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We’re cruising right into Week 14, and the fantasy playoffs have already started for many leagues. Tonight’s contest looks tame on the surface (43.5-point total), but it’s steeped in intrigue on both sides of the ball. I’ve got notes for each team and matchups of interest covered, plus all of the injury news from Wednesday’s practices.
TNF Preview: Steelers at Vikings
Calling any game a “must-win” at this point in the season feels like a given. And, it’s no different for tonight. Both teams are technically still in the playoff picture, but “must-win” extends past the regular season. Mike Tomlin laughed off rumors of Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, but another loss would only further emphasize their roster needs outside of the quarterback position. A shakeup in Minnesota has to be on the table, and a loss would add gas to the fire. So, the matchup itself has ramifications extending well past the goalposts. But let’s focus on the fantasy side of tonight’s contest.
As Dwain McFarland points out, Diontae Johnson is the focal point of Pittsburgh’s offense. His overall target share (30.4%) is already fifth in the league, but his situational usage cements him as the lynchpin to the team’s passing success. Johnson has the most targets on first (41), third (36) down, and one behind the leader when Pittsburgh is in the red zone. He’s even got the lead in deep targets. It’s no surprise Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams are on the same list as Johnson because of their criticality to their team. But, unlike those two, Johnson’s situation is a bit tougher.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line is 29th in run block *and* pass block win rate. Their upfront inefficiencies have dropped Najee Harris to 27th in running back success rate. And Ben’s reliance on quick, intermediate passing (3rd in time to throw, 18th in passing aDOT) limits their ability to…