6:15 p.m. EST update from a wild day of NFL free agency … and how it affects fantasy football

The opening day of free agency 2010 has been all it was cracked up to be so far. With so many big names flying all over the place, it only seemed fitting to take a quick look at the action so far and update my predictions post from earlier today.

The big news so far (as of 6:15 p.m. EST) includes:

Perhaps the hardest breaking news at the moment involves the Arizona Cardinals being very close to trading Anquan Boldin to the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have been short a quality No. 1 wideout for quite some time, and Boldin should produce well with flourishing young Joe Flacco under center.

If an aged Derrick Mason can produce in that offense, Boldin should have no trouble providing some nice fantasy stats. One should temper expectations for late in the season with Boldin, however, as he’s shown a tendency lately to break down as the season wears on.

Flacco receives an immediate boost and should be coveted in all dynasty leagues at the moment. Upgrade him not just because of Boldin, but also because he showed guts and confidence during his sophomore campaign in 2009 despite debilitating rib pain.

Of course, I predicted that Boldin would wind up in Baltimore quite a while ago in this early predictions post.

One thing I didn’t predict was the potential for Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall to land in Seattle … but why not? The NFC-West became even more wide-open after the retirement of Kurt Warner and the Seahawks landed bigtime coaching figurehead Pete Carroll already this offseason. Word from ESPN’s Adam Schefter is that this is nearly a done deal and that Marshall will be visiting Seattle on Saturday.

The trade does little for Brandon Marshall’s fantasy value at the moment. Matt Hasselbeck isn’t the young gunslinger Marshall was used to in Jay Cutler, and it appears that Seattle will be active in securing a true long-term QB option. In the meantime, there is no one to get the ball consistently to Marshall. But the wideout did fare pretty well with Kyle Orton chucking him the pigskin last year.

What this move does for me, however, is open up a whirlwind of possibilities for a QB. Is signing Marshall a sign that the Seahawks plan to win now? Does that mean they aggressively go after a Donovan McNabb? Do they snag one of the elite QB options in the upcoming draft? Do they buck conventional wisdom and deal Hasselbeck to Cleveland (as some rumors suggest) for Brady Quinn and give Quinn the keys to the Camaro? Or, does Seattle snag recently released Jake Delhomme?

Whoever the QB becomes in Seattle, they’ll have instant value with Marshall and TJ Houshmandzadeh.

It’s amazing to me what one free agency pickup can do in terms of a fantasy ripple effect. The Bears signing Chester Taylor to a four-year, $12.5 million deal is such a move. While Taylor is long in the tooth, his legs are fairly fresh after multiple seasons of backing up Adrian Peterson in Minnesota.

It is being said that Taylor will compete for carries and possibly the starting job in Bearsland. Not good news for Matt Forte, especially after the type of up and down season Forte had in 2009.

While I find it hard to imagine that the Bears will totally give up on Forte at his young age, it is apparent from the Bears signing of Julius Peppers today that they are focused on winning now. I don’t think Taylor boots Forte out of the starting gig, but an RBBC is a definite possibility.

While not a free agency signing, the Browns finalized a contract with ultra-talented Joshua Cribbs today. He’s electric as a kick returner and will see his share of time at receiver and in scheme plays, including as QB in Wildcat-esque formations. Considering his speed and upside — and that the Browns will likely be receiving plenty of kickoffs, and be airing out the pigskin regularly in comeback situations — Cribbs is a dynasty player to target, especially in formats that reward individuals for return yards.

The Rams signed QB A.J. Feeley, but don’t expect anything fantasy-worthy from Feeley at this point. His signing may signal a potential draft selection of Sam Bradford or other young upstart QB during the rookie draft since Feeley can provide some veteran leadership and mentorship for a young signal caller.

Defense-wise, there were plenty of big moves today, too, but we’ll leave those for another post at another time. Julius Peppers to Chicago and Antonio Cromartie‘s trade to the Jets highlight the action so far.

And in another non-free agency move worth noting, Ben Roethlisberger has been accused again of rape. Cleared of his last charges, this new accusation doesn’t bode well for the Steelers QB, especially with a strict, punitive Roger Goddell presiding over the NFL. This situation requires close monitoring.

What is your news from the day so far as NFL free agency goes wild? What is your opinion of the moves so far and how they’ll affect fantasy leagues?

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