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Steelers vs. Vikings Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em for Week 14 ‘Thursday Night Football’

Jacob Scott

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“Thursday Night Football” is back to kick off another fantasy football week. Week 14 brings a potentially profitable interconference matchup between the Steelers and Vikings in Minnesota (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video). As always, you want to make the right fantasy start ’em, sit ’em decisions — especially with potential playoff berths on the line — by either deploying players who can give you a nice early lead going into the Sunday or avoiding players who are bound to bust in prime time.

The Steelers’ offense is at full strength with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Chase Claypool playing through their injuries to support rookie running back Najee Harris, No. 1 wide receiver Diontae Johnson, and rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth. The Vikings’ offense, meanwhile, will likely be shorthanded, as running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) is expected to miss another game and wide receiver Adam Thielen (ankle) didn’t have enough time to heal after getting hurt early against the Lions on Sunday.

MORE TNF: FanDuel lineup | DraftKings lineupCook updates

For the Steelers, they are leaning toward passing more with Roethlisberger settling in better into Matt Canada’s system. They’re also playing with a sense of urgency in what could be Roethlisberger’s final season. For the Vikings, Alexander Mattison should step in again as a strong fill-in workhorse for Cook, while a committee of targets need to help replace Thielen to better complement elite No. 1 Justin Jefferson.

Here’s breaking down the entire start ’em sit ’em picture for TNF, including a couple DFS lineup suggestions for FanDuel and DraftKings:

WEEK 14 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em

Steelers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night

Start: QB Ben Roethlisberger

Roethlisberger is only QB30 on the season and much lower than that when you consider his average points per game (14.8). He also hasn’t been great on the road, but in his past four games overall, he has three with multiple TDs. Looking closer, that’s two top-10 QB finishes in the past three games.

He should have massive volume again, as the Steelers have become better up front and got more confident throwing the ball downfield last week against the Ravens. The Vikings have a good pass rush, but their cornerbacks are terrible and Roethlisberger’s wideouts are made to destroy them.

WEEK 14 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Start: RB Najee Harris

The Vikings’ run defense also has started to tank, making this a strong matchup for the dynamic rookie. He can also be a big part of Big Ben’s success in the passing game. It’s been a while since he’s had a strong RB1 showing, but he’ll be at worst a strong RB2 again, regardless of whether he finds the end zone.

Start: WR Diontae Johnson

Johnson has matured and become more durable, blossoming into the complete No. 1 wideout they thought he would be. For fantasy, he had been a consistent WR2 all season until he exploded against the Ravens to finish WR2 overall for Week 13. The Vikings’ cornerbacks allowed the combination of Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds to look top wideouts, so Johnson will have another efficient game with big-play upside.

WEEK 14 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

Start: WR Chase Claypool

Claypool has struggled to deliver as a WR3 this season. The biggest reason why is after scoring nine TDs as a rookie, he has only one in 2021 despite averaging more yards per catch. He’s just not getting enough targets in key situations, and his catch rate is low. If there were ever a time for the Canadian behemoth to go off again, it would be here just 300 miles south of the border. He has the speed to crush the Vikings corners should Big Ben get a nice shot off play-action.

Start: TE Pat Freiermuth

Since the Steelers’ Week 7 bye, the rookie has been a TE1 in four of six games. His role has expanded with a couple of breaks, the injuries to first JuJu Smith-Schuster then Eric Ebron. He’s also getting the key red-zone trust Roethlisberger once had in Heath Miller. The Vikings have been pretty good against the tight end, but T.J. Hockenson did score against them last week.

WEEK 14 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Start: Steelers D/ST

Just like with Big Ben’s recommendation, there’s reason to go against the grain here. The Steelers’ pass rush demolished the Ravens last week. The Vikings have been good in pass protection, but they will be without rookie left tackle Christian Darrisaw. Pittsburgh has a league-leading 37 sacks, and its continued pressure will raise the chances of takeaways.

