DFS Dictionary: Daily Fantasy Sports Terms to Know

Daily fantasy sports has a lot of terms and lingo that can throw new players for a curveball without a DFS Dictionary to consult. After all, there’s plenty of Daily Fantasy Sports terms to know at all times. 

That’s where this article comes in. By now you’ve learned that shortening “daily fantasy sports” to “DFS” is one of the many abbreviations and shorthand jargon that players and experts across the industry throw out when discussing a slate. But what about all the others that you come across on a daily basis? If you have no idea what it means when you hear “fading Giannis Antetokounmpo in GPPs is a great contrarian play, but only if a punt at min-salary is viable,” this DFS Dictionary article is for you.

DFS introduces a whole new vocabulary that you won’t come across if you’ve only ever been around season-long fantasy sports. Learning and understanding some of these terms and phrases can be extremely pivotal to your DFS success, as you will encounter these countless times throughout your playing career.

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Bookmark it, save it, CTRL + F until your heart’s content with our DFS Dictionary, a glossary of all the relevant daily fantasy sports terms to keep as a reference guide:

DFS Dictionary: Daily Fantasy Sports Terms to Know

DFS Terms to Know DFS Dictionary Definition
$/Point Performance relative to the salary on any daily fantasy site, i.e. the price of a player divided by the amount of fantasy points the player scores.
50/50 A contest where half the field gets paid out evenly, typically to the tune of nearly double their entry fee.
Action Having some financial or emotional stake dependent upon an outcome in a game or sporting event.
Algorithm or Model (Projection Model) A means of describing the mathematical equation that projects the statistical output of a player or game.
Avoid Staying away from a certain player, team and/or game.

DFS Dictionary example: “The Heat-Pacers game looks ugly so that’s an avoid for me tonight.”

Balance Having a lineup of players priced in the mid-range, as opposed to a combination of high-priced and low-priced players.
Bankroll The total amount of money you have available to play with on your DFS or sports betting sites  of your choosing.
Buy-in Also known as an entry fee.
Cash Game A type of contest that pays out evenly to a portion of entries, as many as half, as opposed to one  that offers scaled prizes with higher winnings to the top scorers.
Ceiling The maximum amount of points you can expect from a player based on their past fantasy performances.
Chalk A player, team and/or game that is projected to be highly owned by the majority of players in a contest.
Contrarian A play that goes against the grain, someone that the public is overlooking or that is not highly owned.
Correlation A statistical connection, positively or negatively, between two players or data points
Dart Throw A play that is considered a longshot to reach their target score but is worth a look in tournaments at potentially low ownership.
Deposit Bonus An amount awarded to your account when signing up and making your first deposit. Typically sites will offer a deposit bonus depending on the size of your initial deposit amount or other qualifications.
DFS Get ready to see this term a TON. Daily Fantasy Sports is a phrase you will not be able to get away from.
Diversify Decreasing the stake in a financial position on a game or team by playing other complementary components in order to limit the risk of the initial financial position
DK Points DraftKings Points, a means of calculating the fantasy points of a player using DraftKings’ default scoring system.
Double-Up A contest in which you double your entry fee by placing in the top 50% of the contest.
Entry Fee The amount of money a particular contest costs to enter. Also known as the buy-in.
Exposure How much of a particular player you have in your lineups compared to the rest of the player pool.

DFS Dictionary example: “I have 30% exposure to Steph Curry.”
Fade To have less of a certain player, team or game compared to the field. Whether it be due to a gut feeling, a bad matchup or any another reason.
FDPs FanDuel Points, a means of calculating the fantasy points of a player using FanDuel’s default scoring system.
Fish An inexperienced DFS player.
Field Size The number of people in a given contest.
Flex The utility position, a spot where a player of any position eligibility can be used in a DFS lineup
Floor The lowest amount of fantasy points you can expect from a player based on projections or their season/career averages.
Freeroll A tournament from a DFS provider that requires no entry fee or buy-in.
Full-PPR An abbreviation for one fantasy point per reception for a player, DraftKings’ default scoring format for football.
Game Script An attempt to predict how a game is going to play out.

DFS Dictionary example: “Because the Rams and Chiefs pass so often and we have a high Vegas total, the game script would indicate a lot of opportunity for Patrick Mahomes.”

GPP Abbreviation for Guaranteed Prize Pool, a tournament that guarantees a minimum prize pool of a certain dollar amount.
Grinder A player who is willing to play for lower stakes but higher chances on a return on investment.
GOAT An acronym standing for Greatest Of All Time.
Half-PPR (0.5-PPR) An abbreviation for one half fantasy point per reception for a player, FanDuel’s default scoring format for football
Head-to-Head A contest in which you and one other person compete against each other.
Hedge To take a contrarian position on an outcome you or others are currently taking in order to minimize your overall risk profile.

DFS Dictionary example: “I have a futures bet on the Warriors to win the Finals. Once I knew the Cavs were going against them, I hedged with a bet on the Cavs to win the series.”
High-Stakes A contest that has an entry fee of more than $50, typically played by sharper DFS players, pros and Sharks.
Late Swap The ability to switch players in or out after the first game has started on the slate.
Lean Which way you’re currently favoring on a position.

DFS Dictionary example: “My lineups lean Clint Capela over Andre Drummond, but it’s close.”

Lineup Lock When the lineups lock for a particular slate. The impact of this depends on the DFS site.
Live Final This is an event hosted by DraftKings, FanDuel or another DFS company. Typically to get invited to a Live Final you must win a tournament or qualifier to receive a ticket (seat) to the event. Depending on the size of the Live Final, one may have more than one ticket (seats) for the event.  
Min Salary The lowest amount a player can cost on a given site. (Normally $3,000 on DraftKings, $3,500 on FanDuel, and $10 on Yahoo!)
MME Mass Multi Entry. This is a strategy in which a DFS player would typically max-enter lineups into a contest.

