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Scouting Notebook: A final look

You can find more from Michael Salfino at Comcast SportsNet Washington

Week 17 is always part real/part exhibition. But the ratio of the latter Sunday was greater than in most seasons. Lesson: if your league counts Week 17 to decide your fantasy championship, you might as well count preseason weeks, too.

Let's look around the league one last time as we begin to wrap up our fantasy coverage here in a very hefty holiday Scouting Notebook.

I thought Brandon Marshall(notes) and Josh McDaniels were like Peaches and Herb. But they turned Sid and Nancy on us again. I just took Marshall early second round in a Yahoo! 2010 mock draft after considering how he seemingly won McDaniels over in posting his third-straight 100-catch season. But he's a problem child again, as the veterans reportedly called for McDaniels to harshly discipline him for not acting like a professional. Where he lands in 2010 is anyone's guess. But his problems seem to be of his own making.

The Giants played flag football again and Tom Coughlin's chances of getting fired went from about zero to, say, 20 percent. Either way, this team has tuned him out. Either the staff goes or the team gets completely overhauled. Pick your poison, GM Jerry Reese.

Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) is a man for playing with those broken feet. Bradshaw says it's a congenital problem that will be fixed with offseason surgery. It relates to his running style. He says he'll be 100 percent next year and this will no longer be an issue. Right now, I'd definitely take him over Brandon Jacobs(notes), whose heart is smaller than the Grinch's.

Devin Aromashodu(notes) is the No. 1 candidate to be 2010 Miles Austin(notes). We tend to make a mistake when we assume there will be a next-year guy like this-year's guy. But you won't have to pay a great price for Aromashodu, though the two touchdowns Sunday were not helpful in that regard.

Are the Patriots dead without Wes Welker(notes)? His ACL/MCL tear will very likely keep him out all of 2010, too. The NFL is now pushing a plan to give compensatory picks to get coaches to play the season out for the "integrity of the game." But what about the integrity of the playoffs when a Welker gets injured in a relatively meaningless game.

Bill Belichick went Sybil with his entire approach to Sunday. Pulling Tom Brady(notes) and then putting him back in for two quarters and then taking him out on the drive with a chance to tie? Late breaking news is that Brady has a broken index finger on his throwing hand, the most important finger for any QB. That's probably why he came out the second time, but he should have stayed out the first time.

Buy Greg Jennings(notes) next year if you get him 35-to-40 picks in. The Packers' pass protection will be much better in '10 and, like all deep threats, Jennings needs his QB to get extra time.

I passed over Sidney Rice(notes), who I have great respect for, in favor of Hakeem Nicks(notes) in the previously mentioned Yahoo! 2010 mock draft. Brett Favre(notes) wants to take six months off and will the Vikings allow that given the demands placed on other players? And what happens if the Vikings lose at home in Week 19 while Favre throws three picks? Conversely, he can win it all. Either way, it's more like 50/50 he comes back. Not 75/25 as everyone seems to think.

A couple of RB situations are really mucked up given the last couple of weeks. What do we do with Jonathan Stewart(notes) versus DeAngelo Williams(notes)? Hope one gets traded for a wideout, I guess. Now, Willis McGahee(notes)/Ray Rice is looking more committee-ish than we expected a couple of weeks ago, too. McGahee finished the regular season with 14 TDs.

Shonn Greene(notes) is no real threat to Thomas Jones(notes) the way Greene keeps fumbling. Running like Michael Turner(notes) won't overcome this problem.

Jamaal Charles(notes) should be a very high pick next year – top 10, at least. He had a 2,200-yard pace in the second half. He'll never be a 300-carry guy but Chris Johnson averaged 16.7 carries per game until this week. Charles can handle that while doing everything else Johnson can, too, along with being an even better receiver.

Jerome Harrison(notes) is more Fred Jackson(notes) than Charles or CJ.

Carolina's Matt Moore(notes) has great peripherals and passes the eyeball test, too. Steve Smith should confidently be drafted in 2010 where he disappointed in 2009. There's some chance that John Fox, who is crazy loyal to Jake Delhomme(notes), could screw this up.

Matt Leinart(notes) gets benched in a meaningless game and is on the ropes now professionally, looking more like Todd Marinovich than Carson Palmer(notes) on the scale of ex-USC QBs.

So, Kurt Warner(notes) gets pulled early but Larry Fitzgerald(notes) stays in even after Anquan Boldin(notes) goes out. By staying in, I mean when the score is 33-0. There was some mass insanity going on Sunday in the coaching ranks.

The Rams won the right to pick Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh, if you call that winning. Here's why picking him is nuts: the franchise number for a defensive tackle is about $6 million a year and to get Suh, you have to give him about $40 million guaranteed over six years. He's going to be that much better than the game's best defensive tackles?

Vernon Davis(notes) tied Antonio Gates(notes) for the NFL record for TDs for a tight end (13) – in style with the 73 yarder. If the sharpies don't want to pay a high price for Davis next year, let them outsmart themselves and grab him. Pay full price (fifth or sixth round) for Jermichael Finley(notes), too.

Dallas beats anyone in the NFL when they bring their A-game. Miles Austin is a top 10 receiver next year given Tony Romo's(notes) great ability. Felix Jones(notes) can bust out if he can ever stay healthy, as Marion Barber(notes) has lost a step that he could not afford to lose.

Brent Celek(notes) is not near Davis's class as an athlete. He wasn't even invited to the scouting combine. But he really leverages DeSean Jackson(notes) drawing all that attention and creating huge coverage holes.

The easier the throw for Donovan McNabb(notes), the more you have to hold your breath. This never changes.

Michael Salfino's work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly, RotoWire, dozens of newspapers nationwide and most recently throughout Comcast SportsNet and NESN. Michael also covers the Jets and Giants each week for

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