Fantasy Football Dictionary Terms – A Glossary of Abbreviations & Lingo

Updated on May 16th, 2020 by Brad Perniciaro
Fantasy Football Terms

Fantasy football is a great way to put your football knowledge to the test. But just like the NFL, fantasy football comes with its own jargon, abbreviations, and slang.

This newfangled language can be intimidating to newcomers. And truth be told, it sometimes befuddles fantasy veterans!

So, I have decided to create this fantasy football glossary to clear-up much of the confusion. But unlike other dictionary-type pages, we’re going to go a bit deeper.

You can use this glossary to look up any fantasy football terms or abbrevaitions that you haven’t come across. Or, just read through the entire glossary to expand your fantasy football vocabulary.

Popular Fantasy Football Terms and Definitions

The following is a pseudo-dictionary of every fantasy football term I could conjure up. You could think of it as a fantasy football glossary.

If you think I missed any terms, or you feel you have a better definition for one of these terms, tell me about it in the comments section.

3rd Year WR Rule

The 3rd Year Wide Receiver rule is a popular theory that wide receivers start to reach their full potential during his third year in the NFL.

Add/Drop

Add/Drop is a common name for the processes of adding a free agent or player from the waiver wire and dropping a player from your fantasy football team. The pool of available players is often called the add/drop list.

Auction Draft

An auction draft is a style of fantasy football draft where team owners bid on the players they covet, with the player ultimately going to the owner that places the highest bid. Whereas in a snake draft owners pick any desired player in a pre-determined order, auction draft owners are given an auction budget that they can use to place bids on any player they choose.

Automated Draft

An automated draft involves allowing a computer to select the players for your team.  The automated draft algorithm is often triggered by draft software when a player does not show up for their online draft.

Basic Scoring System

The basic scoring system is another name for the standard scoring system in fantasy football.

Bench Players

Bench players are those players that are on your roster but that you are not starting in a given week. You do not receive any points from your bench players.

Bonus Scoring

Bonus scoring is a customized scoring system that rewards players for reaching certain statistical benchmarks. This can include:

  • Extra points for receivers hitting 100 yards
  • Extra points for running backs hitting 100 yards
  • Quarterbacks throwing for more than 300 yards
  • Kickers hitting field goals longer than 50 yards.

Boom-Or-Bust

Boom-or-bust describes players that usually have either very successful or extremely unproductive weeks (or seasons), but few in between. This fantasy football term is often used to describe big-play receivers that do not get many total catches or short-yardage running backs whose value is dependent on them scoring touchdowns on few carries.

Breakout

The breakout term is used to describe players when they initially achieve fantasy relevance. Breakouts can include bench players that are promoted to a starting position, players whose usage increases dramatically, or players that have improved to the point that they start putting up significant numbers.

Bust

A bust is a fantasy player who’s point output is significantly lower than their projected numbers. Fantasy owners attempt to predict fantasy football busts so that they can avoid drafting them.

Bylaws

Bylaws are individual rules that govern your league. Bylaws can include specific structural rules such as scoring, playoffs, and prizes. Or they can dictate off-field guidelines like appropriate language or what to do in cases of suspected collusion.

Ceiling

The ceiling is the upper limit of a fantasy player’s projected point output. It estimates how many fantasy points they would score under ideal circumstances.

Cheat Sheet

A fantasy football cheat sheet is a ranked list of players used to assist in making selections during a fantasy football draft. These custom fantasy football rankings make it easy to evaluate the top players across all positions and make an informed draft pick.

Collusion

Collusion refers to the act of fantasy owners conspiring unethically to gain an unfair advantage. It is often done through via trades, throwing games, or other practices that would give one owner an unfair advantage over an easy win.

Commissioner

The commissioner is an owner or third-party officiant that is in charged with administering the league and enforcing the bylaws. Commissioner duties include setting up the league, finalizing draft dates, and arbitrating disputes between owners.

Custom-Scoring System

A custom scoring system is any configuration that doesn’t use one of the common scoring systems (for instance, standard scoring or PPR). Leagues that implement custom scoring might incorporate bonus scoring, adjusted quarterback scoring, TD-only leagues, or any other derivations.

Cut

Cut is the act of dropping a player from your roster.

Deep League

A deep league features more than 12 teams. More players are rostered in these leagues forcing owners to look deeper into the player pool than they would in smaller leagues.

