Beginner’s Guide: Fantasy Jargon Buster

It’s easy to get lost while reading articles or listening podcasts about fantasy football. Especially if you are a newcomer to fantasy sports or have only recently started playing in recent past. The main bulk of media platforms that surround this wonderful avenue of arguably the best sport on the planet are from across the pond in the USA.  Despite the language over there technically being the same as our very own distinguished Queen’s English, there is a lot of “Americanisms” and industry related words and phrases. So here is my jargon buster for you. I’ve taken 20 of some commonly used words or phrases and will briefly dive into their meanings. If you frequently listen to podcasts or dive into a plethora of fantasy articles, you will more than likely have seen some of these before.


Player or Positions Jargon


ADP:- Average draft position. This is a calculation of where a player is currently being drafted in mock and proper drafts. I find the best website to find a players ADP is It is vital to know where you should be looking to draft your targeted player and this tool will help you when creating your shortlists. Here’s an example; As of today, Drew Brees has an ADP of 42 overall or 4th round, 5th pick in a 12 team league setup.


Upside:- Every time you hear/read the word upside, change it to potential as it basically has the same meaning. However, upside can also refer to player that is likely to outperform his current ADP or projected score totals too. Example- Corey Coleman has a tonne of upside particularly if he stays healthy as he will most likely be the main receiver in Cleveland


Breakouts:- Someone who is not being drafted in the early or mid-rounds of drafts but who ends the season with a good amount of fantasy points. Example- In 2016, Michael Thomas was a rookie receiver from the New Orleans Saints, he flew under the radar in most fantasy drafts and was rarely drafted but ended up breaking out and ended the season as the 7th ranked WR according to ESPN.


Bust:- When a player is a bust, that means that he was expected to be good, or at least score some solid fantasy points but ends up having a terrible season. Example- In 2015, Chris Ivory was RB 8 in fantasy scoring but in 2016 he ended up as the RB 49.

(Photo Credit: Raj Mehta/Raj Mehta)


Regression:- A player that regresses is a player that didn’t perform as well as the previous season. Similar to a bust, but not as severe. Example- Allen Robinson scored 224 fantasy points in 2015 and only scored 124 in 2016


Sleepers:- Anyone who is fancied to have a good season but is drafted in the later rounds of drafts. The player isn’t necessarily expected to score a lot of fantasy points but may have a good situation or opportunity and you or other fantasy fans may fancy him to do better than expected. Example- One of my sleepers this year is John Brown from the Cardinals. He has a good opportunity to overtake future hall of famer Larry Fitzgerald as the main receiver in Arizona but currently has an ADP of 106 and can be drafted in the 9th-11th round range.


Handcuff:- A backup to a starting player that will have a big opportunity to perform if the starter sustains an injury or gets banned. Usually more relevant to running backs but can be used in other positions. Example- James Connor is the backup to Le’veon Bell in Pittsburgh. Should Bell miss games, Connor will step in to a big roll and will likely become fantasy relevant just like DeAngelo Williams did in the first four games of last season.


Stashing:- Goes hand in hand with handcuffs but not always. Stashing is when you keep a player on your bench in case he gets an opportunity to have fantasy relevance. Example- You might think Bills rookie WR Zay Jones may get a big chance to break out if Sammy Watkins can’t stay healthy. You might choose to stash him on your bench to stop others picking him up on the waiver wire in case this scenario pans out.

Image result for zay jones bills practice
(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)


Flex:- The Flex spot is a position within your roster. Usually any RB, WR or TE can be used in this spot and is basically a bonus spot. Some leagues may have a super-flex spot which means you can put any position in there including QB’s, Kickers and Defences (You’d never put the last two in a super-flex spot, just FYI) Example- You could have more than three running backs in your team who you really like and want to start every week. You can use one in the flex spot. TIP: Always look at the weeks schedule and put the player who plays last over the weekend in the flex position. This way if the player suddenly becomes unavailable or Questionable before the game you have more than just his position as an option to change.


Position Scarcity:- This is the term for a position that doesn’t have many deep options. At the moment in standard format rules, the Tight End position is considered scarce as you have the three or four big hitters (Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce and probably Greg Olsen) but after those select players there isn’t a lot of upside or guaranteed points from many others. But ultimately it depends on your league format. Example- If you are in a league where you have to start three running backs, it’s likely there won’t be many decent options left at that position towards the end of the draft or throughout the season on waivers


Trade Bait:- You may wish to draft a player or pick one up off the waivers that may have trade value for one of your rivals. Example- Jay Ajayi may sustain an injury half way through the season. Damian Williams is the assumed handcuff in this situation for the Dolphins. You may have the opportunity to have Williams on your roster. You could offer Williams to the Ajayi owner for a trade.

League Jargon


Standard Scoring:- Leagues that do not award any extra points for receptions or carries. Up until this year, standard scoring was the default setting for fantasy leagues but from this year the default will be PPR.


PPR:- Points Per Reception leagues will award all receivers a bonus point every time they complete a catch


.5 PPR:- Same as above but the receivers will gain half a point every reception


Decimal Scoring:- In standard scoring leagues, RB’s and WR’s will typically score one point for every 10 yards of rushing/receiving. With decimal scoring, players get rewarded for exactly what they achieve. Example- If LeSean McCoy rushed for 88 yards, he would score 8.8 points


Re-Draft:- Leagues that are completely re-drafted every year. No GM will be able to keep any players for the next season.

Keeper:- Keeper leagues are an on-going year to year league where you have an option to keep players for the following season. Every league will have a different ruling how many keepers you can keep. Only join a keeper league if you are willing to play in the league for at least a few years.


Dynasty:- This is an ongoing league that can go on for many years. Similar to a keeper league but there is no ruling on how many players you can keep. If you don’t like your team after a poor season you may wish to drop 4-5 players for example but another team in the league may only want to drop one. There is a draft every year but is mainly just for the rookies or out of retirement players like Marshawn Lynch this year.

(Photo Credit: Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)


Tanking:- Purposely losing regular season games to ensure a better draft position next year. It’s considered cheating in the fantasy community.


Waiver Wire:- This is the free agency within your league. After the week’s games are complete, at some point during the week the waivers will open and you can add players off of it. There are different rules in leagues to how it works. The three main setups are;

-FAAB (Free Agency Acquisition Budget) is where each GM will be in charge of a season long budget (usually $100) and you will get the chance to submit a bid for any player on the waivers. The GM who has submitted the highest amount over a two/three day deadline (set by the league’s commissioner) will acquire the player but will have that price deducted off their season budget.

-Standard waiver wire rules will see the player who drafted in last place in the main draft have the first opportunity to claim players once the waiver wire opens. They will remain first choice until they pick. Once the player top of the list picks, they go to the bottom and will have to wait until all other league members have had a chance to pick up players before having another chance.

-Record based waivers is the third option is to have the worst record GM to have the top spot every week. In my opinion this is the fairest if not using FAAB because the worst teams always have a chance before the better teams can pick.

By Rob Grimwood @FantasyPond

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