Scouting Notebook: End of an era?

Michael Salfino
Yahoo! SportsNovember 22, 2010

We bid farewell this week to one of the all-time fantasy football greats while wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, one hopefully accompanied by a double-serving of yards and touchdowns in Thursday's action.

The circus eventually must leave town and it hung around for Brett Favre(notes) longer than it has for just about anyone ever. But it's packed up now for good and that can't escape his notice. He'll retire on Tuesday probably. And I'll spot in Tarvaris Jackson(notes) once or twice in the many deep leagues where I skim the waiver wire each week for QB help (too many starters and not enough reserve spots for anyone to carry two).

Steven Jackson owners should be ticked. The Rams were seventh in the league with 3.7 red zone possessions per game heading into the Falcons game, when they added two more. Yet Jackson has three runs all year from inside the five. That's tied for 41st in football. Pierre Thomas(notes) has more! Sunday, game on the line, 2nd-and-goal from the 2-yard line and the Rams put Jackson offset so he can't run and use him as a blocker on a rollout. One play later, Sam Bradford(notes) throws a pick on a shovel pass (to the fullback). How can a team with such a paucity of skill talent so poorly leverage their best player?

Mike Goodson(notes) is not just a body getting playing time because of injury, he's actually pretty nifty. The Panthers QB situation is such a mess that he'll need a lot of volume to score. When the team is as bad as the Panthers, they often just try to keep it close late and not further embarrass themselves, which works in Goodson's favor.

Ray Rice(notes) scored a TD, but long after just about every one of his owners has been all-but-eliminated from playoff contention. He's the year's biggest non-injury bust.

The Bengals defense has already packed it in for the winter. So play everyone you can against them.

Steve Johnson(notes) is a beast and has the great setup (good QB and a Buffalo defense so bad that the Bills are forced to throw). Who would have thought Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) to Johnson would be a great fantasy combo as we head into December?

We told you here the day of his turf toe injury that Jahvid Best(notes) is done. But he's making himself a lot more attractive next year as he's heading towards the discount bin. Fantasy leaguers rarely give a break to the guy who plays hurt. But be sure to remember his September next August.

There is no stopping Peyton Hillis(notes). Top run defense like the Jets last week? Big deal. Stuff him in the running game, he'll have the impact of a top wideout out of the backfield. Ignore the matchups and enjoy.

Jamaal Charles(notes) owners have a right to be miffed. The Chiefs RB committee appears to be working. But what about the road not taken? Wthout Thomas Jones(notes), Charles maybe has a Chris Johnson 2009-type of season. He's averaging six yards a carry for his career.

I liked Dwayne Bowe(notes) more than just about anyone in August (because I really liked Matt Cassel's(notes) pairing with new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis). I confess that Bowe and Cassel had me petrified in September. But I never thought he'd have a shot at 17 TDs (current pace).

Good to see Greg Jennings(notes) benefitting owners as he should be given his talent and quarterback. Last year's 4 TDs were so obviously a fluke.

The Jets called too many running plays again until they couldn't anymore. It's clear that Warren Sapp(notes) was correct today when he said Sunday morning, "The Texans have a (pass) defense that makes you want to throw up in your mouth."

Shonn Greene(notes) is in the doghouse after another fumble. He's not as good as he looked last year because he has no ability to evade once he breaks through into the second level. Running straight into defenders usually gets you tackled.

I thought the Steelers were cooked with their offensive line changes. But the most damage that Raiders defensive line did to Big Ben Roethlisberger(notes) was an old-school, Raiders-Steelers punch to the face (by Richard Seymour(notes)) long after the whistle. And Mike Wallace(notes), while still inconsistent, clearly can run all the routes in the tree.

You have to worry about Vince Young(notes) now beyond football as he seemed very mentally unhealthy in the aftermath of his injury by tossing his uniform into the stands and having an altercation with Jeff Fisher. Young quarterback and their coach need to have a father-son bond. Young is dead to Fisher now, and his career in Tennessee is over. Given his past, you worry how he'll handle what could be a long and lonely holiday weekend.

Clinton Portis(notes) can't stay healthy for even 10 carries in a row. His groin injury probably finishes him for the year.

Don't trust Santana Moss(notes).

Finally the big plays were back in the Saints offense. Chris Ivory is going to be safe all year as the primary ball carrier and goal-line back. Turns out that Pierre Thomas had a torn tendon in his ankle. Sean Payton just keeps screwing with Thomas owners (and Thomas).

Wow, did Troy Smith(notes) crash back to earth. But more shocking was Frank Gore(notes) never getting going against that poor Tampa Bay run defense (30th at 4.85 yards per rush coming into Sunday's action).

Why don't NFL players who want to party during the week just hire a driver?

BenJarvis Green-Ellis is a must start now in the league's top scoring (don't ask me how) offense. Fred Taylor(notes) has the durability now of Portis, assuming he's ever activated.

The book on left-handed Michael Vick(notes) is to just charge and kill him as soon as he runs right because he might as well be a back operating out of the wildcat when he's moving that way. He can't/won't throw it.

Michael Salfino writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Yahoo! Sports.