Fantasy Sports Contest Rules & Scoring - Overview (US)

Draft Styles

  • Salary Cap: In salary cap contests, players create a lineup by selecting athletes listed in the athlete pool. Each athlete listed in the pool has an assigned salary and a valid lineup must not exceed the salary cap.
  • Tiers: In tiers contests, participants create a lineup by selecting athletes listed in the athlete pool. Each athlete listed has an assigned tier, and a valid lineup must include an athlete from each tier. The number of tiers may vary based on the game set.
  • Snake Draft: Snake Draft is where players take turns drafting athletes to their lineup, one by one. This contest allows players to compete against a limited number of other players, ranging from 3 to 12 players.
  • Best Ball: Draft athletes in a snake draft type of contest against other fantasy players. Best Ball Contests are longer in duration, typically spanning between multiple weeks to a full league season. The final standings for a Best Ball contest are determined by the cumulative sum of player fantasy points each week.

Lineup Edits

  • Late Swap: For late-swap contests, lineups may be edited at any time leading up to a game's lock time. Each individual athlete will become locked at the scheduled lock time for their team’s game. Lock time depends on the contest but can be anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before the contest.
    • A locked athlete cannot be added or removed from a roster spot. 
    • Locked roster spots for all entries are displayed in contest game centers.
    • In the rare case, a game starts before the scheduled start time, all athletes within that game will become locked as soon as our feed reflects the game has begun.
    • Any swaps made after the real-life start time will result in those lineups being disqualified and refunded.
    • Learn more about Late Swap.
  • Non-Late Swap: For non-late swap contests, lineups may be edited at any time leading up to the lock of a contest. Each athlete will become locked at the scheduled lock time. 
    • A locked athlete cannot be added or removed from a roster spot.
    • In the rare case a game starts before the scheduled contest start time, all athletes within that game will become locked as soon as our feed reflects the game has begun.
    • Any lineup swaps including athletes from these games made after the real-life start time will result in those lineups being disqualified and refunded.

For both late swap and non-late swap contests, athletes on opponent lineups will remain hidden until the athlete’s respective game locks.

Position Eligibility

Athlete positions are determined at the sole discretion of DraftKings.

Traded Player Policy

If an athlete is traded or changes teams after contests are made available, but before they start, the athlete will earn points for the new team when both the old and new teams are in the game set.  Lineups violating roster rules due to a trade will be canceled and refunded. DraftKings notifies affected customers through email or on-site notifications.

  • In a trade or team change for an athlete, if the athlete's new team is NOT currently in a game set, they will stay with their original team (prior team) and won't be eligible to earn fantasy points.
  • If an athlete is traded to a team in a game set that doesn't include their prior team, the athlete will NOT be added to the athlete pool.
  • DraftKings will display warnings on draft screens when an athlete's trade status affects their eligibility for fantasy points based on the positioning of their new and prior teams in game sets. Customers with ineligible traded athletes in their lineup(s) may receive email or site notifications.

Contest Entry

Contest entry fees and prize pools remain fixed after contest creation. Each contest has a maximum entry limit, and those not at capacity can be entered until the lock time.

Guaranteed contests run with unchanged prizes regardless of reaching capacity before the lock time. Non-guaranteed contests that don't reach capacity by the lock time may be combined with similar unfilled contests, or canceled and refunded at DraftKings' discretion.

Scoring & Payouts

Live scoring updates are strictly for the enjoyment of DraftKings customers. DraftKings’ official scoring validation process begins once all games within the contest are final. This process ensures DraftKings scoring matches official stat providers when contest results are finalized and paid out.

  • Once contests are finalized, a contest status will be updated to Completed, and that contest will move from the Live Games section to the Completed Games section on the My Contests page.

DraftKings uses statistics from third-party providers for the purposes of providing game and contest results, and real-time entertainment value to its customers. These third-party providers include but aren't limited to, STATS Inc., Sportradar, FightMetric, Lolesports, Perform, Champion Data, and in some cases, data provided directly by relevant sports leagues. DraftKings may change third-party providers from time to time without notice.

On occasion, official scorers may issue a stat correction after games have ended and the official scoring validation process has been completed. These corrections are rare but can occur days after a game is played. Therefore, any changes to official scoring that occur after contests have been finalized will not impact those finalized contests. Conversely, if a correction needs to be made after contests are finalized due to a bug with the data feed or the finalization process, while extremely rare, the finalization process (including payment) may be reversed and redone correctly.

  • Note: The official scoring validation process is solely to ensure that DraftKings contest results are determined based on official scoring. Delays during this process may occur as a result of data collection or other technical difficulties. DraftKings will not attempt to make judgments on scoring rulings.

Player Salaries

DraftKings sets athlete salaries to foster an engaging, skill-based experience, considering historical statistics and upcoming matchups, which may be factored into athlete salaries.

Please note these salaries are specific to the fantasy contest format and don't reflect real-life salary valuations of the athletes.