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Fantasy Football Terms You Need to Know

By Martin Signore

Like the rest of the sports world, fantasy football has a lingo all its own. The slang terms are all fairly easy to grasp and fun to use, so don’t be scared off! The following list will help you get a good feel for these fantasy football terms before you start playing.

[Credit: © iStock/art12321 2013]

Credit: © iStock/art12321 2013
  • Auction: A fantasy draft style in which owners use a bidding system to acquire players.

  • Breakout: When a player goes from average to great.

  • Bust: A player who underperforms and does not live up to expectations.

  • Bye week: Every NFL team is inactive once during the regular season; an NFL team’s off week is its bye week.

  • Cheat sheets: The lists of pre-ranked players — overall and by position.

  • Collusion: Two coaches working together to win a league.

  • Damaged goods: When a player involved in a trade is hurt.

  • Draft: A process in which fantasy team owners take turns selecting players to fill out their roster.

  • Elite: The highest ranked players at their positions.

  • Fantasy formula: A simple way to evaluate a player’s potential: skill plus opportunity equals success.

  • Fantasy worthy: He plays enough to make a fantasy impact.

  • Fleecing: Taking advantage of a bad coach in a lopsided trade.

  • Flex: A slot in your lineup that accepts more than one position; flex positions usually accept wide receivers, running backs, or tight ends.

  • Free agent: A fantasy player who is currently not on any team roster and has cleared waivers.

  • Game-time decision: Waiting to see if a hurt player will start.

  • Handcuffing: Drafting a backup and a starter from the same NFL team.

  • IDP (Individual Defensive Players): Instead of using team defense, this league type allows fantasy owners to choose individual defensive players for their team rosters.

  • IR (Injured Reserve): A player who is currently injured and is eligible to remain on a fantasy roster without taking up an official roster spot.

  • Keeper league: Coaches retain a certain amount of players from one season to the next.

  • League settings: The league rules and stat modifiers that determine fantasy point values.

  • PPR (Points Per Reception): Scoring system in which players receive an additional point for each reception they have.

  • Pre-rankings: How NFL players are rated before the draft.

  • Private league: A league you can join by invitation only and that’s controlled by a commissioner.

  • Public league: A league where anyone can sign up and play.

  • Sleeper: A little-known player who’s ready to awaken and be great.

  • Stud: A top-rated fantasy starter.

  • Trade bait: Good players who you can offer to other coaches.

  • Trading deadline: Last day of the season to make trades.

  • Vulture back: A running back who steals goal-line carries from the starter.

  • Waiver wire: Dropped players are here before they become free agents.