in the NFL season.

What’s in store for 2020 in daily fantasy football?

Despite the problems the industry encountered late in 2015 and early in 2016, FanDuel and DraftKings will still be offering huge prize payouts throughout 2020.

The biggest contests this season will still pay winnings in the millions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of DFS players will flock to DFS sites.

DraftKings and FanDuel had hoped to merge in 2017, but that was called off because of a federal anti-trust challenge.

Can you play college football DFS?

After a couple years of no college fantasy football, DraftKings revived the format in 2018. Users in states where college DFS contests have not been banned can now play at DraftKings.

DraftKings and FanDuel reached an agreement with the NCAA to stop offering college football. And some states that have passed laws this year have banned fantasy contests based on college events.

Additional sports:  Daily Fantasy Basketball. Daily Fantasy Hockey

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