NFL Fantasy Football Strategies, Tips, Advice and More: By SafePicks.com NFL Experts
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We have many users who contact SafePicks.com, asking if we have any tips or tricks or even advice when it comes to NFL Fantasy Football. The answer is yes, but the answer is also a little of no. For those dipping into NFL Fantasy Football for the first time, there is no need to panic! NFL Fantasy Football is easy to learn, and whether you are an NFL Fantasy beginner or pro: there is lots of information out there on the Web to help even the most timid NFL Fantasy player. At SafePicks.com, we have had great past success with NFL Fantasy Football in the last few years, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. See our SP Blog: 2016 NFL Fantasy Football Article Here for more details.
The truth is that we at SafePicks.com only participate in “standard scoring” NFL Fantasy League setups, with 14 teams with a roster made up of 9 NFL Fantasy team players, (1 QB, 3 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DST). To finish as champions, or at least “in the money”, it takes a little fantasy football understanding and most certainly, it takes some luck. On any given Sunday anything can and will happen on the field, as we preach at SafePicks.com, the same goes also on the NFL Fantasy Football scoring charts. You don’t have to be a know-it-all pro to play in an NFL Fantasy Football League, no way! All one needs to do is a) join an NFL fantasy league, b) assuming there is a draft day, attend the draft (usually online), c) draft your players to make up your NFL Fantasy team, then d) hope for the best with your NFL Fantasy team when the season kicks off! Anyone - and we mean anyone - can win at NFL Fantasy Football! With that stated, the following is just something we put together for our NFL Fantasy Football fans at SafePicks.com.
So you're joined up for an NFL Fantasy League, you have your team name, you have your NFL Fantasy draft date and time, so now here is a MUST list for our NFL Fantasy Football ambitions and high (“in the money” finish) expectations:
1) MUST-DO some Pre-Draft homework! You have your exciting draft day event set. Pre-draft homework is essential to garner long-term success in an NFL Fantasy League. It would be foolish for SafePicks.com to enter our league draft, ready to pick my players and not knowing who the top fantasy picks are for each position heading into the draft. So yes, look at the NFL Fantasy rankings, for each position, heading into the current NFL season before entering any NFL Fantasy draft! There are plenty of ranking lists out there, including the one we posted here at our blog: 2013 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings. We need to know which positions we will be drafting for and who it is we want to draft. As we mention later, we have a Plan A (for top 5-6 players in any given position that we hope to draft) and a Plan B (the next 5-6 players in any given position we will have to draft). So for each position we need to draft for, we will make a list, then once Plan A and Plan B desires are addressed, we may even make a Plan C list (writing those fantasy players names down that don’t make our Plan A or B list). Our Plan A, B, C lists will have approximately 15-17 of our top desired NFL Fantasy players for each position. So for Quarterback, we have our Plan A, B, and C... then for Running Back, we have our Plan A, B, and C then so on and so forth for each position that will make up my NFL Fantasy team.
Before the NFL Fantasy Football Draft, do a little research. Check out the plethora of “NFL Fantasy cheat sheets” out there, or again, the “fantasy player rankings”. Search it on Google, it’s all there! Know who’s in the position, know their capability, know where they rank, simply do a little homework before draft day! Or, one could always visit NFL.com/Fantasy for more information and help.
2) MUST Know that Drafting is not a science! Remember in those good old school days when you or another were selected to be team captain for a gym game of Dodgeball? Then the captain goes and picks their team amongst the eagerly awaiting kids. That’s all draft day is, you are an NFL Fantasy Team owner now, your draft day allows you to select the players to make up your NFL Fantasy Team. Now, whether this is your first go -or- umpteenth go at it, anything can and will happen. No matter what happens, you have to keep at it, and look for results long-term whether you’re a champion this year or the next. As the old saying goes, perfection will only come with practice, and for NFL Fantasy Football players, this remains true. If not now, everyone inevitably gets the swing of it in NFL Fantasy Football. There is plenty of resources on the Web: from cheat sheets, to rankings, to more and more. Simply do some homework, (a must) and come prepared on draft day.
