Fantasy football has its own buzzwords and cliches. Here is what you'll hear at your fantasy draft and what it really means.
It's a tough decision.
After an offseason of conditioning and film study, more than a month of grueling practices in the summer heat and four exhibition games, NFL players are now ready to start playing games for the benefit of fantasy football leagues.
"We know how seriously people take fantasy football and we want them to know that we take our role in it very seriously, too," said LaDainian Tomlinson, a highly-ranked fantasy running back.
Tomlinson and other players say making their fantasy owners happy motivates them all year.
"Every weight I lift, every drill I run it's all because I want to provide those who own me with as many points as possible. I try to grind out every extra yard for those leagues that use decimal point scoring," said running back Frank Gore. "If I make my owners happy and help them win their fantasy football league, then I've done my job. Team goals are secondary."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league's focus has shifted in recent years.
"Winning games and Super Bowls is nice," he said. "But we all know where our bread is buttered now. The amount of money that fantasy football brings in, the amount that fantasy football has expanded our fanbase and increased the interest of our existing fans fantasy is far more important to the NFL than reality."
That's why Goodell put in place many additional safety rules this season.
"We can't have fantasy stars like Tom Brady going down every year. It hurts one NFL team," he said, "but it affects thousands of fantasy teams. And that's bad for our brand."
Steelers running back Willie Parker says he knows firsthand how fantasy football trumps real football.
"I have been a major contributor to two Super Bowl teams," he said. "Only a handful of running backs in NFL history can make that claim. Yet most fans think of me more as a guy whose fantasy impact is limited by the fact that I don't get a lot of touches near the end zone. I can't tell you how much that hurts. I'd give up all of my championships to switch careers with a consistent fantasy performer like Steven Jackson."
An unnamed NFL star is reportedly planning to conceal an injury that will force him to miss significant time this season until after you complete your fantasy football draft later this month, sticking you with a player you never would have selected had you known he was hurt.
"I'm going to play through the pain at camp for now, just until his draft is held," said the player. "Then, once I get word that I've been picked, I'm going to announced I'm out until Week 5 maybe even later. It will be hilarious."
For dramatic effect, the player says he is hoping to announce his injury during your draft in the moments right after you select him.
"That will be the best way to do it, to really make it hurt in front of all of his friends," he said. "I'd love for him to pick me, make it official, start gloating that he made a great pick and then have it scroll across the bottom of the screen on ESPN that I'm out until Week 5 at the earliest."
The player said he is disappointed to be hurt, but screwing with your fantasy team makes him feel a little bit better.
"Not better in that I'm going to be better physically and back on the field, mind you," he said. "Your still going to be totally fked by drafting me. But better mentally in that the destruction of your fantasy team gives me something to be happy about. It will keep a smile on my face each day while I am busting my butt at rehab."
And while you will be forced to keep the player on your roster because you drafted him so high, he is confident even his return won't save you.
"I'll probably be back by Week 5, but no way I'll be 100-percent. Not with this injury," he said. "I probably won't be producing like I normally do until Week 8 or 9. And by that time your season will be over because your first round pick was bust. No fantasy team can overcome that. Ha-ha! Idiot. You know what? This might end up being my most fun season ever."