Those of us who watch the DFS industry had been wondering for the longest time if any of the tech giants would ever get involved with daily fantasy sports. We knew Yahoo and ESPN were home to some very popular season-long fantasy products, but the big question was always whether or not any of these super-deep pocket technology firms would enter the fray.
Yahoo Daily Fantasy
Yahoo Daily Fantasy
If safety and security top your list of "must haves" in a fantasy site, Yahoo fits the bill. This is a large, well-funded and experienced tech company that knows how to run a solid business.
- Large, reputable fantasy brand
- Already hosting large prize pool contests
- Yahoo has extensive experience in season-long fantasy
- Ability to attract casual, unskilled players
- No signup bonus
- Does not stand out from the pack in any significant way
- Limited customer support options
Well, we finally got our answer on July 9th, 2015 when Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports went live with its first contest. I always figured that someone like Yahoo would have no problem attracting players, but was still surprised by just how busy the brand-spanking-new site was on its very first day. Yahoo immediately hit the ground running with thousands of players signing up and playing for real money.
Yahoo DFS is not nearly as large as current giants FanDuel and DraftKings, but it definitely got off to a strong start. For a little perspective, Yahoo was confident enough in the product that it hosted a $50,000 GPP event with a $2 buyin within 24 hours of going live. Speaking of which, it may be worth getting in early now while Yahoo throws considerable dollars into big guaranteed events. I can imagine them being willing to eat as many overlays as it takes to breathe life into this new product.
- New Player Bonus: None offered
- Headquarters: Sunnyvale, CA
- Sports Leagues Covered: MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL
- Contest Buyins: $0 to $500
- Restricted States: AZ, IA, LA, NV, WA and MT
How It Works
This little section is intended as a basic “welcome guide” for newbies. I suspect that Yahoo’s broad reach will introduce the idea of DFS to loads of new people who may not already have experience with fantasy sports. If you originally came here trying to figure out what, exactly, Yahoo Fantasy is, you’ve come to the right place.
Basically, Yahoo Fantasy hosts contests in which you and other people compete to build the best possible sports team. Each contest entrant is given a virtual salary that is used to draft players from around the league. You can pick anyone you want as long, even if other people have already chosen the player(s) that you want to draft.
The main lobby area shows a list of open contests along with information about entry fees, max number of players, number of entrants, prizes and start dates. If you see a contest that fits your budget, just click the “Enter contest” button to draft your team.
The drafting process also works like any other major DFS site. A list of available players is displayed in the left half of the screen and your lineup sits over on the right side. As you pick players, they are added to your lineup and your budget decreases accordingly. Your objective during the drafting process is to pick as strong a lineup as possible given the salary restrictions.
Yahoo provides all the basic stats and recent histories of each player right there in the drafting area. If you’re considering choosing someone, just click on his mug shot and an information box will provide you with a recap of that player’s recent history and stats.
The only rules in drafting are that you stay under the total salary cap and draft no more than six players from any one team. After you set and submit your lineup, all you have to do is watch the games and track your results. Your virtual team will accumulate points based on stats earned by those players in actual games. Your virtual pitcher earns points for strikeouts, your virtual quarterback earns points for pass completions and so on.
The ultimate goal in all this is to draft a team capable for scoring more fantasy points than everyone else. After that day’s or week’s games have all concluded, everyone’s points are tallied up and the fantasy teams with the most points earn real money payouts.
Does Yahoo DFS Offer Anything Unique?
The Yahoo fantasy interface will look familiar to anyone with prior daily fantasy experience. They do still have season-long leagues, but that’s hardly new for Yahoo. Other than that, this appears to be a pretty straightforward daily fantasy site so far. You choose a contest, get a salary and spend it on players.
One thing Yahoo does offer that’s unique is integration between its season-long leagues and daily contests. If you already have a season-long team, you can challenge other people in your league to daily contests using your existing teams. It’s sort of like making short term side wagers against your season-long buddies.
I wouldn’t put it past Yahoo to come out with some unique ideas, though. Yahoo has extensive experience in the traditional fantasy model and the people who work at Yahoo probably have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t in the industry. Plus, Yahoo has significant financial resources to throw money at new ideas.
Yahoo certainly has some catching up to do if it wants to compete at the highest level. FanDuel and DraftKings have already been at the game for years and have quite a head start in testing the market, acquiring customers and inking advertising deals with teams, leagues and even ESPN. The big question going forward is if Yahoo can leverage its strong presence in season-long fantasy to bring new players into the DFS fold.
Partnership with Mondogoal: A few months after going live, Yahoo Fantasy made another big announcement: they have teamed up with UK-focused Mondogoal.com to offer daily fantasy soccer to people who live outside the US. This gives Yahoo a major leg-up over DraftKings and FanDuel in attacking an international market that is relatively untapped by daily fantasy today.
The exact terms of the deal are unknown, but the basic gist of it is that Yahoo will work with Mondogoal to offer daily fantasy soccer leagues to people located in the UK and elsewhere. Yahoo will get to apply its own branding and imaging to the site, but the backend will be managed totally by Mondogoal.
Mondogoal will get to take advantage of Yahoo’s brand and reach while Yahoo gains the benefit of an established partner in daily fantasy soccer. Even more importantly, Mondogoal already has the required licensing to offer real money fantasy in the UK and abroad. Since Yahoo will only be operating as a marketing partner, Yahoo will not have to endure to expensive and time-consuming licensing process required to host fantasy contests in the UK.
Yahoo Daily Fantasy currently offers four major contest types. The general rules for drafting and scoring remain the same, but the number of players and payout structure vary between contest types.
Group Contest: This is the most common contest format. You enter your lineup and compete against a 3 or more other players. Some contests may have just 10 entrants while others may have thousands. The more entries there are, the bigger the prize pool.
Guaranteed Prize Pool: Yahoo states the prize pool ahead of time and guarantees that this is the amount of money that will be given out regardless of how many people join the contest.
Heads-Up: Compete against exactly one other person. You each pay the entry fee, draft one team and then the winner takes all.
50/50: Open to any number of players, and the top half of the entrants win double their entry fees.
The scoring rules for each sport ultimately determine how your team accumulates points. So far, Yahoo seems to be using a pretty straightforward approach to this aspect.
Lineup includes 8 positions: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE and FLEX
|Own Fumble Return Touchdown||6|
|2 Point Conversion||2|
Lineup includes 10 positions: P, P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF and OF
Lineup includes 9 positions: PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C and UTIL
|Three Pointer Bonus||0.5|
Lineup includes 9 positions: C, C, W, W, W, D, D, GF and UTIL
|Power Play Point||0.5|
Yahoo has gotten off to a solid start with its new daily fantasy offering. It doesn’t offer much in the way of uniqueness, but the traffic numbers are looking good and interface is solid. I can’t see many reasons to recommend Yahoo Fantasy over the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel (especially considering the lack of a signup bonus), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yahoo make a serious run at becoming a big player in the industry.
We should remember that the vast majority of fantasy players in America today still play in traditional season long leagues, and Yahoo is the king of online season-long fantasy. There’s a lot of potential for Yahoo to tap into. Time will tell if Yahoo DFS has what it takes to compete at the highest level in an already-crowded market.