3) MUST Know Who and What To Acquire in the Front-End Of The NFL Fantasy Draft! So we're drafting in the first round, and we have the third pick. Or maybe we're in the first round and we have the sixth pick? Who are we drafting and what position? And when? Well, if you go to #1 , we do have our Plan A, B, C lists ready to go for each position. But, generally, we are going for the Quarterback in the first round, a Running Back in the second round, Wide Receiver in the third round, then at this point, there is no real methodology to completing the back-end of an NFL Fantasy Draft. We may go for a tight end in the fourth round or we may go for another depth-strategy running back in the fourth round. Varying approaches out there have worked for us. For some, they will go look at completing their NFL Fantasy roster by acquiring their Tight End, Kicker, and Defense. Yet for some other NFL Fantasy owners, some will look at building depth at the “money” positions just drafted in the first three rounds. At SafePicks.com, we have been successful at doing both – and ultimately, success is measured by not who is drafted, but what they do on the field for point production. For us, generally (at least 3 of the last 5 years in a 1 QB league) we like to draft strong backups for our Running Back, and Wide Receiver positions, building needed depth in the front-end of the draft (first 3-5 rounds or so). Ultimately, look to draft the 'very best' available at the key fantasy positions (top tier QB, RB, WR) in the front-end (first few rounds) of the draft.
4) MUST Know Who and What To Acquire in the Back-end of The NFL Fantasy Draft! Depending on the draft positioning and order, usually the back-end of the draft for NFL Fantasy team owners is for acquiring backups, kickers and defenses. Once we have all our main top-positions sorted out, along with the backups, then we're taking a kicker and defense in the later rounds (back-end) of the NFL Fantasy draft. Now if you’re asking why, then we will only say this. In our experience, we have a better chance at success by building depth (backups) at our top positions, then chasing after an everyday Kicker and/or defense. Tell you the truth, we never truly stick with one Kicker or Defense throughout an NFL Fantasy season anyway, we will usually switch them up from week to week depending on the pending matchup, opponent, schemes, and etc. So really, for us, the Kicker and Defense are best left for the later-to-last draft rounds. Most of the Kickers and Defenses in the Top 15-16 are good enough to put up points, so for us, we're focusing on depth and point production from the producing positions (Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, etc.).
5) MUST Know that Prior Success Is Not AN Indication Of Future Success! We always remind everyone of this at SafePicks.com, that prior success (no matter how great) is never an indication of future success. After an NFL season closes, another one starts, with many elements changing in the offseason for every NFL team. So we intend to avoid the trap of chasing down an NFL Fantasy player(s) coming off a great year. In fact, it’s one of the most common traps that NFL Fantasy team owners fall into. For us at SafePicks.com, it’s all about the projections and the forecasting. That’s what we do at SafePicks.com. We make projections. We harp and preach on it every single week: the intended or expected result is almost usually different than what we project it to be. So a stern alert goes out to those that think they will jump on any NFL Fantasy player that succeeded last season, be warned. Things change from year to year, so although that projected Running Back, for example, is forecasted to hit big numbers, he may deliver – but not as expected. Player production points are always up and down year over year, whether the points incline or decline. So this year, as an example, there are many NFL Fantasy Team owners scheming to nab Calvin Johnson (a.k.a. Megatron) at Wide Receiver in their NFL Fantasy Draft. Now although that seems to be a good scheme, after all, Johnson does rack up points - we would probably look at drafting Larry Fitzgerald over "chasing" Megatron. Why? Because we're projecting Larry to have a much better year than last year (2013), especially now that he has a proven long passer to catch balls from (Palmer). If we get Johnson, then fantastic. Sometimes it pays to take a gamble on one or two players, especially if you do your homework! In the end, just be careful when reading too much into historical numbers, because past performance is never an indication of future performance.