Start: K Chris Boswell

Boswell has been money all season and is kicking in a controlled environment in a matchup that’s good by the numbers. Set him and forget it.

MORE WEEK 14 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder

Vikings: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night

Sit: QB Kirk Cousins

Cousins has been a rather steady QB1 with only five finishes outside of the top 12 and nine multiple-TD games. Overall he’s QB8 on the season. This week he falls more into the borderline category. This feels like the 49ers game, which looked great on paper but was underwhelming in terms of the final total. He has a solid floor, per usual, but if you need real ceiling, go elsewhere.

Start: RB Alexander Mattison

His name is Alexander Mattison and there’s a million things he hasn’t done, but just you wait … he’ll get it done for fantasy again filling in for Dalvin Cook (shoulder). He just looks like a better all-around back this season. The Steelers’ run defense keeps on reeling, so Mattison will get fed(eralist) often to protect the defense in a game where Minnesota’s passing attack won’t have the same feelin’ without Thielen.

Start: WR Justin Jefferson

Jefferson has been amazing over the past month, establishing himself among the truly elite wide receivers in the league. Forget sophomore slump, JJ has smashed it, moving on up with his route-running, speed and hands, now right behind Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel and ahead of Tyreek Hill in fantasy scoring. Jefferson is making a case to be the No. 1 WR drafted in fantasy in 2021. So, yeah, start the dude.

Start: WR K.J. Osborn

Just in time for the release of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” comes a sneaky promotion for the return of Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn. K.J. is not related to him or Harry as far as we know. The K stands for Kendrick, while he stands in for Adam Thielen (ankle) as Minnesota’s No. 2 wide receiver. The Purple Goblin was a sneaky WR2 with a TD last week and can at least be a free WR3 this week.

Sit: TE Tyler Conklin

The idea of Conklin, the fill-in for Irv Smith Jr., has been better than the execution’s. He did finish inside the top 12 against the Lions and in two other games he’s been a top-five option. There’s a chance he keeps seeing key targets with Thielen on the shelf, or the Vikings just might spread the field more with wide receivers. By the numbers, the Steelers are strong vs. the tight end, too.

Sit: Vikings D/ST

The Vikings D/ST has finished inside the top 12 five times this year, but that production has been an unpredictable roller coaster. They came through, for example, against the 49ers in Week 12, but in a much “easier” matchup against the Lions in Week 13, they did not. They’re simply not good against either run or pass, and there’s no compelling reason to play them when there are so many good streamers this week.

Start: K Greg Joseph

Joseph has been money all season and is kicking in a controlled environment in a matchup that’s good by the numbers. Set him and forget it.

Steelers vs. Vikings: FanDuel single-game lineup

MVP (1.5X): WR Justin Jefferson $13,500 AnyFLEX: QB Ben Roethlisberger $15,000 AnyFLEX: WR Diontae Johnson $13,000 AnyFLEX: WR Chase Claypool $10,000 AnyFLEX: WR K.J. Osborn $8,000

It’s hard not to take Jefferson in a big-time spot, as he should dominate targets with no Thielen. Adding the cheapness of Osborn filling in for Thielen helps balance things out. In between is the true meat of our lineup, where we trust the Steelers’ passing offense to go off with Big Ben and his big-time wideouts.

Steelers vs. Vikings: DraftKings Showdown lineup

Captain (1.5X): WR Chase Claypool $11,100 FLEX: WR Diontae Johnson $10,200 FLEX: RB Alexander Mattison $9,800 FLEX: QB Ben Roethlisberger $9,000 FLEX: WR K.J. Osborn $5,600 FLEX: D/ST Steelers $4,200

The Steelers’ passing game has a great matchup downfield against the Vikings’ cornerbacks. Johnson has been on fire and Claypool is overdue for one of his downfield explosions with scoring involved. The Vikings figure to stay grounded with Mattison as much as possible, while Osborn should pick up most of Thielen’s targets opposite Jefferson. The Steelers D is really an investment in T.J. Watt.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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