Fantasy football is like a club, and like any other club, there are certain inside jokes and sayings that only club members understand. While the jokes and sayings vary from league to league there are certainly some words and terms in fantasy football that you should know before the season starts. Here you will find a complete list of terms and descriptions to help you better understand what’s going on when “Jim picks up Ryan Mathews’ handcuff”. Some of these are self explanatory, but for the rookies out there I want to make sure they are understood.
ADP (Average Draft Position): An average number of where that player is being taken in mock drafts or real ones. Gives you an idea of what the fantasy world’s value is for an individual player.
Auction Draft: A 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, kick field goals, and extra points. Also see Performance Scoring.
Bench Players: Players which you choose not to start; you receive no points for their performances while they are in the bench slot.
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: The NFL plays 16 games out of 17 weeks during the season. The game week a team doesn’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
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.
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.
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 snake method. Some leagues give the top spots in the draft to the teams with the poorest records from the previous season, others draw for draft positions.
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.
FF or FFB: Short for Fantasy Football
Flex: A spot in your starting lineup that you can use more than one type of position player; typically RB and WR. Some leagues allow TE’s and QB’s in the flex spot too.
Flier (or Flyer): An ambiguous term meaning either taking a chance or picking a player off the waiver wire.
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.
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.
Ghost ship: A team that is not being actively managed by its owner or the act of not actively managing a fantasy team.
Handcuffing: Drafting your stud RBs' backup in case the stud gets injured.
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
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.
Mock Draft: A fake draft that is used to practice drafting strategy and gauge where players will be drafted in actual fantasy football drafts.
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.
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 who catch well out of the backfield.
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.
QBBC (Quarterback by Committee): A relatively new strategy in fantasy football, the QBBC strategy directs owners to pass on the big name QBs and instead draft multiple QBs in the middle to late rounds. Instead of drafting a big name QB in the early rounds you fill your roster with RBs and WRs.
RBBC (Running Back by Committee): 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. Other NFL teams seem to rotate their RBs to keep them fresh. 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.
Scoring: Abbreviations include: TD = Touchdown, FG = Field Goal, XP = Extra Point, INT = Interception and Pts = Points. Also see Basic Scoring and Performance Scoring.
Sleeper: A draft term for a NFL player that an owner believes is going to have a breakout season. Usually sleepers are drafted in the middle to late rounds of a draft.
Snake Draft: The type of draft where teams are in a specific order. 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.
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. Some leagues also include a flex position, see flex.
Stats: A player's numerical accomplishments for a given week.
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.
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.
Trade: The technique in which owners agree to swap players.
Transaction: A roster change. Some leagues have a transaction fee.
Waiver Wire: 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, and then the team with the second least wins, etc.