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Fantasy Football Terms

Browse through fantasy team terms to find funny team and cool team terms.


Check out our complete list of fantasy terms.

Fantasy Football Terms


3rd year wr rule:  There is a common belief among fantasy football players that most NFL wide receivers do not "break out" until their third year in the league. Some recent examples of players who blossomed in their 3rd year

Add:  Adding a free-agent player off the waiver wire.

Adp - average draft position:  A report that lists NFL players by the position they were drafted in fantasy football drafts on average. The source can be mock drafts or real ones. ADP is a useful draft preparation tool.

Auction:  A fantasy draft style in which owners use a bidding system to acquire players.

Auction draft:  A type of fantasy draft in which owners are allotted a certain amount of fantasy cash to fill their roster spots by bidding on NFL players. Owners take turns introducing an opening bid for a player.

Autopick draft:  A type of fantasy football draft in which players are automatically assigned to each team, either randomly or based on the team owner’s pre-determined rankings.

Basic scoring:  Fantasy points are only earned when your starters score touchdowns, field goals, and extra points.

Basic scoring system:  The most basic scoring systems award points only for touchdowns, field goals and extra points. That could be six points for all touchdowns, three points for field goals and one point for extra points. Other basic scoring leagues will offer four points for touchdown passes. More advanced leagues will offer scoring bonuses for players hitting yardage markers, such as 250 passing yards or 100 rushing yards. Some exotic leagues will base points on length of touchdown scores, field goals, etc.

Bench:  The reserve players on your roster.

Bench players:  Players which you choose not to start; you normally receive no points for their performances.

Best ball:  A league where there are no weekly head-to-head matchups between fantasy owners' teams; the fantasy team with the most points at the end of the season wins. These leagues are most traditionally draft-only leagues.

Boom-bust:  A player likely to score big, but just as likely to score very small, i.e., a scenerio where the range of outcomes is volatile.

Breakout:  A player who goes from average to full-fledged fantasy football star. Browns WR Josh Gordon, for instance, was a breakout star in 2013, going from the waiver wire to Fantasy All-Star with 1,646 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns.

Bust:  A player who is predicted to have a poor season compared to general expectations. The player might be injury-prone, have a future star behind them in the depth chart, or just won't be able to live up to their hype.

Bye week:  Each NFL team plays 16 games out of 17 weeks in the NFL schedule. The game that they don't play is called their bye week. It is important in fantasy football to make sure that your starters and backups do not have the same bye week since one of the primary reasons for drafting backup players is to have coverage during the bye week of your starter. Here are this season's bye weeks.

Cb:  Cornerback

Ceiling:  The best performance you can expect from a player. [4for4 subscribers have access to ceiling and floor projections are part of the DFS subscription.]

Cheat sheet:  A drafting tool that lists NFL players ranked in order of predicted fantasy points; however there are no accompanying stats, so it is possible that it isn't accurate for a league's scoring system.

Cheat sheets:  The lists of pre-ranked players — overall and by position.

Collusion:  Two coaches working together to win a league.

Comeback player:  A player who returns from a significant injury and re-emerges into a legitimate fantasy starter (i.e. Aaron Rodgers is a "comeback player" candidate in 2014 after his injury in 2013).

Commissioner:  The person who is responsible for maintaining the league, reporting the results of the fantasy games, running the draft, collecting entrance fees (if any), and generally keeping things running smoothly. It is important for the commissioner to be unbiased (fair) and honest.

Custom-scoring league:  A league that decides to assign its own value to touchdowns, field goals, extra points, etc. For instance, some leagues will give bonus point values for rushing or receiving game milestones. This is why it's important to know what type of scoring your league uses when you draft your team. NFL.com Fantasy Football 2010 allows you to customize more than 100 scoring settings and features.

Cut or drop:  To remove a player from your roster.

D/st:  “Defense/Special Teams” is a position in most fantasy football leagues. For example, a fantasy football owner who drafts the Philadelphia Eagles as their “D/ST” will gain points for stats such as interceptions and kickoff return touchdowns and lose points if the Eagles surrender too many points.

Daily:  A one-week fantasy contest where owners pick lineups for only one week (as opposed to the full season). These leagues usually follow a salary cap format where each player is valued according to his past performance and projected future performance. [If you're interested in daily fantasy, be sure to sign up here for 4for4's DFS subscription for the best DFS lineup building tools and content in the industry.] 4for4 also has a separate DFS Glossary.

Damaged goods:  When a player involved in a trade is hurt.