6) MUST understand that Health Matters! Whether it’s physical health, mental health, contractual health, financial health or whatever type of health, the health status of an NFL player is crucial to be aware of come season kick off. We usually shy away from any player that has offseason question marks. Maybe it’s a player undergoing cut-throat contract talks with a team, and the situation looks grim. Or it’s a player coming off of offseason surgery - will that player start? Is that player 100%? When we enter my NFL Fantasy draft, we are drafting players we know who will start in Week 1, end of story. Now, we don’t have as many injuries or offseason news to deal with this time around in the 2013 NFL offseason , (aside from arrests, and surgery recoveries). Still, it’s up to NFL Fantasy team owners to make a calculated decision on the health of who they intend to draft. RG3 is a perfect example of a good quarterback coming off knee surgery, and expected to start in Week 1. But the questions still remain surrounding his effectiveness and/or recovery – will he be 100% or 99%? So for us, this is not a quarterback we are drafting in the first round of our NFL Fantasy draft. It’s not a right or wrong issue here, it’s just a discretionary comfort issue more so for us. If drafting someone 'prone to injury' for a key position, then at least draft a viable and capable backup for that position. Also, it’s important to know who and when your fantasy players have their bye weeks, or time off, so your team is not left hanging during that week (this means, it would be silly to draft 2 WRs who both have a bye week in the same week). So know the health of your players, every aspect of knowing counts in running a successful NFL Fantasy team.
7) Must Understand Some NFL Fantasy Basics: Like Sleepers, Value-Added Pick, Bench, etc. If NFL Fantasy Football was as easy as drafting all the perceived top-ranked fantasy players, then those NFL Fantasy team owners would always win right? Wrong. We can tell you this from our NFL Fantasy experience at SafePicks.com, our championships wins have come from drafting “sleepers” to help take us over the top. What is a fantasy sleeper? This is someone that seems to be overlooked in an NFL Fantasy draft, and that player has a breakout season. To us, this year (2013), Larry Fitzgerald fits that category nicely since he is coming off his worst Fantasy season of his career. (More to come on that in an upcoming Blog post - check out our NFL Sleepers and Breakout Candidates for the coming NFL season .) The whole point of looking for and drafting sleepers is to strengthen an NFL Fantasy team with under-the-radar players that will provide a strong competitive edge. For example, everybody and their mother will draft Adrian Peterson at Running Back, whereas our plan might be to draft a solid sleeper in his place – saving the hoopla for another key fantasy pick in another round. As for the bench, this is literally what it is, a bench. This will be comprised of fantasy players that will not be starting in Week 1. They still make up our NFL Fantasy team, but will sit as backup “on the bench” for when needed later (i.e. to cover for an unexpected injury, bye week, etc.). A Value-Added pick is someone I might draft in the second round, knowing if he makes it to the third round, that player might not be there. For more key fantasy terms and word-understandings: see the SafePicks NFL Fantasy Football Glossary Here.
8) Must Know What To Do Post Draft! The draft is over, and we’re done right? It is what it is, right? Wrong! Rarely ever does an NFL Fantasy team remain the same until the end of the season? At the end of the draft, this will be the time to look at your NFL Fantasy team, and make changes (adds, drops, or trades, depending on what the league’s allowances are). But, no NFL Fantasy team is set in stone (in most standard leagues) from absolute beginning to end. So let’s make sure to tweak our team if we need to. Whatever change comes about on our NFL Fantasy team, the object of this entire thing is to get the most points at the end of the NFL Fantasy season! Whatever it takes to win, do it. So once the draft is over, take a glance and see if needs still persist with your NFL Fantasy team, but don’t over-think it! Also, have patience. There is nothing worse than dumping, let's say, the defense for under-achieving the week before only to see them rack up a sick ton of points the next - have patience before pulling the trigger, so to speak. Make changes as absolutely required (and are allowed to) and win that weekly matchup! Let’s win the Championship!
9) MUST Know NFL Fantasy Football Positions: Tips, Strategy and a little of my Approach..
