— Note on the AlphaDraft deposit bonus: Your deposit bonus will not be paid upfront. It will enter your account at a rate of 4% of your buy-ins as you play in real-money contests on AlphaDraft.
New daily fantasy sports sites pop up on a regular basis these days, but eSports-specific are presently a one-site show. AlphaDraft is that site and is a legitimate candidate for exponential growth in the coming months. The site launched early in 2015 and has steadily grown and increased their offerings in the time since.
The biggest thing currently in AlphaDraft’s favor is that it was acquired by powerhouse FanDuel in September 2015. At the time of the writing of this original AlphaDraft Review, it remains to be seen how the acquisition will affect the site going forward. I think it can only mean good things, though. Having such a major player in the DFS industry behind AlphaDraft is likely to give the site the inside track on becoming the number one eSports-specific DFS site on the market. FanDuel’s purchase of the AlphaDraft came just one day after DraftKings had announced they would be adding eSports contests to their site. This was a clear move to stay competitive and add a market that had yet to be fully tapped into by either of the two largest DFS players in the industry. The move is also likely one of the things that forced former competitor Vulcun out of the DFS market.
For now, FanDuel appears happy to have AlphaDraft exist as its own entity, but it will be interesting to see what their plans are going forward. DraftKings traditionally has been quicker to add new sports – PGA and MMA are two examples – so it’s quite possible that FanDuel’s acquisition of AlphaDraft is an attempt to reverse this trend and be first into a new market with unique eSports offerings.
Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look at what you’ll experience playing on AlphaDraft. (Note: This review was originally authored in Winter 2015, with a major update after AlphaDraft launched a new site re-design in early 2016.)
Previously, AlphaDraft offered contests for a number of eSports, but have since reduced their ruleset to just League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. It’s unclear if eSports such as Hearthstone will return, but I suspect that they will in time.
Provided that other games do not have contests offered on the site, there will be times when AlphaDraf essentially is in hiatus if only LoL and CS:GO are offered.
Roster sizes are small on AlphaDraft. Both League of Legends and CS:GO have seven-player rosters, with six players and a “Team” slot. The “Team” slot does in fact count against the allotted limit of players per team that one lineup can have, which is three. Essentially, this is to prevent significant stacking, which is common in many DFS sports. I like the requirement of rosters to have players from at least three different teams, but a second FLEX would help for diversity.
During AlphaDraft’s rise to becoming the most prominent eSports-specific site, they’ve had a number of improvements – with improved payout structures being perhaps the most important for serious fantasy sports players. In old iterations of contests on the site, there were wildly inconsistent and genuinely strange payout structures for most contests. Today, they’ve come up toward industry standards in that regard. It’s been nice to see the site push toward a more healthy system for players.
One frustrating thing in the site’s new layout is the requirement to click on multiple drop-downs in order to locate the contest that you want. There’s already a large block at the top of the site which is reserved for freerolls that takes up quite a bit of room, and while I appreciate the ease of that for new players who only join free contests, an option to hide that would be nice.
In the above screenshot you’ll see that multiple clicks are required for each type of sorting that you wish to use. Most importantly, sorting by entry fee, start time and contest size are typically placed within DFS site layouts so people can immediately seek what they like. This is something of a minor detail, but I have genuinely struggled to find the specific contests that I like on a few occasions, both because the clicking required is needless and because the sorting itself is unreliable.
Aside from that, though, AlphaDraft’s layout certainly appeals to the eye and most things that one needs to find aren’t hard to locate.
Contest Interface and Layout
Drafting, editing and observing teams has been the biggest improvement during AlphaDraft’s revamp. On the old site it wasn’t possible to sort by game, which it now is. (Once again by a drop-down as opposed to a single click on a game like on bigger sites, but still an improvement over nothing.)
Players now have individual popups, which display things like scores from their previous three games, or general statistics from their season so far. It’s sleek and one of the best parts about the new site.
Additionally, the “My Teams” and “My Contests” both look even better than before. The “My Contests” page on AlphaDraft is a one-stop shop for everything regarding your fantasy teams. All upcoming and live contests can be accessed from here alongside a built-in twitch.tv player, so users can watch games live without ever having to leave the site. Contests update as the action unfolds and it’s quite easy to switch between various Twitch channels to find the appropriate stream that you wish to observe.
Bonuses, Referrals and Withdrawals
AlphaDraft offers a standard deposit bonus of 100% with a $350 maximum for new users who sign up through a RotoGrinders link. (The max bonus for RotoGrinders referrals is higher than the industry standard.) The deposit bonus can be cleared at the typical rate of 4% of each entry fee paid.
When referring a friend, the referrer will be given a bonus of $25 upon their referral depositing money onto the site. This referral bonus will added to your account and must be worked off just the same as AlphaDraft’s traditional deposit bonus.
PayPal is available for deposits and withdrawals as well as typical card-based deposits.
Ready to give AlphaDraft a try? Click here to create your account and be sure to use promo code “GRINDERS” to receive the best sign up bonuses possible.