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Fantasy Football Terms

Welcome to the fantasy football terms page! If you're going to play the game, you've got to know the lingo!

Listed below, you'll find a full glossary of jargon associated with fantasy football! Got questions? Feel free to email us at and one of our friendly fanatics will get back to you within 24 hours!

ADP: Acronym for "average draft position". This refers to where a player is "going" (being selected) in fantasy drafts.

Auction Draft: A type of draft where each team is given X amount of virtual money to spend on X amount of players. Owners take turns bringing up players and bid using their virtual money. Highest bidder wins the player to his roster.

Autopick: This nifty option allows for you to prerank your players and have the system make you picks for you, based on your pre-rankings.

Basic Scoring: Old school leagues that only count touchdowns (6 points), field goals (3 points) and extra points (1 point) in their scoring model.

Bench: Most fantasy leagues draft a starting lineup and a handful of "reserves". These extra players are your "bench" players. It should be noted that bench players stats DO NOT count unless they are activated into your starting lineup.

Breakout: This refers to a player who has been around for a few years or longer and done average, but expected to step up his game and produce much better numbers. Most young players take a few years to get their "footing" within the league. MOST players need seasoning. It's actually very rare for a new player to step into a league and dominate from the get-go.

Busts: No, this doesn't have anything to do with boobies! A bust is a player who has high expectations but is predicted to not be able to live up to the hype. Often times this is a player coming off of a career year in which he will not be able to duplicate. This can also be a player who has had a solid career but is on the downside of his career due to age, which is likely to slow down his production.

Bye Week: Every NFL football team is given one week off during the regular season. This is referred to as their "bye week".

Cheat Sheet: A pre-ranked list of players. It's highly recommended that you create a "cheat sheet" prior to your league's draft so that you have an easy reference point for upcoming picks. As players are drafted, you cross off their name and this gives you a clear definition of which players are still available.

Claim: Picking up a player off the free agent wire. Keep in mind that when you claim a player, you must either "waive" a player to create a spot for your new player or in some leagues, you will need to move an injured player to the "IR" (injured reserve) in order to open up a spot for the claimed player.

Collusion: This ugly term refers to two league owners getting together behind closed doors to unfairly create one strong team for the purpose of increasing their odds for that "super" team to win their league. Many fantasy leagues have measures/rules in place to prevent this from happening. People do weird things when money is involved. If you run a local league, make sure that you have rules in place to prevent this from happening because if you don't, it'll rip your league apart.

Commissioner: This is the person who runs your league. A Commissioner should be one who runs the league unbiased and fairly. The Commissioner is likely the person that started the league, created it's rules and holds all league funds.

Damaged Goods: This term refers to a player who has sustained a serious injury that is likely to downgrade/negatively affect his future performance as an athlete.

Deep Leagues: When reading fantasy player analysis on the web, you'll often times hear "only recommended for deep leagues". This refers only considering the player if you're playing in a fantasy league that has 12 or more teams. It's more or less saying that the player lacks the necesssary value for leagues of 11 or less teams.

Depth Charts: A handy chart that shows who the 1st, 2nd and 3rd string players are at each position on a team. It's imperative that you familiarize yourself with this information!

Draft: Quite possibly the most fun part of the season! Your league gets together whether it be online or in person to select players that you'll have on your team this season. Most drafts are done in a serpentine (snake) fashion with other more sophisticated leagues opting for auction drafts.

Drop: Dropping a player, also known as "waiving", refers to removing a player from your roster to the free agent pool for the purpose of "claiming" a new player. (Most rosters have a limit on the amount of players that you can have.)

Fleecing: This refers to a knowledgable owner taking advantage of a not-so-knowledgable owner in a trade. Many fantasy leagues have rules that prevent lopsided trades. When a lopsided trade happens, it is highly recommended all league owners put it to a vote to determine if the trade is fair or not.

Free Agents: The pool of players not belonging to any of your league's rosters. Most leagues allowing free agent "pickups" will cost you a small fee that goes into the pot resulting in a bigger prize pool at season's end.

Game Time Decision: This dreaded term refers to a player who's status to play will not be released until the start of the game. It's always best to pass on these types of players unless your second option is a complete dude.

Ghost Ship: A team that has fallen in the standings and not being tended to properly by it's owner. This is BAD for a league as it can negatively affect other team's standings within the league. One way to combat this is to have head to head weekly matchups with the loser having to throw in $10 per loss. This is also a great way to generate money for your league playoffs, should you offer such a format once the regular season is over.