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Quarterback. The “money” position is right here folks. We like to draft a QB in the first round, this means try to get that elite quarterback first thing. By elite, we mean top-ranked, and pass-happy! Do not bother with "risking" your quarterback on an unproven rookie, go for a top-ranked NFL Fantasy QB. For us, the best quarterbacks to draft in our NFL fantasy league are ones that are highly productive on the field in terms of positive yards (elite & top-ranked). We like to look at the overall talent that surrounds the quarterback (i.e. offensive line, receivers, and tight ends). We look at quarterbacks with good pocket discipline, ones with a great accurate release. We look at offseason activities, we look at which quarterbacks will have a returning cast, and which quarterbacks will have new faces to work with. The other thing we look for is the head coach & offensive play calling schemes.
The Saints, for example, are a type of team lead by QB Brees who can achieve 30 points a game almost weekly, simply because of the play calling and a head coach who likes to put up points. Brees likes to spread the wealth around, and for us, we don’t care who he “goes-to” so long as he’s putting up the points. Whereas, a team like the Niners – they might employ a more tighter & conservative approach to their offense. One that utilizes a stronger running game along with the read option, pistol offense - this could amount to lesser production at the quarterback spot. And in fact, Colin Kaepernick did not even make our Top 15 NFL Fantasy Rankings , and that’s simply our opinion (our fantasy picks, our way :). Another tip, we like to draft quarterbacks that will start on any given Sunday. That’s a given, yes. But for example, in our standard league we’re in, we may not want to waste our quarterback first round draft pick on let’s say RG3 from Washington, what with the uncertainty surrounding his surgically repaired knee. Now, by all accounts, he will be fine. But we truly won’t know how effective he will be until we hit the season. For that reason, we would rather draft the five QBs ahead of him on our Top 15 NFL Fantasy Ranking list. The top five in these fantasy rankings lists of ours (any position), we call them our Plan A fantasy draft players, then the next five are our Plan B fantasy draft players. We like it when we’re able to go with drafting a quarterback in our Plan A scenario with an early first round pick, obviously everyone loves that. The Plan A and Plan B approach is something we religiously use for our NFL fantasy football drafting for all positions. Check out our NFL Fantasy rankings of our top quarterbacks, and draft an elite QB first round.
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Running Back. Our list of the 15 most elite running backs isn't a very complicated one to put together – chances are, our list will be similar to many others out there. This list is pretty much the same or near the same for most that are drafting their 2013 NFL fantasy team running back. These are the productive closers right now in the NFL, producing the most points. However, it may be important to note that the top tier backs are getting-on in terms of wear and age, and this might be a factor later this season. The following running backs will be playing as 30-year-olds in 2013 which is an early indicator of a possible drop off in point production: Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, Darren Sproles and DeAngelo Williams. For us, it’s all about who are the running backs who will get the most red-zone carries, the ones that will be “heavily” relied on to “punch it through” in goal line situations. We often put more emphasis in the quarterback position, but if we’re drafting late first round, we might turn our sights on a Plan A Running Back first, if one is available.
Still, it’s no secret that the NFL is quickly becoming a pass-happy league, but backfield production is paramount to many teams’ offensive schemes in the NFL, and having a solid performing Running Back is the nucleus to having a good fantasy football team. At least, that’s what we believe. We can tell you, the key to any fantasy championship, like ones we’ve enjoyed, has been a result of drafting a solid running back in a standard scoring league, especially the ones that can run for BIG chunks of yards at a time. Yes, a solid running back is a crucial staple for any fantasy football team success one that can withstand the longevity of an NFL season. Our Plan A running Backs are consistent household names, fantasy studs as we like to call them, and highly productive. If you’re drafting second round for a Running Back, there will be some on the draft board that sit on this list and should be ripe for an immediate taking. One should also keep their eyes on some of the up and coming rookie backs, potentially becoming full-fledged starters this season (i.e. Packers new back Eddie Lacy). He would be a gamble, but a legit one at that. When it comes to Fantasy Running Backs, it’s okay to take a gamble on a rookie or an offseason top 15 back. There are plenty of examples of those under-estimated Running Backs raking in points last year. Doug Martin for the Bucs comes to mind. Chances are, your NFL Fantasy opponents are going for the big-ticket backs, whereas it may be better to jump on a potential sleeper or rookie who will start. We’ve got three stellar sophomores joining the top Running Back rankings, with Richardson, Doug Martin and Alfred Morris entering 2013 as one of the top Fantasy running backs.