Depth Chart

A depth chart is an ordering of players at a specific position, with the players highest on the depth chart earning more playing time than lower players.

Draft

The draft is a process of selecting players for your team. The fantasy football draft is typically the inaugural event of every season. Owners put on their finest fantasy football gear and build their team over a 2-3 hour draft session.

Draft Board

A draft board is a printed grid that tracks draft picks during a fantasy football draft. A fantasy draft board can come in several varieties:

  • Standard draft board
  • Customizable draft board
  • Reusable draft board
  • Auction draft board

Draft Dasher

Draft dasher is a derogatory term for an owner that drafts a fantasy team, then abandons it at some point before or during the season.

Draft League

Draft leagues conduct a standard fantasy draft to determine team rosters. The vast majority of fantasy football leagues are draft leagues.

Drop

To drop a player is to remove them from your roster, resulting in them becoming a free agent or going on waiver wire.

Dynasty League

A dynasty league is a type of league where owners keep most (or all) of their players from season to season.

Exempt

Exempt is a seldom-used roster designation, usually applied in the case of significant off-field issues. It means that a player is not on a team’s active roster. For fantasy purposes, it means that they will not be playing that week.

Fire Sale

A fire sale is a situation where a struggling team attempt to trade any and all of their players. This typically occurs in dynasty and keeper leagues in fantasy football.

Fleecing

Fleecing occurs in fantasy football when a trade is particularly one-sided. The team on the losing side of the trade is said to have been fleeced.

Flex

Flex is a type of roster position in fantasy football. It is wild card position on your roster that can be filled with either a wide receiver, running back, or tight end.

Flier or flyer

A flier is a low-risk gamble on picking up a player that may or may not pan out. For example, if you took a flier (or flyer) on Patrick Mahomes before the 2018 season, you were handsomely rewarded.

Floor

A floor represents the lowest fantasy point output that you could reasonably expect for a player. The opposite of their ceiling.

Free Agent

A free agent is a player that can be immediate added to any fantasy football roster.

Game-Time Decision

Game-time decision is a player injury designation typical of a player who is dealing with an injury and may or may not play during that week’s game. These are often the most difficult designation to plan for in fantasy football because the decision will not be made until just before kickoff (the same time that rosters become locked).

General Manager

In fantasy football, the general manager is an alternative name for the league commissioner.

Ghost Ship

A ghost ship is a fantasy football team that has been abandoned mid-season by their owner. It drifts aimlessly through the season without a captain.

Handcuff

A handcuff refers to a player that is targetted because they are the backup to a high-value player. This term almost always refers to a backup running back.

IDP (Individual Defensive Player) Leagues

IDP fantasy football leagues require owners to draft individual defensive players versus the standard DST position. These IDPs accumulate points for statistics like tackles, sacks, and interceptions.

Head-to-head

Head-to-head refers to a type of fantasy football league that pits individual teams against each other, with the highest score winning the game. Head-to-head is an alternative to the rotisserie-style fantasy football league.

Keeper League

A keeper league permits owners to retain a set number of players (usually 1-3) on their roster from season to season.

Lame Duck

Lame duck refers to a fantasy football team that is not being adequately managed. Incomplete lineups, starting injured players, and unresponsive owerns are all indicitive of a lame duck team.

League

A league is a collection of 8-14 fantasy owners who manage teams and compete against each other over the course of a fantasy football season. There are many types of fantasy football leagues with varying scoring rules based on owner preferences.

League Almanac

A league almanac documents the history of a fantasy football league, including past champions, scoring records, and other data from past seasons.

League Manager

Similar to a league commissioner, a league manager is in charge of configuring the league and ensuring that it runs smoothly. Like the commissioner’s duties, this can include vetoing unfair trades, deciding what to do with ghost ships, and removing owners found to be colluding.

League Settings

League settings refer to the configuration options that govern how a league functions. Fantasy football league settings include the scoring format, playoff structure, tiebreaker rules, and all other configurable settings available through your league host.

Linear Draft

A linear draft is a drafting style where draft pick selection follows the same order each round. This is in contrast to a snake or serpentine draft where selection order reverses between rounds.

Line

A Line is another way of describing a player’s statistical performance in a given week. For example, a wide receiver’s final line could include their total catches, yards, and touchdowns.

