Fantasy Basketball Sites

Basketball is the perfect match for daily fantasy betting. Both pursuits are fast-paced and lend themselves to lots of matchups every season. Action junkies, casual fans and diehard fans can all find common ground in the world of fantasy basketball betting.

Top Fantasy Basketball Sites:

First contest refund - up to $12018/21+ to Play, T&Cs Apply
$4 Free Entry + 10% Rakeback18/21+ to Play, T&Cs Apply

Daily fantasy basketball sites provide the platform for short-term leagues contested among fans. In short, your goal is to draft an NBA or CBB team capable of racking up stats and smashing the competition for a real money payout. You can pit your team against a single opponent heads-up style, compete for millions of dollars in large tournaments and everything in between.

On this page, I’m going to explain how it all works from beginning to end. We’ll start with a discussion of the best real money fantasy sites and then continue on with a complete explanation of how to join a site, draft a team and compete for cash. You can look at this as your tutorial for daily fantasy basketball.

Best Real Money Sites

At least a dozen fantasy websites cover professional and college basketball, but I’m going to keep my recommendations to just three. These sites are listed in order starting with my personal favorite at the top and working down from there. We could argue back and forth all day on the exact order of these top 3 sites because they’re all solid choices.

  1. DraftKings
  2. FanDuel

Seriously, you won’t go wrong with any of these sites. Each of these is based in the United States and has a history of hosting fair games and promptly paying winners. Each one also has its own unique style. So, let’s compare all three sites to help you decide which one works best for you.
Basketball Leagues CoveredNBA and CBBNBA and CBB
Drafting FormatSalary Cap (8 players)Salary Cap (9 players)
Contest Buyins$1 to $5,300$0.25 to $5,300
Noteworthy Contests$3 Million DFBC (see below)$3.3 Million FBC (see below)
First Deposit Bonus5 Free Contest Entries1 Free Contest Entry
Deposit MethodsCredit/Debit/PayPalCredit/Debit/PayPal

DraftKings gets my number one pick even though FanDuel generally has more contests. What I like about DraftKings in particular is its software interface. When you’re drafting players here, you can not only look up their recent history and stats, but also the stats of each player’s next opposing team. It’s nice to see where the opponent ranks in defense when I’m on the line between picking two different players.

I also like the fact that each team only consists of 8 players as opposed to 9. I think 8 players is plenty for your skill to shine but not so many that you spend all day researching stats. Finally, DraftKings is more newbie-friendly with lower small stakes games and a 100% bonus no matter how much you deposit. FanDuel has a larger overall bonus, but that’s just another reason to visit FanDuel second – after you have a bigger bankroll and can take full advantage of the welcome bonus.

$400K Crossover

The 2014 $400K Crossover was a $27 event with a $400,000 guaranteed prize pool hosted on a fairly regular basis. This one always awarded at least $100,000 to first place, $40,000 to second and $20,000 to third.

Daily fantasy basketball doesn’t attract as much attention as football and baseball so having $400,000 up for grabs in a single event is respectable. As time goes on and DraftKings continues to grow, the Crossover will definitely increase its prize pool.

Scoring Rules

DraftKings provides you with a $50,000 salary cap to draft a team of 8 players. You’ll need to draft a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center, guard, forward and a utility player. Your team then scores points based on the following criteria:

draftkings basketball scoring

FanDuel comes in at a very close second place for fantasy basketball. A lot of people rank it as number one in the industry and I completely understand why. This is the largest basketball site of them all with the most daily leagues and largest overall prize pools.

$1.2 Million DFBBC

The Daily Fantasy Basketball Championship is the flagship event at FanDuel. Last year’s DFBBC paid a total of $1,200,000 in a single tournament with the first place winner taking home $120,000. The payouts in this one are fairly flat, which means smaller prizes are awarded to the top finishers in return for paying out more total places.

Scoring Rules

At FanDuel, you get a $60K salary to draft 9 players. This is a little different than the system in place over at DraftKings. Drafting a team at either site requires a deft touch as you have less than $7,000 to spend on each player on average. Player prices range from about $3,500 to nearly $11,000. Here’s how points are earned:

fanduel basketball scoring

How to Play Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy basketball tests your managing abilities by putting the draft in your hands. You get a virtual salary cap and free reign to draft a team of 8 or 9 players from around the league. The only restriction is that you must draft your entire team while remaining within the salary cap.

