Daily Fantasy Football vs. Traditional Fantasy Football

All Fantasy Football Is The Same, Right?

Daily fantasy football (DFF) leagues (a.k.a. one-day or weekly leagues) and tournaments have sprung to the forefront of all fantasy-football offerings. Today it’s the hottest of all formats enjoyed by NFL fans. It’s now easier to win daily real money fantasy leagues than ever. If you’re a fan of traditional fantasy football leagues (a.k.a. year-long or dynasty leagues) and are now considering signing up at a few DFF sites, you’re probably wondering:

  • How easy it to play daily fantasy football?
  • How does it differ from traditional fantasy football leagues?
  • How easy is it to make a deposit at a daily fantasy site?
  • Which are the best daily fantasy sites?
  • Can I cash out my winnings immediately?

Here are some of the key differences between daily fantasy football and traditional, season-long formats:

Single-Day or Single-Weekend Events

Fun as they are, traditional fantasy football locks in a player for an entire year, both in terms of the roster initially drafted and for the need to do one’s stat-research homework, every… single… week. Think about all the full-year NFL fantasy owners whose entire season was damaged by a single major injury, as happened with Packers’ MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers last year. Major injuries, trades, sudden and unexpected declines in performance – these are the bane of fantasy owners, just as they are for real-life NFL teams.

With DFF leagues, there’s none of that. The bad results of the past week are quickly forgotten and it’s on to the next weekend’s games. Injuries might knock you out in one week, but it’s only that week. And you don’t have to play every week, or every game. If you have pressing real-life matters or just need a breather, there’s no pressure to play every single contest or week.

Increased Stats and Scoring Systems

Most online DFFs use scoring systems that incorporate more statistics and scoring opportunities than found in season-long leagues. One reason is simply because they can; the interactive nature of the game allows for live-time editing and rapid calculation of the standings for any given week or contest.

Even at that, some sites and services are more stats-intensive than others. DraftStreet, one of the largest sites, has a particular reputation for complex scoring rules and the need for increased statistical evaluation. Other sites are more casual and entertaining, but don’t be fooled: Everyone who plays is out to win, and they’re playing as well as they can according to each site’s rules.

Finding one’s favorite DFF sites is a matter of finding the proper balance between statistical and research requirements, contest sizes, buy-ins and potential payouts, and special promotions or contests that offer extra value and entertainment to the fantasy player. Each fantasy-football site is different and offers players its own special strengths. The amount of statistics and scoring systems is among the most prominent examples.

No Chasing Lazy or Missing League Members

Few things drag down a long-term league faster than chasing down late lineups or dealing with arguments ensuing from roster changes of dubious legality. With online DFFs, there’s none of that. Everyone who pays an entry fee (as little as $1, with so-called “freerolls” and play-money events also available) is there because they want to be there.

Registering for an event puts the pressure on the player himself to take care of getting a lineup in on time and according to league rules, and if he does a poor job, that just benefits the other players. Plus, the automatic scoring means that the site and software itself handles all the statistical legwork; all the players themselves have to do is pick a lineup and play.

Ease of Deposits and Withdrawals, Financial Security

The formal legalization of fantasy sports under the 2006 UIGEA means that players can use online payment systems to participate that are blocked for use with other forms of gambling sites. It’s a virtual breeze to create an account on most major sites, which are based in the US and accept both PayPal and several prominent credit cards.

Since these US-based financial institutions offer their own purchase and fraud protection, daily fantasy sports’ legal legitimacy thus gives the players an extra level of security. While offshore gambling sites of other types have often encountered problems, and have even disappeared with players’ money, the US-based fantasy football world offers far greater security.

To play for real money, one must provide the site with one’s real-world information (name, address, and so on). This is done for the player’s own protection in addition to overall site security, to ensure that the player is the person claimed, that the deposits and withdrawals are legitimate, and that the player doesn’t live in one of the few US states that has declared fantasy sports illegal. (Those states are generally recognized to be Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Washington, and sometimes Vermont.)

Immediate Cash Payments of Winnings

Tired of waiting for an entire season to elapse while your money is sitting in a jar on the commish’s desk, even though you clinched your league with a month to go? And what happens if the commish himself disappears, or if other players in your real-life league refuse to honor their financial commitments?

One of the biggest plusses to daily fantasy sports and online sites is that when you win, your winnings are credited immediately to your account. In turn, unless you’re clearing a special bonus offer that might involve more gameplay, you’re able to withdraw your funds immediately. Such withdrawals generally take a day or two, depending on the site and deposit/withdrawal method used, but are clearly more attractive than waiting for Mr. Commish to ship you your money.