A slot is the area of the offensive zone between the face-off circles. It represents an area with the best chances of scoring without deflection.
A slot receiver is a smaller, faster, and more nimble version of a wide receiver. They are most commonly used in ball receiver formations. Slot receivers are often used in place of tight ends and fullbacks.
One of the main roles of a slot receiver is to block defenders. The receiver can run slants and other quick routes, and is especially effective in catch and run games. Another role is to create mismatches against linebackers. In addition to blocking defenders, a slot receiver can pick up defensive linemen who break through the line of scrimmage.
A slot receiver may also be a recipient of a handoff. He can also line up on either side of the offense. Depending on the situation, a slot receiver can line up as a fullback or in the middle.
A slot is also a good place to take a shot. A well-placed one-timer from the high slot is among the best shots in hockey.
The best way to use a slot is to create mismatches. Players like Tyreek Hill and Branden Cooks are great at stretching the defense vertically off pure speed. By doing this, the slot can become no man’s land.
Some slot receivers are used to protect the quarterback. If the quarterback is hit, a slot receiver can prevent a sack.