Handcuffing: Refers to drafting a starting player and then later drafting his backup. Many fantasy football leagues have 16 teams. If your QB goes down, it's very unlikely that you'll be able to pick up a starter on the free agent wire. Even if there was one available, your weekly waiver position might not be high enough to secure that available free agent, so it's always best to draft a backup to one of your starters, ESPECIALLY if it's a team whose QB benefits from the style of play rather than their overall skill level. Example: A run and shoot team or west coast offense.

IDP: "Individual Defensive Player" leagues select defensive players rather than using one defensive team. Most leagues use a defensive lineman, linebacker and defensive back as roster spots.

Injury Risk: Some players get hurt more often than others. These players are referred to as an injury risk. It's always good to check out past year's performances of a player to determine if their durable or one who succumbs to injury more often than the average player. Yes, there are some guys who get hurt often for one reason or another. These types of players should be avoided because nothing will kill a fantasy team faster than missing games due to injury.

IR: (Injured Reserve) Many leagues offer an "IR" for players who are only listed as OUT. Most leagues allow a team to pick up a free agent to fill the injured player's spot until he returns. Note: A player MUST be listed as OUT in order to utilize the IR option!

Keeper League: This refers to a fantasy league in which owners are allowed to keep X number of players from year to year. These are also known as dynasty leagues. Many leagues mandate that each team must keep 3 players from year to year. Other keeper leagues include auction leagues which have players on 2-3 year contracts.

Mega Chalk: Term used to tab a player who is highly owned for the week.

Mock Draft: Some big fantasy info. sites offer this info to their readers so they can see where players went and then plan accordingly for their own upcoming draft. All drafts are different of course, based on how astute/not-so-astute your league's members are.

Performance Scoring Model: Gives points for yards in addition to scoring. Some of these leagues even bonus additional points for "length"of touchdown and field goals.

Private League: A league where you control who is allowed by play by using a password. The alternative to this is a public league which is a league that you join and anybody can get into.

Projections: Rankings of players along with their predicted stats for the upcoming season. This may be one of the most worthless bunch of fantasy stats that you could ever read due to the fact that injuries are unpredictable and most are made so early and before some final rosters are even set! The only thing we find useful about projections is for rookies who may have a shot at winning a starting job and the coach has come out and said how he'll be using that player.

Public League: This is a league that consists of people from all around the globe. The alternative is a private league which requires a password in order to join. Draftkings offers both public and private leagues.

RBBC: Running back by committee. This refers to a "group" of running backs in which there is no clear starter named.

Sleepers: Players who have good upside but may be overlooked by other members of your league. Many sleepers are good players getting no respect due to the fact that they're coming off a bad year.

Snake Draft - This is also referred to as a "serpentine draft". Once you've got a league together you'll need to draft your players. Let's say you have a league of 12 teams. A snake draft refers to drafting 1-12 in the first round and then "snaking" back 12-1 in the second round. The third round would snake 1-12 and then the 4th round would snake back 12-1 and so on.

Targets: How many times a receiver is thrown at. This number will often times be larger than "completions", due to the QB missing the receiver or a playing dropping a pass.

Team QB: When playing in a team QB league, you draft a QB and automatically get the stats of their backups as well. 2012 Example: Let's say you draft Mark Sanchez. Let's say he goes down with an injury in the 2nd quarter. Backup Tebow comes in and you'd get his points as well. This is a very conservative move with regards to fantasy, but an interesting one, because if you lose a QB it can kill your season. This basically offers insurance that you won't be "QB-less".

Touches: How many times a RB/WR/TE "gets" the ball in a game.

Trade Bait: Fantasy players that other teams will be interested in for trade. One of my favorite "trade bait" tactics is to wait until late in a draft and select an injuried player that isn't expected to play until midway through the season. Often times these ignored players offer tremendous value to your team or somebody else's, you just need to be patient and think ahead to reap the rewards!

Trade Deadline: This refers to the last day that league owners can make a trade with each other. All fantasy leagues should have a trade deadline to avoid teams dumping players and potential collusion amongst owners.

Trading Block: Many season long league websites offer an option where you can put player on the trading block which lets other owners know that you're making that player available for trade.

Transaction: Any change to your roster. This includes waiving a player, claiming a player or trading a player. There is a minimal cost involved which goes to your league's "pot" for prizes at season's end.

UDFA: Undrafted Free Agent.

Utility: (AKA: Flex) Some leagues use this option as an extra player, also known as a "bonus" player. Most leagues allow this utility player to be a RB, WR or TE. If your league allows this extra player to be a QB (which it shouldn't but some do), you should always jump on that opportunity as it will give you a huge advantage.

Vulture: This refers to a goal-line running back who comes in for one carry and scores, opposed to the starter getting the opportunity. More and more teams are going this route.

Waiver Wire: Fantasy players waived off of a team who will soon become free agents. The waiting period for a player to be available to all teams is usually 2-3 days depending on your leagues rules.

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