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Wideout, Wide Receiver. Our rankings are based on receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in a standard scoring league setup. Again, the NFL has turned into a passing league. While the top quarterbacks are throwing for mega-yards almost every game, it’s not just one receiver on the team that’s reaping the rewards. Quarterbacks are throwing a lot to multiple wide receivers, and now it’s starting to be multiple tight ends, too! And let’s not forget about all the pass-catching running backs getting in on the action. With our ranking list of the 15 most elite wide receivers, this one too is not very complicated to judge negatively in terms of a standard scoring fantasy league. To us, these are the guys that will produce the most points on any given Sunday. These are the guys who have talented passers to work with. They are “catch happy” and rack up the points per reception numbers the most. When drafting the Wide Receiver, we put an emphasis more on the “consistent” “go-to” performers and we are usually drafting them in the second or third round after the Running Back and Quarterback spots are secured. There is no science to selecting our Wide Receiver. Yet, there are so many factors we look at when choosing a fantasy Wide Receiver: health, prior-year performance, relationship with the quarterback, receiver versus target status, and more. There are players out there who are intentionally utilized for one thing, receptions and the yardage produced by players in that receiving position. We again approach the draft with a Plan A and Plan B for this position. One can see how the increase in passing led to more Fantasy points for more receivers over the past decade, and it’s also obvious in the decline of carries for featured running backs. Teams are leaning on the passing game, and wide receivers are obvious ‘catch-happy” beneficiaries. In this position, one needs to draft a sure point-producer rather than take a chance on a rookie wide receiver who is unproven in the NFL. Considering that many NFL teams are embracing the pass-happy approach, a solid wide receiver ranking in the top 15, or one that we know will be producing points for us is best. (See our BREAKOUT and SLEEPER candidate alert at SafePicks.com's Blog.)
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Tight End. Quarterbacks, running backs and even wide receivers make popular early round picks, while tight ends, (and flex players, kickers and defense/special teams) are typically reserved for the later rounds. This is a challenging position this year, especially when deciphering where some of these players stand now in terms of health (i.e. Gronkowski). The truth is that the Tight End position is one of the toughest offensive positions to draft, because every NFL offense is different, and utilizes their Tight Ends in different ways depending on the offensive scheme. Some teams use their Tight Ends on a more physical scale to chip and make blocks, while some teams count on their Tight End for the catch and score. Our Tight End rankings listed above is quite subjective and open to discussion, mostly based on our offseason study at SafePicks.com, along with career statistics to date. Incredible size, athleticism, and strength is what makes the leading Tight Ends in the league. In some cases, a two-tight end offensive scheme is popular amongst several NFL teams. Some Tight Ends are receiving larger roles in many offenses, which may help in the consideration for drafting a dominant tight end with an early round pick. We're usually drafting my Tight End in the third or fourth round, although two years ago we drafted Jimmy Graham in the second round right behind Drew Brees as our first round choice. Needless to say this combination paid dividends luckily. Sometimes, there is too good a value to pass up if we’re faced with that situation, Jimmy Graham was one of them two years ago, (again, that is for us).
