Anyone remember how Maurice Jones-Drew opened the 2008 season? I certainly do. He ran five times for 13 yards in a loss at Tennessee. I recall the angry Jones-Drew owners filling our e-mail boxes with venomous diatribes about how bad he was, how they had wasted their second-round pick, how they weren't sure whether they could trust him moving forward. I'd say Jones-Drew turned out fine with his 14 touchdowns. Plenty of pretty decent running backs struggled in Week 1 last season -- Steve Slaton is another -- and it didn't derail them.
Advice: Buy low on Willie Parker, within reason. He won't end up a top-10 running back, but he'll be a valuable asset.
I don't know why anyone would have expected "Fast Willie" to go nuts anyway in the opener Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans. I didn't. I didn't rank him as if he would. There are 15 games left, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have arguably the biggest cake schedule in the league. Parker won't face a matchup like this one for a while, maybe not at all if the Baltimore Ravens take a step backward. Parker ran for only 19 yards Thursday, but I still see another 1,300-plus yards in his future this season. I did, however, determine that Rashard Mendenhall might not need to be owned even in 10-team leagues. I mean, Parker looked bad -- it's tough to spin it another way -- but Mendenhall might be bad. Call me unimpressed. Mewelde Moore is the reserve Steelers running back I'd want, if I wanted one.
The biggest fantasy "wow" from Thursday night was the performance of Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, who not only hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass to get the scoring proceedings under way but also continued to get open the rest of the night and finished with -- this is eerie -- the exact same stats as he did in the Super Bowl, nine catches for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Some might overrate this game, though. Don't assume the Titans' pass defense stinks or is something like what the Arizona Cardinals dragged to Tampa in February. Ben Roethlisberger had to throw on pretty much every play in the second half. Don't assume Holmes will light up every team. He didn't top 100 receiving yards in any other game for the 2008 season. His career has been marked mostly by inconsistency and ill-timed drops (as if there's ever a good time for a drop). I see him having his best season in 2009, which is why he was one of my sleepers, but this also might be his best game of the season, so you know what to do if someone makes you a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime offer: Make the deal. Or keep him around and enjoy his first 1,000-yard campaign.
Advice: Sell high on Holmes, again within reason. Although this might be as good as it gets for him, he certainly could end up a top-20 wide receiver.