DraftKings busted onto the daily fantasy sports scene later than many other sites. The company began in July 2012 after Matt Kalish, Jason Robins, and Paul Liberman left their jobs at VistaPrint to form the Boston startup [A].
Since then, DraftKings has become second only to FanDuel in terms of members, as both sites lead the pack (by a large margin) in what has become an increasingly crowded field within the past two years.
Since their initial startup cash of $1.4 million, DraftKings has taken on several other rounds of investment. They received $7 million in August 2013 from Atlas Venture [B] and another $24 million just six months later [C] from several groups led by Redpoint Ventures.
They received another $41 million in venture capital funding in August 2014 [D], which was led by the Raine Group. DraftKings also bought out two competitors at the time, StarStreet.com and DraftStreet.com. This acquisition further increased their player base.
Sports Bets Offered At Draftkings
There is no daily fantasy site that offers more sports than DraftKings. In addition to the traditional major sports, NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, there’s much more at DraftKings. They have leagues for both college football and basketball and PGA Tour golf.
In 2014, they introduced soccer leagues, which allow players to jump into the English Premier League and Champions League with daily fantasy. A few months later, DK began to offer mixed martial arts leagues as well.
Even if you’re not interested in these sports or haven’t jumped into these leagues just yet – you’ve got to love a company with this type of innovativeness. Few sites offer much more than the four professional associations (and perhaps golf) while DraftKings has expanded to the college ranks and gone completely outside the box with soccer and MMA.
The “late swap” feature isn’t unique to DraftKings, but it’s one of the crucial differences between them and their top competitor, FanDuel. On FanDuel, lineups lock after the first game of the slate starts, and users cannot edit their lineups.
DraftKings allows players to modify their lineups up until the start of each individual game. For instance, if you have a player who may not suit up for a 4 o’clock start on an NFL Sunday, you can swap him out of your lineup if he’s declared inactive at the last minute.
Late swaps allow users to swap out any player on their roster, provided their game hasn’t started yet. This is particularly useful in sports like the like NBA, where there are often surprise inactives just before tip-off and many game-time decisions.
There’s also a whole host of other opportunities that late swap brings to the table. It allows users to swap out players based on how their lineup is performing (go for upside or play it safe) and change out players depending on who they think their opponent has on their roster.
I’m not sure why late swap isn’t a feature at every Daily Fantasy Sports site in the market.
First Deposit Bonus and VIP Program
DraftKings offers new players a $600 100% Match Bonus on their first deposit. They occasionally offer reload bonuses as well, usually at the start of a particular season, such as the kickoff to a new NFL season.
Similar to online poker, daily fantasy sites have a rollover process for bonuses. Players won’t receive the $600 immediately but will earn it slowly by playing in real-money fantasy leagues. The process can be a little lengthy. However, bettors will be paying a reduced rake in terms contest fees while they are clearing the bonus.
For every contest entered, players will earn Frequent Player Points (FPPs). One dollar of the bonus is released every time a player hits 100 FPPs.
FPPs at DraftKings can be cashed in at the VIP Store, where players can buy contest tickets, clothing, and other items. Players can also use their points to take a trip to the Kentucky Derby or receive a package to a World Poker Tour event.
This is an area where DraftKings blows every other site out of the water. Their interface, meaning their lobby and lineup management tools, are second to none. FanDuel’s interface is far inferior to the one at DraftKings.
The best part is that they are constantly innovating as well. They’re regularly taking suggestions from customers and fine-tuning their interface. It’s tough to find any other site that is even in the same ballpark, and I suspect it will stay that way for quite some time.
Players can select their sport at the top of the lobby and then will be able to click on several contest types to narrow their search. They can then narrow down their search even further using the advanced filter, which breaks the contests down based on start time, number of participants, and entry fee.
Managing lineups is seamless as well. Every lineup a user has created shows up on the “My Lineups” tab, which lists each lineup and the number of contests where it’s entered. A page like this is especially crucial for those big days when you’re building a large number of lineups. It’s infinitely easier to manage your lineups with a page like this.
Another feature they have is the “Global Player Swap.” This tool allows users to quickly switch out one player from all of their lineups and add another. It’s especially useful when injury news hits quickly before a contest starts, and you need to make a last-second change.
Users can see all their current contests from the “My Contests” page, which is also updated in real time. DraftKings has a “Currently Winning” box at the top of the page, which allows players to see how much they’re up throughout the evening. Contests can also be filtered by contest type, lineup, sport, and entry fee.
Tracking your play and data is simple. Players can view all of their contests from the past 30 days, which can easily be imported into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
DraftKings excels with their mobile platform, which translates their desktop page well onto smartphones or tablets. Managing lineups and joining leagues will be easier on desktop, but they do a fantastic job with their mobile offerings.
DraftKings has an official downloadable application and a mobile website. The app is the better choice overall, but both are above average compared to the rest of the industry. Modifying lineups and joining leagues can be done simply and painlessly.
DraftKings only has salary cap games. They don’t offer timed snake drafts or any other modified salary cap format. Players receive a $50,000 budget to build their roster for each sport, and they must fill every position for the team to be valid.
However, they have a vast assortment of league types. Head-to-head and 50/50s will be the cash game player’s bread and butter at DraftKings, but they also offer 3-man, 10-man, and 20-man leagues.
And that’s just scratching the surface. DraftKings has so many different league types that it’s impossible to go over them in this space. They also allow users to create their own leagues, which can be private or open to the public.
Buy-ins range from free leagues and ones as low as 25 cents to $10,600 buy-in leagues and everything in between. There are tons of different buy-in levels, regardless of the size of your bankroll.
As far as big money guaranteed prize pools, DraftKings has players covered in every spot. During the 2014 NFL season, they gave players a chance to become a millionaire every week in the Millionaire Maker Tournament. The buy-in was just $27 for most of the season.
They offer several million-dollar prize pools for each major sport. In August 2014, the DraftKings Fantasy Baseball Championship had a whopping $3.3-million prize pool. The winner received $1 million. Their NBA Championship in 2015 had a prize pool of more than $2 million.
These above tournaments are just for the once-a-year championships. DraftKings offers nightly guaranteed tournaments with prize pools of $100,000 or more several nights a week. There is a $10,000 or more top prize available every night of the year.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Unlike sports betting and online poker in most states, daily fantasy sports are legal and regulated. DraftKings has a staff of over 90 employees and is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Players will have no issues depositing or getting paid when they win.
Players can deposit using any major credit or debit card, or via PayPal and Dwolla. Deposits through all of these methods are instant, and funds will be available immediately.
Withdrawals are processed quickly. DraftKings quotes 1–2 days, but I have received cashouts back to my PayPal and debit card within a few hours during the weekday. Players can also receive a paper check in about a week if they want to forgo electronic methods.
DraftKings’ support staff doesn’t offer 24/7 support, but they work until 11pm EDT during weekdays, and they are normally extremely quick to respond to email. I have found their staff to be insightful and extremely helpful in my few interactions with them.
Daily fantasy sports are exploding across the country, and DraftKings is a big part of the reason. Their product has come a long way since they opened their virtual doors in 2012, and they continue to be innovators in the industry.
They’re also heavily advertised on ESPN and other television networks, which helps draw in new players every single night. For the experienced DFS player, DraftKings is a real money gold mine for finding new players and “fishy” games. There’s a lot of potential money to be made in daily fantasy, and DraftKings is an excellent place to start.
Author: Joseph Falchetti
Copyright: OnlineBetting.com 2015