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Week 12 contest between Vikings, 49ers has playoff implications

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  • Minnesota Vikings
    Minnesota Vikings
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
    Pittsburgh Steelers
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Yahoo Sports' Liz Loza and Dalton Del Don discuss this week's matchup between Minnesota and San Francisco.

Video Transcript

DALTON DEL DON: This is a huge game. This has playoff implications. This is the final wildcard spot for the NFC. And the tiebreaker is the head-to-head, so this is huge. I'm not sure if I'll be happy that I have to miss this one because the Niners are so bad at home. They're, whatever, 2 and 11 their last 13 games in Levi's Stadium.

But this should be a fun game that's also high scoring, and you could load up on DFS here. Kirk Cousins forced to pass because the Niners are tougher to run against than to pass. So any time you force that team to pass, like last week, you actually see some offensive fireworks when Mike Zimmer allows it. So and then on the flip side, the Niners' Elijah Mitchell, broken finger. Maybe force Jimmy G to throw, who has the NFL high four straight games with 100 passer rating.

LIZ LOZA: How are you feeling about Jimmy G? I know that you were high on Trey Lance. I believe that I was the only one on our staff who said that I didn't expect Trey Lance to start in the first month of the season. I thought it'd be week seven. I didn't expect him to not be starting at all.

But how is that processing? How are you digesting all of that? Especially because Jimmy G has not been bad. I mean, you can say it was Shanahan's system, but he's been on a tear.

DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, I didn't expect this. I didn't expect Deebo to emerge like he has either. It's been a definitely unexpected season for the Niners, but I'm happy that they're back as playoff threats and looking good the last two weeks. Totally left for dead, and then Monday night they destroy the Rams and then obviously beat up on Jacksonville. But I have Trey Lance in 95% of my fantasy leagues on the bench, and it looks like it's definitely gonna take an injury, 100%. So that makes sense in hindsight, given the roster and Lance being so raw and Jimmy Garoppolo's situation.

But if nothing else, I did expect him to get injured, and it was really only one game. And he's looked great the last four weeks. With the calf healthy, he's been accurate. I mean, he's not some great, top-10 real life NFL quarterback, but he can execute that Shanahan system. And it works. It's nice.

It's been really rare to have Deebo, George Kittle both healthy. And now Aiyuk out of the doghouse. All three of those guys going at the same time is really rare. It'd be amazing if they could get those three and a feature back all at the same time.

LIZ LOZA: How are you prioritizing them? Deebo, obviously, first, and then Kittle, and then Aiyuk I'm assuming?

DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, Kittle is finally getting used in the red zone. It was not since like week four of last season had he been targeted inside the 10, and then it's like three straight weeks he has. So it's been a total reversal in his red zone usage. You love that. And then Aiyuk is still a top-30 fantasy wide receiver because this team may not be able to run with great success without Mitchell, and it's a really concentrated target tree. Really, really narrow. It's just those three guys and no one else.

So even with Deebo-- and Deebo last week was a top-20 PPR fantasy receiver, and he had one catch for 15 yards. How wild is that? Because he runs the ball, so he gets his yards from scrimmage. So I still think Aiyuk is startable even with a healthy Kittle and Deebo.

LIZ LOZA: Kyle Shanahan said that Elijah Mitchell was day to day with a finger injury, but it sounds like you're anticipating he'll be sidelined.

DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, but I'm skeptical. It sounds like that surgery did not go as anticipated, if you read closer to John Lynch quotes. But it'll be a total guess. But if there's no Mitchell-- Jeff Wilson disappointed last week, but he got like 19 carries, and he would be a total flex option, or even an RB2, as the feature back there. And I can't believe Trey Sermon apparently is warranted as a bench stash now. But, yeah, that would be a guessing game if I had to. But if Elijah Mitchell is out there, Shanahan likes him far more than his alternatives.

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