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 partnering with dozens of sports leagues and leagues, DraftKings features a large of selection of sports, some of the biggest guaranteed tournaments in daily fantasy and some of the best promotions in daily fantasy sports.
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 pays out hundreds of millions of dollars in prizes each year. In 2018, DraftKings even partnered with Resorts Casino in New Jersey to offer a traditional sports betting product in the recently regulated market.
Bonuses and VIP Program at DraftKings
DraftKings offers a $3 Free Contest Ticket and any first deposit over $5. The free ticket allows players to try out the real money daily fantasy sports games with a minimal amount of risk.. They also offer an excellent excellent selection of promotions and loads of freerolls each week.
Like most daily fantasy sites, any free entry will require that you put the entry in play before withdrawing. Players can find DraftKings free entries under the “My Tickets” page in your My Account section.
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 at a rate of 1 FPP for every $1 in entry fee. Frequent Player Points can also be accumulated through Missions and other promotions. Accumulated FPPs can primarily be used to purchase DraftKings ticket entries in the DraftKings Store.
The real added “bonus” through DraftKings is the rewards that you receive through Missions and the Players Rewards Program. This more than makes up for anything their VIP program lacks.
For as little as 150 FPPs, players can enter a $15,000 Monthly Free Contest. As players move up in status levels, prizes will increase to up to $60,000 in free contests.
DraftKings Missions are daily tasks centered around playing daily fantasy sports. Start and complete your Mission to receive the predetermined prize (often FPPs for playing in a certain contest).
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 the software developors are 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 style and start time. 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. In addition to the sports you would expect to find, you can also try out PGA, MMA, NASCAR and Soccer. Over the last couple years DraftKings has even begun to expand the various leagues that are available at the site.
For example, football fans can not only play NFL action but also the CFL. Soccer fans can play MLS contests as well as EPL and World Cup contests. Basketball fans can join contests for the NBA, WNBA and even European leagues.
College football and basketball are not available for any DFS site.
Types of Contests
Historically offering traditional DFS, DraftKings has greatly expanded to the styles of contests available on the site. Although the specific selection can vary by sport, DraftKings typically offers three different styles of DFS — Classic, Pick’Em and Showdown.
DraftKings Classic Contests encompass what DraftKings is most known for — salary-based contests which allow DFS users to draft the best roster while staying under the salary cap. This is also where DraftKings also has some of the largest prize pools on the site, reaching into the millions of dollars during the NFL season.
There are league types galore available for players. 50/50s and head-to-head match-ups 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 in-demand destinations.
Pick’Em contests are a more simplified version of DFS. Instead of keeping players under a salary cap, DraftKings users need to select a single player from a tier of players. Like Classic contests, you can find contests in tournament, head to head, 50/50s and Double Ups, Multipliers and Satellites.
Introduced in 2018, Showdown are salary-based contests of players from a single game. Due to the relative small number of players available, all positions are FLEX and rosters are smaller.
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 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, which is available for some contests. The Late Swap features 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.
Scoring can vary and can freqeuntly change, especially during the off-season, so make sure you are familiar with how points are earned before playing any contest.
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 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 offers support through email and live chat, but phone support. That’s ok though as DraftKings live chat does give players amore immediate response. Support hours are available from 6 Am to 12 AM Monday through Sunday. In addition to being widely available, 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, promotions, game options and bonuses, there is no other site that is currently close to matching DK.
Want another great reason to play at DraftKings?
They are advertising everywhere and quickly expanding into newly opened markets with no products. 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.
Disclaimer: Although we try to be fair in this review of DratKings, please note that Picks.org has an affiliate relationship with the DFS site.