Fantasy Football Glossary of Terms
This glossary is divided into three sections, which you can jump directly to by clicking:
Fantasy football has its own jargon that owners must quickly become deft at navigating through. Aside from the abundance of nicknames for players – Dan “Boom” Herron, anyone? – fantasy football terms themselves can sometimes be confusing. Below you’ll find some common terms and abbreviations associated with fantasy football, and a quick description of what each one means.
Starting simple, the following charts show the kinds of positions you might see as you sort and rank players. These are the standard symbols you’ll see when making fantasy decisions on most sites, and are the symbols and abbreviations we use here at 4for4 to make things easier.
- D/ST: Team Defense/Special Teams. This position accrues fantasy points based on the collective output of a particular team's entire defense and special teams.
- DEF: Another abbreviation for D/ST.
- K: Kicker
- QB: Quarterback
- RB: Running Back
- TE: Tight End
- WR: Wide Receiver
For those of you in an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league, you may find the following abbreviations common:
- CB: Cornerback
- DB: Defensive Back
- DE: Defensive End
- DL: Defensive Lineman
- DT: Defensive Tackle
- FS: Free Safety
- LB: Linebacker
- MLB: Middle Linebacker
- OLB: Outside Linebacker
- 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.)
- SS: Strong Safety
There are a variety of fantasy league types and scoring formats. The following includes the most common ones you’re likely to run into:
- Auction: A league where each fantasy owner is given a virtual salary cap -- typically $200 -- and players are auctioned to the highest bidder, as opposed to a traditional snake draft format.
- 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.
- 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.
- DFS: Abbreviation for Daily Fantasy Sports, or Daily leagues.
- 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.
- 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.
- Half-PPR: Half-Point Per Reception League. These leagues award 0.5 points per reception and otherwise follow a standard scoring format.
- IDP: Individual Defensive Player League. These leagues requires you to draft individual defensive players. These leagues can either entirely consist of defensive players, or require defensive players in additional to the traditional fantasy positions (QB, RB, WR, TE, K, D/ST).
- Keeper: Refers to a dynasty league itself. Can also refer to the particular player being kept.
- MFL10: A draft-only, best ball league with a $10 entry fee hosted at MyFantasyLeague.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.]
- PPR: Points Per Reception League. These leagues award 1 point per reception and otherwise follow a standard scoring format.
- 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.
- 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.
- Superflex: This is a lineup slot where owners can use a quarterback, wide receiver, running back or tight end. Superflex leagues are becoming more and more common and add a wrinkle by allowing two quarterbacks to be used in a starting lineup.
Need player rankings for a specific league type or scoring format listed above? Subscribe to 4for4!
Once you get into a league, the terms associated with your team are most likely going to be the same. General terms regarding positions and league types and scoring formats may not be very difficult to figure out, when it comes to fantasy strategy, the industry-specific verbiage can get a little more confounding. Whether you’re trying to understand your league's rules, or navigating through cheat sheets and rankings, you may encounter the following terms:
- ADP: Average Draft Position, where a player is being commonly drafted in fantasy leagues. [4for4 subscribers have access to a Multi-Sute ADP tool that complies ADP from CBS, ESPN, MFL, NFL.com, and Yahoo.]
- Bench: The reserve players on your roster.
- 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.
- Bust: A player who performs considerably worse than his ADP.
- 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 sheet of player rankings, either by position, overall, or both. [4for4 subscribers have access to cheat sheets for every conceivable league type and scoring format, based on our industry-leading rankings.]
- Depth: The quality of your reserve players at each position.
- FAAB: Free Agent Acquisition Budget, a set dollar amount to use over the course of a season on free agents.
- 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.]
- Free Agent: A player available for acquisition on the waiver wire. (Not to be confused with an actual NFL free agent.)
- Handcuff: The backup player who would start if the player ahead of him were benched or injured. Handcuffs are typically drafted at the RB position, as this is the position with the most weekly turnover.
- Keeper: A player retained from one season to the next in a keeper league.
- Lineup: The players receiving points on your roster in a given week, i.e., your starters.
- Mock: A practice fantasy draft to try out different strategies. [4for4 subscribers can conduct mock drafts in minutes with 4for4's Draft Analyzer.]
- Price: Most commonly refers to a player's auction cost, but can also refer to a player's DFS salary, or even his ADP.
- 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.]
- Rankings: The order players should be taken in a fantasy league. These are based on projections 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.]
- RBBC: Running Back By Committee, meaning the team consistently uses more than one running back in a game.
- Roster: All the players on your team.
- Scrub: A nearly worthless fantasy player, i.e. someone who doesn't play much or doesn't put up good stats.
- Sleeper: A player who performs -- or is projected to perform -- significantly better than his ADP
- Snake Draft: The most common type of draft runs from picks 1 - 12, then 12 - 1, then 1 - 12, and so forth.
- Start-Sit: The decision of which player to have in your lineup, and which player to have on your bench.
- 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 top-tier fantasy player; usually among the best at his position.
- Waiver Wire: The pool of players available for acquisition after the draft.