Db:  Defensive Back

De:  Defensive End

Deep league:  A league with more than 12 owners and/or large team sizes. There are more players on fantasy rosters in deep leagues than in a 'normal' league of 12 owners with total rosters of 16 to 18 players (total of 192-216 players drafted).

Def:  Another abbreviation for D/ST.

Depth:  The quality of your reserve players at each position.

Depth chart:  In football, a depth chart is used to show the placements of the starting players and the secondary players, etc. Generally a starting player will be listed first or on top while a back-up will be listed below. An NFL team roster with players classified as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd string. Here's our page ofdepth charts.

Dfs:  Abbreviation for Daily Fantasy Sports, or Daily leagues.

Dl:  Defensive Lineman

Draft:  The meeting of owners and commissioner before the NFL season where owners select the players for their team. It can be done by auction or serpentine method. Some leagues give the top spots in the draft to the teams with the poorest records from the previous season. Most leagues only allow one fantasy team to own a particular NFL player.

Draft dashers:  People who enjoy drafting a fantasy football team but disappear long before the season is over, abandoning their team. At NFL.com, we do not have those types of owners.

Draft-only:  A league where there is no in-season roster management. Starting lineups are automatically determined by whichever players on your roster score the most points in a given week. These leagues are most traditionally best-ball leagues.

Drop:  Releasing a player back into the free-agent pool.

Dt:  Defensive Tackle

Dynasty:  Leagues where team owners and rosters carry over from one year to the next. Typically, owners get to designate keepers, and there is a draft for all players who aren't kept and rookies.

Dynasty league:  A league in which you keep your entire roster from year to year. The next season a draft is held to improve your team. Usually the draft order is based on the previous year's finish. Dynasty leagues are a long term commitment.

Elite:  The highest ranked players at their positions.

Faab:  Free Agent Acquisition Budget, a set dollar amount to use over the course of a season on free agents.

Fantasy formula:  A simple way to evaluate a player’s potential

Fantasy worthy:  He plays enough to make a fantasy impact.

Ff or ffb:  Short for Fantasy Football

Fire sale:  When a team's season is lost and they cannot make the playoffs, owners of teams sometimes like to trade away their stud players to boost another team's chances of winning the championship.

Fleecing:  Taking advantage of a bad coach in a lopsided trade.

Flex:  A spot in your starting lineup that you can use more than one type of position player; typically RB and WR. Although some leagues' flex spot allows TEs or even QBs.

Flier:  Taking a gamble on a player (either in the draft or off the waiver wire) who has high potential but also carries a high risk. Many times, this can be a backup quarterback, backup running back, a player coming off an injury, or a rookie. Some owners took a "flier" on RB Le'Veon in the draft last season and reaped the rewards of the decision. However, these results aren't typical for most fliers. Normally, you end up releasing them or they sit on your bench for the entire season.

Flier (or flyer):  An ambiguous term meaning either taking a chance or picking a player off the waiver wire.

Floor:  The worst performance you can expect from a player. [4for4 subscribers have access to ceiling and floor projections are part of the DFS subscription.]

>For those of you in an individual defensive player (idp) league, you may find the following abbreviations common

Fpg:  Fantasy Points per Game

Free agent:  A player who is not currently on any team's roster. If the league has a waiver system, free agents are players who have cleared waivers.

Fs:  Free Safety

Gamble:  A player with both high potential and high risk. Players in this category are usually injury-prone, have a high probability for being suspended, or are approaching the end of their career. We recommend not drafting more than one or two gambles on your team.

Game-time decision:  Waiting to see if a hurt player will start.

General manager:  See Owner

Ghostship:  a team that is not being actively managed by it's owner or the act of not actively managing a fantasy team.

Half-ppr:  Half-Point Per Reception League. These leagues award 0.5 points per reception and otherwise follow a standard scoring format.

Handcuff:  Taking the immediate backup for one of your prominent players. If you have RB Frank Gore, for instance, you would be wise to handcuff him by drafting Marcus Lattimore, too.

Handcuffing:  Drafting your stud RBs' backup to mitigate the risk if the stud gets injured. Example

Idp:  Some leagues will use the stats of individual defensive players, or IDPs, instead of using team defenses. Scoring can vary but typically includes point values for sacks, safeties and interceptions. If your league uses IDPs, be sure to add them to your cheat sheet. IDP's are available in custom leagues on NFL.com.

