Since its inception, the daily fantasy sports (DFS) landscape in the States has grown by leaps and bounds. What began as a niche pursuit has now blossomed into a thriving industry, with pioneers paving the way for a multitude of exciting newcomers. In this guide, we review the best DFS sites in the US in 2024, examine various daily fantasy apps, as well as look into daily fantasy vs. sports betting in the country.
Best DFS Sites
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How Daily Fantasy Sports Works
Daily fantasy sports are pretty much like traditional fantasy sports, but with a twist. They entail creating a team of real-life athletes competing against other DFS players based on the statistical performance of the participants. The major difference between these two is that DFS contest schedules usually cover a day or a week.
The best daily fantasy sports sites and apps provide tournaments for an array of existing leagues, such as the NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, tennis, and college teams. The most commonly played DFS in the US are football and baseball.
Generally speaking, you are required to pick a specified number of players from a group of games taking place within a set period. Your players then score more fantasy points based on their performance during the game.
Let's say you're competing in a game of basketball — you might need to pick eight players from two specific games. Daily fantasy apps will usually give you a salary cap that you need to stick to.
Each player comes with their own cost based on their popularity and recent performances. For instance, a star quarterback costs considerably more than a backup quarterback. Note that you can’t just pick the best athletes from each team.
With that said, let’s take an initial budget of $100,000. If you draft a star quarterback in the league for $20,000, you’ll give up strength in another crucial position as your selection eats up 20% of your salary limit.
Once you’ve assembled your lineups/teams on your favorite fantasy sports site, you’re able to monitor the athlete’s performance in real time. Your players score points based on metrics such as turnovers, touchdowns, rebounds, shots, steals, blocks, assists, and so on.
If lady luck smiles down upon you and your lineup collectively accumulates more points than your competition, you’re entitled for a real-money payout from your DFS app. Payouts may vary as per the rules of each tourney as well as the number of participants. Some daily fantasy contests will have the winner-take-all prizes, while others offer payouts to the first-place finishers.
Daily fantasy sports betting sites offer tournaments in many formats. For instance, you could compete against a single opponent, go head-to-head with an opponent, or even enter into a tournament-style competition.
Remember, the objective here is not only to select the best DFS sites, but also to accumulate as many points as possible by picking players who can do well on the day of the main action.
Keep in mind that the DFS evaluation is usually set a few hours or days/weeks before the main event and generally can’t be updated.
You’ll not find an established strategy to win in DFS. The general idea is to always find value within a certain daily fantasy sports pool.
Overview of DFS Betting Sites
Each one of the top daily fantasy sites provided on our top list has met our extremely thorough assessment standards. As such, we’ve gone ahead and described them below to help you know exactly what to expect should you decide to join any of them.
FanDuel makes our top cut as it was one of the first daily fantasy sports betting sites to launch in the US. It’s not only a customer-friendly DFS betting platform, but also provides a brilliant selection of game formats. You can choose from different sports, including NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB.
Besides the tourneys, this top-rated daily fantasy site offers quick picks, single-game contests, beat-the-score games, as well as survivor tournaments. Players stand a chance to qualify for various special events such as World Fantasy Championships. Moreover, each year FanDuel crowns a World Champion for baseball, basketball, and football. The titles carry huge cash prizes too.
This brand’s website is easy to use and it provides various deposit/payout options suitable for the American market. So, you can see why FanDuel is on our list of the best DFS sites in 2024.
This Boston-based brand was established in 2012 and has gained great popularity when it comes to DFS space. It offers you a chance to win significant amounts of cash prizes; essentially, you can enter various mega tournaments with seven-figure potential payouts.
The betting site gives all its players the royal treatment, with new customers getting a 20% deposit match-up welcome bonus up to $500 DK dollars. There’s also an excellent and lucrative rewards system for existing players.
In the last couple of years, DraftKings has been quite innovative, and now offers more than just the usual traditional salary cap games. It's become a leader for snake draft games, Best Ball, and Superflex, among others.
While PrizePicks doesn’t carry as much weight as FanDuel and DraftKings, we rated it among the top DFS sites in America and you’ll quickly see why. This site veers from the traditional DFS route by providing a more simplified experience.
You’re required to pick at least two over/under for players on two different teams instead of drafting entire squads, which might be a bit restricting for some. Still, this daily fantasy betting platform is among the best for pick’em games.
Additionally, the site has a rich game library comprising major sports, esports, college sports, and even the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Annual Contest!
OwnersBox is also one of the best daily fantasy betting sites in the USA today, providing a mix of traditional daily salary caps and unique DFS contest formats.
For instance, the site offers Lightning Lineups tournaments, where there are three groups of teams for a given sport. Each fantasy team has three athletes and you get to pick the lineup you think will score the most points. You can also change the teams if you don’t like the options you’ve got.