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Kicker. Although of later round importance, the Kicker is an important position to consider as well. Consistency at kicking it through those uprights is what matters the most, the extra stuff is just the bonus points (i.e. an awesome 58 yard long field goal). If we’re going to be on top of our NFL fantasy game, we also need to be on top of this year’s crop of kickers. Our kicker rankings is based on a bunch of things. We base our Kicker rankings on statistics to performance to just overall consistency. We have a great idea of what the top kickers will be, based on their past history and their team’s offense. A conservative, play-it-safe type of head coach will utilize their Kicker, more often than a coach that likes to be aggressive and try to score TDs. But in truth, a Kicker, more so than any other position in fantasy football, is all over the map when it comes to weekly scoring. One week, a kicker might score 5 field goals and two point-after attempts, then the next week, that same kicker is scoring three point-after attempts only. It’s frustrating often times, but that’s fantasy football. The fact is deciding on the Kicker for us is much dependent on the kind of offense the team is running, and the kind of opponents that team will face this year. If a kicker is in the groove, we look for head coaches to capitalize on it by giving that kicker many an opportunity for points. The other thing we consider are the hot and cold trends that may (or may not) plague Kickers, the colder they get – the closer they get to being unemployed the next day! Remember, last year’s top kicker entering the season came apart undone and ended up missing an NFL-high 14 field goals, that was David Akers. Such a phenomenon only really happens with the kicker position, where fantasy football is concerned. The difference between the top kicker in any given season and the 10th best kicker in the last 4 years have been about 25-30 points, which is about 1.65 points difference each week. So yes, it’s nice to grab a good consistent kicker, but we simply don’t rake ourselves over the coals on it. Usually, we will take what is left in the later rounds, and focus on building the “top-end” of our fantasy football team.
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Defense/Special Teams (DST). For our NFL Fantasy League, we combine Defense and Special Teams (DST). As a matter of fact, some scoring systems don’t even use special teams in their scoring, or they use it separately from defensive squads. So for example, a team that scores on a kick or a punt return regularly would definitely be ranked higher than a team with a poor return game. This category should be taken with a grain of salt. Scoring systems, more than any other position, affect the rankings of defense and/or special teams greatly. Because, for example, in some NFL fantasy leagues, scoring systems will include contributions from special teams whereas some do not include any special teams scoring whatsoever. In our NFL fantasy league, it’s the whole package of Defense and special teams scoring altogether (a lot easier to contend with, and we avoid the leagues that complicate the subject more). Some fantasy football leagues will have a separate category for special teams scoring too. So a team that scores on a kick or a punt return regularly would impact our fantasy league’s defensive team scoring, whereas in some other fantasy football leagues, special teams scoring is a category on its own. To do the right thing here, it’s important to know how your league will score your defense. Most fantasy football leagues don’t score defenses the exact same anyway. Some leagues value sacks more. Some systems lean toward fumble recoveries and interceptions, and some concentrate more on points allowed or yardage allowed. So it’s crucial to know which scoring your league uses. One common trait the defenses all love to have is defensive touchdowns (and special teams for the whole package in defensive scoring). For us, we look at teams with strong pass rushers, ball hawks in the secondary, solid return men, and the ability to shut offenses down frequently. By shutting teams down offensively, they keep their yardage/points allowed down, and they stay fresh to make big plays. We don’t look at defenses in what they did last year as much as what we forecast them to do this year (i.e. acquisitions, offseason developments, etc.). Last year was last year – this year is this year. Remember, schedules are different, opponents are different, the team itself is different etc. Also, what does a defense’s schedule look like this year (compared to last year)? Will they face a couple of rookie QBs, or maybe mediocre error-prone QBs? What about a mediocre offense? These all makes for games with high turnover possibilities? A high-scoring offense can put another team in a hole quickly, forcing them to throw early and often to get back into the game. Defenses are then able to relax against the run, and wait for passes with an extra defender or two downfield – less Fantasy points. An offense that has to throw is also on its heels, with a quarterback dancing under pressure. This means pass rushers looking for a sack-strip-fumble are anxious for the strike. So yes, there are so many factors to consider when choosing the defense to use in a fantasy league.