DFS Dictionary example: In the $.50 Mini Max on DraftKings, you are allowed to enter this contest up to 150 times for $.50 per entry, a total entry fee of $75.00 to ensure as many entries as each other individual player in the tournament.
Multi-Entry To enter more than one lineup into a given contest. Some contests can be entered up to 150 times so check the contest entry limits before selecting your game.
Optimizer A tool (Fantasy Cruncher) that allows you to generate multiple lineups based on various rules, options and settings. An optimizer typically is also a key tool when “MMEing”, as explained above
Overlay When a particular tournament is paying out more money than it is taking in. Otherwise known as a negative management fee. 

DFS Dictionary example: Read “What is overlay in daily fantasy sports?”

Pay Up To allocate salary to higher-priced players as opposed to ones on a lower salary tier.  
Pivot To switch from one player to another for any number of reasons. Whether it’s switching from Giannis to LeBron because of a minutes restriction on Giannis, or pivoting from a high-owned Steph Curry to a low-owned Kyrie Irving. Pivoting is done to gain leverage on the field by making a substitution.
Player Prop Bet A line established by an oddsmaker that focuses on the performance of a single player, typically in a singular statistical category.
Point/$ Relative to the salary on any daily fantasy site, the amount of fantasy points a player scores divided by the their price.

Similar to $/Point, mentioned previously in the DFS Dictionary

Prize Pool The prizes, cash or otherwise, available to the players entering the game type if they place above a certain threshold.
Punt A low-priced player that has a path to success but it is less likely they get there. Making them a cheap option to “punt” in case they happen to exceed their expectations.
Qualifier/Satellite A tournament designed to gain the top finishers entry into another tournament of more prestige or a larger prize pool.
Quintuple Up A contest in which the payout is five times your entry fee.
Rake This is the amount of money the host company is making on the contest. If the entry fee is $4 and they are taking in 1,000 entries ($4,000) but only paying out $2,500, the rake would be $1,500.

Also known as a management fee.

Rakeback Program A program from a provider designed to provide signups with a rebate based upon how much rake or management fee the site would typically take from a player.
Reach A player or play believed to be an unlikely outcome relative to expected performance

DFS Dictionary example: “I’d prefer to play Drew Brees, a rookie QB like Josh Rosen is too much of a reach.”

Recency Bias The psychology of DFS players being more likely to choose a player who has been outperforming expectations in recent games than one who has been struggling, despite the fact that both outcomes will happen naturally with variance and don’t necessarily represent a player’s true skill.
Referral Program An initiative designed to provide value to current and new signups towards a site or DFS provider via referring or having another user refer you to sign up.
Regression (to the Mean) When a player is overperforming or underperforming relative to their expected production and statistics point to the fact that they should start to see performances closer to their career or season averages.
ROI Return On Investment, the amount of money you make relative to the amount of investment originally put in.
Roster Typically said by a tout breaking down a player, to roster a player is to put them in your lineup.
Shark A more experienced DFS player or one who may be utilizing predatory practices to defeat less competent newer players.
Single-Entry A contest in which each player may enter up to one time. This type of contest gives everyone the same chance at taking down the top prize.
Sleeper A player the field is overlooking who makes for a good tournament play.
Spread The difference in expected points between a winning and losing team according to an oddsmaker.
Stack/Stacking To play a group of players from the same team and/or game.

DFS Dictionary example: This is a popular strategy in baseball when stacking a lineup (Benintendi, Betts, and Martinez would be a potent Red Sox stack). This can also be done when stacking a game with a high Vegas total in basketball, such as Warriors vs. Thunder.
Studs-and-Scrubs Creating a lineup by allocating your $50,000 salary cap (DraftKings) to a mix of high-priced players (studs) and minimum-priced players (scrubs).
Tilt The disappointment a player feels when the positions he or she has taken have not panned out as expected.

DFS Dictionary example: “Tommy was so tilted after the Kemba Walker chalk bombed that he didn’t play DFS for a month.”

Tournament A competition between multiple players. Despite the real-life applications of the term, there are typically not multiple stages to a tournament in daily fantasy sports.
Train When a player enters the same lineup multiple times into a game type that allows multiple lineups.
Triple-Up A tournament that pays out three times the buy-in to every winner.
Upside The potential of a player to exceed his expected projections.

DFS Dictionary example: “Harrison Barnes normally doesn’t do much but with his price so low, he could have some upside.”

Value A player that should be priced higher than what they are based on matchup, opportunity or another factor.
Vegas Line The expected outcome provided by an oddsmaker, consisting of a “Favorite” (the team expected to win), an “Underdog” (the team expected to lose), a “Spread” (the differential expected between the two teams) and a Combined Total (the combined scoring many bettors play as an “Over/Under” bet).
Viable When a player is believed to have the potential to reach a target score.


If you have any questions on our DFS Dictionary or any daily fantasy sports terms to know you’d like to see added to this glossary, let us know!

Chris Spags is the senior director of editorial strategy at Awesemo.com and contributes to the site's NBA, NFL, and MLB coverage as a writer and host of video content. Chris's content background from sites like Guyism, Uproxx, and Barstool Sports allows him to bring a unique spin to the world of daily fantasy sports analysis. Chris writes regular columns with NBA and NFL analysis as well as his inimitable style and his 'Four Corners' videos for basketball, baseball, and football DFS are the primary short form content offering on Awesemo's YouTube channel. You can find him on almost any given night providing analysis right up to slate lock on Awesemo's flagship Live Before Lock livestreams or on Twitter @ChrisSpags. You can contact Chris by emailing [email protected].

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