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Welcome to our comprehensive Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) guide, your go-to resource for learning how to play and discovering the best DFS sites and apps. We’ll explore the different types of daily fantasy sports contests, the DFS legal landscape, the best tips to increase your chances of success, and everything else you’ll need to know to get started. Let’s dive right in!
What Is Daily Fantasy Sports?
Daily fantasy sports is a unique alternative to the traditional season-long fantasy leagues, which are played by tens of millions of sports fans each year. Instead of drafting a single team at the beginning of the season, DFS players can draft a new team on a daily or weekly basis and compete in a wide range of contests throughout the course of the season.
DFS competitions can vary significantly in terms of the size, format, and rules. However, daily fantasy sports contests will typically require you to act as your fantasy team’s general manager by filling roster spots from a pool of players while remaining under the salary cap provided. You’ll then compete against other participants and have a chance to win your share of the prize pool based on the statistical performance of the players on your team.
The daily fantasy sports industry is currently dominated by two major players: DraftKings and FanDuel. Both platforms provide a variety of contests across many different sports and leagues, ensuring their games cater to players of all interests. There are also plenty of other high-quality DFS sites on the market that have something unique to offer their customers, a few of which are discussed in the next section.
Best Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
Although DraftKings and FanDuel are the two biggest names in the world of daily fantasy sports, there are many other DFS sites that offer thrilling gameplay and huge prize pools. Each daily fantasy app is unique and has something special to offer its customers, but there are four daily fantasy sports platforms that stand head and shoulders above the rest: Underdog Fantasy, OwnersBox Fantasy, ParlayPlay, and Fliff Social Sportsbook.
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|Underdog Fantasy|| |
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Underdog Fantasy made its market debut in March 2020 and is backed by a long list of celebrity investors (e.g., Kevin Durant, Jared Goff, and Mark Cuban). The DFS platform offers daily, weekly, and season-long contests, covering more than a dozen different sports. Players will be able to choose between three main types of contests: Best Ball, Battle Royale, and Pick’em.
Best Ball contests offer all the excitement and entertainment of your typical season-long fantasy league without all the stress associated with in-season team management, and they are the most popular options among the site’s players. Underdog Fantasy also provides a top-tier mobile app, allowing for easy navigation between different contests and an overall seamless user experience.
Launched in September 2020, OwnersBox Fantasy offers a versatile and exciting experience to fantasy players all over the United States and Canada. The site covers the four major American professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL) and offers two primary types of contests: SuperFlex DFS and Lightning Lineups.
SuperFlex DFS Contests involve building a lineup of players, which includes flex and Superflex roster spots to eliminate the need for kickers or team defenses, while staying under the competition’s required salary cap. Meanwhile, Lightning Lineups contests give competitors a chance to spin a wheel, pick their preferred lineup from the options presented, and win based on your players’ performances.
ParlayPlay is one of the newest and fastest-growing daily fantasy sports apps on the market. The platform’s games include Higher/Lower contests and Hit-It Contests, both of which combine arguably the two best types of bets (parlays and props).
Similar to online sportsbooks, ParlayPlay allows you to compete against yourself, rather than daily fantasy sharks, in order to win huge prizes and payouts. Overall, ParlayPlay offers an experience like no other to daily fantasy players all over the United States and Canada.
Fliff Social Sportsbook
Although it may be better categorized as a social sportsbook or sweepstakes platform, Fliff provides just as much excitement and exhilaration as any DFS site out there. Fliff Social Sportsbook is a free-to-play platform that gives users an opportunity to win real cash prizes by making picks just like they would with any standard online sports betting site.
Fliff offers a variety of bet types, including but not limited to moneylines, point spreads, over/under totals, parlays, prop bets, and alternative lines. Players are also offered an immersive social experience, as they can follow their friends’ picks, compete for the top spot on the Fliff leaderboards, and earn badges to showcase their performance.
