Key Fantasy 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: Santana Moss, Chris Chambers, Steve Smith, and Javon Walker.

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

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 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.

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

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

A player, usually drafted in the first three rounds of a fantasy draft, who is predicted to have a poor season. 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.

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.

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.

Cut or Drop
To remove a player from your roster.

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).

Depth Chart
An NFL team roster with players classified as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd string.

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.

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.

Fantasy Football
A game which the players (owners) earn fantasy points for the statistical performances of the NFL players on their fantasy team. In most leagues, NFL players are assigned to teams via a draft. Usually, each player can only be on one team at a time and there are limits to the total number of players per team. The object of the game is to outscore your fantasy opponent (other owners) on a weekly basis, so that at the end of the fantasy season (depending on the league) you have the most points or the most wins (in a head to head league).

Short for Fantasy Football

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

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.

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.

General Manager
See Owner

Drafting your stud RBs’ backup to mitigate the risk if the stud gets injured. Example: drafting Michael Turner after drafting LaDainian Tomlinson

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.

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.

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.

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

See starters

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.

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.

To add a player to your roster.

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.

QBBC (Quarterback by Committee)
A relatively new strategy in fantasy football, the QBBC strategy directs owners to pass on the big name QBs (Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, 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.” — source:

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: Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell in DEN in 2005). However, this creates difficulties in fantasy football since points are awarded for both yardage and touchdowns. Running backs that get the bulk of both a team’s yardage and touchdowns are becoming more valuable.

See Team

Abbreviations include: TD = Touchdown, FG = Field Goal, XP = Extra Point, INT = Interception and Pts = Points. Also see Basic Scoring and Performance Scoring.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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

Switching certain players from Team A to Team B. For Example Team A gives Team B Curtis Martin in exchange for Onterrio Smith and Keyshawn Johnson. In almost all leagues, including money in a trade is strictly against the rules. For example, Daunte Culpepper for Keyshawn Johnson and $10.

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

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.