2015 Fantasy Football: 10 Expert Phrases You Need Translated
At this point before the season and before your draft, you’ve probably been inundated and bludgeoned to death with a wealth of information by experts. Here at FantasyPros, we provide you with consensus rankings and dissenting opinions from a variety of experts. As you listen to podcasts, read articles and sift through cheat sheets, I would love to offer a bit language expertise.
As a Rhetoric major and former high school English teacher, I find it quite intriguing and humorous to study, evaluate and decipher the diction and lingo within our fantasy world. I’ve had to decode so much fantasy rhetoric for my wife that I thought it might be helpful for some of you to get the down-to-earth, honest truth to the foreign language that is fantasy football.
So here are some subtle phrases every fantasy expert uses to validate opinions as well as hook in readers like myself over the years.
Example: “Obviously, Zach Ertz will increase his snap percentage this year.”
Translation: “You are a complete idiot if you do not agree with me on the following words out of my mouth…Zach Ertz will increase his snap percentage this year.”
This phrase is a verbal sleeper hold that puts everyone into submission to the proceeding opinion. It is meant to have all the hearers involved come into unanimous agreement.
This one is my favorite one to pay attention to in everyday conversations as well as fantasy ones. Pay attention because these statements are still up for debate and not yet obvious. We’ve yet to play a real game! And Zach Ertz is out the entire preseason! Fantasy is about minimizing risk and maximizing value of your draft picks into a workable, loaded roster. Remember: if things in fantasy are obvious, we wouldn’t need experts.
2. “It wouldn’t surprise me if…”
Example: “I mean, it wouldn’t surprise me if Allen Robinson was a WR1.”
Translation: “I don’t want to go out on a limb and bear the shame of predicting this, so instead, if Allen Robinson does end up as a WR1 I’ll gloat about it later. If he tanks, I’ll simply never mention this predictive whim again.”
This is a bold prediction without heeding any of the consequences. Just take the “it wouldn’t surprise me” statements as someone shooting the breeze on the front porch with a case of beer. We all say silly things, especially in the fantasy world, if we don’t have to bear the brunt of the criticism. Take this with a grain of salt my friends.
3. “Moving up my rankings”
Example: “I’ve got David Cobb moving up my rankings after his performance.”
Translation: “My rankings are just like jello, so heck why not move David Cobb up?”
Usually someone is moving up the rankings because they were safely ranked in a lower position due to a lack of game tape available, lack of fantasy consensus or an overall lack of buzz in preseason camp. Rookies are hard to peg because there are so many unknown factors related to how their game translates from college to the pros. Currently, I’ve seen Nelson Agholor moving up a lot of rankings. What they’re really saying is they liked how he looked in pads and had that one highlight play against Indianapolis in the first preseason game. Be wary because if someone is moving up the rankings then others must be moving down.
Example: “Larry Donnell is a strong streaming option at TE.”
Translation: “Larry Donnell isn’t that good. But if you get lucky with the right matchup (a.k.a. the three-TD game against Washington last year), then use him.”
Streaming is one of every fantasy guru’s mantras. It essentially tells everyone that you have insight into the week-by-week matchup that no-one else does. Now as someone who regularly streams QBs and defenses, I have talked up my streaming options from time to time. Streaming sounds glorious on draft day if you miss out on some top targets. My advice is to pay close attention to the home/away splits and be ready to call an audible if your streaming system does not work.
Example: “Despite a change in targets, it’s clear Jimmy Graham has a relatively high floor.”
Translation: “It’s clear that Jimmy Graham is a safe pick. He will not disappear into a fantasy black hole like Vernon Davis has.”
Someone’s floor is another way of saying that they won’t fall into fantasy oblivion. It is the safe bet you can make knowing this is the amount of production you can at least expect. It is the bare minimum, the worst case scenario prediction. In other words, Jimmy Graham can lay down for half the season and yet you can still expect 75 catches, 850 yards and 10 TDs. Building a team around a bunch of “floor dwellers” is safe, yet will probably get you in fourth or fifth place.
Example: “DeAndre Hopkins’ ceiling is ridiculous this year!”
Translation: “This sky is the limit for Hopkins. He could blow up and change your entire fantasy season!”
A ceiling is someone’s highest projected potential outcome that experts can conceive of this year. It is the widest range possible for a player to shoot through the rankings and end up as a top option. However, even for someone like as talented as Hopkins, those with high ceilings also are victim to a boom-or-bust season. With All-Pro QBs like Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallett throwing the ball, Hopkins could either see a million targets or have inaccurate heaves thrown in his general direction.
Example: “What happened to Doug Martin… in 2012, he was a bell-cow!”
Translation: “Man, Doug Martin, though he’s more of a muscular hamster, the Bucs don’t feed him the rock as much as they used to.”
A bell-cow is a dying breed of the RB species that are known for being the dominant ball carriers in their offense. With many teams changing to spread offenses and the fullback position becoming rarer and rarer (only four teams start them), the every-down RB has become nearly extinct. We are seeing pass-catching and blocking backs (a la Jacquizz Rodgers) carve out niches in offenses as the first and second down runners are relegated to a spot on the bench. Apart from the obvious guys (you see what I did there), take notice if an expert uses the word bell-cow. Bell-cows are few and far between.
Example: “Latavius Murray’s upside is incredible this year.”
Translation: “Murray could easily end up as high as a top five RB.”
A close kissing cousin to potential, upside implies that a player will likely rise from his current ADP and finish the year higher on the Player Rater. It’s important to note a lot of players have upside these days because we haven’t played a game yet! Every training camp report is drunken with optimism. So yes, Murray is a talented athlete in the brief time we saw him shine in 2014. With more projected carries, he could be dynamite. But pay close attention because upside has spread like the plague in the preseason by the propaganda police known as fantasy experts.
Example: “Rob Gronkowski is a differentiator at the TE position.”
Translation: “Gronk will make your opponents’ TE position look like one of those minions.”
A differentiator provides a huge point gap weekly compared to your opponent. It allows you the opportunity to gain meaningful points each week knowing that you have the positional advantage. Aaron Rodgers has also played this role the last couple of years. Just make sure that when an expert decides that someone stands out from the rest of the crowd, that you assess all of the risks associated with that pick.
10. “Take a flier on him”
Example: “If you’re looking for some WR help during your last couple of picks, take a flier on someone like Cody Latimer.”
Translation: “Cody Latimer could bomb out and be relegated to the waiver wire, but if you hit on him you will feel awesome!”
The flier is the classic Hail Mary at the end of your draft. In other words, you should think of them as a lottery ticket. If they hit, congratulations. And if they don’t work out so much, then just drop them and add another flier off the waiver wire. Taking a flier only works if it’s in the last rounds of your draft. Don’t take a flier on Tyrod Taylor in Round 10. He’s not a flier. He’s a terrible pick and a Buffalo Bill.