Lineup

Lineup refers to the players that a fantasy owner has selected to start in a given week. Typically this would include a quarterback, two running backs, 2-3 wide receivers, a tight end, kicker, and team defense.

Mock Draft

A mock draft is a type of practice draft performed before the season starts. Players draft a team against either computer-based (or randomly chosen) opponents without the pressure of having to use these players through the season. Mock drafts help you prepare by learning where certain players are likely to be drafted.

Online Draft

An online draft is a fantasy football draft with a web-based interface. It allows owners to draft remotely instead of requiring them to attend a live draft at the same location.

Owner

An owner is another name for a fantasy football league member. In fantasy sports, the term owner is often used instead of player (since we reserve that term for actual NFL players) or team (which represents the roster of players that we draft and manage throughout the year).

Performance Scoring

Performance scoring encompasses all alternatives to touchdown-only based scoring systems. Performance scoring rewards achievements like yardage or catches. 99% of fantasy football leagues utilize performance scoring.

Pickup

To pickup a player is to add them to your team from the waiver wire or free agent pool; an alternative to a player that was drafted or acquired via trade.

Player Rankings

Player rankings are an ordered list of players by their expected fantasy football point output. Fantasy experts create NFL player rankings as a way of organizing players, either collectively or for a specific position, so that you can leverage the rankings to help make draft selections.

Playoff League

A fantasy football playoff league is a type of league whose duration lasts from the beginning to the end of the NFL postseason.

Private League

A private league is an invite-only league that doesn’t accept random team owners. This is the opposite of a public fantasy football league that is open to the public.

Prize League

A fantasy football prize league is any league that presents an award to the league champion (and possibly other owners). The best fantasy football prizes can include a cool fantasy football trophy, a fantasy championship belt, a fantasy football champion ring, or cash.

Last place fantasy football trophies are also common.

Projections

Projections are estimations about a player’s future fantasy football statistical performance. They come from a variety of sources:

Projections can be a helpful tool, but you should always take any fantasy football advice with a grain of salt and do your own research.

Public League

A public league is a type of fantasy football league that anyone can enter. Contrast this with a private fantasy league that is invite-only.

Reserve

Reserve is a roster designation that refers to a player on your fantasy football roster that is not in the starting lineup (i.e. on the bench).

Roster

A roster is the set of players that comprise a fantasy football team.

Roster Limit

Roster limit refers to the total number of players (usually in the context of a single position) that you are allowed to own at any given time.

Rotissarie League

A rotisserie league is a type of fantasy football league where teams accumulate points based categories. For instance, the team with the highest wide receiver point output may get 12 points, the second highest would get 11 points, etc. Teams accumulate points in this manner over the entire season and the team with the most points at the end of the year is crowned the champion.

Serpentine Draft Or Snake Draft

A serpentine draft (or snake draft as it’s sometimes called) reverses the draft order at the end of each round. For example, if in round one the player selection process moves from team 1 to team 12, then round 2 will go from team 12 to team 1.

Sleeper

A sleeper is a player that someone thinks will significantly out-perform their current, projected point output.

Standard Scoring

Standard scoring is the most common type of scoring system in fantasy football. Also known as the standard fantasy football system, it is a baseline scoring configuration that is battle-tested and promotes balance scoring across all fantasy football positions.

Stream

To stream is to utilize different free agent options every week for a given position on your roster. If you don’t have one reliable player at a position you may, streaming the best free agent players you can acquire may be a good strategy.

Stud

A stud is a fantasy football player that you count on for production week in and week out, regardless of matchups.

Superflex

Superflex is a roster position that extends the flex position by adding quarterback.

Team Defense

Team defense is a fantasy football roster position that earns points based on the performance of a team’s entire defensive unit. This includes points for stats like sacks, interceptions, touchdowns, and total points allowed.

Third-Year Wide Receiver

A third-year wide receiver is just what it means, a wide receiver who is in his third year in the NFL. In fantasy football this has special meaning, so check out the 3rd Year WR Rule for more information.

Tiers

Tiers are a way of organizing players that categorizes them into groups with relatively similar point projections.

Tools

Fantasy football tools use advanced analytics to help you research the best players, execute a smart draft, and build a championship-caliber team.

