When I watched the Titans-Steelers regular-season opener on Thursday night, a few things came to mind.
First, you need to fear the Madden Curse. It didn’t take long for this infamous hex to claim another yet victim, this time Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who suffered an injured knee that could keep him out of action for three to six weeks. Something editor Adam Rank called in the video to the right (check out the 1:15 mark).
Larry Fitzgerald, look out.
Second, it’s pretty obvious that the Steelers are going to throw the football a lot more than we expected this season. Ben Roethlisberger attempted 43 passes and threw for 363 yards (more attempts/yards than he had in any single game last season). That’s good news for not only his fantasy value, but the values of Santonio Holmes (9 catches, 131 yards, TD) and Hines Ward (8 catches, 103 yards).
Holmes, who had that exact stat line in the Super Bowl win over Arizona, could be on the verge of a breakout season.
Part of the reason the Steelers threw the football is because Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall looked awful.
Parker looked slow and danced around behind the line of scrimmage like he was Fred Astaire. Sure, the Titans’ run defense had a lot to do with Parker’s awful stat line (13 carries, 19 yards), but it’s pretty obvious that Willie’s not so fast anymore.
Mendenhall has the perfect body to be a Steelers running back, but he doesn’t run with enough power and physicality to find success at the NFL level. The failures of Parker and Mendenhall led coach Mike Tomlin to use Mewelde Moore as his featured back for much of the second half and overtime.
If you remember, Moore was the best runner the Steelers had last season. He also made a significant fantasy contribution when allowed a chance to play, so Moore will be worth a look off the waiver wire in some formats.
Things won’t get any easier for Parker in Week 2, when he’ll face the Bears and their stout run defense at Solider Field. So unless you’re desperate for a flex starter, it’s a good idea to keep him on the fantasy sidelines until (and if) he shows some signs of life.