10) Know A Little Of The Basic NFL Fantasy Words Most Used (Glossary): In truth, it is always good to know the basic words tossed around when it comes to NFL Fantasy Football. Maybe you are new to NFL Fantasy Football? Or maybe you are a pro. Whatever the case, it's nice to know the NFL Fantasy Football lingo, so to speak. So the following is some of the words used in our NFL Fantasy Football Glossary:
SAFEPICKS - FANTASY FOOTBALL GLOSSARY
ADD: Adding a free-agent player off the waiver wire.
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.
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.
BREAKOUT: A player who goes from just an average point-producing player one year - to full-fledged fantasy football star the next year (point-producing stud)!
BUST: A player who enters the season with high expectations but finishes with minimal statistical results resulting in low point production.
BYE WEEK: NFL teams play 16 games in 17 weeks, with a bye week (one week off) within the 17 week season. The bye week varies by team. It is important to know when your NFL Fantasy Team players are on their bye week, because this will be the week those players are not producing points. Therefore, if you have to quarterbacks on your NFL Fantasy team, and both have the SAME bye week, this means you will be at a severe disadvantage in point-production on that week. So best to know your players and their bye weeks.
CHEAT SHEET: A prepared list of players ranked in order of fantasy value. When putting together a cheat sheet, it is important to be aware of your NFL Fantasy League's scoring system and rank the players accordingly.
COMEBACK PLAYER: A player who returns from a significant injury and re-emerges into a legitimate fantasy starter.
COMMISSIONER: An NFL Fantasy League owner, or league manager.
CUSTOM-SCORING LEAGUE: A league that decides to assign its own value to touchdowns, field goals, extra points, etc. For instance, some leagues will give bonus point values for rushing or receiving game milestones. This is why it's important to know what type of scoring your league uses when you draft your team.
DEPTH: An NFL roster position made up of two players or more, that has strength deep throughout (so player one is great while player two is just as great). If player one is great, while player two in the same position is not so great, there is no ‘depth’ in that position.
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. At NFL.com, we do not have those types of owners.
DROP: Releasing a player back into the free-agent pool.
DST: This stands for Defense and Special Teams. In most NFL Fantasy leagues, generally the position of Defense and Special teams are wrapped into one position (DST) in terms of scoring. In other NFL Fantasy leagues, Defense is one position, while Special Teams is another position, both with its own unique scoring.
DUD: A dud, or a Fantasy dud, is any player on an NFL Fantasy team who is not producing points as expected, he is a failure in point-production: a dud.
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.
FIRE SALE: When a team's season is lost and they cannot make the playoffs, owners of teams sometimes like to trade away their stud players to boost another team's chances of winning the championship.
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. Normally, fantasy team owners end up releasing a flier or they sit on the bench for the entire season. Rarely does a flier reap rewards in point production, but it does happen.
FREE AGENT: A player who isn't on a team's roster and is available on the waiver wire.
HANDCUFF: Taking the immediate backup for one of your prominent players in any position.
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. IDP's are available in custom leagues on NFL.com.
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.
LEAGUE ALMANAC: A quick view of past league champions from previous seasons. You can also see who scored the most points as a team during a week in any given season.
LEAGUE HISTORY: An area to look at how your team and your opponents faired in previous years. Want to see who took home the championship in 2009? Everything you want to know is right at your fingertips.
LEAGUE MANAGER: The person in charge of running the league, setting up the draft and, if necessary, controlling all of the league fees. Other tasks, such as updating results and standings, are provided free of charge by NFL.com. The league manager also can have the final word on all transactions and disputes between owners. This role can also be referred to as league commissioner.
LINEAR DRAFT: Just like the actual draft in the NFL, some fantasy football leagues offer a "linear" draft. This is available in custom leagues. In this type of draft, the draft order in Round 1 repeats itself throughout the draft. If you have the last pick in the first round, you will have the last pick in the second round and so forth.
MOCK DRAFT: A "fake" fantasy draft that isn't played out during the season but often is used by team owners to practice drafting and prepare in advance.
OWNER: The person who runs his/her own fantasy team and ultimately is responsible for making all personnel decisions. A league owner is a person who runs his/her own league consisting of fantasy teams.
