What We Learned on Kickoff Thursday

Chris FarmerCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2009

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 29:  Wide Reciever Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball downfield in the first quarter during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field on August 29, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Al Michaels no longer has real hair, and I don’t have a problem with that. What I take issue with is the fluffed squirrel tail he has put in its place.

My dear friend Wikipedia tells me that rookie WR Mike Wallace ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the Combine before the Steelers selected him in this year’s third round. With his play last night catching 3 passes in his debut, has he surpassed Limas Sweed, who was held without a catch, as the Steelers’ official third option? Regardless, he certainly landed on my Fantasy Radar.

Both Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes had great nights, both with at least 8 grabs and 100 yards. Even Heath Miller scored big with 8 snares of his own for 64 yards. But lets be clear, this will more than likely be the exception rather than the rule. The Steelers’ running game was non existent, with an embarrassing 36 team rushing yards. That is not Steeler football.

With that, Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall’s fantasy trouble alarm began to ring, but keep an eye out for Mewelde Moore. I have always been high on Moore, in fact I used to think of him as a poor man’s Tiki Barber. Notice the Steelers’ confidence in Moore when he was the primary back in the 4th quarter, surely given the chance because the first two RBs failed to produce. If they continue to fail and the O Line continues poor blocking, Moore could begin a Fantasy factor yet again. It wouldn’t be the first time.

It goes without saying Ben Roethlisberger carried his team to victory. He notched 363 yards passing with a TD, but temper that with 2 INTs, and holding onto the ball too long which not only lands him on his backside, but puts him at risk for a long, if not injured, season.

Although Justin Gage is likely still the top Fantasy WR option for Tennessee, rookie Kenny Britt passed the first test. He is a big, fast target and outproduced Nate Washington, whom many featured as a top sleeper this year. Being fair, Nate is still working his way through a recent hamstring tweak so this output may change, but Britt’s 4 catches for 85 yards including a 57-yarder were impressive as were Gage’s 7 for 78 and a TD.

As I mentioned here last night, Bo Scaife is an underrated beast at times. He is a hard worker, and gives 110%, notching 5 grabs for 48 yards before suffering a knee sprain. Only time will tell if he misses any action or not. If he does, it will put the magnifying glass squarely on rookie sensation Jared Cook, who missed the opener with an ankle tweak.

Considering how stout the Steelers’ run D is, Chris Johnson had a solid game and flashed his breakaway threat. I can’t believe how small Lendale White looked in his limited touches, after having lost 40 lbs. in the off season. The good news is he will be quicker, the bad news is the name of his game is strength…will the lost pounds prevent him from being as effective on goal line carries? This could be a concern.

Versus a tough Steelers D, Kerry Collins had a helluva game, compiling nearly 250 yards passing and a TD. If it weren’t for a few drops he would have looked even better, and the Titans may have been in a better position to win.

Finally, news flash, both Defenses are going to be really good. Although, I was surprised how wide open the Pitt receivers were in the second half at times. Still, they should be fine even without departed DC Jim Schwartz and Albert Haynesworth.

The Steelers however, may not be just fine without Troy Polamalu for 3-6 weeks with an MCL strain. It is unfortunate for them, but more so for fans. They guy was playing lights out football for one half before getting hurt. That one armed INT was a thing of beauty. Get well Troy.

For more from Chris Farmer visit his blog Undrafteds

He is also the Arizona Cardinals writer for NFLTouchdown 

He is a guest blogger on FantasyFootball.com in which this article also appears