Idp (individual defensive player):  Rather than a team defense approach, some leagues decide to have starters for defensive linemen (DL), linebackers (LB) and defensive backs (DB). The number of starters and scoring systems for these positions varies widely.

Idp (individual defensive players):  Instead of using team defense, this league type allows fantasy owners to choose individual defensive players for their team rosters.

Injured reserve:  Some leagues will allow you to tag an injured player and add someone else to your roster. This is more common with dynasty and keeper leagues, but some seasonal leagues also use that option.

Injured reserve (ir):  An option in some leagues, an injured player can be sent to the IR for a certain number of weeks. The player cannot return to the active lineup and does not earn the owner any points until that number of weeks passed; however another player can be added to the team since the IR player doesn't count against the player limit. Injured Reserve is also an NFL label for players who will not play during the current season due to injury.

Injuries:  If a player becomes injured then he will not play in the Actual game and therefore not score points for his Fantasy team (since he is not performing). Sometimes a playere can be listed with a abbreviation (P, Q, O, etc) that associates the riskiness of starting that player. Coaches have the ability to pull or play the player the last minute or even play them after the game has started. 

Ir (injured reserve):  Some fantasy football leagues allow owners to stash an injured player on “Injured Reserve,” a move which typically opens up a roster spot.

K:  Kicker

Keeper:  Refers to a dynasty league itself. Can also refer to the particular player being kept.

Keeper league:  A league in which a certain number of players can be retained from the previous season by each owner, so that their whole team does not have to be redrafted. The number of players can vary. If you retain your whole team it is called a dynasty league.

Lb:  Linebacker

League:  A collection of owners who play against each other, it is run by the commissioner.

League almanac:  A quick view of past league champions from previous seasons. You can also see who scored the most points as a team during a week in any given season.

League history:  An area to look at how your team and your opponents faired in previous years. Want to see who took home the championship in 2013? Everything you want to know is right at your fingertips.

League manager:  The person in charge of running the league, setting up the draft and, if necessary, controlling all of the league fees. Other tasks, such as updating results and standings, are provided free of charge by NFL.com. The league manager also can have the final word on all transactions and disputes between owners.

League settings:  The league rules and stat modifiers that determine fantasy point values.

Linear draft:  Just like the actual draft in NFL, NFL.com Fantasy Football now offers a "linear" draft. This is available in custom leagues. In this type of draft, the draft order in Round 1 repeats itself throughout the draft. If you have the last pick in the first round, you will have the last pick in the second round and so forth.

Lineup:  See starters

Live draft:  A type of fantasy football draft in which team owners select their players from a pool in real time.

Mfl10:  A draft-only, best ball league with a $10 entry fee hosted atMyFantasyLeague.com. These leagues are commonly referred to as MFL10s regardless of entry fee, but other entry fees exist, e.g., MFL25, etc. [4for4 subscribers have access to an MFL10 Draft Planner App, which makes drafting a breeze.]

Mlb:  Middle Linebacker

Mock:  A practice fantasy draft to try out different strategies. [4for4 subscribers can conduct mock drafts in minutes with 4for4's Draft Analyzer.]

Mock draft:  A fake draft that is used to practice drafting strategy and gauge where players will be drafted in actual fantasy football drafts. Some require the drafters to post a rationale behind their picks for additional insight for viewers.

Olb:  Outside Linebacker

Out:  Out – this player is not a listed player for the upcoming game. This is usually accompanied by an amount of time the player will be out. (Out

Owner:  The person who makes decisions about a fantasy football team. This includes drafting, cutting, and starters.

Performance scoring:  A system where you receive points for yardage (as in 1 point for every 20 passing yards) in addition to the points scored in a basic scoring system.

Performance scoring system:  A scoring system in which players are given bonus points for passing, rushing and/or receiving milestones. For instance, some leagues will award one point for every 10 rushing yards. Or they might give five points for every 300 passing yards in addition to basic scoring.

Pickup:  To add a player to your roster.

Position numbers (rb1, rb2, etc):  A way in which fantasy football players denote value. For example, a player who is considered a “QB1,” such as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, has more value than a player who is considered a “QB2.”

Ppr:  Points Per Reception League. These leagues award 1 point per reception and otherwise follow a standard scoring format.

Ppr (point per reception):  Indicates a league that awards a point per reception. Typically, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends all receive the same number of points for catches, but some leagues award staggered bonuses based on position. For example, running backs could receive .5 points per reception, while wideouts and tight ends receive a full point.

