Fantasy Football Glossary
ACL: This is perhaps worst acronym that you can have associated with your running back, wide receiver or QB when reviewing the weekly injury report. The word “torn” in front of this acronym effectively ends the player’s season and sends you scurrying for a replacement.
Auction Draft: A draft style in which coaches bid against the other league participants to obtain their players. Each participant is given a maximum dollar amount to spend, and must then judiciously spend those funds to purchase a complete roster.
Bargain: A player who is drafted later than anticipated and goes on to fantasy prominence during the season.
Bench: Players on the roster selected to provide depth at a position and are used to spell injured starters, starters in their Bye week or starters facing a difficult matchup. Players assigned to these roster positions do not receive points.
Bonus Points: Scoring configuration that allows coaches to earn additional points based on players reaching statistical milestones. Typically, 100-yard games by running backs or receivers, or 300-yard passing games by quarterbacks are the marks that a player must surpass to receive additional points.
Bust: A player who fails to live up to pre-season expectations.
Bye Week: The week during the NFL season in which a team does not play. The NFL regular season is 17 weeks long. Each team has one week – between Weeks 3 and 10 – where they do not play.
Coach: The man/woman in charge of the team. A great resume booster. (Sometimes called an Owner or GM for the added ego boost.)
Commissioner: The final arbiter of all disputes within a league. They recruit league members and make recommendations/decisions regarding the league’s configuration.
Completion Percentage: The measure of the number of passes successfully completed to intended receivers as a function of the total number of attempts.
DBTH: “Don’t Believe The Hype!” Simply put, the next big thing usually isn’t. Temper all news reports and excitement with a dose of reality (e.g., injury history, strength of schedule, and the team’s overall prospects).
Defense (DEF): Most fantasy leagues utilize team defenses as one of the active roster positions. For roster purposes, an entire team defense acts as an individual player. The Coach then receives points based on the number of interceptions, forced fumbles, sacks and other categories as chosen in the league configuration.
Doubtful: Injury status applied to players who are unlikely to participate in the week’s contest. Like all statuses on the injury report, this may be updated until game-time.
Draft: The process of assembling a team by taking turns selecting NFL players to fill out a roster. A typical draft is dubbed a “serpentine” draft, whereby the team that drafts last in one round picks first in the next round, and so on (e.g., 1-12, 12-1, 1-12, etc.).
Dynasty League: A league that carries over to the next season, comprised primarily, if not wholly, of the same coaches and team rosters between each season.
Field Goal (FG): A kicked ball that goes through the goal posts erected at each end of the field. Regardless of distance, the offensive team receives three points for a successful attempt. In fantasy sports, Bonus Points are typically awarded for kicks of longer distances.
Flex Player: Fantasy roster spot that can be occupied by players from different positions.
For instance, the WR/RB flex position can be filled by either a Wide Receiver or Running Back.
Forced Fumble (FF): A hit or action by a defender that causes an offensive player to lose possession of the ball
Free Agency: Players who not currently owned by any team in the league who are available for immediate pickup.
Fumble Lost: A fumble by an offensive player that is recovered by the defense and results in a change of possession
GM: See Coach
Handcuffing: Drafting a team’s backup at QB or RB as insurance in case the starter is injured, typically done in situations where the player has an injury-riddled past or a history of performance concerns.
IDP: This stands for Individual Defensive Player. Some leagues draft individual defensive players (IDP) rather than team defenses. For example, a participant would draft Brian Urlacher instead of the Chicago Bears defense.
Injured Reserve: In the NFL, once a player is placed on injured reserve, he cannot participate in another game for the remainder of the season. Some fantasy leagues allow owners to use an “Injury” slot, where any player appearing on the week’s injury report can be placed and a replacement acquired from the free agent list.
Interception (INT): A pass attempt that is caught by a defender and results in a change in possession. This is typically treated as a negative scoring play against quarterbacks in fantasy football.
Keeper League: A type of league that allows Coaches to retain one or more players for the subsequent season. The league’s coaches then draft their remaining players in the normal fashion.
Live Draft: The means of player selection using the application provided by the host web site.
Look: Also known as a Target; a count of the number of times that a pass is thrown to a particular receiver
Ninja: A player normally selected in the later stages of the draft or off the free agent list who has the potential for a breakout fantasy season. These players have either faced limited opportunity or injury in previous seasons which cause them to fall on draft day. Traditionally, the fantasy community has used the term “Sleeper.” “Sleeper” was outlawed on the FOX Fantasy Football radio show in August of 2010.
Offline Draft: Draft conducted without the aid of the host web site. The draft is completed either in-person or via phone, with the results later entered onto the site by the Commissioner.
