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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13: Last-minute moves

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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13: Cardinals star are still iffy

UPDATE: 10:46 p.m. Sunday
The league-leading Arizona Cardinals probably don’t need much help to beat the Bears today in Chicago, but they will get it anyway. Both star quarterback Kyler Murray and wideout DeAndre Hopkins have been cleared to play today for the 9-2 Cards, who are going on 10-2.

The Eagles are not as fortunate as their QB, Jalen Hurts, will miss today’s game against the Jets, meaning Gardner Minshew and his moustache make their grand return to the NFL. Philly RB Boston Scott, though, has been given the go-ahead to play.

Denver RB Melvin Gordon has been ruled out, making Javonte Williams a great starting option tonight in Kansas City. And Raiders tight end Darren Waller, Bears WR Allen Robinson the Giants’ Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and Kyle Rudolph, and Texans RB David Johnson are also out.

Notables who will be playing in Week 13 include Jacksonville RB James Robinson, Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr., Raiders wideout DeSean Jackson and Jets WR Corey Davis.

UPDATE: 12:31 p.m. Saturday
It’s another Saturday of uncertainty for the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals, as their two biggest stars are again big question marks heading into Sunday’s game in Chicago.

Both quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who haven’t played in several weeks, are said to be game-time decisions. Fortunately for fantasy mavens, the Cards are playing an early-afternoon game this week, so you’ll be able to find late waiver replacements if you wake up early enough.

Things are even more dicey in Seattle for the sinking Seahawks. Both running backs Alex Collins and Rashard Penny are listed as questionable, and neither is as questionable as the newest Hawk, ancient running back Adrian Peterson. The former Viking was activated after signing with the Seahawks’ practice squad earlier this week and could see action Sunday against San Francisco. Do not even think about him.

Three modestly impactful players have been ruled out over the past couple of days: Washington RB J.D. McKissic, Philly RB Jordan Howard and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. The absence of the latter, and the start it gives Mike Glennon, makes Miami’s defense an especially good play this week.

Not quite ruled out yet, but considered doubtful for now, are Denver RB Melvin Gordon, Chicago wideout Allen Robinson, Giants receivers Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard, and Raiders tight end Darren Waller.

The list of the officially questionable includes Jaguars RB James Robinson, Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Rams RB Darrell Henderson, Houston RB David Johnson, Philly RB Boston Scott and QB Jalen Hurts, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Jets WR Corey Davis.

ORIGINAL POST: 11:53 a.m. Wednesday
It has taken until Week 13. But for fantasy mavens who used up roster space on premium backup players, this could be your lucky week!

Look no further than the local football squad headquartered in Eagan. Dalvin Cook’s shoulder injury has likely thrust Alexander Mattison back into the starting lineup. The timing could not be more perfect for Mattison mavens.

The VIkings are heading to Detroit to face the winless Lions in a rematch of their Week 5 game in Minneapolis. That was when Mattison replaced an injured Cook and tallied one touchdown and 153 yards on 32 touches. Not too shabby, nor will he be this week and beyond.

The Lions, meanwhile, will be without starter D’Andre Swift, moving former Packer Jamaal Williams into the starting lineup for a couple of weeks. Williams hasn’t scored in more than two months, but that is likely to change against the Vikings’ depleted defensive front.

Carolina has lost Christian McCaffrey for the rest of the season, which means Chuba Hubbard is back at No. 1, where he underwhelmed earlier this year.

A similar story was going down in Dallas this week. Ezekiel Elliott reportedly was going to be rested this week because of his ailing knee, lifting Tony Pollard into the starting lineup for the Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones cast doubt on that report, but the situation is in flux.

Pollard has arguably been the Pokes’ best runner the past month. For the season, he has 787 yards on 129 touches, or roughly six yards per run/catch. And he looked great returning a kickoff a hundred yards for a score on Thanksgiving against Las Vegas.

For those fantasy types like The Loop who have both Elliott and Pollard on their roster, a resting of Zeke would actually be a blessing for Thursday night’s game in New Orleans.
As the season winds down, here are some other understudies that are making waves, or are just a starter’s injury away from prosperity:

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) gets past Las Vegas Raiders place kicker Daniel Carlson (2) as Pollard returns a kickoff for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Sony Michel (Rams RB) — Darrell Henderson could be out this week, elevating this former Patriots star back into prominence. Michel has only two TDs so far this year, but he’s a proven commodity and could be a huge help to the struggling Matthew Stafford.