Ppr (points per reception):  In some leagues, owners earn a fantasy point for each reception their players have during the game. In these leagues, wide receivers become more valuable, as well as running backs catch well out of the backfield, like Reggie Bush, Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Brian Westbrook.

Pre-rankings:  How NFL players are rated before the draft.

Price:  Most commonly refers to a player's auction cost, but can also refer to a player'sDFS salary, or even his ADP.

Private league:  A league you can join by invitation only and that’s controlled by a commissioner.

Pro:  Probable – there is still a chance that this player may heal before game-time 

Proj. (projected):  The amount of fantasy points that a player is expected to produce in a given week or season.

Projection:  A statistical forecast of a player which is used to determine rankings. [4for4 subscribers have access to the most accurate projections in the industry, updated in real time.]

Projections:  Similar to a cheat sheet, projections rank players in terms of fantasy value, but predicted statistics are also assigned to players. Since many leagues' scoring methods greatly differ, this is more useful than a cheat sheet because you can apply your own scoring system to determine their fantasy value in your league. Our customized cheat sheets display fantasy value automatically after you store your scoring system.

Public league:  A league where anyone can sign up and play.

Qb:  Quarterback

Qbbc (quarterback by committee):  A relatively new strategy in fantasy football, the QBBC strategy directs owners to pass on the big name QBs (Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees etc.) and instead draft multiple QBs in the 7th, 8th and 9th rounds. Instead of drafting a big name QB in the early rounds you fill your roster with RBs and WRs. With some careful planning, you can draft 2 (or preferably 3) QBs who have complimentary schedules, and greatly increase the likelihood that one of your QBs will be facing a pretty attractive pass defense for the majority of the weeks of the season.

Que:  Questionable – it is very doubtful if this player will heal before game-time 

Rankings:  The order players should be taken in a fantasy league. These are based onprojections and take into account league type, scoring settings, and a player's risk. [4for4 subscribers have access to the most accurate rankings in the industry.]

Rb:  Running Back

Rbbc (running back by committee):  A relatively recent phenomenon, running back by committee is used by more NFL teams each year. Teams are having success using a fast, small back between the 20-yard lines and a large power back near the goal line (a.k.a. TD Vulture). Other NFL teams seem to rotate their RBs to keep them fresh (example

Re-draft:  The typical fantasy league that spans one season and no players are carried over from one year to the next (the opposite of a keeper league). These leagues are typically played in standard or PPR formats and have a snake draft.

Reserve:  Backup or bench players.

Ret:  Kick and punt returners. Some leagues award fantasy points for punt and kick return yardage and some even have a dedicated starting roster spot for returners.

Roster:  See Team

S:  Safety. (Not to be confused with the 2-point defensive score that occurs when an offensive player gets tackled in his own end zone.)

Scoring:  Abbreviations include

Scrub:  A nearly worthless fantasy player, i.e. someone who doesn't play much or doesn't put up good stats.

Serpentine draft:  A type of fantasy football draft order in which the draft “snakes” back around after the first round. In other words, the last team to pick in the first round would be the first team to pick in the second round.

Serpentine draft or snake draft:  The type of draft in which the commissioner draws teams names from a hat to determine the order in which teams will select players in the first round and then reverses the order in the second. For example, in a 12 team league #1 would draft first in round 1 & #12 would draft last. But in Round 2 #12 would draft first and #1 would draft last. The teams would be in normal order in odd rounds and reversed in even rounds. The draft order would continue in that manner

Sleeper:  A draft term for a NFL player that an owner believes is going to have a breakout season. These are usually players who are not rookies, but they can be. For the most part they are not well known NFL players. For example, Edgerrin James would not have been a sleeper for the 1999 season, because many people knew he was going to have a good to very good season. However, Kurt Warner would have been because very few people expected much performance from him, yet he was the leading player in most leagues in 1999. Usually sleepers are drafted in the middle to late rounds of a draft.

Snake draft:  See Serpentine Draft

Snake or serpentine draft:  Unlike the actual NFL draft, most fantasy drafts use the "snake" system in which the team with the first pick in Round 1 has the last pick in Round 2, followed by the first pick in Round 3. Conversely, the team with the last pick in the first round has the first pick in the second round. This system is used to help create a balance between all of the competing teams. There often is a great debate as to which draft position is best, but that has yet to be settled.

