Fantasy footballers, like the Dungeons & Dragons players before them, have created their own lexicon. With that in mind, NFL.com has put together a glossary of fantasy football terms so you don't spend your draft with the same befuddled look that Matt Millen had when he was calling the shots in Detroit.
Auction draft: Owners take turns nominating players, who are then bid on by all owners. Each owner is given a spending limit (or salary cap) to complete their roster. This formula was popular in many early fantasy leagues and is still used today, although a snake/serpentine draft has become the most common way to fill out a roster.
Add: Adding a free-agent player off the waiver wire.
ADP (Average draft position): This report lists the average round in which a player is typically chosen during a fantasy football draft. NFL.com fantasy leagues will give a report based on the results of the numerous drafts that already have taken place.
Basic scoring system: The most basic scoring systems award points only for touchdowns, field goals and extra points. That could be six points for all touchdowns, three points for field goals and one point for extra points. Other basic scoring leagues will offer four points for touchdown passes. More advanced leagues will offer scoring bonuses for players hitting yardage markers, such as 250 passing yards or 100 rushing yards. Some exotic leagues will base points on length of touchdown scores, field goals, etc.
Bust: A player who enters the season with high expectations but finishes with minimal statistical results for a variety of reasons. Matt Forte and Calvin Johnson were two players who failed to live up to high expectations coming into the 2009 season.
Bye week: NFL teams play 16 games in 17 weeks, with a bye week mixed into the schedule. Being cognizant of bye weeks is very important when constructing a fantasy football team. As a result, you don't want to draft two quarterbacks with the same bye week because this will force you to go deep into the waiver wire for an emergency starter. For example, if you draft Drew Brees (Week 10), you don't want to draft Jason Campbell, who shares the same bye week.
Cheat sheet: A prepared list of players ranked in order of fantasy value. When putting together a cheat sheet, be aware of your league's scoring system and rank your players accordingly.
Comeback player: A player who returns from a significant injury or a mediocre statistical season and re-emerges into a legitimate fantasy starter. In 2009, Ricky Williams became a fantasy superstar once again after several years of more moderate production.
Commissioner: The person in charge of running the league, setting up the draft and (if necessary) controlling all of the league fees. The commissioner also can have the final word on all transactions and disputes between owners.
Custom-scoring league: A league that decides to assign its own value to touchdowns, field goals, extra points, etc. For instance, some leagues will assign point values based on the length of touchdown runs and field goals. This is why it is important to know what type of scoring your league uses when you are drafting your team. NFL.com's new fantasy game allows you to do all the customization that your league requires.
Depth chart: An NFL roster split that shows first-, second- and third-string players. For instance, LeSean McCoy is first-string at running back on the Eagles' depth chart, and Mike Bell is second. That's something important to keep in mind when you look at handcuffs (for the explanation of that term, look below).
Draft: Most fantasy football teams are constructed via a draft, where owners take turns picking players for the upcoming season. Most drafts orders are constructed through a random drawing or are based on the previous year's results, with the poorest teams drafting first.
Draft dashers: People who enjoy drafting a fantasy football team but disappear long before the season is over, abandoning their team.
Drop: Releasing a player back into the pool of free-agent players.
Dynasty league: This is similar to a "keeper league" (see below), but instead of a few players being held over, an entire roster is retained. This league calls for a long-term commitment, but it also makes each draft run much smoother as only a few players will be picked.
Flier: Taking a gamble on a player (either in the draft or off the waiver wire) who has high potential but also carries a high risk. Many times, this can be a backup quarterback, backup running back, a player coming off an injury or a rookie. Some owners took a "flier" on Miles Austin in the draft last season and reaped the rewards of the decision.
Free agent: A player who isn't on a team's roster and is available on the waiver wire.
The Gooch: The guy who nobody likes and makes you wonder why he's still in your league. Named after the famed bully on the television show "Diff'rent Strokes," the Gooch is someone who you typically encounter in your draft. He will have a comment on everybody's picks, try to bully people into drafting kickers early and generally makes the draft process less enjoyable. The fun part, however, is when The Gooch finishes last in your league.
Handcuff: Taking the immediate backup for one of your prominent players. If you have Ray Rice, for instance, you would be wise to handcuff him by drafting Willis McGahee in the middle to late rounds, too.
