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Fantasy Football Player Positions

Table of Contents

Player Positions

A team isn't a team without any players. These players each have a particular role on a team. Let's discuss these positions and their roles.

What We'll Be Learning

First, we'll learn what the term 'player positions' means. Then, we'll discuss these positions on offense, defense, and special teams. Next, we'll learn about the 'flex' position. Lastly, we'll cover the value of these positions on a team.


Your team offense is the most important part of your team. It's the part of your team that scores points week to week to defeat your opponent, so it's very important to understand what your offense consists of.

Team Position

An offensive scoring type in which the team owner receives points for any player playing at a particular position. For example, if the team owner has, ""Packers QB,"" at the team position, they would receive fantasy points for anyone playing at that position, whether it be Aaron Rodgers or backup Brett Hundley. This is not a position used in most standard leagues, but is fairly common.

Quarterback (QB)

The quarterback is most often thought of as the heart of the offense in football. They are tasked with running the offense by handing the ball off to running backs and throwing the ball downfield to receivers. They also call plays in the huddle and make adjustments before a play begins. Quarterbacks typically score the most fantasy points. There are many good quarterbacks available, so it's not a big deal if you don't draft one of the top quarterbacks.

Running Back (RB)

The running back is a player who often plays from the backfield and their job is primarily to run the ball, but is often tasked with catching checkdown passes from the quarterback. Running backs are extremely important to draft in fantasy. There are not very many good running backs, so if you have the chance to draft one of the top running backs you should. A running back is almost always drafted first overall.

Wide Receiver (WR)

The wide receiver's primary role is to catch passes downfield from the quarterback. They also block player in the secondary on rushing plays. There are a fair amount of good wide receivers, but the high end wide receivers are still highly coveted.

Tight End (TE)

The tight end is a mixture of a wide receiver and an offensive linemen. They catch passes from the quarterback but also often block on the offensive line.

Importance of Understanding Positions

It's important to know about these positions in fantasy football as it becomes easier to understand where most of your offensive points are coming from. In a standard week, the quarterback usually scores the most points, but by employing high profile talent such as Mike Evans at wide receiver or Delanie Walker at tight end, it's just as easy for them to rack up more points than a quarterback during a bad week.

We recommend becoming familiar with the best talent at each position prior to the fantasy draft, but we'll talk more on that later!


Defense wins championships (sometimes)! In fantasy football, defense and special teams have a much smaller role than in real football but their impact can be just as great as their real life counterpart.

Individual Defensive Player (IDP)

'Individual defensive player' is a league setting in which individual defensive players are used rather than a whole team defense on a fantasy football team. For example, in an IDP league, players may have Von Miller on their team rather than the Broncos Defense in their defense/special teams position.

Defense/Special Teams (D/ST)

'Defense/Special Teams' are players that play for the defense or special teams. The objective on defense is to stop the opposing offense while special teams has multiple roles such as kicking field goals and punting the ball. In leagues that use D/ST, you can only draft or acquire a team's entire team defense, not individual players.

If you are thinking about acquiring a D/ST, you should consider who the big names on the D/ST are. Are they good players?

Kicker (K)

The 'kicker' is a special teams player who kicks the ball. This includes during field goals and kickoffs. 'Kicker' may also include the punter, whose role is to punt the ball away on fourth (4th) down.

Cornerback (CB)

The 'cornerback' is a defensive player who defends against wide receivers and attempts to prevent pass completions from the quarterback.

Defensive Back (DB)

A 'defensive back' is a defensive position that includes cornerbacks and safeties. Their primary role is to prevent pass completions from the quarterback.

Defensive End (DE)

'Defensive ends' are defensive players who play on the end of the defensive line. This includes right ends and left ends. Their primary role is to get to the quarterback and stop the run.

Defense (Def)

The 'defense' is a group of players whose goal is to stop the opposing offense from scoring points.

Defensive Line (DL)

The 'defensive line' are all of the players on defense who play on the line of scrimmage. This includes defensive tackles and defensive ends. Their primary roles are to get to the quarterback and stop the run. The offensive line tries to block these players.

Defensive Tackle (DT)

The 'defensive tackle' is a defensive position that plays in the middle of the line of scrimmage. Their role is to stop runs up the middle and prevent the quarterback from scrambling up the middle.


A 'fish' is an inexperienced or poor defensive player.

Free Safety (FS)

A 'free safety' is a defensive position in the secondary. Their goal is to prevent long pass plays and stop runs in the middle of the field. They are the last line of defense.

Linebacker (LB)

The 'linebacker' is a defensive position who plays pass coverage in the middle of the field but can also stop the run and blitz the quarterback. Linebacker is considered the most versatile position on defense.

Middle Linebacker (MLB)

The 'middle linebacker' is a linebacker who plays in the middle of the field beside the outside linebackers.

Outside Linebacker (OLB)

'Outside linebackers' are linebacker who play on either side of the middle linebacker. These include the left outside linebacker (LOLB) and right outside linebacker (ROLB).

Returner (RET)

'Returner' is a special teams player whose goal is to catch and return the ball on kickoffs and punts. This role is often designated for speedy wide receivers, but some have made a career out of simply being a great returner.


'Safety' is a defensive position who plays deep in the secondary of the defense. This includes free safety and strong safety.


A 'shark' is a defensive player who is very good. They often 'prey' on 'fish'.

Strong Safety (SS)

'Strong safety' is a defensive position that plays beside the free safety to contest long throws and runs.

Kicker and Special Teams

Whenever you choose a defense and special teams, you may notice that kicker often has a separate team position. That's because you must draft your own kicker. If you draft, 'New England Patriots Defense/Special Teams', Stephen Gostkowski does not come with them. This is important to know as kickers can be vital to swaying a weekly matchup in your favor.

Fantasy Football Glossary of Terms

Here is a list of terms related to player positions in fantasy football:


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