Daily Fantasy Sports: DFS Terms and Definitions

A collection of DFS terms you may come across when playing. Click on any term that you don’t know or may be unsure about to get an easy, understandable definition.

  • $/Point

The symbol for Dollars per Point; referring to the amount of dollars a user must spend for every point a player is expected to score. Lower $/point ratios are more desirable.

  • +EV

The symbol for Positive Expected Value. This indicates a situation where a user can project a positive return on their investment. +EV situations are ideal for daily fantasy sports players.

  • 50/50

A type of DFS game that pays out the top half of all entrants, while the low-scoring half loses their entry fee. These leagues are generally considered safe and a good place to start for new players trying to learn the game.

  • Auction Draft

A type of draft style where all contestants begin with the same budget and get to decide how to use it. Each player goes up for auction and is awarded to the competitor that is willing to bid the most fantasy dollars on them. It’s an alternative to a snake draft; there is no draft order.

  • BvP

Acronym for Batter vs. Pitcher; a statistic that tells users how a batter has done against a particular pitcher throughout his career.

  • Buy-in/Entry fee

What a user must pay to enter a contest. Buy-ins vary from site to site, but can range anywhere from free to thousands of dollars. Good news: Most if not all sites allow users to filter games by buy-in amount, so it’s easy to find games in the desired price range.

  • Cash Game

A term used to describe contests that award the prize pool to the top-scoring half of the participating contestants. Cash games are known for being lower in risk and include game styles like Head-to-head, 50/50, and Double-Up.

  • CBB

The acronym for NCAA college basketball.

  • Ceiling

The upside of a player, team, or user’s line-up; the maximum amount of fantasy points they could realistically earn.

  • CFB

The acronym for NCAA college football.

  • Contrarian

A term used to describe the selection of a player (or players) who is not highly desirable or popular on a specific night. This is done as a way for users to set themselves apart from their competitors in hopes that the selected player will have a good game. It can prove to be valuable in GPPs or tournaments where users are attempting to compete with a large amount of other entries.

  • CV

Coefficient of Variation; the standard deviation of a set of data divided by its mean. Such a calculation can be used in daily fantasy sports to measure consistency. The lower the CV, the more consistent a player is.

  • DFS

An acronym for daily fantasy sports.

  • Deposit Bonus

Most if not all DFS sites will reward users for signing up and making a deposit by matching a percentage of that first deposit, and adding it to the account. For example, if there is a 100% deposit bonus and a user deposits $500, the site will deposit an additional $500 into the user’s account. It’s essentially free money, but there are catches: The bonuses cannot be withdrawn, and they are often released slowly over time as users play more games. Using the aforementioned example, that user would not have full access to the bonus $500, but instead would get to use it incrementally to cover a portion of his entry fees in all the games he enters until it runs out.

  • Donk

A term that is short for “donkey,” describing a relatively unskilled DFS player who will often lose money recklessly.

  • Double-Up

A type of contest where the winners are awarded twice their entry fee. Even though only roughly the top 40-45% of entries are winners, such contests are still considered cash games.

  • Entrant

Any person who enters a DFS contest.

  • Exposure

How much money one has invested in a player; users have a lot of exposure to the players whom they place a relatively high percentage of their bankroll on.

  • FDPs

Acronym for FanDuel Points; frequent player reward points awarded to users every time they enter a real cash contest. Players can use these points to enter future contests and avoid entry fees.

  • FFFC

Acronym for FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship. This tournament had a grand prize of $2 million and a total prize pool of $10 million awarded throughout the year. Users entered a number of qualifier contests to advance all the way to the top 100, where the finalists received a trip to Las Vegas, hotel stay, invites to numerous parties, and a chance to win the grand prize of $2 million.

  • Fade

A term that describes a strategic decision to avoid a particular player or game (i.e. one might fade a player who is in a slump, or fade a game where poor weather conditions are expected).

  • Field Size

The number of contestants competing in a particular competition. It is not always the maximum number of contestants allowed; Guaranteed Prize Pools and some tournaments will begin regardless of field size.

  • Fish

A term describing an unskilled or inexperienced DFS player. “Sharks” often prey upon such users.

  • Flex

A line-up slot that can be occupied by an athlete from one of multiple positions. For example, in daily fantasy football, a RB, WR, or TE can fill the flex position.

  • Floor

Opposite of “ceiling.” The downside of a player, line-up, or team; the minimum amount of fantasy points they can realistically be expected to score.

  • FPPG

An acronym for Fantasy Points Per Game; this is the average number of fantasy points a player scores in a game. When drafting a line-up, users can sort players by their FPPG scores to see which players have the best $/point value for the day.

  • FPPs

Acronym for Frequent Player Points at DraftKings. Similar to FanDuel’s FDPs, DraftKings will award points each time a user enters a cash contest. Said points can be used to enter tournaments and other contests with a waived entry fee.

