Every summer fantasy analysts and team managers seem to come across several players who have been quietly recovering from injuries and surgeries from the season prior. As camps begin and fantasy managers begin to stew over rankings there’s a term that’s often thrown around and generally not understood as much as it should be. PUP List.
PUP List is short for physically unable to perform. The NFL definition for the PUP List is;
“A designation for players who are physically unable to perform football services due to football-related injuries. These players can participate in team activities but are not allowed to practice.”
This designation can mean a few different things depending on when/how it is used. There are two types of PUP; Active and Reserve. The below definitions are from the nfl.com NFI/PUP FAQ.
Players are placed on this list during training camp and count toward a team’s 90-man roster. Players can be removed from the list at any time during camp, but can’t be placed back on the list. Players on this list as of final roster cut downs must be placed on the Reserve/PUP, released, traded or counted against the 53-man roster.
Teams must decide by the 53-man roster cutdown deadline (Aug. 30 this season) whether to place a player on this list. Players placed on this list at that time must miss at least the team’s first four games — down from six in seasons prior to 2022. Unlike in the past, players can be activated immediately after such time has elapsed. Any player who is designated Reserve/PUP on or after rosters are reduced to 80 (Aug. 23 this season) will also be subject to the same four-game absence.
How to respond to PUP:
At the onset of camp season any player placed on the PUP right now is getting the “Active” designation. Simply put, they’re not a lock to miss any time in the upcoming season. It’s important to follow the players practice reports to get a better sense of whether or not there’s cause for concern.
If a player is on the active PUP but is at practice and/or working out with the team then it’s probably safe to assume the player will be active week one. Conversely, If the player isn’t working out and we get to the middle of August with no improvement it’s probably a major red flag.
During the heat of draft season it’s not uncommon for fantasy managers to overreact to the possibility of players landing on the PUP. This can lead to players sliding a round or more in drafts creating discounts that you couldn’t have had before the PUP news. Do your homework, if a player is sliding but he’s been practicing then don’t be afraid to take the discount.
Extra Note for Dynasty Players:
Per nfl.com; “Players on the PUP list are paid their entire base salary. A player’s contract will not be tolled (meaning the contract will not be suspended and resumed the following season) while on the PUP, unless he is in the last year of his deal and he is both not able to perform football services as of the sixth regular season game and is not activated during that regular season or postseason.”
Why does this matter?
This is worth noting for contract year players as they may not be able to hit the open market the following season. This can be either good or bad news for a player on your roster and could create a trade opportunity. If you have another manager who is looking to make a move.
I hope you found this informative and it will help you keep an even hand while the markets fluctuate around you. Good luck and may there be many championships in your future.