Understanding daily fantasy sports games

Think you know a lot about a major league sport? It’s always been possible to put your money where your mouth is with season-long fantasy sports, but the advent of daily fantasy sports games has made it possible to drill deeper into current form trends and pick your best team for a specific game week. As a sub-genre of the global fantasy sports scene, daily fantasy sports have become something of an adrenaline-fuelled fine art.

There are two brands that have helped to bring daily fantasy sports into the mainstream psyche of sports enthusiasts. FanDuel was founded in 2009 in the UK, initially bringing conventional fantasy sports to a digital marketplace. It would later introduce daily fantasy sports games, along with DraftKings, who both remain the gatekeepers of this sub-sector in 2023.

That’s despite both operators diversifying into conventional online sports betting since the legalization of sports betting in the US market in 2018. In fact, DraftKings Sportsbook has established itself to the point of being the number-one recommended operator for new customers by OddsChecker, which is a popular comparison portal of licensed sportsbooks across all US states.

How does daily fantasy sports work?

Daily fantasy sports covers one round of games in a major league sports season instead of an entire season. Sometimes, platforms may even exclusively cover games played on a certain day. You’ll be required to pick a team from the active players on that day or round of matches. Your team’s score will depend solely on the performance of the players or athletes you pick. If you pick the top performing team, you’ll stand to win significant cash prizes, which is why daily fantasy sports games have become so popular.

Sports enthusiasts invest a lot of time and energy in researching pre-game data to try and make the best selections.

Let’s take a quick peek at some of the most popular daily fantasy sports contests at the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel. First, there is the ‘Classic’ daily fantasy games, where you’ll be tasked with drafting a team of players playing in a slate of multiple fixtures. These cover a range of sports, from the NFL through to the English Premier League (EPL). You’ll have a salary cap to work with, so it won’t be as easy as simply picking the best players.

DraftKings also offers something called a ‘Single-Game Showdown’, which requires you to pick the best team of players set to be involved in a single two-team match. It’s up to you to find the players likely to perform the best in that game – just be mindful of the salary cap again.

FanDuel has a huge choice of daily fantasy sports games that help to drive engagement. In fact, you can create your own private daily fantasy sports games with friends in the ‘Friends Mode’. Create a private salary cap league that you can play each week to try and be the top dog. You can also play head-to-head with a loved one if you really want to feed your competitive streak.

There are plenty of game types on FanDuel in which you can win big cash prizes too. The ‘Beat the Score’ games are ideal for first-time players. FanDuel set a benchmark score for you to beat and, if you do, you’ll stand to win a share of the prize pool displayed. Similarly, ‘50/50’ game modes are also popular for risk-averse players. Simply finish in the top 50 percent of all active players and you’ll win a prize.

Of course, the biggest events are the tournaments with guaranteed prize pools. These high-paying games attract big numbers, which will reduce your chances of being the outright winner, but it’s still fun to pit your wits against so many fellow sports fans.

Ultimately, daily fantasy sports games are a fun way of demonstrating your sporting know-how. With the ability to control how much you pay to enter games, you can stay in total command of your daily fantasy sports spending, which is music to the ears of responsible gamers.

Nakoa Davis