- Merril Hoge, NFL
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I spend all week watching game film -- hours and hours of footage. And I have a passion for fantasy football. So it was only natural that I took the next step and put pen to paper, so to speak, and jotted down my fantasy thoughts as I went along. I'll continue to do so each week during the NFL season. Enjoy!
• I love what I see out of Denver tight end Daniel Graham. Not necessarily his fantasy potential, but what he does for Travis Henry, who could become the next 2,000-yard rusher thanks to Graham's blocking.
• In the next four weeks, people will be talking about the AFC South being the toughest division in the NFL. The Colts are obvious, and the Texans now are on people's radars. But soon the Titans will be respected, too, and it's not just because of Vince Young. Their O-line and defense are the most underrated in football, and that is where it all starts. They will knock your block off!
• At the beginning of the year, I told people the Packers would have a dominant defense, and I believe in it even more right now. And not just because of its fine play. Brett Favre and the offense are controlling the ball better. Favre is not trying to push the ball into places it doesn't belong, and the team is running more screens to help its running game.
• Detroit is 2-0, but I'm not swept away by that offense. Jon Kitna can't throw the ball deep and threaten teams downfield, so teams don't have to play deep coverage. Instead, they can up their pass defense. And, the Lions haven't been able to run the ball. That will spell doom when they play good teams.
• The Bengals' D had about 15 mental errors last week in Cleveland, many of which can be corrected. But one other thing I noticed was that the Bengals' defense bit on a pump fake from Derek Anderson, who fired to Braylon Edwards for a touchdown. Matt Hasselbeck, the Bengals' opposing quarterback this week, just happens to be one of best in the league at pump fakes.
• I would hate to be a quarterback on third down against the Steelers. They are so creative. It's even hard to tell which player is playing which position because Dick LeBeau has everyone stand up at the line of scrimmage at different times.
• The Cowboys' defensive linemen are really struggling in the run game. They are having trouble splitting run blocks, and with only three defensive linemen (they play a 3-4), they are having trouble occupying offensive linemen.
• The Saints have to get back to old-school football. You have to be physical to win, and you have to have one player your offense goes through -- and that is Deuce McAllister. They need him to get 20-plus carries to win, and I promise he will Monday night.
• Kellen Clemens might never give the quarterback job back to Chad Pennington if he plays this week against the Dolphins like he did in the fourth quarter against the Ravens. Offensive coordinators love a guy who can throw it to all areas of the field like Clemens can.
• I like Jason Campbell's upside a lot more than that of other young quarterbacks such as Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is a bust, and after studying Campbell, I sense he has a better feel for throwing the ball than Smith.
• After watching tape all week, it's clear to me the Steelers are going to do whatever it takes to move the ball, even if it's by passing. That versatility makes the running game all the more explosive.
• The Cardinals' offensive line is really coming together, and it will stay committed to running the football. That's good news for Edgerrin James owners.
• I'm not sold on Matt Leinart. He looks slow backing away from center and labors to throw the ball. Meanwhile, opposing defenses aren't dropping back because Leinart can't throw the ball down the field. He is a very limited quarterback.
• The Bucs' D is back! Watching it on tape is like watching a clinic on how to work and play a defensive scheme together. The only drawback: When DL Gaines Adams is on the field, they basically are playing with 10 guys because Adams does nothing to help them.
Merril Hoge is an analyst for a wide variety of NFL programs on television and ESPN Radio. Check him out Sunday on "NFL Matchup" at 8:30 a.m. ET on ESPN and on "ESPNEWS Fantasy Insider" with Matthew Berry from 11 a.m. to noon on ESPNEWS. He also will be on "NFL Live" on ESPN at various times throughout the weekend.
2hTristan H. Cockcroft