Moreover, all newly-registered players get one free $5 Lightning Lineups entry plus an extra $5 entry into the site’s SuperFlex DFS.
Remember to always read and understand the T&Cs before claiming any offers, as they greatly determine the value of the bonuses.
Formerly known as Betcha, Vivid Picks is quite innovative in the way it offers DFS, featuring a social platform that allows you to connect with your friends. Like the vast majority of fantasy sports sites, it provides props for major sporting events.
This top-rated DFS site stands out from the crowd with its live games and custom boosts. You can make predictions even after a sporting event has started, while the boosts multiply your payouts.
On this platform, you’ll find niche props for WNBA, esports, and NASCAR. The Vivid Picks fantasy library is undoubtedly one of the biggest in regards to DFS.
UnderDog Fantasy also made it on our list of the best DFS sites in the USA and is gaining popularity across the country pretty fast. Rather than competing with established top dogs (such as FanDuel) to offer traditional cap games, this platform has centered its novelty on something new.
They provide games such as Battle Royale and Best Ball. Here, you create a DFS schedule by drafting lineups with other players. There are different tourney formats for Best Ball, which is quite appealing to fantasy football fans.
A few American professional sports you’ll find at UnderDog Fantasy include MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA. Lastly, this DFS fantasy site provides pick'em games that span beyond the four major sports.
Boom Fantasy is another formidable candidate in the pick’em style category of DFS sports sites. This platform even sweetens the pot for you by throwing in Pick’em Longshots and Favorites.
In the Pick’em Longshots, you can select two or three preset long-shot predictions, like an above-average number of strikeouts. Here, you can win 10x if you get two predictions right, and 40x if all three are correct.
Favorites’ tourneys offer several easy prediction props for payouts between 1.3x and 3x your buy-in. What’s even more appealing is that this daily fantasy app offers new players a bonus of up to $100 upon joining.
SuperDraft is one of our best DFS sites simply because it brings something different to the table. It cuts through the ‘salary cap’ red tape to give you an entirely new experience. You still have to put together an entire team, though. The only alteration in its setup is that you can select any player you like and put them all in your team.
Here’s the catch — this DFS site makes use of a multiplier system that handicaps every athlete, giving you a completely different experience.
States With Legal Daily Fantasy Sports
While daily fantasy sports are legal in most regions in America, a few of them forbid DFS contests. These include Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii, Washington, and Nevada.
That said; you can enjoy various forms of daily fantasy sports betting in major states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, and many others. However, bear in mind that the availability of the DFS apps varies from one state to another.
Pros of Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
There are several reasons you might want to consider registering with one of the daily fantasy sports sites we’ve listed on our page:
DFS sites are legal: Our list of the best DFS sites is licensed in every state where they offer their services.
You can access the sites on mobile: Top-rated fantasy sports sites offer mobile apps available for Android and iOS devices. This way, you can catch the action on the go.
Daily fantasy sports websites are available in most of the US states: DFS betting is legal and available in many US states. We can safely state that each of the daily fantasy sites listed here offers its services to over 30 American states.
Top-rated DFS sites offer huge potential payouts: While landing the big wins is quite difficult, you get the chance to compete for large amounts of cash to the tune of millions of dollars every other day of the week.
Types of Fantasy Sports Contests
You'll come across a variety of contests on our top list of daily fantasy sports apps, which we explain below.
Sometimes referred to as guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), these are simply big contests that allow entries from numerous players, sometimes in the thousands. They offer massive cash prizes for the player who finishes in the first place and progressively less for lower finishers.
On the best daily fantasy sports betting sites, you'll find smaller GPPs, ensuring cash rewards even if the pool does not fill up.
In DFS tournaments, players take bigger risks when drafting their lineups to have a chance at beating the competition. As such, they might draft unpredictable but higher-ceiling players.
It’s worth mentioning that some DFS tourneys will let you make multiple entries and submit more than a few lineups. Others, however, have got strict limits on the number of entries you can make.
DFS Cash Games
You’ll also find these kinds of contests in the best DFS sites in the US. There are two main types of DFS cash games: head-to-head and 5/50s contests. In these tournaments, you're required to beat a limited number of competitors to win a fixed prize.
For example, in a head-to-head contest, you'd be going up against one opponent for the winner-takes-all prize pool. The winning player would take the entry fees that both competitors staked, minus a commission. Usually, the best daily fantasy betting sites charge around 10% commission.
In 50/50s and double-up DFS tourneys, you’d be competing against many opponents. Here, you’re required to beat half the field to guarantee a payout. Therefore, if 200 participants enter the contest, you only need to beat 100 to win a payout equal to double your entry fee. The payout structures in DFS cash games are essentially even, where all winners earn equal amounts.
In these types of tournaments, players draft safer lineups compared to DFS contests. This is simply because they just need to come up with a team that has the best possible chance of doing well enough to earn a payout in the long run.