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 (POINT PER RECEPTION): 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 wide receivers and tight ends receive a full point.
PROJECTIONS: A player's predicted or forecasted statistics, which are used to help determine that player's fantasy value pre-draft.
RANKINGS (Fantasy): This is a list of Top rated NFL Fantasy players entering the coming season’s draft. Usually this is 10-20 top rated, or highest point-producing player in each position category.
RESERVE: Backup or bench players.
ROSTER: The list of players on your NFL Fantasy 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, an undrafted or late-round pick or waiver-wire player selection who is generally passed up by other fantasy team owners, yet the player suddenly exceeds statistical expectations and becomes a prominent point-producer in fantasy leagues. A sleeper can be a rookie, or even a third-year wide receiver which often are good candidates to be sleepers because many take a couple of years to develop.
STANDARD SCORING SYSTEM: A standard-scoring Fantasy Football league is a way to give a description of how a player might score in the most general terms. The majority of NFL Fantasy leagues use this scoring system and is generally the system used by new NFL Fantasy league owners. Keep in mind, generally, fantasy points will vary from event to event depending on the league (i.e. points for a touchdown to a field goal to a defensive play), but most points may be typically assessed as follows:
All touchdowns: 6 points
Offensive fumble recovered for a touchdown: 6 points
Passing yards: 1 point for each 25 yards
Rushing yards: 1 point for each 10 yards
Receiving yards: 1 point for each 10 yards
Field goal: 3 points with a 2-point bonus for field goals made from 50 yards or more
Extra point: 1 point
Rushing, passing and receiving two-point conversion: 2 points
Fumble lost: Minus-2 points
Interception: Minus-2 points
Scoring for DSTs..
Defensive touchdown: 6 points
Fumble recovered: 2 points
Interception: 2 points
Safety: 2 points
Sack: 1 point
0-6 points against: 8 points
7-13 points against: 6 points
14-20 points against: 4 points
21-27 points against: 2 points
0-49 yards: 12 points
50-99 yards: 10 points
100-149 yards: 8 points
150-199 yards: 6 points
200-249 yards: 4 points
250-299 yards: 2 points
STARTING LINEUP: Most basic leagues will allow fantasy team owners to start one quarterback, two running backs, two or three receivers and 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 fantasy leagues also use individual defensive starters.
STUD: A great weekly point-producing superstar at his position. For example, at the quarterback position, QB Drew Brees, would be considered an NFL Fantasy stud due to the high point production he provides on a weekly basis.
SUPER BOWL SLUMP: Players from the previous Super Bowl losing team always seem to struggle the next season, historically speaking anyway.
TEAM QB: Instead of drafting individual quarterbacks onto your NFL Fantasy team from different NFL teams, fantasy teams essentially take every quarterback on an NFL team. Basically, you will draft the starting QB and the backup QB of the NFL team in question.
THIRD-YEAR WIDE RECEIVER: Some wide receivers fail to make an impact until their third NFL season. Third-year wide receivers are great candidates to be "sleepers" and have "breakout" years historically speaking.
TRADE: A transaction that involves the swapping of one or more players from one team to another. In some fantasy leagues, the commissioner has the power to approve or deny all trade requests. Alternatively, a voting process among team owners, to approve a trade, is also used in some fantasy leagues.
TRANSACTION: This is 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.
UNDROPPABLE: Depending on where your NFL Fantasy League is hosted, many hosts will keep an updated list of players that cannot be dropped from an owners’ team. This is done to protect the integrity of the league. This is updated frequently so if a player is hurt and lost for the season, they will be removed from the list and owners are free to drop them if they wish.
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.
WAIVER ORDER: Refers to the order that established at the end of each week barring your league settings. The higher you are on the waiver order, the better chance you have to claim a player on the waiver wire.
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 during a designated period (24 hours) after being released from a team. Waivers help to ensure that all teams have the opportunity to claim the best free agents, resulting in more balanced, fairer and competitive leagues.