Ss:  Strong Safety

Standard (std):  Standard Scoring League. These leagues typically don't award points per reception. They award 1 point per 10 rushing/receiving yards, 6 points per rushing/receiving/return touchdown, and -2 points per fumble lost. Passing scoring systems may vary, but typically award 1 point per 20 or 25 passing yards, 4 or 6 points per passing touchdown, and -1 or -2 points per interception. Standard league drafts are typically done in snake-draft format and are typically re-draft leagues.

Standard league:  A fantasy football scoring system in which offensive players are awarded points for yards and touchdowns only.

Starters or starting lineup:  The players that you select for a particular week that you will receive points for. A typical starting lineup would include one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one team defense. Some leagues include individual defensive players (IDPs) in lieu of a team defense.

Starting lineup:  Most basic leagues will allow owners to start one quarterback, two running backs, two or three receivers and one tight end, one kicker and one defense. Leagues can determine the number of starters and include a "flex" position that can be a running back, a wide receiver or a tight end. Some leagues also use individual defensive starters.

Start-sit:  The decision of which player to have in your lineup, and which player to have on your bench.

Stats:  A player's numerical accomplishments for a given week. For example, "Randy Moss's stats for week 14 are 3 TD's and 258 receiving yards."

Stream:  Rather than having a reliable week-to-week starter at a position, an owner opts to use an in-season strategy of rotating starters by adding new players with favorable matchups from the waiver wire as needed.

Streaming:  A strategy of picking up and dropping a new player each week based on matchups. This is most commonly done with positions that require one roster spot (QB, TE, K, D/ST). Most fantasy owners don't draft backups at these positions, and as a result, there are typically viable options available on the waiver wire. [4for4 subscribers have access to weekly streaming content and advice.]

Stud:  A NFL player who has proved himself to be a top scoring player at his position. These players should be started each week regardless of match-up and should only be benched during bye weeks and significant injuries.

Super bowl slump:  Players from the previous Super Bowl losing team always seem to struggle the next season. Following this, be wary of Bronco players.

Te:  Tight End

Team:  The collection of players that a fantasy owner has.

Team defense:  Drafting an entire team's defense (rather than individual defensive players), you earn points when any player on the defense records a sack, interception, fumble recovery, safety or touchdown. Most leagues include special teams with the team defense, so if the team scores a touchdown when returning a punt or kickoff you will also earn points.

Team position:  An idea that is used in some leagues in which you select a team instead of a specific player for a position. For example, if you start Philadelphia for Team QB you would get credit for stats from Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia and anyone else that played the QB position in that game.

Team qb:  See Team Position

Third-year wide receiver:  Much like Harold Carmichael, Santana Moss and Steve Smith (to name a few), some receivers fail to make an impact until their third NFL season. Third-year receivers are great candidates to be "sleepers" and have "breakout" years.

Trade:  Switching certain players from Team A to Team B. For Example Team A gives Team B Brandon Marshall in exchange for Brandon Pettigrew and Michael Bush. In almost all leagues, including money in a trade is strictly against the rules. For example, Greg Jennings for DeSean Jackson and $10.

Trade bait:  Good players who you can offer to other coaches.

Trading deadline:  Last day of the season to make trades.

Transaction:  A roster change. Some leagues have a transaction fee. Also see Cut, Pickup, and Trade

Undroppable:  NFL.com keeps an updated list of players that cannot be dropped from an owners team. This is done to protect the integrity of the league. This is updated frequently so if a player is hurt and lost for the season, they will be removed from the list and owners are free to drop them if they wish.

Vulture back:  A running back who steals goal-line carries from the starter.

Waiver:  Some leagues have players recently dropped by teams to go into a "waiver" status for one or more days. When in this status, owners cannot immediately add the player. Instead they make a waiver claim for the player. When the commissioner processes waivers, usually the team with the least wins get first claim on players, then the team with the second least wins, etc.

Waiver hawk:  Some players don't want to sacrifice waiver position to pick up players, so they wait until the early morning hours to make roster moves just minutes after a player clears waivers.

Waiver order:  Refers to the order that established at the end of each week barring your league settings. The higher you are on the waiver order, the better chance you have to claim a player on the waiver wire.

Waiver priority:  Determines which fantasy football team has the best chance to pick up a player off the waiver wire if there is more than one bid for his services.

Waiver wire:  Refers to the list of free-agent players within a fantasy league. Most free agents are subject to a waiver process, as a player is placed on waivers after the kickoff of the first game of the week or during a designated period (24 hours) after being released from a team. Waivers help to ensure that all teams have the opportunity to claim the best free agents, resulting in more balanced, competitive leagues.

Wr:  Wide Receiver

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