Types of DFS Contests
You’ll quickly find that daily fantasy sports contests can come in all different shapes and sizes. The prize pool, entry fee, scoring system, roster construction, number of participants, and contest duration can all vary depending on the specific rules of the contest you choose to enter. That said, there are certain formats and structures that are commonly adopted and available no matter which platform you use. Five of the most common types of DFS contests are listed and explained below.
Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPP) Tournaments
GPP tournaments are one of the most popular types of DFS contests. In these tournaments, a fixed prize pool is guaranteed regardless of the number of participants. Participants compete against a large field of players, aiming to accumulate the highest score within the contest. GPP tournaments often offer significant prizes, including the chance to win a share of the prize pool, with higher payouts for top-performing participants.
In 50/50 contests, participants need to finish in the top half of the field to win. Essentially, if you rank higher than 50% of the participants, you will receive an equal payout regardless of your final position within the top half. For example, if there are 100 participants, the top 50 will win the same payout, while the remaining 50 participants will not receive a prize. These contests offer a higher probability of winning compared to GPP tournaments, making them attractive for more risk-averse players.
Double-up contests are similar to 50/50 contests, but with a slight variation in payout structure. In double-ups, participants who finish in the top half of the field receive exactly double their entry fee as a prize. For instance, if the entry fee is $10, participants who rank in the top 50% will win $20. This format provides a straightforward and balanced payout structure, making it appealing for players seeking consistent returns on their investments.
Head-to-head contests involve a one-on-one matchup between two participants. Each participant selects a lineup, and the participant with the higher score at the end of the contest wins. In head-to-head matchups, the prize is typically the total entry fees of both participants, minus a small commission or fee charged by the DFS platform. These contests offer direct competition and can be a good way to challenge specific opponents or friends.
Pick’em contests present participants with a set of player matchups or game scenarios. Participants must choose their preferred option for each matchup or scenario. Points are awarded based on the correct picks, and participants with the highest scores win the contest. Pick’em contests test participants’ ability to analyze matchups and make accurate predictions, adding a different layer of strategy compared to traditional player drafting contests.
What Sports Are Offered on Daily Fantasy Sites?
Daily fantasy sports sites offer a wide range of sports for participants to enjoy. While the availability of specific sports may vary slightly between different platforms, here are a few of the options available to DFS players:
- Football (NFL, NCAAF, XFL, USFL, CFL)
- Basketball (NBA, WNBA, NCAAB, EuroLeague)
- Baseball (MLB, KBO)
- Ice Hockey (NHL)
- Soccer (MLS, EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga)
- Golf (PGA, LIV)
- Motorsports (NASCAR, F1)
- MMA (UFC)
- Esports (LoL, CS:GO, Dota 2)
- Boxing (UFC)
- Tennis (ATP, WTA)
Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal?
Fantasy sports were specifically exempted from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. In other words, daily fantasy sports are legal and classified as a game of skill according to federal law. However, the specific laws and regulations concerning daily fantasy sports vary across different states.
The vast majority of U.S. states have legalized daily fantasy sports contests or permitted them to exist in a legal gray area, meaning there are no state laws allowing or prohibiting DFS. There are currently five U.S. states that have either forbid daily fantasy sports or currently have no DFS platforms operating within their borders: Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.
In most states, players will only need to be 18 years or older to participate in DFS contests. However, there are a few exceptions. Alabama and Nebraska require DFS players to be at least 19 years of age. In addition, Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and Massachusetts have mandates in place that require DFS participants to be 21 years or older.
Where Is DFS Available?
Are you unsure if daily fantasy sports is available in your state? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at the table below to find out where six of the best DFS sites (DraftKings, FanDuel, Underdog Fantasy, OwnersBox Fantasy, ParlayPlay, and Fliff Social Sportsbook) are available across the United States.
How To Sign Up & Start Playing
Time needed: 4 minutes.
