Previously, we compared Sleeper with ESPN and Yahoo!, the the most popular platforms.
 
In this article, we are going to take a look at how Sleeper stacks up with some of the smaller competitors in the space.

Since we are comparing 6 different platforms, it's best to sort based on ranking, which will help frame how you think about Sleeper as an offering, depending on which service you currently use.

You may also discover that another service is right for you.

Disclaimer: These are our opinions, and we'll do our best to explain why we think what we do.

Design

The following is how we rank the services based on design based on user-friendliness and visual aesthetics.

  1. Sleeper
  2. CBS
  3. NFL.com
  4. FleaFlicker
  5. MyFantasyLeague
  6. Fantrax

In terms of design, Sleeper represents the industry standard.  Consistent on both web and mobile, user friendly for both power users and beginners.  This makes sense as it's the newest product to market and had a chance to learn from the success and mistakes of previous platforms.

CBS and NFL.com are also well-designed products, with CBS getting the edge due to a better mobile app than NFL.com.

If you like pure simplicity, FleaFlicker is a good choice.  Some prefer it to CBS and NFL.com, but that seems to be a minority.

MyFantasyLeague and Fantrax are considered the most poorly designed of all the platforms.  MyFantasyLeague, having been around the longest, has not seen much change for over a decade.  

Customization

If you are using one of the smaller sites, chances are, it's because you want customization.  Here is how we think we rank based on customization:

  1. MyFantasyLeague
  2. Fantrax
  3. Sleeper
  4. FleaFlicker
  5. CBS
  6. NFL.com

MyFantasyLeague and Fantrax win in customization because they offer Salary Cap leagues, something that nobody else on the market offers.  You can also re-design the entire league home screen on MyFantasyLeague.  Think of it like MySpace before Facebook came along.

Sleeper, FleaFlicker, and CBS are very similar in terms of customization.  This is essentially a 3-way tie.  All offer Dynasty and Keeper leagues, as well as Taxi Squads.

NFL.com is closer to Yahoo! and ESPN in that it is not very customizable.  ESPN, NFL, and Yahoo! do not offer dynasty leagues at all.

Mobile Apps

It's 2018, and most people now manage their fantasy leagues from their mobile app instead of websites.  Here's how we rank the mobile apps, and in parentheses, you can see how users rate it in the app store.

  1. Sleeper (5 stars)
  2. CBS (4.5 stars)
  3. NFL.com (3 stars)
  4. FleaFlicker (4 stars, but really should be a 2)
  5. Fantrax (no app)
  6. MyFantasyLeague (no app)

Sleeper and CBS lead the pack in mobile user interface.  Sleeper rates higher because it runs much faster and has integrated chat.  Also Sleeper's mobile app is closer to feature parity with the web app than any other platform, including Yahoo! and ESPN.

NFL.com has a decent website, but their mobile app is sorely lacking.  However, they beat out FleaFlicker and MyFantasyLeague by simply having a native mobile app to begin with.

FleaFlicker just released mobile apps for iOS and Android, but neither app feels fully native or responsive as the bigger players.

Fantrax does not have a mobile app, but does have a site that is somewhat usable on mobile.

MyFantasyLeague does not have a mobile app nor does their site appear to be mobile optimized, thus is last place here.  There is a third party mobile app built for MFL, but it's quite janky.

Website

While mobile apps have gained more popularity, it would be silly to ignore the web experience.  Here's how we rank the 5 web apps in order:

  1. Sleeper
  2. CBS
  3. NFL.com
  4. FleaFlicker
  5. Fantrax
  6. MyFantasyLeague

Sleeper's chat-focused design helps leagues communicate better.  The modern league management interface compares very favorably to even Yahoo!, which has been the industry standard since the beginning of online fantasy football.

CBS and NFL.com can interchangeable at #2 and #3.  Both have websites that are simple to understand and use, with visuals like player photos and team logos to bring out an NFL feel.

FleaFlicker has a very simple website that is more bare-bones.

Fantrax is closer to FleaFlicker than MyFantasyLeague, but doesn't feel as fast or crisp as FleaFlicker's simple interface.

MyFantasyLeague is likely the most complicated website to use, especially for new users.  Unless you've already been using MyFantasyLeague for years, it has a very difficult learning curve.

Chat

Chat is a critical component of all fantasy leagues.  Whether it's keeping leaguemates informed or discussing trades with other owners, modern chat is now a must-have for any fantasy football league.  Here's our rankings:

  1. Sleeper
  2. CBS
  3. NFL.com
  4. FleaFlicker
  5. MyFantasyLeague
  6. Fantrax

The chat features on Sleeper are second to none.  Even ESPN and Yahoo! are playing catch up here as well.

CBS, NFL.com, and FleaFlicker are tied because they all have the concept of message boards.

MyFantasyLeague has chat but it's very clunky and they don't have a mobile app.  They also have message boards.  

FleaFlicker, Fantrax, and MyFantasyLeague also seem to lack mobile push notifications for messages, so it's hard to coordinate anything on the app itself without massive asynchronous delays.

Gameday Experience

It's Sunday, and you need to track everything.  Which app is the best?  Here's how we see the rankings shaking out:

  1. Sleeper
  2. NFL.com
  3. CBS
  4. FleaFlicker
  5. Fantrax
  6. MyFantasyLeague

Sleeper has the fastest scores (faster than TV), easy to understand matchup grid, projections, win%, play by plays, player scoring alerts, injury alerts, and a virtual field with all your fantasy players by distance from endzone.

NFL.com is unique in that it has player videos from time to time on Sundays, and deserves second place just for that experience.  It's something Sleeper is adding this season.

CBS is like NFL.com, but without the player videos.  It's very neat and easy to understand.

FleaFlicker has play by play, but lacks in visual appeal and doesn't seem to be real-time.

Fantrax and MyFantasyLeague is like FleaFlicker in terms of design, but seems to lack play-by-play and real-time capabilities.

Technology

Technology affects the speed and performance of the app, as well as enabling certain features.  Here are how we rank the platforms in terms of tech.

  1. Sleeper
  2. CBS
  3. FleaFlicker
  4. MyFantasyLeague
  5. NFL.com
  6. Fantrax

Sleeper's real-time technology ensures that you never have to perform a refresh. Every interaction on Sleeper also loads on average 2-10 times faster than any of the sites listed above, including ESPN and Yahoo!.  It's easy to see for yourself, even from the first moment.  Sleeper leagues can handle more concurrent users on less servers than any platform as well.

CBS is one of more polished products on the market, and is very comparable to a Yahoo! or ESPN.  However, lack of chat features puts them in a distant second.

FleaFlicker seems to load pretty fast, as well as offer a pretty good feature set, but otherwise is in the same boat as CBS.

MyFantasyLeague gets a bump in rankings due to the high degree of customizability and being less buggy than its direct competitor Fantrax, who also focuses on customizability.

NFL.com seems pretty on the surface but since they don't build their own technology in house, their product suffers and becomes worse year over year.

Fantrax seems to be MyFantasyLeague with a slightly better interface but more bugs.

Learning more

If you want to learn more about specific features on Sleeper leagues like scoring settings, how waivers work, or how trading works, please explore the rest of the documentation.

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