DraftKings was a latecomer to the daily fantasy space, but the company has become one of the industry’s leaders in just over two years of operation. A team of executives left the printing company VistaPrint at the beginning of 2012 and started DraftKings with over $25 million in venture capital funding.
Since that time, DraftKings has become one of the best options for DFS players across the board. In addition to securing another $40+ million in funding in the year, they have some of the biggest deposit and reload bonuses in the industry, a large list of sports offered, and some of the biggest guaranteed tournaments in daily fantasy, coupled with handsome overlays.
DraftKings further expanded their empire in 2014 after receiving millions more in venture capital funding. They also acquired one of their top competitors in DraftStreet.com and purchased another smaller daily fantasy site in StarStreet.com. Users of both sites were transferred over to DraftKings seamlessly. It is estimated that DraftKings will pay out over $200,000,000 alone in 2014/2015.
Bonuses and VIP Program at DraftKings
DraftKings offers a $600 deposit bonus to new players on their first deposit. This is one of the biggest deposit bonuses in daily fantasy sports. They also offer regular reload bonuses and loads of freerolls each week.
Like all daily fantasy sites, the rollover process is a bit lengthy, but keep in mind when you’re clearing a bonus, you’re essentially playing with a reduced rake. The bonus will be released at $1 per 100 Frequent Player Points (FPPs), which are part of DK’s rewards program.
The consolidation in the industry has led to VIP programs not being nearly as lucrative as they once were to players. DK’s FPPs are still one of the better programs, however. FFPs are earned for all real-money play on DraftKings and can be used for a number of different prizes, along with buy-ins to larger events on DraftKings.
The real added “bonus” is the overlay available. DraftKings offers millions of guaranteed money during the NFL season and hundreds of thousands per week at other times of the year. This more than makes up for anything their VIP program lacks.
Lobby and Interface
One of the most critical aspects to a daily fantasy site is how user-friendly their lobby and interface is. This is especially critical for new players, who may not fully understand how daily fantasy works yet.
DraftKings passes this test with flying colors. Not only is their interface easily the best available, but their staff is constantly upgrading and improving it. I wrote a review several months ago on some of the small issues I had with their lobby, and since that time, those issues have been fixed.
The lobby breaks down each type of contest with different buttons across the top and then allows players to filter by sport and buy-in levels, along with contest start times. It’s extremely user-friendly and straightforward. Players should have no trouble using it and jumping into their desired contests in minutes.
DK offers a contests page that lists every contest you have entered that week and has additional filters that allow players to break down each entry by contest, lineup, sport, and entry fee.
They also offer a lineups page, which shows every lineup that players have going into that day’s contests, along with the number of entries for each corresponding lineup. There is a global player swap feature that allows you to change players quickly and easily across all your lineups if there is an injury. Editing individual lineups can be done just as easily.
Players can also export the data to Microsoft Excel with just one click, making it painless to add the DK rosters to fit your projections. This is one of my favorite features, especially from a stats geek perspective.
Finally, DraftKings offers the best mobile product in the daily fantasy space, by far. Their mobile website is flat out awesome. Just before the start of the 2014 NFL Season they also added an Android marketplace application, which is also top quality. If you’re going to be filling out lineups on the go often, they’re an excellent choice.
Sports Offered at DraftKings
The number of sports available for DFS continues to grow at DK. Players are used to seeing NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL offerings, but also available is College Basketball and College Football. PGA Golf is also a mainstay. Newly available for the 2014 season is soccer in the English Premier League.
Types of Contests
DraftKings sticks with the salary cap type leagues for all of their contests. Some sites may offer variations of the traditional salary cap contests, such as “pick fives” or snake drafts, but DK has opted just to go with the thing they do best.
There are league types galore available for players. 50/50s and head-to-head matchups are easily the most widely available contests, but there are loads of options for players at every buy-in level. There are 3-man leagues, large winner-take-all leagues for $20 bucks a pop, and triple-up leagues with a hundred or so participants.
There are also dozens of smaller buy-in leagues that allow players with lower bankrolls a chance to qualify for bigger events as well. DraftKings has some of the largest GPPs in the industry. They also have yearly multi-million dollar prize pools for the NFL, MLB, and NBA Championship Tournaments. Over the past few years, these have come with an all-expense paid trip to the Caribbean and Las Vegas.
Scoring and Late Swap
DraftKings has taken a bit of an arcade approach in some respects to daily fantasy, but it’s something that players seem to love. For instance, a quarterback will receive bonus points when he throws for 300 yards, or an NBA player will get a bonus when he notches a double-double.
For the most part, though, DraftKings scoring is extremely similar to most yearly fantasy league scoring and most other daily fantasy industry sites. One significant aspect for NFL grinders is that they give a full point per reception, versus the half-point per reception which is also common.
However, the best feature DraftKings offers to players is their late-swap feature. This allows players to edit their lineup after the first set of games start on a particular day, provided that a player’s game hasn’t started yet.
For instance, say I’m worried about an injury for a player who is in a game with a later start time, I can use late swap to swap in another player that has an equal or lesser price before game time. This feature is not only unique, but it also saves DFS players money.
You’re no longer out of luck if a player gets a late scratch or you decide you want to change some of the guys on your roster who have yet to begin their contests. Late swap also allows you to optimize your lineups based on how the players in your early leagues have done.
Once you’ve played with late swap, there’s little chance you will want to go back to playing without it.
Cashier & Banking Options at DK
Since DraftKings is fully legal and regulated in the United States, they have a host of available options for deposits and withdrawals.
Players can deposit via PayPal, Dwolla, or using major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. All of these methods are instant, and deposits are credited immediately to player accounts.
Withdrawals are credited back to players using the same method they used to deposit in most cases, but customers can also choose to withdraw via paper check. Withdrawals are always free and are usually credited within 24 hours.
Personally, my withdrawals have gone out in a matter of hours. DraftKings is among the fastest in the industry at getting customers their winnings.
DraftKings only offers support through email, and they’re quick to respond during business hours. Not only that, they’re courteous and extremely helpful. Their customer service representatives definitely have a bead on what’s going on within the company and are knowledgeable about all their offerings.
DraftKings is my favorite spot for daily fantasy sports by a large margin. When it comes to overlays, options, and bonuses, there is no other site that is currently close to matching DK.
Want another great reason to play at DraftKings?
They’ve just made a major marketing push and have regular commercials on channels like ESPN and Fox Sports. This will bring in a whole new set of inexperienced players. Those that know their stuff will be able to take advantage of this new influx of “fish,” or recreational players, and rake in the profits.