If you’re ready to enter the exciting world of daily fantasy sports, then follow the steps below to get started!
- Choose Your DFS Site
Pick a reliable and trustworthy DFS platform that aligns with your personal preferences and gaming needs. We highly recommend Underdog Fantasy, OwnersBox Fantasy, ParlayPlay, and Fliff Social Sportsbook.
- Register for an Account
- Verify Your Information
Complete the account verification process by following the on-screen instructions provided by your DFS platform. You may need to provide your social security number or a picture of your driver’s license to confirm your identity.
- Make a Deposit
Choose your preferred form of payment (e.g., online banking, debit/credit card, or digital wallet), and make your first deposit on the site.
- Claim Your Welcome Offer
Claim the sign-up bonus, deposit match, free contest entry, or other form of welcome offer provided to all new customers on the site. If necessary, use a promo code when registering for the account or making your first deposit.
- Start Entering Contests
Begin entering any of the contests offered by your DFS site. Good luck!
Strategies & Tips for DFS Players
Whether you’re new to daily fantasy sports and looking for some guidance or you’re a seasoned player looking to take your DFS performance to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some general tips and useful strategies to help increase your chances of success:
- Do Your Research & Stay Informed: Research is crucial in DFS. Stay updated with the latest news, injuries, and lineup changes for the athletes you are considering drafting. This includes monitoring player performance trends, studying matchups, and analyzing relevant statistics. Staying informed allows you to make well-informed decisions and adjust your lineup based on the most up-to-date information.
- Properly Manage Your Bankroll: Set a budget for your DFS activities and avoid overspending. Determine the amount you can comfortably afford to allocate to DFS contests without negatively impacting your financial well-being. You may also want to consider allocating a smaller percentage of your bankroll to large tournaments and focus on cash games or 50/50 contests for more consistent returns.
- Analyze Matchups: Evaluate the matchups your selected athletes will face. Look at statistics such as the opposing team’s defense/offense rankings, player-vs-player matchups, home/away performance differentials, and recent performance trends. This analysis can help you identify favorable matchups and exploit potential weaknesses.
- Review and Learn from Previous Lineups: Regularly review your past lineups and contest results. Analyze both your winning and losing lineups to identify patterns, strengths, and weaknesses. Learn from your mistakes and successes to refine your strategies over time. Continuous self-evaluation is crucial for growth and improvement as a DFS player.
- Utilize Late Swap: If your DFS site allows for late swaps or last-minute substitutions to your lineup, make use of this feature to gain an edge. Monitor news, injury updates, and lineup changes up until game time. Adjust your lineup accordingly to maximize potential points by swapping out any players who become inactive or whose roles change unexpectedly.
- Understand Value and Salary Efficiency: Look for players who offer strong value relative to their salary. Seek out undervalued athletes who have the potential to outperform their cost in terms of fantasy points. Efficiently managing your salary cap by identifying value plays allows you to roster more high-priced, elite performers.
Daily Fantasy Sports FAQ
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is an exciting alternative to season-long fantasy sports leagues. Participants can draft new teams every day or week and enter different types of contests throughout the entire season. DFS covers many different sports, including but not limited to football, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer.
DFS contests are much shorter in duration than typical fantasy leagues. They typically last a single day or week and allow you to draft new teams for each event, providing a dynamic and fast-paced experience.
Yes, daily fantasy sports (DFS) is legal and available in the vast majority of U.S. states. Many states that prohibit online sportsbooks (e.g., California, Florida, and Texas) allow DFS platforms to operate within their borders.
Most DFS contests require participants to submit an entry fee in order to compete, but many DFS platforms will periodically offer free games, tournaments, and events to their users.
There are plenty of high-quality DFS sites with special features and exciting contests to offer daily fantasy players all over the United States. However, Underdog Fantasy, OwnersBox Fantasy, ParlayPlay, and Fliff Social Sportsbook stand out as four of the best options on the market.