  • Freeroll

Contests that do not require entrants to pay a buy-in fee. Some offer real money prizes, some reward winners with prizes or access to high-stakes contests, and others are just for fun with no money involved.

  • Game Variants

All of the different types of contests offered by a DFS site.

  • GPP

Acronym for Guaranteed Prize Pool; a type of contest where a site promises a specific prize pool amount to be divided among the winners. Such games usually have a large number of entrants and a hefty prize pool associated with them.

  • Grinder

A business-minded DFS player who treats gameplay as an investment; these players place most of their money in the safer cash games, and aim to turn gradual profits over time.

  • GTD

The acronym for Game-Time Decision; an alert from DFS sites that notifies users of a player who may not play in the day’s game due to injury. If choosing to draft him, the user must watch closely for updates on the player’s status and have a back-up plan.

  • H2H

Stands for Head-to-Head; a type of DFS game where a user plays against a single opponent, and the one with a higher score wins the prize (twice the buy-in minus the rake).

  • H2H Matrix

A type of game where users enter multiple H2H contests, and gets paid the normal H2H reward for each of the matchups he wins (i.e. one pays $20 and faces 20 unique opponents in $1 H2H matchups.

  • Hedge

A way for a user to decrease the risk in their line-up. After selecting what they presume to be the best line-up, one might “hedge” by drafting a second line-up full of different players to increase their chance of winning. However, in doing so, one’s odds of maximizing their Return on Investment decrease significantly.

  • High-low

A strategy for managing one’s line-up where a user selects a few high-salary, superstar players and fills the rest of his line-up with low-salary players who are not projected to get a lot of points.

  • Injury Report

Teams are required to release an official report with a list of injured players. For the most part, DFS sites will place an icon next to players who are included in the daily injury report, and allows users to view the extent of the injury.

  • Large-field Contest

A contest that features many entrants (what qualifies as “many” varies from site to site)—could be 100, could be thousands. Such games tend to offer large payouts for top finishers but also offer smaller payouts to players finishing well outside the top five or 10 finishers.

  • Late Contest

Some users don’t have time to draft a line-up before the first game starts, so these games allow them to play in contests exclusively featuring the games that start later in the day. Such contests make life a lot easier for West Coast players.

  • Late Swap

A feature offered by some DFS sites that allows contestants to modify players in their line-up up until the players’ game start, rather than having a set time when line-ups are locked in. This can save users who may have picked a player who ended up getting scratched, or one who was a Game-Time Decision and decided to take the night off.

  • Line-up Lock

The moment when users are no longer allowed to swap players in and out of their line-up. On some sites it can be as soon as the first game begins, while on other sites users are free to swap out players as long as it’s before their individual game has begun.

  • Line-up/Roster

The professional players one chooses to comprise the team that they will compete with in a specific contest. Line-ups will be often be required to have players at specific positions, and to stay within a salary cap.

  • Lobby

The page on a DFS site where one can view every active contest available to play. A lobby can usually be filtered in many ways like by sport, game type, entry fee, and/or field size.

  • Millionaire Maker

The regular high-stakes contest offered by DraftKings during the NFL season where the winner earns $1 million (for a $27 buy-in). Tens of thousands of users enter, so the chances of winning the grand prize are very slim, but DraftKings pays out many more prizes to contestants other than just the first place finisher.DraftKings also offers Millionaire Makers for the PGA’s four annual major tournaments.

  • MPE

An acronym for Multi-Position Eligibility; a player is eligible to be added to one’s line-up at more than one position. For example, when there is a baseball player that switches between playing the designated hitter and first baseman, he’d likely be available on a DFS site as both a DH and 1B.

  • Multi-entry

A contest in which users are allowed to buy-in as many times as they want, usually with different rosters.

  • Multiplier/Booster (2X-10X)

A type of contest in which one’s odds of winning decrease but the amount of prize increases. Usually the chances of winning are 1/the multiplier number; if playing in a 5X game only the top 1/5 of the field will win the prize of 5X their entry fee, while everyone else leaves with nothing.

  • Over/Under

Casinos and sports books use resources to project how many points will be scored in a game that day; that is the over/under line. For DFS players, look at the lines as research into which teams are projected to score a lot of points. Players on such teams could have a big night.

  • Overlap

A percentage that represents how many different contestants within a contest own the same player, thus allowing users to determine whether or not picking that player is still worth it. If everyone has the same player, a user has no advantage when the player does well because all players that selected him are getting the same points.

  • Overlay

When a GPP does not fill to capacity and requires the hosting company to make up the difference between the prize pool that was guaranteed and the amount of funds actually taken in, that difference is the “overlay.”

  • PPR

Acronym for Points-per-Reception; in daily fantasy football, this is a scoring system by which players are awarded fantasy points not only for yardage but for each individual catch.

  • Pay up

A term that describes spending a premium amount of salary on a player or position. Such moves can be made for strategy, or when there is a position with little depth and a clear-cut superstar.