Touchdown-Only Leagues

Touchdown-only leagues utilize a custom scoring configuration whereby you only earn points for players who score, you guess it, touchdowns.

Trade

A trade is an exchange of players that is agreed to by both team owners.

Trade Bait

Trade bait is a player that an owner is interested in trading. This is typically a high value player that can be dangled in front of another owner in the hope that they bite.

Trade Deadline

The trade deadline is the final date when teams are allowed to make trades. It is usually some time between week ten and week twelve. Trade deadlines are meant to prevent teams from making lop-sided trades late in the season.

Transaction

A transaction is any alteration to your team’s roster, including adding, dropping, or trading a player.

Transaction Deadline

A transaction deadline is the final date that you can make any player transaction. Some leagues implement this type of deadline on the last week of the regular season. Again, this is to prevent late-season collusion.

Undroppable

Undroppable refers to a player that, once on a team’s roster, cannot be dropped except in extreme circumstances (like the player goes on IR). is Most leagues make it so that owners are not allowed to drop any of the top 50 players in the league. This is done In order to avoid collusion, tanking, or other inappropriate transactions.

Value-Based Drafting

Value-based drafting is a fantasy football draft strategy. It promotes the idea that a player isn’t worth how many points he scores total, but rather how many points he scores versus other players at his position. This is why running backs and wide receivers tend to be drafted above quarterbacks, despite the fact that most quarterbacks will tend to score more points overall.

Vulture Back

A vulture back is a running back that scores a significant amount of touchdowns in near the goal-line. The thought is that these players are vulturing touchdowns from other running backs who may be more talented and put up more rushing yards in fantasy football.

Waiver Hawk

A waiver hawk is a team owner that watches the waiver wire obsessively, particularly one that waits for the moment (often in the middle of the night) when a player clears waivers and becomes a free agent.

Waiver, Waivers, or Waiver Wire

Waivers refers to a collection of players that are not on a team and cannot be added by any team. Players go on the waiver wire when they are cut by a team or (if they are a free agent) when their weekly games. This player state acts as a temporary holding place for players, ensuring that every owner has a chance to claim that player through the waivers process.

Waiver Order

Waiver order is an ordered list of fantasy football teams that determines the order in which get to select a player on waivers. There are various ways that leagues determine weekly waiver order. It can be determined by team records, or which teams have made the most recent claims.

Waiver Priority

Waiver priority refers to a team’s position in the waiver order.

WR1, WR2, WR3

WR1, WR2, and WR3 refer to groupings (or tiers) of wide receivers based on projected point output. For instance, in 2018 Tyreek Hill was considered a WR1, Stefon Diggs was considered a WR2, and Mohamed Sanu was considered a WR3.

Zero-RB Strategy

The Zero RB strategy is a fantasy football draft strategy that de-prioritizes running backs in favor of the other skill positions. It is based on the theory that running back performance is hard to predict and it’s easy to find replacement backs throughout the course of the season.

Fantasy Football Abbreviations with Definitions

If you thought fantasy football terms were confusing, meet fantasy football abbreviations.

While abbreviations sometimes align with popular fantasy football terms, that isn’t always the case. Many times, fantasy football abbreviations become a language all unto themselves.

This is a list of the most common fantasy football abbreviations along with descriptive, but succinct definitions (not an easy task for me if you’ve read any of my other articles).

Here we go.

ADP

ADP means average draft position. Specifically, it’s the average position where a player is drafted over more than one fantasy football draft.

BN or BE

BN (or BE) means bench, indicating that a player is not in your starting lineup.

BYE

BYE refers to a bye week, the week that a player’s team is not playing. Every team has one bye week per season.

DST or D/ST

DST or (D/ST) is a standard fantasy football position that combines team defense and special teams performances. Most leagues include this position instead of team defense.

DNP

DNP stands for did not play, indicating that a player did not play a single snap in a specific game.

D

D in fantasy football is an abbreviation for team defense.

ECR

ECR means expert consensus rankings, the aggregate of player rankings by a group of fantasy football analysts.

EXE

EXE stands for exempt, meaning that a player is on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and is ineligible to play that week.

FA

FA means free agent, a player that is not owned by any fantasy football team owners.

FAAB

FAAB means free agent acquisition budget. It’s an auction-style approach to managing waivers where owners are assigned a pre-season budget and acquire new players by placing bids.