Houshmazoo: The incorrect pronunciation of Seahawks WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh's last name, which inevitably will be heard on draft day. (Also known as Houshmazilli and Houshurmomma).
IDP: Some leagues will use the stats of individual defensive players, or IDPs, instead of using team defenses. Scoring can vary but typically includes point values for sacks, safeties and interceptions. If your league uses IDPs, be sure to add them to your cheat sheet.
Injured reserve: Some leagues will allow you to tag an injured player and add someone else to your roster. This is more common with dynasty and keeper leagues, but some seasonal leagues also use that option.
Keeper league: These leagues allow you to keep a certain number of players each season. The number of keepers varies from league-to-league. Some leagues, called "dynasty leagues," allow you to keep your entire roster.
Mock draft: A "fake" draft that isn't played out during the season but often is used to help determine average drafted position. NFL.com does a number of mock drafts during the season to give fantasy footballers a chance to see where certain players will land.
Owner: The person who runs his/her own fantasy team and ultimately is responsible for making all personnel decisions.
Performance scoring system: A scoring system in which players are given bonus points for passing, rushing and/or receiving milestones. For instance, some leagues will award one point for every 10 rushing yards. Or they might give five points for every 300 passing yards in addition to basic scoring.
PPR: Indicates a league that awards a point per reception. Typically, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends all receive the same number of points for catches, but some leagues award staggered bonuses based on position. For example, running backs could receive .5 points per reception, while wideouts and tight ends receive a full point.
Projections: A player's predicted statistics, which are used to help determine that player's fantasy value.
RBBC (running back by committee): A dirty four-letter phrase in the world of fantasy football, RBBC describes a situation in which an NFL team uses more than one running back in a prominent role. A perfect example exists in Buffalo, where the Bills will use Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller and Marshawn Lynch. RBBCs have become much more popular in recent seasons and have made featured backs such as Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson even more valuable in drafts.
Reserve: Backup or bench players.
Roster: The list of players on your team.
Snake or serpentine draft: Unlike the actual NFL draft, most fantasy drafts use the "snake" system in which the team with the first pick in Round 1 has the last pick in Round 2, followed by the first pick in Round 3. Conversely, the team with the last pick in the first round has the first pick in the second round. This system is used to help create a balance between all of the competing teams. There often is a great debate as to which draft position is best, but that has yet to be settled.
Sleeper: Typically, a draft pick or waiver-wire selection that exceeds his statistical expectations and becomes a prominent option in fantasy leagues. A sleeper can be a rookie, such as Anquan Boldin in 2003, or a player who has yet to live up to his potential, like Sidney Rice last season.
Starting lineup: Most basic leagues will allow owners to start one quarterback, two running backs, two or three receivers and/or one tight end, one kicker and one defense. Leagues can determine the number of starters and include a "flex" position that can be a running back, a wide receiver or a tight end. Some leagues also use individual defensive starters.
Super Bowl slump: Players from the previous Super Bowl losing team always seem to struggle the next season. Some believed Tom Brady would break that trend in 2008. He didn't. Be wary of Colts players.
Team QB: Instead of drafting individual quarterbacks, teams essentially take every quarterback on a given team. For instance, if you draft the Colts as your Team QB, you have Peyton Manning and Curtis Painter. If you draft the Cowboys as your Team QB, you have Tony Romo and Jon Kitna.
Third-year wide receiver: Much like Harold Carmichael, Santana Moss and Steve Smith (to name a few), some receivers fail to make an impact until their third NFL season. Third-year receivers are great candidates to be "sleepers" or have "breakout" years.
Trade: A transaction that involves the swapping of one or more players from one team to another. In some fantasy leagues, the commissioner approves or denies all trade requests. A voting process among owners also is used in some leagues.
Transaction: Any roster change (waiver-wire add/drop, trade, etc.). Some leagues limit the amount of transactions a team can make, often charging money for excessive moves.
Waiver hawk: Some players don't want to sacrifice waiver position to pick up players, so they wait until the early morning hours to make roster moves just minutes after a player clears waivers. (Also know as "The Jimmy.")
Waiver wire: Refers to the list of free-agent players within a fantasy league. Most free agents are subject to a waiver process, as a player is placed on waivers after the kickoff of the first game of the week or within a designated period (24 hours) after being released from a team.