The A to Z of Fantasy Basketball: From ADP to Zion

Josh Lloyd is a Fantasy Basketball expert for Yahoo Sport based in Melbourne, Australia. His weekly articles will give you the edge on your opponents. Get in touch with questions for Josh on Twitter where he's always active.

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If you’re new to playing fantasy basketball, some of the jargon can be fairly confusing. So, I’ve pulled together the A-Z of fantasy basketball before the 2019-20 season tips off.

ADP - You’ll see ADP mentioned a lot while you’re researching for your fantasy basketball draft and it stands for Average Draft Position. Basically, it’s the point at which a particular player is getting drafted on average across all Yahoo leagues. E.g. At the time of writing Anthony Davis’ ADP is 1.4 - because he’s being picked first in the majority of drafts.

Blocks - A standard basketball stat that is counted in nearly all fantasy basketball scoring. It’s when a player knocks another player’s shot away when it is in the air.

Category leagues - A type of fantasy basketball league where the individual statistical categories are compared to the opponent’s cumulative total in that same category. For a more detailed explanation, click here.

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Dynasty leagues - A type of fantasy basketball league in which you keep all or the majority of the same players, year after year.

Efficiency - A term used to indicate how good of a shooter a player is and/or how few turnovers they commit. True shooting percentage is a metric used to determine overall shooting efficiency for NBA players, with 56 percent being league average. Anything over that makes a player efficient.

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G-League - Formerly known as the D-League, the G-League is the NBA’s developmental league, where young players and hopefuls play in order to get court time and improve until they are ready to play in the NBA. Every team except Portland, Denver, and New Orleans have their own G-League affiliate to send players down to.

Handcuff - This is when you draft a player who would be in line for a bigger role if one of your earlier picks gets hurt. A useful strategy in some situations, especially if one of your early picks is injury-prone. An example of this would be drafting Kyrie Irving early, and then taking Spencer Dinwiddie late. Dinwiddie has value in his own right, but if Irving gets hurt, Dinwiddie’s numbers will spike.

Injured List - Also shown as IL, it’s an additional roster spot where you can put players who are injured during the season, allowing you an additional spot to pick up a healthy player from the waiver wire.

Jumper - A colloquial term for a jump shot, or a shot at the basket that isn’t a layup or a dunk.

Keeper League - a league that carries over from year to year where a predetermined amount of players can be kept on the team’s roster.

Zion Williams posing with a basketball looking at the camera wearing New Orleans kit.
Taken with the number one pick, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has been touted as one of the next NBA superstars. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Load Management - A term that came into popularity last season, where players are strategically rested by their clubs throughout the season to keep them healthy for the NBA playoffs. This can have a big impact on your fantasy team if you draft a player that is rested a lot.

Mock Draft - You’ll often see this term bandied about. A mock draft is just a practice draft, to get you ready for the real thing. You’ll find them on the Yahoo Fantasy site, and they’re a good way to prepare yourself for the real thing.

NCAA - National Collegiate Athletic Association. You may see the NCAA referenced when talking about a player’s production in college as the NCAA is the controlling body for college athletics.

Offensive - When a team has possession of the ball. As opposed to defensive, when you are defending the offensive team. Also used to differentiate between offensive and defensive rebounds.

Points Leagues - The standard Yahoo scoring system for fantasy basketball where each statistical category is assigned a point value. Each point equals one fantasy point, each rebound equals 1.2 fantasy points, each assist equals 1.5 fantasy points, each block and steal equals three fantasy points and each turnover equals -1.0 fantasy points. For a detailed explanation, click here.

Queue - As in draft queue. In your fantasy draft, before it is your pick, you can add players to your queue, essentially creating a shortlist to choose your next pick from.

Rotisserie Leagues - Similar to category leagues, except there are no head-to-head matchups each week. At the end of your season, your team’s totals in a pre-determined amount of categories are added up and ranked against the teams in your league and assigned a point value depending on where you are in the standings.

Snake Draft - The standard form of fantasy draft, where the draft order inverts every second round. So, whoever picks first in round one, picks last in round two and back to first in round three and so on.

Trade - When two fantasy managers agree to exchange players from their respective teams with each other.

Usage - An advanced NBA stat that shows how many times a given player ends a team’s possession while he is on the court. It can be done by shooting a shot, a free throw, or turning the ball over. Because there are five players on the court at a time, a usage rate of 20 percent is average. Players with high usage generally score more and have the ball in their hands more.

Value - A term used to describe a player’s fantasy production.

Waiver Wire - Players who aren’t on any fantasy team roster reside on the waiver wire. It’s where you can add new players on to your team during the season.

X-rank - The ranking you will see in your draft room that accounts for the expert’s rank of that player for Yahoo Fantasy Basketball.

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Zion - Zion Williamson, the number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and the most hyped prospect to enter the NBA since LeBron James. He will play for the New Orleans Pelicans and has the potential to light up the fantasy basketball world straight away.

If there is another term that you don’t fully understand, make sure you follow me on Twitter and join our Facebook Fantasy Basketball Group.

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