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Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
Fantasy sports are a great way to have fun with your favorite sport - whether it's football, baseball, basketball, hockey or other team sports. Whether its professional or college, for those that have a competitive nature, fantasy sports teams allow individuals to create their own unique, customized team across any player in the league.
Fantasy sports have been around for many years. Thankfully, the days of being limited to a work or neighborhood fantasy sport league, and manually calculating scores are a thing of the past.
If you haven't heard of Draft Kings you probably don't have a TV or radio, as they are one of the most heavily advertised daily fantasy sports sites on the market today. Draft Kings, along with the other daily fantasy sports giant, Fan Duel, have spent over 150 million dollars combined on advertising in the past year alone. Draft Kings has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Forbes among many other publications and is also plastered on billboards and buses across the country. It's hard to avoid seeing an advertisement for Draft Kings fantasy sports.
To back up the enormous advertising budget, Draft Kings goes big both in terms of games available and payout totals. In 2015 Draft Kings is projected to payout over $1 billion dollars, more than any other daily fantasy sports site we reviewed. The list of fantasy sports available is also very large. Users can choose from baseball, pro football, college football, pro basketball, college basketball, hockey, soccer, NASCAR, PGA golf, and even mixed martial arts. There is something for every fantasy sports lover on the menu at Draft Kings.
The website is simple to use and looks great. The main page advertises some highlights about Draft Kings such as the $1 billion dollar payout projection, the simplicity of signing up and playing, and a few accolades and customer testimonials. Clicking on the "play now" button invites you to sign up for an account, which you will need to enter any of the contests. After creating a user name and password, Draft Kings navigates players to the lobby where they can select from a huge assortment of games and contests. Within each sport there are choices for head to head matchups, Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPP) where a top percentage of entrants take home prize money, or 50/50 style where half the entrants win money and the other half go home empty handed. There is a list of current games running at the bottom of the page to allow for immediate play, or you can navigate to the sport you want and choose from there.
Draft Kings will match player's initial deposit up to a maximum of $600, and depositing and withdrawing money through PayPal or credit card is a breeze. Once a game is selected drafting a team is also very easy and intuitive. The players available are listed on the left and can be sorted by position or salary. Choose players with a simple click, build a team under the salary cap and hit submit and you're off to the races. If you like your line up and want to use the same set of players in another contest you can easily import your line up to another game. Draft Kings was also the first to offer a mobile app so you can play and track your games on the go.
Draft Kings goes big in every way and is our unanimous pick for the top daily fantasy sports website on the market today.
Fan Duel, along with the other daily fantasy sports giant Draft Kings, spent over 150 million dollars on advertising last year alone. These two dominate the daily fantasy sports world and with good reason; they have a better game selection, more daily participants and bigger payout totals than any other fantasy sports game service. Fan Duel has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports, and is neck and neck with Draft Kings in the fantasy sports public eye. We rank Fan Duel a very close second to Draft Kings for a few reasons we will discuss below.
Fan Duel offers fantasy sports contests in all of the major sports; users can choose from baseball, pro football, college football, pro basketball, college basketball or hockey. The niche sports like golf and soccer are not yet available, and this is one slight edge Draft Kings has over Fan Duel. Still, the vast majority of fantasy games are played within these 6 sports, so for most people this won't be an issue. Total payout at Fan Duel in 2014 was $500 million, but recently they projected a $2 billion dollar pay out in 2015, likely to compete with Draft Kings claim of a $1 billion dollar pay out. We will be keeping our eyes on who wins the escalating payout war, but Fan Duel is certainly at or near the top of the list in this category.
The Fan Duel website is polished and slick and easy to use. Signing up for an account is a snap, simply enter an e-mail, username and password and an account is set up and active. The site navigates you immediately to a page where players can make their first deposit which is necessary in order to play games for money. Fan Duel will match the initial deposit up to $200, which is less than the $600 that Draft Kings currently offers and truthfully not that great in the world of daily fantasy sports. After depositing funds the user can select from the 6 major sports mentioned above, and chose from the standard types of fantasy sports contests; Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPP), head to head match ups or 50/50 games where half the entrants win at least some money. Players can enter for as little as a dollar or as much as $10,000, so there is a prize level for casual players as well as serious high rollers.
Drafting a line up is quick and easy. Simply review the list of available players, choose a team while staying under the salary cap, and submit the line up to as many contests as desired. Winnings pile up in the players Fan Duel account and can be withdrawn easily through PayPal at any time. Fan Duel also offers a mobile app so players can play and track their games on the go.