You win real money in fantasy basketball by putting together teams capable of racking up points. As your picks accumulate stats on the court, your fantasy team earns points in the contest. At the end of the contest, the people with the most fantasy points win real money prizes.

Types of Contests

There are a variety of contest types that you can participate in at any fantasy basketball site. The objective is always to accumulate points and win cash, but the process for doing so varies. You could probably dig up dozens of contest variations if you scoured the internet long enough, but I’d like to provide a brief overview of the types you’re most likely to see at major NBA/CBB sites.

Tournaments: Tournaments have lots of players, big prizes and small buyins. You can win large amounts of money in a tournament but you need to have an awesome showing to beat such a large field. Consolation prizes are paid out to the runner-ups. Some of the largest tournaments pay all the way down to 5000th place.

50/50s and Multipliers: A 50/50 is set up like a tournament but prizes are given out to 50% of the field. If you’re able to place in the top half of the field, you win double your buyin. Multipliers work on the same concept except they pay out the top 1/3rd, 1/5th or 1/10th of the field with prizes equal to 3x, 5x or 10x your buyin.

Fast Break: This type of contest is found only at In a fast break contest, you choose 3 players and there is no salary cap. You win when your team exceeds its projected fantasy points total. Scroll back up on this page and look at my DailyMVP description for more details.

Leagues: FanDuel and DraftKings host smaller tournaments that they call “leagues.” These work just like larger tournaments except the total number of entries is limited to somewhere between 3 and 250 contestants.

Qualifiers: Qualifier tournaments pay out free entry to more expensive tournaments. If you don’t have the bankroll to buy in directly to a pricey tournament, you can instead play in a cheap qualifier and try to win your way in.

Head-to-Head: H2H contests pit you against one other opponent. You each draft a basketball team and the person whose team accumulates the most points wins the game. Prizes are awarded winner-take-all style.

Getting Started

Every site does it a little differently but I’m going to show you how it works at DraftKings. Once you have the basic idea down, you’ll be able to use this knowledge at any fantasy site and in any sport. Let’s get started.

First, head over to the website to sign up for an account. Fill out the information and log in for the first time. If you want to try a paid game, click on the orange “deposit” button at the top of the page. There, you can fund your account with a credit card, debit card, PayPal or Dwolla.

Second, it’s time to choose a contest. Head over to the lobby to see a list of all open leagues. You can click on the sports league dropdown box in the upper left corner to filter the list so that you only see NBA or CBB games.

draftkings lobby

Now it’s time to choose a contest. You’ll see dozens of options with a whole variety of buyins, prize pools and payout structures. For this example, I’m going to go with the NBA $400K Crossover for $27. Click on the name of the contest and this is what you see next:

400k crossover

What you see here is a basic summary of the game, including the payouts, entry fee and current entrants. If everything looks good, click on the orange “draft now” button to build your lineup.

The drafting area shows you another summary of the game, a list of players and a running tally of your remaining salary. Your job here is to choose eight players using your $50,000 salary. You can choose players by clicking on the green + button next to their names. You can also click on any player’s name to see recent news regarding that player, past statistics and how his next opposing team ranks in defense.

drafting area

player stats

As you complete your lineup, the right side of the drafting area shows your current roster, remaining salary and average salary remaining per pick. The most challenging part in getting started with any fantasy sport is drafting an effective team without running out of money.


Click on the orange “submit” button when you’re all finished choosing players. DraftKings will deduct the buyin from your account balance and enter you in the contest. All the hard work is over now. All you need to do now is watch the games and see how your players perform on the court.

You can log in to your account while the actual games are playing to view live updates on your score and overall position in the contest. You can also see the lineups of any of your opponents. It’s always nice to see what type of team the person in first place drafted.

(click to enlarge)

Your league comes to a conclusion after the last game of the day ends. If your final rank in the contest is high enough to warrant a payout, you’ll be paid immediately. From there, you can either cash out your winnings or get to work on a new team.