There was a time when fantasy sports was the closest that most Americans got to (kind of) betting on sports. The companies themselves argued that it wasn’t actually betting and were able to keep operating. But then the US Supreme Court made its landmark decision to hand over sports gambling legislation over to individual states – and everything changed.
Now people in over 30 states have the opportunity to sign up with some of the best online betting sites and place wagers on sports events from all over the world. But there is still a lot of love for fantasy sports. Most of the big fantasy sports operators are now big players in the sports betting world. But there has been an influx of new sites and apps in the last few years as well.
One of the biggest reasons for the continued popularity of fantasy sports was the introduction of daily fantasy sports – or DFS. Rather than be tied in for an entire season with your fantasy picks, DFS allowed customers to play on a daily basis. If your picks end up being duds, you can just re-draft the next day. There are also plenty of sports to choose from apart from the classic football too.
If anything, DFS is getting bigger as more people have been able to try out online sports betting. It is still seen as more of a game than betting by some – and can be very enjoyable for even the most novice of users.
10 Best Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
Let’s start off with the big guns. Even if you have never even heard of daily fantasy sports, or ever placed a bet, you will probably be aware of FanDuel. Founded in 2009, FanDuel is one of the big two and is what many of the later sites and apps wish to be.
There is now an extensive list of sports available to play all kinds of daily fantasy sports games – and there are different categories to suit all budgets too. Keen to keep on attracting even more customers, the app has a really good beginners section for newcomers to learn all the tricks of the trade.
This is the other name that you can’t fail to have noticed over the last ten years or so. The company launched in 2012 and soon became one of the two main go-to sites for fantasy sports. When DFS really took off a few years ago, it was also at the forefront of all the excitement.
Like FanDuel, DraftKings is what new sites are measured up against and the innovations that this app has brought to the fantasy sports industry have been copied hundreds of times by smaller and newer sites. All the main types of games can be found here and you will also see the name plastered across sports arenas these days too.
Sometimes you don’t need to get too complex and detailed to be successful. A simple idea can be the one that wins. The people behind PrizePicks are definitely of that persuasion, as they offer some of the easiest fantasy sports games to play – and have done very well out of it.
PrizePicks only started in 2015 – as Prize Predictions – but is now available in over 30 states and Canada. You can just play against the over/under predictions on the site itself, rather than playing against other customer account holders – and the payout system is quick and trouble-free. What’s not to like?
4. Monkey Knife Fight
To be honest, we would probably have included this site here just for the name alone, even if it wasn’t any good. But the bonus is that it was one of the best daily fantasy sports sites on the market. The sad news is that, after five years of top gaming, Monkey Knife Fight has now ceased operations.
It used to be one of the most popular of the new wave of DFS sites, launching in 2018. It grew even bigger in 2020 when it acquired all of the assets of rival site FantasyDraft. It had also enjoyed contracts with a number of MLB and NHL teams, so it is fair to assume that we haven’t seen the last of these guys.
5. Underdog Fantasy
You know a DFS site is attracting a lot of attention when investors include the likes of Mark Cuban and Kevin Durant. Underdog only started in 2020 in Brooklyn, New York but has already become one of the big players in fantasy sports. It is another example of how specializing can really work in this industry.
This DFS site does cover the whole market when it comes to games and competitions. But it really goes to town on the Best Ball-style contests. There’s even a season-long Best Ball to get the customers hooked in. This is one DFS site that is really making waves right now.
This is another of the DFS sites that has decided that offering contests against the house is a way of making a name for itself and cornering at least a section of the market. There is a lot on offer here but the general rules are very familiar to anyone who has ever used DFS sites before.
StatHero also offers a good survivor contest in which customers play against the StatHero line-up. If they win, they then move on to the next round – but the nice touch here is that customers cannot use any of the players used in the previous round. It is details like this that create a USP in a crowded market.
SuperDraft offers all the usual salary cap contests that go down so well with the daily fantasy sports community. But it also boasts that it was the first to provide users with a chance to win jackpot player props along the way. The best thing about the jackpots is that they roll over if no one wins.
There are other games that get rid of the salary cap and use a multiplier for players. SuperDraft continues to be popular and proves that just existing in DFS is an achievement in itself. That being said, the SuperDraft app also looks really good and usability ratings are always very positive.
Drafters started off small but has attracted a lot of attention for the way it has gone about reeling new customers in. It was quick to offer daily snake drafts rather than salary cap building and seems good for anyone who actually enjoys the season-long way of playing – no matter what the DFS people say!
This site has also noticed how popular the Best Ball contests are at the moment and offers a good season-long version of that as well. The look of the site may seem a little basic at first glance but the users don’t care about that too much if the contests are exciting and the prizes enticing.
This site launched in 2020 and has become very popular very quickly. There is a huge amount of stats and information about players to help you with your picks and there are more than enough ways to play on the site. The basic daily contests are all here – as well as knockout contests that can take four weeks to play.
OwnersBox shows that there needs to be some leeway to the daily aspect of these kinds of sites to be successful. Superflex games are also good in that it gives customers an extra flex position to include on their rosters. This site could do really well if it keeps up with the innovations.
If you enjoy prop betting then ThriveFantasy could be the DFS site for you. There is a good mix of sports betting and fantasy here and customers will really like the simple usability of the site. There are also all the familiar contests to play if you just want something more conventional.
ThriveFantasy covers the major US sports like NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA, but has also recognized the increased popularity of esports. Esports betting has really taken off in the last few years and ThriveFantasy has noticed that DFS games can be offered for the likes of CS:GO, League of Legends and Dota too.
Future of Daily Fantasy Sports
As you can see from the ten DFS sites profiled here, there is a lot of scope for growing the market in the next few years. Even with the huge names, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, there is still plenty of room for smaller startups to grab their own foothold in the market.
It will be interesting to see whether these smaller brands will need to specialize to compete as even more users are added. But it is encouraging that there are so many new and innovative ways that these DFS sites can work. Any that offer a more immersive model is sure to do well soon and if there is further gamification involved, there could be some very interesting developments in DFS soon.