The Titans o-line is capable of keeping Collins upright, even against the Steelers pass rush (one sack allowed in their Week 16 matchup last season). He'll be efficient and mistake-free as usual, but with Nate Washington's bad wheel Collins won't be able to get the ball downfield.
Even with LenDale White vulturing touchdowns, Johnson didn't last past the first in most fantasy drafts. His big-play ability and increased role in the passing game will salvage his night against a top-notch Steelers run defense. With Lawrence Timmons out, there's no one in the Pittsburgh linebacking corps who can keep up with him.
Gage will draw some extra attention with Nate Washington hurt, especially in light of his 100-yard game against the Steelers last December. He'll be Collins' primary receiver and will find the soft spots in the Steelers zone a few times.
He's questionable going into this one, and Washington's bad hammy is bad news for the deep threat. He made a living stretching the field in Pittsburgh, but at less than 100 percent he won't get much done Thursday night.
Last December, the Titans got to Roethlisberger despite the absence of Albert Haynesworth. The rotational d-linemen won't have as much success against a healthy Steelers o-line, but Big Ben will run himself into a couple of sacks. Expect Pittsburgh to put a premium on protecting the ball, limiting turnover chances for the Titans.
Roethlisberger won't have to throw often as long as the Steelers don't fall behind, a somewhat unlikely scenario at home on opening night. But, as always, his fantasy value will depend on what the Steelers call in the red zone. With no true red zone back stepping up, Big Ben will have a chance to throw a couple touchdown passes.
Parker will have his work cut out for him against the Titans defense that shut him down last December (19 carries, 31 yards). The good news is that Parker is first in line for goal line carries and could be able to salvage his night with a TD.
With Willie Parker starting and taking goal line carries and Mewelde Moore taking third down reps, Mendenhall seems to be squeezed out of any significant role. Considering his preseason performance, the Steelers don't have reason to change the status quo.
The momentum from Super Bowl XLIII will carry over into the opener, as Holmes becomes an increasingly popular target for Ben Roethlisberger. He'll stretch the field a little more than Hines Ward and Roethlisberger will take some shots deep. Especially in yardage-heavy scoring formats, he should have a strong opening night.
Ward will lose some targets with Santonio Holmes stepping up, but he's still Roethlisberger's favorite target underneath and, more importantly, in the red zone. Considering how often he works out of the slot, Ward should benefit from some mismatches against a thin Titans secondary.
The Titans offensive line owned the Steelers pass rush last December. James Harrison and company should fare a little better this season, but the fact is Michael Roos is one of the few left tackles who can hold his own against James Harrison. The Steelers D will never be shut down completely, but this could be a relatively quiet night for fantasy purposes.