Fantasy Lexicon

samuel johnson

“Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.”

-Samuel Johnson

I use a lot of jargon. For the sake of clarity, I wanted to create a Fantasy Lexicon, so that when you’re on this page, we’re on the same page.  For most fantasy footballers, these terms are familiar but I’ve defined them in the way I have come to understand their use.

Standard scoring – Vanilla rules, i.e. no outrageous yardage bonuses, 4 pt passing TDs and 6 point TD reception/rush TDs.

PPR (Points Per Reception) scoring – Generally, 0.5-1 point per reception. PPR leagues usually include the option to Flex a TE.

TE premium league – TE premium leagues can mean one or two things: they award at least 1.5 PPR to TEs, but can also refer to the general ability to use a TE in the Flex.

QB premium league – There are a few kinds of QB premium leagues. First, the term could refer to any non-standard roster model which starts two QBs either as a set position or as a QB Flex. The term could also refer to custom QB scoring which awards more passing bonuses, points per completion, and/or penalizes for incompletions.

Large league – A league composed of 14 or more teams.

Standard league – A 12 team league and what a majority of ADP data references. A standard league (traditionally) follows the model of starting 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 Flex (WR or RB), 1 TE, 1 K, 1 Team D and 6 on the bench.

Small league – A league composed of 10 teams or less.

QB1, RB1, WR1 – Generally, a designation meaning a player finished in the Top 12 at his position for the whole season or a given week in a standard league. Also can be a week-to-week- designation for streaming.

QB2, RB2, WR2 – Generally, a designation meaning a player finished between #13 – #24 at his position for the whole season or a given week in a standard league. Also can be a week-to-week- designation for streaming.

Ceiling/floor – These terms can be used in a few different ways. Generally, they refer to the absolute highest/lowest possible point totals  for an individual player on a week to week basis based on some metric.

The ceiling/floor concept is also used abstractly when evaluating preseason rankings, i.e. players are said to ‘high/low ceilings’ or ‘high/low floors’ based on that player’s expectations. Preseason player expectations are based on a variety of factors such as age, combine statistics, previous performance, coaching philosophy, perceived opportunity, injury risk, situational statistics, and many others.

Low end/High end – Weekly and season long designations related to the ceiling, floor, and weekly point average of a player. Generally, a ‘low end’ player is someone who performs in the bottom half of a given position, for example Ben Roethlisberger finished 2013 as the 12 ranked QB1 making him a season long  ‘low end QB1’; Andrew Luck finished 2013 as the #4 overall QB1 making him a season long ‘high end QB1’. Can also be used to describe weekly streaming options based on match-ups.

Upside – Generally, a player’s ‘upside’ describes their best case weekly/season long potential ceiling.

Streaming – Describes using multiple players on a weak-to-week basis at a given position based on favorable match-ups.

ADP  (Average Draft Position) – A number reflecting the average round and pick a player is chosen in a draft over a large sample of drafts. An ADP is often used as a ballpark figure for where a certain player can be drafted.

Many factors can affect ADPs, such as  past performance or perceived expectations. Sometimes a player is suspended, placed on/off an injury report, or has a particularly strong preseason and often their ADP will reflect that change. However, some factors that affect ADP are at best anecdotal and at worst inexplicable (I see you moving up on draft boards, Mike Wallace). Caveat emptor.

Early rounds – Rounds 1-5.

Mid rounds – Rounds 6 – 10.

Late rounds –  Rounds 11 – 15.

Reaching – ‘Reaching’ is a term which is likely defined in a lot of ways but simply put, a ‘reach’ is selecting a player whose ‘actual’ value is lower than the pick used on him. Since the perceptions and ranking about ‘actual’ player values differ so widely there is sometimes little agreement about what and who qualify as a ‘reach’.

Sleeper – Like ‘reaching’, the definition of a ‘sleeper’ is variously defined. Generally, the term refers to any player whose production greatly outperforms his ADP, for example, Philip Rivers in 2013 (drafted: QB#24; finished: QB#6). Generally, sleepers reside in the late rounds.

Bust – The opposite of a sleeper. Any player whose production greatly underperforms his ADP. For example, Trent Richardson from 2013 (drafted: RB#8; finished: RB#33). Busts are players taken in the early rounds with high preseason expectations who vastly under-perform their ADPs. Usually, busts come out of the first 3 rounds, as those players have the highest expectations.

Usable – A player is usable in a given week if he is expected to start at some position and does.

Relevant – A player is relevant if he is usable and finishes at least in the Top 24 at his position (in a 12 team league).

VBD (Value Based Drafting) – A draft strategy which essentially assigns value to players across positional boundaries in an attempt to determine relative value based on relative need and then drafting the best available player.

Tiers – A schema or hierarchy of players organized around some principle of value.





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