FanDuel Friends Mode a Big Swing and a Miss

Given the fact that FanDuel friends mode is for NFL, the title of this post is a bit ironic.  Perhaps “FanDuel Friends Mode, 3 and Out” would have been better but it doesn’t have the same ring as the baseball idiom.

FanDuel Friends Mode


  • I’m not a DFS professional. I define professional as someone who makes a living from that act. I do not make a living from DFS.
  • I would say 95% or more of my action is done on FanDuel. It’s the site I signed up with and because I am not a DFS pro, I find it easier to have fun when my focus is mainly with one site.
  • Because of the above point, I am not comparing this to DraftKings Leagues, although the same problems may exist there.
  • I am not a writer and I have no editor so there may be grammar errors… get over it.

First things first, this is not a bash post on FanDuel.  As stated above, 95% of my action goes towards them because I like the UI and UX that FanDuel provides and it’s what I’ve grown accustom to.  I’m not a huge fan of everything they do scoring wise and certainly wish they would get rid of the kicker position in NFL but that hasn’t pushed me away… yet.  The purpose of my post here is I wanted to write my thoughts down on what I thought was missing from Friends mode in a constructive criticism way in hopes that it would be seen by FanDuel and they would begin working on changes for next season to further improve this feature to make it more useful.

Earlier I said that I was not a DFS pro and don’t make a living doing it. My professional life is in the digital marketing world.  That includes web design, UI/UX, SEO, CPC, social media and a lot of other things.  It also includes being a certified product owner and building out products. I give this bit of background to help those reading this realize that I’m not just some guy complaining.  I understand the process and what goes behind creating a product and a MVP (minimally viable product). My assumption is there was a lot of pressure to “get something out before the season started”.  In fact, my guess is that exact statement was made in several meetings. I don’t believe this is all we’ll get from Friends mode and I wanted to make sure I got some ideas out there that could potentially make it to the next rounds of releases to help better the customer experience using it.

FanDuel Friends Mode Suggestions

As it stands now, FanDuel friends mode is just a glorified way of organizing custom contests with email alerts to those playing. A better way of trying to play with the same people over and over without having to email out your private contest link manually for people.  There’s a little more to it with some standings but not much.  My best guess is that’s all they had time to get worked out before they had to release something so they could be first to market with the idea and beat out the rival DraftKings. Fair enough.  But now we’re past that and it’s time to further develop the feature.

Below are some immediate things that come to mind on making FanDuel Friends mode better. If anyone from FanDuel actually reads this, I would love to chat more about other ideas I’ve had as well.

Adding and Removing

When the FanDuel Friends mode first came out, as a fellow product development person, I toyed with it and created a bunch of random leagues with different settings to see what was up with it.  So now I have a handful of empty leagues that have no contests or members but they are still there on my screen when I go to the section. It would be nice if you create a league that has 0 contests or 0 members, the ability to archive or deactivate the league so that it no longer appears.

As Commissioner of a league, it would also be nice to be able to remove people from the league should you wish as well. Someone says they’re interested but then they change their mind, I should be able to remove them. On the other side, a user should be able to remove themselves from the league as well.  Currently no removal features exist at all.

Picking Your Own Slate

There is no customization of the league at all in terms of slate. You are setup to automatically run the main slate. It should be the commissioner’s setting to be able to set the slate for the league when creating the league in the beginning.

Different Structures

Let’s think outside the box here on this one.  There truly is a way to make daily and seasonal mix and that’s by giving flexibility to the seasonal structure to a daily contest.  Right now, every week the contest is set up as a free contest or some monetary amount.  An example might be where a group of friends pay $50 up front for the league but then set weekly prize amounts to 1st and then an overall prize too. Gives the weekly thrill but also the yearly thrill of being good week in and week out.

And can we forget about the rake in Friends mode? I think you’ll find you’d make more money in the example above when the payouts were made to their FanDuel account and instead of cashing out $25, the user would then use that in other contests because to them it’s free money.  On a league of 20 people paying $50 for the year, that’s $1,000.  So you make $100 off the rake or by allowing this kind of system, you are likely to keep all the money on the site longer term and get people playing more.

In Summary

Perhaps these are all ideas you guys have already thought about but maybe there’s a few new ones in here that are worth looking into. As a fellow product owner, I do understand needing to get a MVP out there for users to use and then get feedback. I can only hope that you are listening to feedback and willing to make changes based on what you’re hearing. I’m not one to complain without proposing solutions and so I wrote this to show what I felt was missing from the product.

What do you guys think about FanDuel Friends mode?  Are you using it at all?

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