  • Pick’em

A style of game in which entrants pick from sets of players (sometimes just between two players) trying to predict the highest scoring player in each group.

  • Pivot

A strategy in which a user refrains picking a popular player under the assumption that he/she has been picked widely amongst competitors in the contest. Thus a user “pivots” to a more unique choice, so if that player does well, the user has a distinct advantage over the field.

  • Player Pool

The professional athletes available to be drafted in a particular DFS contest.

  • Player Prop Bet

This refers to a line set by sports books in Vegas based on the occurrence or non-occurrence of something in a game that does not directly affect the game’s final outcome (i.e. how many receiving yards a WR will have in a game). The information one can gain from viewing the day’s Player Prop Bets can be helpful in making line-up decisions.

  • Point Spread

According to Las Vegas sports books, one team is typically the favorite over their opposition. This stat can be pertinent in deciding which teams might have a better chance of pulling out a win on a particular day.

  • Prize Pool

The total amount that is to be paid out during the competition. This is not the money for the overall winner, but the total of all the money that is to be awarded according to the contests’ payout structure. It is typically the total of all entry fees minus the share that the company takes for hosting the event.

  • Punt

When a user “punts,” they expect a position to yield a low number of fantasy points regardless of which athlete they choose, and thus decide to just draft the player with the lowest salary with the hope that doing so will open up cap space for a more valuable player(s) at different position(s).

  • Qualifier

A type of contest where users don’t win money, but rather earn the opportunity to enter a higher-stakes game for free. For example, by winning a $5 qualifier one might gain entry into a $100 buy-in game.

  • Rake/Juice

The money that a DFS website collects for hosting an event, which is almost always a percentage of the entry fees. The rate at which DFS companies collect rake is usually anywhere from six to 10 percent, depending on the amount of the buy-in.

  • Rakeback Program

A program/promotion sometimes offered by DFS sites in which users are given a portion of their rake back as they play more frequently on a site.

  • Reach

A situation where a contestant picks a player whose salary is considerably higher than the value he/she would be expected to provide. The opposite of a value pick.

  • ROI

An acronym for Return on Investment. In DFS, ROI relates to how many points a player scored compared to how much a user paid for him. For example, if one were to purchase two players at a cost of $4,500, and the first scored 12 points while the second scored 7, then the first player would have a greater ROI.

  • Salary Cap

The allotted amount of fantasy money given to each user to generate their line-up for a contest. (FanDuel’s caps vary from sport to sport, while DraftKings keeps their cap standard for all sports at $50,000.)

  • Shark

A highly skilled or experienced DFS player. Such players are at an advantage over “fish” due to their deeper understanding of strategy, game dynamics, and values.

  • Short Slate

A term used to describe a day where there are not as many games being played, and thus less players are available to draft. Because of this decrease in variety, the obvious superstar choices will be rostered at a high percentage, and it becomes even more important to find a few unique options that set one’s squad apart from the rest.

  • Single-Entry GPP

A GPP game where contestants are only allowed to submit a single line-up for the contest. Most GPPs are multi-entry.

  • Snake Draft

A style of draft where there is no salary cap, and the order is predetermined. A user chooses the player they want when it’s their turn, and the draft order is reversed after every round.

  • Splits

The difference in a player’s performance at home versus on the road, or in baseball, the difference in a batter’s stats against left-handed pitchers versus right-handed ones.

  • Stacking/Combo

This is when a user attempts to “stack” their lineup by drafting multiple players from the same team. This is a strategy that can sometimes cause a compounding scoring output. For example, if a user drafts a right-winger (RW) and left-winger (LW) from the same team and line, when the RW scores on an assist from the LW, the user would get fantasy points for the goal, the assist, and for getting a plus for being on the ice when scoring a goal.

  • Survival Tournament

A type of game that is played in a tournament style and in which users’ scores must be above a certain cut-off to advance to the next week of play. Each week the field gets smaller and smaller with those who make it to the last step receiving a prize.

  • Synergy

Similar to “stacking” but baseball specific, synergy involves selecting players from the same team who are expected to bat in order for a chance to increase overall scoring potential.

  • Tilt

Describes poor line-up construction or decision making out of frustration or the consumption of alcohol.

  • Train/Running a Train

When a player uses multiple, identical entries in a single tournament.

  • Turbo

The opposite of a “late” contest. These games focus on the early games when building a line-up. Perfect for East Coast players who don’t want to stay up all night waiting to see results from the West Coast games.

  • Value Pick

Drafting a player whose salary is set significantly low for his production. Picking such a player is looked at as valuable because one is able to pay less for someone they expect to produce a respectable number of points.

  • Vegas Line

Refers to the spread or over/under of Vegas sportsbooks for a given slate of games. Useful in determining likely game outcomes and making line-up decisions.

  • Viable

A word used to describe a selection that can be reasonably expected to return at his/her current price.

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