The college openers are now out of the way, so that can mean just one thing — the NFL season is ready to kick off. The last few drafts are wrapping up and fantasy owners are ready to set the opening day roster. Keep in mind the regular season starts on Thursday night (Saints-Vikings), so if you have any players in that game and want to play them, make sure you get your lineup set early.
Here are a few notes to keep in mind as we get set to get Fantasy Football 2010 underway.
There were a few moves made this week by NFL teams that will have an impact on your fantasy team. The first was the Seattle Seahawks cutting T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who quickly signed with Baltimore. This will help you if you have Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco and if you were relying on wide receiver Derrick Mason to get you points, I’d look at going another route. Mason will lose catches to Houshmandzadeh, significantly lowering his fantasy value.
Before you get excited about the Raven offense, I might look to unleash those guys in Week 2 because of a move the Jets made this week. They have inked cornerback Darrell Rivas to a contract and he is expected to play in Week 1 against the Ravens.
Another move this week that will have an impact on fantasy rosters was Arizona cutting ties with quarterback Matt Leinart. Surely you don’t have him on your team, right? That is OK, you don’t have to admit it, but I would go ahead and drop him now since it looks like he is going to be a third-stringer in Houston.
This gives a little more value to Derek Anderson, who was named the starting QB in Arizona. Anderson was a big point scorer in Cleveland and has a nice group of receivers at his disposal (Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breston). Also, he won’t be looking over his shoulder and wonder if Leinart is on the sideline warming up. I wouldn’t go pick up Anderson right now unless you are already desperate, but keep an eye on him. He plays at St. Louis during Week 1, and there is a chance for some big points.
A move that hasn’t been made is with wide receiver Vincent Jackson, but who knows what is going on in San Diego. What it does mean is Malcom Floyd is the No. 1 receiver for the Chargers and should rack up some big points.
Keep an eye on …
I already mentioned Anderson as a guy to watch Week 1. He has the chance to be a very good option at QB. Here are few other guys you might want to watch who still may be available for pick up after this week is done.
Getting back to the Seattle situation, with Houshmandzadeh out, Mike Williams looks like he might be the guy for the Seahawks. They have some good young receivers on the team, but Williams could be the receiver Matt Hasselbeck looks to go to in a tight situation, and his 6-foot-5 frame makes him a great target on the goal line. He is currently only owned in 23 percent of the leagues on Yahoo.
I mentioned in the pre-draft column a rookie to watch would be Dexter McCluster in Kansas City. He looks like he is going to be the starting slot receiver for the Chiefs and may get some return opportunities, as well. I wouldn’t jump on him just yet, but if he is involved in the offence Week 1, you might want to give him a shot in deeper leagues. In Yahoo leagues, he has the rare label as a WR and RB, making him a versatile bench player especially when you start getting to the bye weeks.
The injury report
The injury report in the NFL is always hard to read. Teams list every bump and bruise a player has on the injury report, so you have to do some research to find out if a guy is going to be able to go or not. Here are a few names that jump out on the Week 1 report.
Redskins QB Donovan McNabb (probable, ankle) — McNabb was originally reported as not playing and now it looks like he will start, but is not 100 percent. Going against a good Dallas defense, I might think about sitting him this week.
Vikings QB Brett Favre (probable, ankle) — If you didn’t know Favre had an ankle issue, then you probably took him No. 1 overall. Favre will probably be listed on the injury report all season with an ankle injury. I would play him this week, but watch his performance and see if there is much of a drop off.
Raiders RB Michael Bush (questionable, thumb) — Bush has started practicing, but if you have another option at running back I would look at keeping him on the bench this week.
Saints WR Marques Colston (questionable, kidney) — The Saints go-to receiver took a knock in the preseason finale and has been limited in practice. The Saints play on Thursday night, so he has a shorter recovery time than if they had a traditional Sunday game. My guess is he will play.
Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew (probable, groin) — Jones-Drew says he is going to play, I believe him.
Colts WR Pierre Garcon (probable) – The Colts receiver is listed as probable, but he sat out of practice on Monday with an undisclosed injury. Keep an eye on this one.
There’s an App for that
That is right; you can have your fantasy football team in the palm of your hand with the fantasy football app from both ESPN and Yahoo on the iPhone. If you have ever walked out the door on a Sunday morning and remembered 10 minutes later you forgot to set your lineup, you are going to want this. Even if you never forget your lineup and you are driving in the car and hear your running back has been a late scratch, you won’t miss a beat.
I have the Yahoo app for my iPhone for my baseball league and use it nearly every day. I had it for football last year and probably won three of my weeks simply because I was able to make a late change to my lineup while out of the house. The Yahoo app is very easy to use, and you can access all of your leagues you have teams in very easy. If you have an iPhone and plan on winning your league, I suggest you download this app today. It is free, so you really have no reason not to.
Still room in Item fantasy league
If you would like to get into a fantasy football league with Jason Barfield and a few of The Huntsville Item sportswriters, Barfield has set something up on yahoo.com. The results of the league will be part of Barfield’s weekly column. The league ID is 626423 and the password to join is itemsports. Sign up now because we are capping the league at 20 teams. The draft will be a live draft at 9 p.m. tonight.