Your Fantasy Football Guide for the 2017 NFL Season

Image credit: Erin Costa

As the days grow shorter and we approach the months that end in -er, it can mean only one thing: the 2017 fantasy football season is just around the corner. The first preseason games are already underway and the best daily fantasy sites are gearing up for busy season once again.

If you haven’t yet hopped onto the daily fantasy bandwagon, today’s post is written with you in mind. Today we will be comparing the best fantasy football sites, discussing the best DFS promotions and offering a little preview of what you can expect as a DFS player during the 2017 NFL season.

Quick Picks: 3 Best DFS Sites for the 2017 NFL Season

Just two short years ago, the legality of daily fantasy was a big question mark hanging over the industry and there were times when we all wondered if daily fantasy would still be around come next season. Over the interim, multiple states have passed legislation to clarify that online fantasy football is indeed legal and now questions of legality are largely a thing of the past.

Last year, the two largest fantasy football sites paid hundreds of millions in their NFL contests alone. This year is shaping up to be another big year in similar fashion. The much-discussed merger between FanDuel and DraftKings was blocked by the FTC and that leaves both sites back in full competition with one another. FanDuel even gave up on the UK market to focus its efforts on fantasy contests right here in the USA.

The death of the merger between the two biggest fantasy sites bodes well for players because both sites will be working overtime to protect their market share and convince you to join up here and not at that other site.

Best DFS Sites for the 2017 NFL Season

Football season is by far the best time of year for DFS players with tons of big-money contests and new customer promotions on offer as the biggest DFS sites compete with one another for your business. A lot of money will be exchanging hands this year and your first step in getting a piece of that action is choosing a fantasy site or two to be your fantasy football headquarters this year.

Top Pick: FanDuel

FanDuel and DraftKings have emerged as the two largest players in daily fantasy. If you do not yet have an account with at least one of these sites, one of these should be your first stop. Both are excellent sites with top notch reputations, but if I had to pick just one, it would be FanDuel.

The reason I pick FanDuel is because I find it more user-friendly to new customers. FanDuel’s marquee NFL contest each week guarantees at least $2 million in prizes for a very affordable entry fee of just $6. This contest serves as a gentle introduction to the world of large-guarantee contests without too much up-front risk.

FanDuel is also making progress in becoming a more social fantasy site. The introduction of Friends Mode Championship Leagues this year will let you and your friends play in traditional, season-long fantasy leagues online at FanDuel and win money from each other throughout the season as well as collect a grand prize at the end of the season.

Second Pick: DraftKings

DraftKings comes a close second, however, and may even be a better fit depending on your budget. What DraftKings has going in its favor is a penchant for significantly larger prize pools in its marquee contests. The big weekly NFL guarantee contest at DraftKings has a prize pool in excess of $5 million for an entry fee of $20. You will spend more at DraftKings, but the potential winnings are life-changing.

DraftKings has also recently come out with new pick’em contests. Pick’em-style games are nothing new, but none of the biggest fantasy sites offered them until now. Pick’em contests do away with the salary model entirely and provide a faster, more casual form of fantasy sports.

When you build your team in a pick’em contest, the site has you make selections one at a time by presenting you with tiers of predetermined players. You make a pick from players of that tier and then DraftKings will give you another tier of players to choose from to fill out the next position. This process continues until you have constructed a full fantasy team.

Tiers of players are grouped together according to skill and potential to rack up fantasy points. For example, quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees would likely be grouped together along with several other high-level quarterbacks. You would pick one of those QBs and then DraftKings would present you with a new list of players from a different tier to draft another player to your team.

If big tournaments with massive numbers of players aren’t your thing, both sites have a plethora of smaller contests with entry fees ranging from $0.25 to more than $10,000 and player fields ranging from heads-up (2 players) to on up to more than 300,000 players.

Third Pick:

Third on the list for 2017 NFL fantasy sites is This site is much smaller than both FanDuel and DraftKings, which could be a pro or a con depending on what you’re looking for. You will find no million-dollar prize pools here, but the competition is definitely a step down as well.

Contests at FantasyDraft tend to attract anywhere from 3 to around 200 players with prize pools ranging from $27 up to a few thousand dollars. The primary advantages here are fewer skilled players competing against you and fewer players in general getting between you and a real money payout.

All that being said, these are just my opinions. Let’s look at some hard data to better help you decide for yourself which fantasy site best suits your purposes.

FanDuel vs. DraftKings vs. FantasyDraft

Welcome Bonus1st Contest
If You Don't Win
(Up to $120)
1 Free Contest Entry
($3 contest)
4% cash back for 90 days
(up to $200)
Marquee NFL Contest"NFL Sunday Million"
$2 Million Gtd.
"Millionaire Maker"
$5.55 Million Gtd.
"NFL Run and Gun"
$250K Gtd.
Marquee 1st Place Prize$200,000$1,000,000$25,000
Lowest Stakes Contests$1$0.25$0.25
Highest Stakes Contests$5,250$10,600$1,000
Available Contest TypesLarge Tournaments
Small Tournaments
Beginner Contests
Satellites / Qualifiers
Season Long
Large Tournaments
Small Tournaments
Beginner Contests
Satellites / Qualifiers
Small-Medium Tournaments
Beginner Contests
Satellites / Qualifiers
Deposit MethodsDebit Card
Credit Card
Debit Card
Credit Card
Debit Card
Credit Card
Tips & Research ResourceFanDuel InsiderDraftKings PlaybookFantasyDraft Locker Room
Full ReviewFanDuel ReviewDraftKings ReviewFantasyDraft Review

