Contributed By: Ryan Brooks
For those of you new to Fantasy Football, below is a list of some basic fantasy football terms. This is just a general overview of terms and commonly used abbreviations – many of them will be discussed in much greater detail as Fantasy University moves forward.
A type of draft where each owner is allotted a certain amount of fantasy dollars to spend. The owner uses this money to fill their roster spots by bidding, e-bay style, on NFL players. Basic Scoring (TD Only Scoring) Fantasy points are only earned when your starters score touchdowns, field goals, and extra points.
Players owners choose not to start; normally receive no points for their performances, but they could be used as a tiebreaker in many scoring formats.
A basic drafting tool that lists NFL players ranked in order of predicted fantasy performance. Not typically customized for specific league scoring.
The Commish is the owner who created and configured the league. The commissioner is also responsible for maintaining the league, reporting the results of the fantasy games, running the draft, maintaining league integrity, collecting entrance fees (if any), and generally keeping things running.
To remove or drop a player from your roster.
The draft is the mechanism by which players are assigned to a team in the league. A draft typically takes place before or very early in the season and will involve selecting exactly the number of players the league’s roster requirements allow. The most common draft types are Traditional (straight draft), Serpentine (1st pick in round 1 picks last in Round 2), and Auction.
A league in which you keep your entire roster from year to year. The next season a draft is held to improve your team from any players or rookies not already on a roster. Typically a long term commitment.
Injured Reserve (IR)
An option in some leagues where injured player (often based on the official NFL injury report) can be sent to the IR until he is healthy. Typically, the player cannot earn the owner any points until off IR and inserted into the owner’s starting lineup. The advantage of IR is that typically another player can be added to the team since the IR player doesn’t count against the owner’s roster limit.
A league in which a predetermined 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 and is often assigned by the league. Different from a Dynasty League, in which your whole team is carried over from year to year. A Keeper League can involve contracts with specified lengths, player salaries, and/or a salary cap.
Refers to the state of a player once his day’s game has started. Frozen players cannot have their position updated, whether to be moved from the starting lineup to the bench, moved from the bench to the starting lineup, or moved from one position in the starting lineup to another. The player will typically be unfrozen following his day’s game.
Groups of 2 to 32 owners who all compete against each other. A Fantasy Football league will adhere to certain rules. An owner can choose to join a league with owners he already knows or be randomly placed in a league.
A type of league draft that takes place online on in person. Live Draft participants are given a certain amount of time to draft a player. Most owners typically prefer the Live Draft to the List Draft because it gives them more control over their picks.
A fake draft that is designed to get a gauge for when players are getting drafted in actual fantasy football drafts.
The person who makes decisions about a fantasy football team. This includes drafting, cutting, and starters.
Performance Based Scoring
In addition to basic scoring you receive points for yardage (as in 1 point for every 20 passing yards). See FF303: What is Performance Based Scoring for more details.
To add a player to your roster.
A version of cheat sheet in which potential statistics are 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.
The type of league where owners re-draft their entire team every year. Players are not kept from year to year.
The list of players that a manager owns. The roster includes both the starting lineup player and the bench players. An owner’s roster changes throughout the year as the he makes trades, picks up player, or drops players.
Limitations set by the league’s creator that restricts the number of players an owner can have on his roster. The requirements define limits at each position, the number of bench spots, and the number of DL spots each team is allowed.
The type of draft where owners draw randomly to determine the order they will select players in the first round. The order is then reversed in the second round, and so on. For example, in a 10 team league #1 would draft first in round 1 & #10 would draft last. But in Round 2 #10 would draft first and #1 would draft last.
The set of rules that is used to determine an owners fantasy points. Most common are Total Points, Head-to-Head, TD Only, and Performance Based Scoring. See the other FF.com University articles for more details on scoring.
A term for a player that an owner believes is going to have a breakout season, or much better statistics than predicted. For the most part these are relatively unknown players.
The set of players on an owner’s team that include any player not on the bench or on injured reserve. Players in the starting lineup earn owners points for their performances in that week’s games.
A player who has proved himself to be a top scoring player at his position.
The collection of players each owner has on his roster.
Team Position (Team QB, Team Kicker, etc..)
An idea used in some leagues in which you select a team instead of a specific player for a position (most commonly done at the QB, Defensive, or Kicker position). For example, if you start the Lions QB you would get credit for stats from either Jeff Garcia or Joey Harrington, regardless of which scores fantasy points.
A type of transaction where two owners agree to swap players. A manager may agree to a trade where he receives more players than he gives up, in which case he may be forced to drop some number of players before the trade can be processed. In some leagues, the commissioner or the remainder of the league must approve trades in order to ensure equity and avoid collusion.
Describes the availability of a player after the draft or after being dropped from another owner’s roster. A player on waivers cannot be picked up immediately. Instead, he will remain on waivers for some duration of time and any owner interested in acquiring him must put in a waiver claim for him.
On the night the player is due to come off waivers, each of the claims on the player is considered. The owner who has the highest waiver priority wins the claim (and therefore the player) and the owner then moved to the bottom of the priority chain (i.e. he has the lowest waiver priority). If the player is not claimed by any team, he becomes a free agent and can be picked up at any time by any team. The waiver period therefore gives all owners a fair chance to acquire any given player.
A roster change. Some leagues have a transaction fee. Applies to any add, drop, cut, or trade.