While it’s easier to win in cash games than in DFS tourneys, the potential prize pools are virtually never as high.
The best daily fantasy sports betting sites offer this type of tournament in various forms, including salary caps, snake drafts, pick'em, and auction drafts.
The majority of fantasy games utilize the salary cap lineup model, where you’re given a simulated salary cap to use and build your team. In this model, drafting a player doesn’t remove them from the pool for everyone else. All players are available to all competitors.
In a snake draft, you’re given a pool of athletes, from which you and other contestants can pick. This is what entire season fantasy football leagues have been using for years. You essentially take turns with your opponents to draft players across the league. Once a player is drafted, they are off the table for everyone else. The snake draft style aims to keep the process fair by reversing the order in which opponents take their picks in each round.
You’ve also got what’s known as pick’em. Some sites offer pick’em tourneys, where you get to build a team by making your picks one at a time from a group of chosen players. Other sites feature pick'em tournaments that entail making in-game predictions for set payouts.
There's also the auction draft that's similar to the snake draft but simpler. Contestants nominate a player to go to auction. During the process, all competitors can place their bids, and the highest bidder takes the athlete.
Some of the best DFS sites in the US, such as DraftKings, offer tourneys in which you pick athletes in a season-long fantasy league to build your team. In best ball, there's no need for weekly player swaps. Rather, the best athletes will end up in your lineup at the end of the week.
In some states, the law requires DFS betting sites to host ‘beginners only' contests, obviously designed for players with little to no experience. For instance, DraftKings makes these contests available to those who've participated in 50 or fewer tourneys on the site.
Such tournaments are often low risk. You might even come across fantasy freerolls, which are free bets to enter and still offer real- money payouts to winners.
Daily Fantasy Sports Apps
We’ve narrowed down the best DFS apps in the United States and highlighted them below:
As one of the veterans in the DFS industry, DraftKings has an excellent mobile app available for iOS and Android users. It features a great scoring system with performance bonuses and much more. Our experience with this fantasy sports app was seamless, which is why we rated it among the best in the country.
FanDuel Fantasy App
The FanDuel mobile app is pretty easy to navigate and comes packed with unique features that enhance your gaming experience. On this app, you can access a variety of tourneys across all popular sports in America. In addition, players can refer friends to earn contest credits and even join the FanDuel Players Club.
This daily fantasy app has gained the patronage of many players in the US as a great platform for SuperFlex DFS tournaments. You can enjoy weekly contests with the best season-long leagues and daily fantasy game features.
PrizePicks DFS betting app went live in 2018 and has been rapidly growing since then. The intuitive app allows you to make entries smoothly while watching live sporting events. Plus, you enjoy fast and easy gameplay.
Daily Fantasy vs. Sports Betting
With the wind of legalization of sports betting blowing across the US, sports fans can now choose between legal sportsbooks and the best DFS sites.
However, we can’t ignore the fact that there are some major differences as well as similarities between daily fantasy sports and sports betting.
In DFS, you’re required to be a little bit more focused on the big picture. Instead of placing your wagers on an outcome of games, you need to assemble lineups comprising athletes from across the board. You must ask questions like “How much do players cost to draft?” “Who will they be going up against on the game day?” While sports betting might also require you to be conversant with the industry, individual bets have a narrower focus.
These two are alike in that seasoned players can reap profits in the long term. However, only a tiny fraction of players attain this.
How To Start Playing DFS
Let's now take a look at a straightforward step-by-step guide to how you can start playing DFS for cash prizes:
Choose the best daily fantasy betting site for your needs and click on the ‘Join’, ‘Sign Up’, or ‘Play Now’ button. Then, enter a valid email address, choose a username, provide your phone number, and then create a password.
After verifying your account, make a deposit with your preferred payment option.
Head on to the fantasy sports section and enter a contest.
Build your lineup and wait for results.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Now that you are armed with the specifics on the best DFS sites and have seen our comparison between daily fantasy sports vs. sports betting, you might as well try it out! Most of the sites we’ve discussed on this page are available in many US states.
Lastly, keep in mind that whether you choose sports betting or daily fantasy sports, these activities should purely be meant for entertainment purposes and not as a primary source of income.
Each daily fantasy sports site is unique in its own way, but FanDuel and DraftKings remain among the best daily fantasy sites in the United States of America.
While daily fantasy sports are legal in most of the US states, it's always wise for you to make sure your state permits this form of gaming.
DFS and sports betting share a few similarities, such as both are appealing to sports fans. However, sports betting is mainly a game of chance, whereas daily fantasy sports isn’t.
Most DFS sites require players to be at least 18 years old. However, each state is at liberty to set its own age limit. For example, you must be 21+ to play DFS in Louisiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Arizona. On the other hand, Alabama and Nebraska require their residents to be 19+.
NFL takes the lead by far in the USA. You’ll find that MLB and NBA are prominent too but not as nearly as much as football.