FPG, FPPG, or FPTS/G

FPG, FPPG, and FPTS/G all mean for fantasy points per game.

FP

FP stand for fantasy points.

FPA

FPA stands for fantasy points allowed. It usually refers to the number of points that the team defense or DST gave up.

FPTS

FPTS means fantasy points, the number of points that a player or team has scored.

IDP

IDP means individual defensive player, a single player drafted in an IDP League.

IA

IA means inactive and refers to a player that does not suit-up for a particular week.

IR

IR is a player designation indicating that the player has been placed on injured reserve. Players on IR are ineligible to play for at least eight weeks.

LP

LP stands for limited participation, meaning that an injured player was at practice but did not take part in all activities.

O

O is a player designation that stands for out. It means a player has been ruled out of game participation.

OP

OP stands for offensive player. It is used in leagues that support a superflex position and refers to offensive player is eligible for use in that roster spot.

OPRK

OPRK refers to an opponent’s rank. It is a metric used to analyze the quality of an owner’s head-to-head match-up.

P

P is a player status designation meaning they’re probable to play in that week’s game. This means that they is roughly a 95% chance that the player will play that week.

PA

PA in the context of fantasy football means points against. This represents the number of points that have been scored against a fantasy team in head to head matchups.

PF

PF means points for or how many points a fantasy team has scored. This metric is usually contrasted with points against.

PRK

PRK stands for position rank. This indicates a player’s rankings in an ordered list of players of the same position based on fantasy football points scored or projected points.

PMR

PMR refers to player minutes remaining or how much combined playing time remains for all of a fantasy football team’s starting players.

PPD

PPD means postponed.  It refers to a game that is not going to be played this week, but will instead be rescheduled for later in the season.

PPR

PPR is a type of scoring system called points per reception that awards points for catches as well as for yards.

PUP

PUP refers to the physically unable to perform player designation. Being on the PUP list means that a player will be out for at least the first six weeks of the season and potentially longer.

PVO

PVO is an abbreviation for position vs. opponent. This metric indicates how well a team’s defense has performed against a specific position.

Q

Q is an injury designation that indicates a player is questionable. Players listed as questionable are thought to have a 50/50 chance of playing that week.

QB1, QB2

QB1 and QB2 are ways of rating the quality of quarterbacks, QB1 being a starting caliber quarterback and QB2 being a suitable backup.

QBBC

QBBC means quarterback by committee. This is a lineup management strategy whereby owners start a different quarterback on any given week depending on matchups, who’s hot, or other factors. This is popular strategy when you have no QB1s on your team, but multiple QB2s.

RBBC

RBBC means An acronym standing for “Running Back By Committee.” Similar to QBBC, this is used by either NFL teams or fantasy teams to say that they could start a different player at running back on any given week.

RB1, RB2

RB1 and RB2 are ways of rating the quality of running backs, both being starting caliber, but RB1 being a top-12 back and RB2 being a back ranked in roughly the top 24.

ROS

ROS stands for rest of the season. This fantasy football term is used when ranking players based on their projected point output for the remaining games.

RZ

RZ means red zone. In fantasy football, this abbreviation indicates that a player’s team is within 20 yards of the goal line.

S or SSPD

Both S and SSPD mean suspended, indicating that a player is ineligible to play that week due to action detrimental to the league.

TOT

TOT in the context of fantasy football means total. This is used to designate total touchdowns, as when a QB throws for two TD’s and rushes for one more.

WR1, WR2, WR3

WR1, WR2, and WR3 are ways of rating the quality of the wide receivers on your roster, similar to tiers or a depth chart.

W/T

W/T is a roster designation for a wide receiver or tight end, meaning that either of those positions can be used in that roster spot.

W/R

W/R is a roster designation for a wide receiver or running back, meaning that either of those positions can be used in that roster spot.

W/R/T

W/R/T is a roster designation for a wide Receiver or running back or tight end, meaning that any of those positions can be used in that roster spot.

Q/W/R/T

Q/W/R/T is a roster designation for a quarterback or wide receiver or running back or tight end, meaning that any of those positions can be used in that roster spot.

About the author

Brad Perniciaro

Brad is a software developer and has been running successful fantasy football leagues since 1999. When he isn't playing fantasy football, he's writing about fantasy football.