10 Biggest Week 1 Contests at FanDuel

Contest NamePrize Pool
1st Place Prize
Entry FeeMax # of Players
Sunday Million$2,000,000
($200,000 to 1st)
NFL Monster$1,000,000
($250,000 to 1st)
NFL Bomb$1,000,000
($250,000 to 1st)
NFL Gunslinger$300,000
($100,000 to 1st)
NFL Dive$200,000
($5,000 to 1st)
NFL Blitz$150,000
($50,000 to 1st)
NFL Huddle (Beginners Only)$100,000
($5,000 to 1st)
NFL Spike (Single Entry)$100,000
($15,000 to 1st)
NFL Snap$100,000
($15,000 to 1st)
NFL Snap 2$100,000
($10,000 to 1st)

Total prizes offered by these 10 contests: $5,050,000

10 Biggest Week 1 Contests at DraftKings

Contest NamePrize Pool
1st Place Prize
Entry FeeMax # of Players
Fantasy Football Millionaire$5,555,555
($1 million to 1st)
NFL Play-Action (20 Entry Max)$2,000,000
($200,000 to 1st)
NFL Wildcat$1,500,000
($250,000 to 1st)
NFL $25 Massive Double-Up$500,000
(Top 50% win $50)
NFL Post Pattern$500,000
($50,000 to 1st)
NFL Luxury Box$400,000
($100,000 to 1st)
NFL $5 Massive Double-Up$250,000
(Top 50% win $10)
NFL Thunderdome (Single Entry)$200,000
($60,000 to 1st)
NFL Bubble Screen (3 Entry Max)$200,000
($10,000 to 1st)
NFL Power Sweep (3 Entry Ma)$200,000
($30,000 to 1st)

Total prizes offered by these 10 contests: $11,305,555

10 Biggest Week 1 Contests at Fantasy Draft

Contest NamePrize Pool
1st Place Prize
Entry FeeMax # of Players
NFL Run and Gun$250,000
($25,000 to 1st)
5-Week Super Survivor$40,000
(1st Place TBD)
NFL $25K Double Up$25,000
(Top 50% Win $20)
NFL Wishbone$25,000
($2,500 to 1st)
NFL Flea Flicker$20,000
($2,500 to 1st)
NFL $20K Double Up$20,000
(Top 50% Win $10)
NFL $15K Double Up$15,000
(Top 50% Win 50)
NFL Pump And Go$10,000
($1,250 to 1st)
NFL Big Fifty Double Up$10,000
(Top 50% Win $100)
NFL Hot Route$10,000
($1,000 to 1st)

Total prizes offered by these 10 contests: $425,000

Perfect Lineup Promotions from FanDuel and DraftKings

The people at FanDuel and DraftKings must be keeping tabs on one another because both sites have each come out with promotions promising big paydays for anyone skilled enough to build the perfect lineup. These promotions are similar in some ways, but there are also significant differences between the two, so make sure you check up on the details.

FanDuel: The Golden Five Perfect Lineup and Progressive Jackpot

FanDuel’s Golden Five promotion will be running all season long and is completely free for all FanDuel account holders. Even if you live in a state where paid daily fantasy contests are prohibited, you can still take a shot at this one because it costs nothing to enter.

The way it works is you’ll be asked to build a 5-man NFL roster every week with the goal being to assemble a lineup that scores the most fantasy points possible. There are no salary cap limitations, so feel free to pick a team full of the biggest and baddest players in the NFL. If all five of your picks end up being the highest-scoring players in those positions that week, you win the big prize.

The payout for building the perfect lineup is $20,000 in Week 1. If no one builds the perfect lineup, the prize money will roll over to Week 2 and FanDuel will add another $20,000 to the prize pool. FanDuel will add $20,000 the prize pool every week until someone builds the perfect 5-man lineup and wins the jackpot.

Once someone wins the jackpot, the following week will start all over again with another $20,000 starting jackpot. Week 17 will conclude by awarding the jackpot to whoever builds the highest-scoring lineup that week – perfection is not necessary during the final week. In this way, FanDuel guarantees that all money set aside for this promotion is paid out to at least one player.

You can compete for free even if you don’t plan on playing for real money by visiting FanDuel and signing up for an account.

DraftKings: Billion Dollar Lineup

DraftKings is kicking off NFL Week 1 with a bang… and a billion dollars. If you build the perfect lineup (meaning you pick the highest scoring player in every position for Week 1), DraftKings will pay you $1,000,000,000. Yes, that’s billion with a B.

Here’s the kicker: you have to draft THE perfect lineup. Drafting a higher-scoring team than everyone else is not good enough. Your lineup has to be so good that the DraftKings computers look at it and say “yep, this was the best lineup possible and even we couldn’t have possibly done any better.”

The lineup rules for this promotion are a little different compared to what FanDuel is offering. This contest requires you to build a full lineup while staying within the $50,000 salary cap. So, not only do you need to pick more players, but you also need to make the best possible use of your salary.

Winning this thing will not be easy. In fact, it’s highly unlikely anyone will win at all. However, it is completely free to enter so you have nothing to lose. All you need to do is sign up for a DraftKings account and submit an entry in the Free $100K contest found in the DraftKings lobby. Because this promotion is free to enter, it too has no state restrictions. Even if you live in one of the few states in which DraftKings does not operate, you’re still welcome to try your luck.