Online Draft: This is the process of conducting the league’s draft via an online draft application. Java applets are the standard method among online sites. These applications allow all league managers to participate in the draft wherever they are and track each selection, scour the remaining available players, review team rosters as they are filled and chat.
Out: Injury status that declares definitely that a player will not participate in that week’s game
Owner: See GM
Point After Touchdown (PAT): the kick that occurs after a touchdown is scores, with the ball spotted at the opponent’s three-yard line. A successful conversion is worth one point.
Probable: Injury status that intimates that the player should be able to play through the particular ailment.
Reach: Drafting a player earlier than normal. This can happen because of an affinity with the home team, a player who has been successful for the owner in the past or the need to draft “That guy.”
Reserves: Players on the roster who are used to spell starters who are hurt, in a bye week or facing a difficult matchup. Players assigned to these roster positions do not receive points.
Sack: Play during which the opposing QB is tackled behind the line of scrimmage by a defensive player. This is scored with positive points for the team defense or individual defensive player recording the sack and as a negative play for the quarterback who is tackled for a loss.
Salary Cap: A type of game that dictates that Owners/GMs cannot exceed a predetermined budget in assembling their team.
Safety: A player that serves as the last line of defense against the opponent’s scoring efforts.
In terms of fantasy scoring, it is a play that awards two points to the defense. Safeties typically occur when a quarterback or running back is tackled in the end zone or when an offensive lineman is whistled for holding in the end zone. A less common occurrence of this play is when the ball is snapped over the punter’s head and out of the back of the end zone.
Serpentine Draft: Draft type that reverses order in each round, meaning that the team with the last pick in the first round receives the first pick in the second round, and so on (e.g., 1-12, 12-1, 1-12, etc.).
Shanahan, Mike: Brought the concept of the running back committee into modern strategy while head coach of the Denver Broncos. The proliferation of split backfields across the league has earned him the moniker of “the devil” in fantasy message boards. Shanahan returned to the sidelines for 2010, and will apply this strategy to the Washington Redskins.
Sleeper: A player normally selected in the later stages of the draft or off the free agent list who has the potential for a breakout fantasy season. These players have either faced limited opportunity or injury in previous seasons which cause them to fall on draft day. Now called a “Ninja” on the FOX Fantasy Football show and at SwollenDome.com
Smack-talk: Message board rants or emails designed to engage other league members into discussions of NFL teams and players and to deride them about the performances of their fantasy teams to date.
Target: The intended recipient of a passing play or the number of times that a player was thrown the ball. Synonymous with Look
Team QB: Concept used in a small percentage of leagues whereby a coach receives all points earned by players at the QB position for a particular team. For example, if a coach selects the Denver Broncos Team QB, he or she will receive points whether Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn or Tim Tebow stands under center. The selection of this option prevents a participant from registering a low score or none at all if their quarterback were to be injured early in the game.
Touchdown: The addition of six points to a team’s total when a player carries the ball across the opponents’ goal line
Touches: The sum of the number of times that a Running Back carries the ball and the number of times that the player catches a pass. Running Backs ranking at the top of this count are typically the most valuable fantasy football players.
Trade: The exchange of players between rosters, typically voted on by either the league’s Commissioner or the league’s members
Two-Point Conversion: A play after a touchdown is scored whereby the offensive team attempts to run or throw the ball into the end zone instead of pursuing the traditional kick. A successful conversion adds two points onto their score.
Voldemort: See Shanahan, Mike
Vulture: This is a term used to describe running backs who are not typically featured in the offense until the offense moves into scoring position. The primary ball carrier may be undersized and unable to move a pile to gain the inches necessary to cross the goal line. The “vulture” would get the nod to pick up the highly contested final yards to reach the end zone. Former Steelers RB Jerome Bettis and current Falcons RB T.J. Duckett are two prime examples of this phenomenon.
Waivers: Process by which to make all undrafted players available to all teams. Typically, there is a period after the initial draft and after a player is released from a roster whereby coaches must bid for him and choose a player to drop if the claim is successful. The team with the highest spot on the Waiver Priority List receives the player.
Waiver Priority List: The initial waiver priority list is set in inverse order of the draft, with the team selecting last in the first-round receiving the highest spot in the waiver order. There are two ways to utilize the waiver priority list during the season. First, the list may be a rolling list, which places the team with the last successful acquisition at the bottom of the list. The other type of waiver list places the last-place team at the top of the list following the week’s games. They then get the rights to the first waiver selection and the rolling list goes into effect for the remainder of the week.
Free agent acquisitions do NOT impact the waiver priority list.
Yards After Catch (YAC): A measure of the number of yards gained by a pass receiver after establishing possession of the ball.
Yards Per Attempt: A measure of the number of positive yards earned per throwing attempt by a quarterback. (Passing Yards) / (Completions + Incompletions + Interceptions)