It took long enough, but finally the biggest daily fantasy sites have expanded into the realm of soccer. DraftKings was the first major fantasy site to get into soccer and FanDuel followed suit shortly after. Several other mid-tier sites have also decided to join the fun but DraftKings and FanDuel are the only ones to host contests with any frequency.
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Note: Both sites accept players from the USA, UK and Canada with some exceptions
You can leave your armchair coaching days long behind as fantasy soccer gives you a vested interest in actual players and games from around the world. If you have a love for the game and a mind for stats, there is some serious money to be made playing fantasy soccer online. And even if you’re not determined to be the king of fantasy, there is some serious fun to be had just in being involved in players’ actual performances.
You don’t have to pay to play in fantasy soccer. All the major sites host free contests where you can compete against friends and strangers for nothing more than bragging rights. In fact, free contests are a great way to start because they let you get the hang of the game without spending money on an expensive education.
A Brief Overview of How it Works
In a daily fantasy league, you draft a team of 8 or 9 players using a virtual salary and earn points based on each player’s real life performance. If you earn more points than the other managers in your league, a real money payout comes your way.
Daily fantasy leagues are hosted in a variety of formats, but salary cap leagues are the most popular. In a salary game, you are given a fixed salary that is used to draft players for your team. Each player costs a certain amount of money, with the best players in the league costing significantly more than the not-so-great players.
This is where the true depth of strategy involved in fantasy sports becomes apparent. The limitations imposed by your salary cap make it impossible to just go and pick up all the best players in the world. You’re forced to manage each draft delicately in order to get the most effective all-around team for your money.
After you have assembled a team and joined a contest, you earn points based on your players’ performance on the field. For example, you earn points for goals scored by forwards, goals saved by goalkeepers and so on. The person with the most fantasy points at the end of the contest is declared the winner.
The length of each contest varies depending on where you play. Traditionally, fantasy leagues lasted for an entire season of play. Today, the majority of online leagues only last for a single day or week of games. This is where we get the term “daily fantasy.”
Best Fantasy Soccer Sites
If you’d like to give it a try, there are a number of sites that are hosting fantasy soccer contests right now. The largest of these is FanDuel.com, home to several million active users. Let’s take a look at the best fantasy sites for soccer today.
Visit at: www.fanduel.com
FanDuel added fantasy soccer to its lineup in 2016 after expanding its business operations to include the UK. They began with the English Premier League, but it would be safe to bet they will probably add other leagues in the future as well. For now, it’s all EPL all the time at FanDuel.
FanDuel soccer contests work just like the contests for other sports. You receive a virtual $60,000 budget and use that to draft a team of eight players. Your team will include a goalkeeper, two defenders, three midfielders and two forwards. All players on your fantasy lineup accumulate points according to the same metrics, but goalkeepers have a few additional metrics such as clean sheets, saves and so on.
Here’s how points are earned:
|Shot on Target||5|
|5 Successful Passes||0.25|
|Goalkeeper Clean Sheet||10|
|Goalkeeper Saved Penalty||6|
|Goalkeeper Conceded Goal||-1|
Visit at: www.draftkings.com
DraftKings.com is the largest fantasy site to offer soccer to this point. The soccer contests at DraftKings cover the Premier League and UEFA Champions League. In contests, you get a $50,000 salary which is used to draft eight players: 2 forwards, 2 midfielders, 2 defenders, 1 flex position (this can be any forward, midfielder or defender) and 1 goalkeeper. Your roster must include players from at least three different teams.
Points are accumulated by your fantasy team based on the following stats for each position:
|Shot on Goal||1 point|
|Foul Draw||0.75 points|
|Red Card||-1 point|
|Clean Sheet||5 points|
|One Goal Allowed||2 points|
|Save (GK)||2 points|
|Penalty Kick Save (GK)||3 points|
|Win (GK)||5 points|
|Goal Allowed (GK)||-2 points|
Your defenders and goalkeepers must play for at least 60 minutes to earn bonuses for clean sheets and 1-goal games. Injury time does NOT count towards that requirement.
The fantasy contests at DraftKings come in two major formats: heads-up games against a single opponent and multi-person tournaments with lager prize pools. You can buy into low stakes contests for as little as $1.00 with entry fees going up from there. At the upper end, DraftKings.com hosts $1,060 heads-up contests with $2,000 going to the winner.
The largest regular fantasy soccer tournament at DraftKings is the $27 Equalizer with a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. You can buy in direct to the Equalizer for $27 or win your way in for cheaper through a plethora of satellite tournaments.
FanDuel and DraftKings are the only worthwhile options for daily fantasy soccer games. Other sites offer soccer leagues sporadically but it’s real hit or miss. StatClash.com has its website configured for MLS, EPL and UEFA contests, but it’s tough to find active games over there at this point.
You can also visit the websites of the MLS and EPL to try their official fantasy games. The leagues hosted over at those sites are popular but they don’t hand out as much money on such a frequent basis. Prizes at these leagues are awarded at the end of the entire season. If you prefer the traditional season-long format, the MLS or EPL would be worth a look.
Ready to Play?
The only thing left to do is choose a site and play. You already know which one I think is the best but feel free to look around and see if any of the other options out there are more to your liking. Once you choose a site, you’ll need to sign up for an account so you can start participating in games and earning money.
If you want to play in real money soccer leagues, you can fund your account with a quick credit card or PayPal deposit. Deposits are processed instantly and will have you up and running in no time. Winnings from contests are paid back to your fantasy account. From there, you can withdraw straight to the bank. Take a look at our banking page to read more about the financial side of getting started.