Let's put a holiday bow on the 2010 fantasy football season as we kick off 2011 with our last Scouting Notebook … until next summer.
Is Michael Vick(notes) a consideration at No. 1 overall? Never in a million years for me. He needs to run and there's the attendant injury risk. I'd draft Aaron Rodgers(notes) over Vick if you forced me to take one in the first three rounds and he'll be available at least a round after Vick. Other QBs I'd take over Vick: Drew Brees(notes), Philip Rivers(notes), Tom Brady(notes), Peyton Manning(notes).
Is Arian Foster(notes) the top pick next year now that Gary Kubiak is back? Can't argue too hard, but I'd take Adrian Peterson because we know what Peterson's baseline is and do not know that with Foster, who will regress, obviously, but how far?
Don't talk to me about the Madden curse. It's all about regression to the mean, like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. There's no black magic involved. You had a career year to get on the cover and there's only one place to go from there – down.
Is Tampa Bay's Mike Williams a top 10-to-15 receiver next year? I will pass at that price. My problem with guys like Williams: the extra defensive attention is coming. He'll be treated as a No. 1. Teams will game-plan for him. Defensive coordinators will spend time this offseason figuring how to stop him. He'll see a lot of press coverage with safety support behind it mixed in with zones that will force him to make quick reads. Can he handle it? It's a new paradigm so why play this year's price? There's also an offseason that he'll have to navigate while staying on the straight and narrow.
I like Hakeem Nicks(notes). No one hyped him more than me for the past couple of seasons. But he's very fragile. Not quite Samuel Jackson in "Unbreakable," but close. You don't even know he's hurt and he's out for weeks. Kenny Britt(notes) is sort of the same deal. Staying healthy is a skill in football for sure.
Dwayne Bowe(notes) is a very interesting name for next year. I'll take Andre Johnson(notes) and Roddy White(notes) over him. Then it's open to debate. Calvin Johnson(notes) I will not argue. Again, though, the coordinator situation has to sort itself out. If it's Todd Haley, run for the hills.
Pierre Thomas(notes), if he's back in New Orleans, will be a value after Round 7 because he's talented. When grabbing a back at that point of the draft, it's all about upside. Reggie Bush's(notes) status will also impact Thomas's value.
Jay Cutler(notes) should be more consistent with better overall productivity in Year 2 with Mike Martz. The line should be able to block more professionally – certainly not last in sack rate. I'd expect a much better starting receiver than Devin Hester(notes), who can't run routes. A burner with a little finesse in his game is not a tough get. It's like finding a shooting guard in the NBA.
Matt Cassel(notes) hit the skids and probably will have a tough week in the wild card round versus the Ravens. I need to see what's up with his offensive coordinator before I tout him again. It's very disappointing that Charlie Weis is out. Maybe if Josh McDaniels comes in to call plays, I'll change my mind. But McDaniels is a Bill Belichick guy and Todd Haley is a Bill Parcells guy, so I do not see that working out. Those two are like the Hatfields and the McCoys. (Weis was the offensive coordinator for both Bills.)
Can whoever is the offensive coordinator in KC get Jamaal Charles(notes) a 67/33 carries split next year? Darren McFadden(notes) versus Jamaal Charles(notes)? Michael Bush(notes) gums up the works again, but McFadden is dynamite. They're dead even, but Charles will go first everywhere.
Shonn Greene(notes) is going to be a tough call next year. I'm worried he can beat me. When I worry about that, I usually reach a little. And I hated Greene all summer in anticipation of LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) getting too much major action, especially on the goal line. Quietly, Greene has become at least competent as a receiver.
Saints TE Jimmy Graham's(notes) ankle injury can have playoff repercussions. I like him next year in the top 12 for tight ends, for sure. I'd wait and take him or whoever is left from Aaron Hernandez(notes) and Rob Gronkowski(notes).
Jermichael Finley(notes), who does not have a knee injury that threatens to be lasting, is a lock as the No. 1 TE. Antonio Gates(notes) will have foot issues now for the rest of his career. Periods of good health are not likely to be lasting.
See you all in July. But do not tune out now as big fantasy reads come out of January every year.
Michael Salfino writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Yahoo! Sports.