Fantasy Football 101: Glossary
by Mike Harmon
July 21, 2004
Fantasy football takes on a language of its own. The following list of terms gives you a base dictionary to employ this season and astound your league members, co-workers and family.
ACL: The worst acronym that you can have associated with your running back. The word "torn" in front of this acronym ends the player's season and sends you scurrying to the waiver wire.
Add/drop: Process of picking up a new player from the available players list and releasing someone from your current roster.
Bargain: Player drafted later than anticipated who goes on to fantasy prominence during the season.
Bust: A highly touted player who fails to meet the high expectations.
Bye Week: A week off for an NFL team. This is important to drafting strategy as you want to be sure that both of your drafted QBs or RBs don't have the same week off.
Coach: The man/woman in charge of the team. A great resume booster. (Sometimes called an Owner for the added ego boost.)
Commissioner: Person elected to run the league, ultimately responsible for upholding the league's rules and processes.
DBTH: "Don't Believe The Hype!" The next big thing usually isn't (see Koren Robinson in 2003). Temper all news reports and excitement with a dose of reality (e.g., injury history, strength of schedule).
Distance Points: Extra points offered for achieving a significant milestone (100 yards rushing or receiving, 300 yards passing, TDs of longer distances, etc.).
Draft: The process of assembling a team by taking turns selecting NFL players to fill out a roster.
Free Agent: Players not currently owned by any team in the league who are available for immediate pickup.
Handcuff: Drafting the 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: Individual Defensive Players. Typically, leagues will use team defenses in their roster selections, but a growing trend is to draft individual players. The allure of players such as LaVar Arrington and Roy Williams and the plethora of big-hit highlight reels make this a trend sure to continue
Injured Reserve: Not applicable for fantasy football as a roster spot, but something to note. In the NFL, once a player is placed on injured reserve, he cannot participate in another game for the remainder of the season.
Labrum: This is an part of the shoulder that, if torn, usually requires season-ending surgery. Quarterbacks have a higher risk for this type of injury. Definitely not a friend to the fantasy coach.
LOL: Laugh out loud. Hopefully you do more of this at the expense of your league's members than they do at you.
Lunch: An hour set aside in the middle of each day to check rosters, available players and news updates from around the league.
Online Draft: Conducting the league's draft via an online draft room. In the case of Yahoo! Sports, a clean and sporty Java applet allows you to track each selection, the remaining available players, team rosters as they are filled and a chat area to smack-talk a bad selection.
Offline Draft: Gathering the league's coaches in one place to conduct the draft, usually at someone's home or a conference center. It takes on all the pageantry of the NFL and NBA drafts, complete with food and frosty beverages.
Playoffs: Fantasy playoffs occur during the final weeks of the NFL season, typically in Weeks 15-16. Some leagues utilize a three-week playoff and include Week 17.
Ranking: Preparing a list of the players for the draft, either overall or by position.
Reach: Drafting a player earlier than normal. For example, Mike Vanderjagt is typically a ninth- or 10th-round selection. An owner taking Vanderjagt in the fourth round would be reaching.
Reserves: Players on the roster whom a coach uses to spell starters who are hurt or in a bye week or facing a difficult matchup. These roster positions do not receive points.
Scrub: Player who fails to produce viable fantasy numbers and holds no value in the league.
Shuffle: Dance popularized by Ickey Woods and previously the '85 Chicago Bears used to celebrate accomplishments, be they TDs or Super Bowl appearances. Now utilized by fantasy participants watching the latest highlights.
Slacker: League member failing to participate on a regular basis. Likely to be the subject of derision and message board taunts that are later posted to their cube walls.
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.
Smack-talk: Message board rants used to mock other league members, NFL teams, players or, in its purest form, a forum by which to discuss the game.
Snake (Serpentine) Draft: Typical draft order. In a ten-team league, the order goes 1-10 in the first round and then 10-1 in the second round. This order repeats for the duration of the draft.
Starters: Lineup of players selected for scoring in that week's matchup.
StatTracker: Java applet that updates the league's scoring as games are in progress. Not a requirement for fantasy owners but provides the immediate smack-talk opportunity.
Team Defense: Typical scoring configuration in which coaches select an entire team's defense and receive points based on its performance.
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 New York Giants Team QB, he or she will receive points whether Kurt Warner or Eli Manning stands under center.
Trade: The exchange of players between rosters, typically voted on by the league's members.
Waivers: Process 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 (see below) 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.
Zero: The percentage likelihood that you will play fantasy football and not enjoy each and every weekend.
Updated on Wednesday, Jul 21, 2004 8:09 pm, EDT