Fan Duel is an excellent daily fantasy sports gaming site that finishes a very close second in our rankings. Any fantasy sports enthusiast will have a great experience gaming at Fan Duel.
Stars Draft is a newcomer to the fantasy sports gaming world. They started as Victiv in 2014 and recently were bought by Poker Stars, the largest online poker website in the world. With a heavy investment from the new owners and a brand new name, Stars Draft is poised to make a move up the rankings in the daily fantasy sports market.
Stars Draft features daily fantasy sports games in the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL and PGA. The website is a little plain looking, but it's simple enough to navigate and signing up to start playing is as easy as entering a user name, e-mail and password. The main page advertises a play for free option, and indeed you can do just that with one of our favorite features at Stars Draft. When you sign up Stars Draft will award you 5 "bankroll building" entry tickets for free. You can use these tickets to enter up to 5 contests for free, and if you win these contests you can win up to $15 in real money. This isn't going to draw any high rollers, but it's a nice way to learn the Stars Draft interface and gaming system while still playing for actual money.
Once a player decides to deposit more money into their account, Stars Drafts makes that easy as well. Users can deposit into their account using major credit cards or Pay Pal, and Stars Draft will match 100% of the initial deposit up to $250. This is a decent starting bonus and better than many of the other daily fantasy sports sites we have reviewed.
The main problem with Stars Draft is that they are still very new, and so suffer from a small but growing player base. There aren't as many contests to enter as some of Stars Draft's larger competitors, and at the time of this draft the total payout advertised on the website was 9 million dollars. This is a lot smaller than some of the top dogs in fantasy sports who measure their payout totals in the billions of dollars each year.
Selecting a game and a team is a simple, intuitive process at Stars Draft. You can select contests based on the sport, and then choose your roster from a list of players on the left side of the screen. We really like the player selection list at Stars Draft. There are on-screen statistics for each player, the ability to statistically compare two players, and even a Twitter feed to instantly retrieve up to the second information on any player. This allows for quicker research without having to go to other websites in order to review the current status of players.
For a newcomer to the scene, we really liked Stars Draft and would have ranked it higher if they had a larger player base and higher payout totals. Still, anyone looking for a new daily fantasy sports gaming site should give Stars Draft a look, as the ease of use, player selection system and free play option are all top notch.
Star Fantasy Leagues is a new player in the daily fantasy sports market that offers standard fantasy sports gaming options in professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey. The website offers no information on total payouts or player base, so it's likely servicing a smaller audience than some of the other top players in the competitive daily fantasy sports market.
There is a lot to like about Star Fantasy Leagues, and some things that are not so great. To start with the positive, the website is well presented and fairly easy to navigate. The game lobby lists the game options and has a helpful filter features that allows users to filter for sport, game type, buy-in amount and size. Some of the standard game options are here for the four major sports, with options for Guaranteed Prize Pools and head to head contests. At the time of this review we didn't see any 50/50 options, but as noted, Star Fantasy Leagues is very new and still expanding their business.
One feature we really liked at Star Fantasy Leagues is their "daily free roll" option. Most daily fantasy sports sites offer contests that you can enter for free, but don't pay out any money for winning. These options appeal to players who want to play for fun and don't actually want to deposit any money. The other option of course is to deposit money and enter games that can return cash winnings. Star Fantasy League daily free roll offers the best of both worlds…a chance to enter a contest for free but still walk away with a cash prize! Other fantasy sports websites offer free rolls, but most only weekly or even once a season. This daily free roll option is a great perk of Star Fantasy Leagues and should attract casual users and hopefully add to their fairly small player base.
First on the not-so-great list is the deposit bonus. Nearly every other daily fantasy sports website offers a 100% deposit match up to a certain amount of money. Star Fantasy Leagues offers a pretty meager 20% deposit match, the lowest we have seen. Additionally, the player base is so low that we found it difficult to find contests with more than one or two players entered. This is going to be a big drawback for high rollers because this will limit the cash prize in most of the contests.
The interface at Star Fantasy Leagues is nice and the daily free roll is a neat feature, but overall they are still very small. Keep an eye on Star Fantasy Leagues as they develop, but anyone looking for a more robust fantasy gaming experience may want to try one of the more established players in the daily fantasy sports market.
