Thursday Night Football – Week 14 – Steelers Vikings – Real Deal Fantasy HQ

You can find me on Twitter @DelRayBoston

Today’s Thursday Night Football Article will be a quick read with picks. It isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot of mystique about this game or any real history that there is to truly dive into. This is an AFC, Defensive Minded, Run First team playing an NFC, Run First, Shotgun offense that can play defense but not always well. Something about it doesn’t say to me it will be a high scoring affair – BUT they are in Minnesota and in a dome, so anything is possible.


Justin Jefferson – Highest Priced Player on DK, he will be a popular pick at Captain BUT on the upside here is too great. Despite allowing only passing yards on Average, the Steelers are 24th against Wide Receivers and an elite stud like Jefferson has a great chance to make things happen tonight. Especially since Adam Theilen has already been ruled out.

Dalvin Cook – All signs are pointing to Cook playing tonight and coming off an injury it will be risky, but I think the injury will keep his ownership down. The Steelers are allowing over 130 yards on the ground and at home, on turf, I like Dalvin despite the injury a lot more than I would if he were on grass in cold Pittsburgh. You also get the passing work that Cook recieves to count on, with TJ Watt and Co. bearing down on Kirk Cousins there could be a fair share of dump offs coming Dalvin’s way. Just to be safe though in non-Cook Captain teams, I will play some Alexander Mattison in the flex.

Diontae Johnson – Johnson will be another popular play tonight as the clear cut number one WR of the Steelers, Johnson has been a bit matchup proof – Double Digit Targets in 9 games this season including his last 5 and in that stretch he has had 83 or more yards. He also has a touchdown or better in 2 of his last 3. The Vikings rank DEAD LAST in the league against Wide Recievers and a route runner like Johnson should have a big game tonight.

Chase Claypool – While I expect Johnson to be very popular and I expect Claypool to see some ownership, I think there will be enough of a gap between the two where Claypool could be a bit of leverage. Claypool has been inconsistent this season yes, but with the Vikings being SO bad against Wide Recievers, this is the type of game where he could end with 2 for 78 and 2 scores out of nowhere. I’ll take some shots on Claypool.

Najee Harris – Harris got back to form in Week 13 taking 21 carries for 71 yards and I expect we will see similiar volume tonight with the Vikings just as bad as the Steelers are against the run allowing over 130 yards. This is more of a FanDuel MVP play for me than Draft Kings simply for the scoring but as really the GUY in the Steelers Backfield, I could easily see a 75 yard 2 touchdown performance coming from Harris, with goal line runs included here.

Ben Roethisberger – I know it will be like eating glass plugging Ben in at Captain but the Vikings have been so bad against Wide Recievers this year, Ben could throw 20 10 yard tosses and let Diontae and Chase do the rest with YAC to pad Ben’s stat line. He is my least favorite of this group, but he is in play for that reason only for me.

Dart Throw Captains:

Kirk Cousins

Pat Freiermuth

KJ Osborn

Tyler Conklin


I know you are like – how is Big Ben in the Captain Pool and Kirk Cousins is a dart throw Captain. It has to do with the Steelers defense. I am concerened that the Steeler’s pass rush is going to hurry and force Cousins into bad throws or mostly quick short passes. Whereas Justin Jefferson only needs 2 or 3 good looks and great throws to make your lineup sing, Cousins will need more. So that is why I have him here.

If I am using Jefferson at Captain I am stacking with Cousins and I am including KJ Osborn or TE Tyler Conklin as a secondary option. Osborn is preferred with Theilen out tonight. I also don’t mind sneaking a dart throw like DeeDee Westbrook (remember him!) as he should see some run as the #3 tonight as a double stack of Vikings WR.

I also don’t mind using Dalvin Cook or Alexander Mattison in lineups with Jefferson at Captain, but sparingly. I think the Vikings find a way to do one of two things well tonight – either run or pass. The Steelers Defense is playing to win this game and despite being on the road, I think it could actually help speed up their pass rush.

If I am using a Steelers’s reciever stacking with Ben is fine – BUT I am also ok with not! Sounds crazy but I am kinda leaning Ben at Captain or nothing. Yes what I wrote above is true but facts are facts, Ben is pricey in the flex and he has just been bad at fantasy. I do like stacking a Steelers WR with Freiermuth the TE or Zack Genrty the other TE who frustratingly saw more targets than the Muth last week. I am not likely to double stack Johnson and Claypool but in addition to the tight ends I don’t mind additional pass cacthing dart throws like Ray Ray McCloud or James Washington.

If I am using Dalvin Cook at Captain I think stacking with Cousins and the Vikings defense will be interesting ways to be different and gain some leverage on the field. I think the Steelers WRs will be very popular so a lineup focused on the run game and defense will be interesting. I think this could be a good spot to also throw the Kicker in Greg Joseph, banking on a run heavy lower scoring game.

If I am using Najee at the top, I think Najee + Steelers D + Johnson or Claypool + Freiermuth is an interesting way to attack a Steelers Dominating Game Theory. If the Steeler Defense performs well you have a high likelihood of nabbing all of the Steelers Touchdowns in a lineup like this.

Lastly if I am using Ben at Captain I am stacking the lineup with all of his pass catchers or as many as I can fit. As much as we know Dionate gets the targets, Ben likes to spread the ball around so they are all in play in a stack with Ben – Johnson, Claypool, Freiermuth, Gentry, Ray Ray, Washington … you get the point. I also don’t mind using the Kicker Chris Boswell in stacks like this, in case the Steelers fall short in the Red Zone.

My favorite Steelers Run Backs on Vikings Stacks are Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth, Chase Claypool, The Steelers D and the Kicker Boswell.

My favorite Vikings Run Backs on Steelers Stacks are Justin Jefferson, KJ Osborn, Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins and the Kicker Joseph.


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