The Labor Day weekend was loaded with important moves and transactions, some of which will have a major impact on your fantasy football leagues. Here's a look at 10 of the bigger stories from over the holiday weekend and how they'll affect drafts and lineup decisions heading into Week 1.
The Jets sign Darrelle Revis to a new deal. Did you draft Anquan Boldin? Well, right now you're more than likely cursing the fact that he seems destined to be stranded on Revis Island in Week 1. The talented cornerback has agreed to a new deal with the Jets, so the Men in Green are now (without question) the top defense in fantasy football. NFL wideouts, beware!
The Ravens sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a one-year deal. This one sort of came out of left field, huh? It seemed like the Raiders or Redskins were the favorite to land the veteran wideout, but instead he ended up in B-Town. I didn't like Houshmandzadeh last season in Seattle, I didn't like him heading into this season in Seattle and well, I like him even less with the Ravens. The team already has Boldin and Derrick Mason ahead of him, so Houshmandzadeh won't be more than third on the depth chart. If you're in a smaller league, he's barely even worth a roster spot. On a positive note, this just adds another weapon in the pass attack for Joe Flacco. His value is clearly on the rise.
Maurice Jones-Drew returns to Jaguars practice. There has been a lot of concern in fantasy circles about Jones-Drew, who was rested for most of the preseason due to knee troubles. The Florida Times-Union reports that he was practicing with his teammates on Monday, though, so fantasy owners should breathe a little easier. "Pocket Hercules" also tweeted that he's feeling "great, to many false reports out there." If you haven't held your draft, Jones-Drew still warrants a top-five pick in all leagues.
The Seahawks name Mike Williams a starter. The release of Houshmandzadeh opened the door for Williams, who will start opposite Deion Branch to open the season. Williams is now worth a roster spot in most leagues, but don't expect him to suddenly become a superstar. He still has much to prove before fantasy owners can trust him. Deon Butler now moves to third on the depth chart, with rookie Golden Tate slotting in at the fourth spot.
Derek Anderson will start for the Cardinals. The release of Matt Leinart confirmed what most people already knew - Anderson was going to open the 2010 season as the top quarterback for coach Ken Whisenhunt. He's now worth a reserve spot in deeper leagues. What's more, Anderson warrants serious consideration as a starter in leagues that start two signal-callers against the Rams in Week 1. I'm not saying that he'll be as good as Kurt Warner, but Anderson is a better fit for the offense than Leinart. Should he falter at some point in the season, the Cardinals could turn to rookie Max Hall. He won't have a lot of seasonal value, but Hall should be on the radar for owners in dynasty leagues.
The Texans sign Leinart to a 1-year deal.Matt Schaub is one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy football, but the Texans apparently weren't thrilled with Dan Orlovsky as his immediate backup. Enter Leinart, who was signed over the weekend and will be called on to play in the event that Schaub reverts to his pre-2009, injury-prone form. Fantasy owners who drafted Andre Johnson need to hope that doesn't happen. Leinart has no draft value.
A potential Vincent Jackson trade was nixed. Jackson would have been a solid No. 1 fantasy wideout this season, but the combination of a three-game, league-imposed suspension and a holdout has sent his stock spiraling downward. His agents claim they had a deal in place, but apparently the Chargers were asking for too much in return. Remember, the team placed him on the roster exempt list on Aug. 23, meaning he can't play for three games after the date he signs and reports to the team. Right now, Jackson is only worth a roster spot in fantasy leagues if you can stash him away. There appears to be no end in sight to this messy situation. In the interim, Malcom Floyd has a ton of sleeper appeal.
Darren McFadden will open the season as a starter. Throughout the preseason, I touted Michael Bush as a deep fantasy sleeper and a better option than McFadden. He will have a chance to meet those expectations at some point, but it might not happen for a few weeks. Bush recently injured his thumb and required surgery to repair the damage. While the Raiders haven't offered up a timetable for his return, the Oakland Tribune suggests that Bush could miss "up to a quarter of the season or more." That creates a chance for McFadden to start and see a prominent role in the offense. I still don't trust the Arkansas product as a regular starter, but he now warrants flex-starter consideration until Bush returns to action.
The Rams name Sam Bradford their starting quarterback. It wasn't much of a shock when coach Steve Spagnuolo announced that Bradford will be his Week 1 starter. The rookie was ultra-impressive in the final two preseason games, completing 21-of-28 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He's still not worth more than a reserve spot in deep leagues and those formats that require two starting quarterbacks, especially now that his top wideout, Donnie Avery, is out for the season. But Bradford is clearly one to watch.
Kenny Britt could be deactivated on game days. Britt has a ton of talent, but his fantasy value has done nothing but sink in recent weeks. In fact, the Nashville Tennessean reports that coach Jeff Fisher could deactivate him on game days if his focus doesn't improve. That means Nate Washington and Justin Gage are entrenched as the team's starting wideouts for now. I wouldn't drop Britt, but keep in mind that he's apparently deep in Fisher's doghouse.