Alpha Draft is a fantasy "sports" gaming website that is focused on a very specific niche. Players looking to play standard fantasy sports such as football, baseball and basketball will need to look elsewhere, as Alpha Drafts only offers players the option to participate in fantasy games based on professional video games such as League of Legends and CounterStrike.
League of Legends (LCS) is a competitive video game featuring individual and team battles, produced by gaming company Riot Games. League of Legends has a very active competitive scene in Europe and North America with over 67 million players every month. Riot Games has organized a League of Legends Championship which is an annual competition that draws professional teams from around the world to play the game for prize money. In 2014 the grand prize for the League of Legends Championship was $2.4 million dollars, making it one of the largest online prize pools in history.
Alpha Draft allows players to create fantasy sports teams by choosing players from the League of Legends professional teams. If this sounds like an extremely small niche to you, we wouldn't disagree. The Alpha Draft website is actually quite nice looking. Prospective players register for an account by creating a user name and password much like any other fantasy sports gaming site, and the lobby and game selection process works in similar fashion as well. Except instead of selecting players from a football or baseball team, users of Alpha Draft are selecting their favorite League of Legends players from the various LCS tournaments that are going on around the world.
The owner of Alpha Draft wanted to provide a similar fantasy sports experience to fans of League of Legends that fans of the other major sports enjoy. The standard process of depositing money, entering games like 50/50 and head to head, and withdrawing winnings via PayPal is seen on Alpha Draft. They even have an initial deposit match of $250 like some of the other more standard fantasy sports sites offer. The main reservation we have in recommending Alpha Draft to anyone is that the only people this will appeal to are fans of the League of Legends professional video game.
Alpha Draft fills a very narrow gap in the fantasy sports market. For anyone who is a fan of League of Legends, and also wants the experience of playing online fantasy sports, Alpha Draft is a home run. Otherwise, anyone looking for the more standard fantasy sports will need to look elsewhere.
Draft Hero is a new entrant into the crowded daily fantasy sports gaming market. It offers a standard list of games and sports that will be familiar to fantasy sports players, but suffers from a clunky website, low payout totals, a small player base and a confusing deposit bonus system.
They say you only get one chance to make a first impression and our first experience with Draft Hero was not great. On opening the Draft Hero website we were greeted with a main page featuring some statistics like over $3 million dollars in payouts, $200,000 free cash awarded, and then a list of this week's top winners below. There is also a "start playing" button, but it appears behind the graphic of the statistics and is not clickable because of this. By clicking the Draft Hero button at the top we were able to navigate to the lobby page where games can be selected, but the sloppy presentation of the main page gave us a lousy impression.
Also the statistics that Draft Hero provides are not particularly impressive. They boast over $3 million dollars in payout, but don't specify if that is in the last year or overall. We assume this is the overall payout since inception, which is very low compared to the major players in the online fantasy sports gaming market. Looking at the list of top winners, at the time of this review the number one winner of Draft Hero had won $1,440. The big two, Draft Kings and Fan Duel have testimonials of players who have won over a million dollars overnight. If the top prize winner on Draft Hero isn't making even $2,000 in prize money, this website is certainly not going to attract the high rollers.
The selection of sports is also quite small, with games being offered in professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey only. The game selection page is as clunky as the main page, with a strip of contest types that sticks to the page awkwardly as you scroll up and down searching for a contest to join.
Draft Hero boasts a 300% deposit bonus, which in theory means players receive three times their initial deposit. This would beat all other daily fantasy sports services, but on second glace we see that the deposit bonus is not given to the player at the time of the initial deposit. Rather the 300% bonus is released slowly, 5% at a time and requires players to enter contests before receiving additional bits of their bonus. It was unclear how long it would take and how many contests a player would need to enter before getting the entire 300%, but the complexity of it seems cumbersome.
With far more negatives than positives, and so many other quality daily fantasy sports sites available today, we can't recommend Draft Hero very highly.
A long list of impressive online fantasy sport websites exist today and allow individuals the opportunity to participate in fantasy sports when it fits best into their schedule. Players receive points for each player's individual performance that week and are compared to others to determine a winner.
If you're looking for the best fantasy sport websites available today, TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked a long list of potential options. Before you start up your next online fantasy sports team, consider the following:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Daily Fantasy Sports sites available today. We hope these reviews help you find the best sports fantasy site for your needs!
Daily Fantasy Sports In The News
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