1638642771 326 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (26) runs against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Boston Scott (Eagles RB) — He has been getting more play as Miles Sanders has slipped further into the dog house. And with Sanders nursing an injury, Scott is in line for a bigger role. Over the past five games, he has 60 touches for 295 yards and three TDs.

1638642771 211 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
Philadelphia Eagles’ Boston Scott (35) runs the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Munson)

Darrel Williams (Chiefs RB) — Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked good in his return from injury, but Williams is a great insurance policy for you, and for Kansas City. In his last six games he has three touchdowns. For the year, 99 touches for 502 yards.

1638642772 179 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams (31) is seen on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

Ronald Jones III (Buccaneers RB) — Sure, Leonard Fournette looked huge in his four-touchdown game last week, but his understudy reached the end zone for the second game in a row. Jones is a legit No. 1 running back in waiting. Maybe.

1638642773 243 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ronald Jones (27) reacts after rushing for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Dontrell Hilliard (Titans RB) — Someone has finally filled some of the Derrick Henry void in Tennessee. In his first game he caught eight passes. In the next, he rushed for 131 yards and a TD. But he’s on bye this week, so he can’t help you until Week 14.

1638642774 820 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
Tennessee Titans running back Dontrell Hilliard, right, raises the football after beating New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) on his 68-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

SITTING STARS
The Giants’ Saquon Barkley is a shadow of his old self, and he will continue to be against Miami. … Tampa Bay will finally figure out Atlanta’s lone offensive threat, Cordarrelle Patterson. … Chicago RB David Montgomery will have to fight for every yard against Arizona. … Pittsburgh’s offense is struggling so bad that RB Najee Harris is the only player you should rely on against Baltimore. … And two young quarterbacks will find tougher sledding this week: New England’s Mac Jones vs. the Bills and the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts against the improving Jets defense.

1638642776 216 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson, right, dives for a touchdown past Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack (44) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

MATCHUP GAME
San Francisco RB Elijah Mitchell ran through the Vikings last week and will run through the Seahawks this week. … Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs has been better lately and should be able to prosper against Washington. … Arizona’s James Connor should be good for at least one touchdown against Chicago. … Both Denver running backs, Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams, will be worth starting against the Chiefs. … Which Buccaneer will do the best this week against the weak Atlanta defense? Why Rob Gronkowski, of course. … The Tee Higgins revival in Cincinnati will continue against the Chargers. … As will the Tua Tagovailoa show against the Giants.

1638642776 340 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (25) runs against Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle James Lynch (92) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

INJURY WATCH
The big news involves the Cardinals, who look to be getting back quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins. … Players already ruled out this week include Tennessee WR A.J. Brown and San Fran’s all-purpose Deebo Samuel. … The ranks of the currently questionable feature Saints RB Alvin Kamara, Washington RB J.D. McKissic, Dallas WR Amari Cooper, Dallas WR CeeDee Lamb, Tampa Bay wideout Antonio Brown, Giants WRs Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr., Jets wideout Corey Davis, Bears WR Allen Robinson, Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth and three quarterbacks: Philly’s Jalen Hurts, Denver’s Terry Bridgewater and Chicago’s Justin Fields.

1638642776 837 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

THE DEEPEST SLEEPER
Back earlier in the century when he was in South Philadelphia, Raiders WR DeSean Jackson was something. But that was many years ago, and he looked finished after being cut loose by the Rams last month. He then did little after being picked up off the scrap heap by Las Vegas. But his three catches for 102 yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving showed there might still be some tread on those tires. Still very fast tires. If you’re desperate for a receiver with occasional upside, you could do worse.

1638642777 23 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver DeSean Jackson (1) runs a pass route against Anthony Brown (30) during a Thanksgiving day NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)

THE THURSDAY PICK
Cowboys at Saints (+4½):
Pick: Cowboys by 3

1638642777 977 The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 13 Cardinals star are
New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) leaps over Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Jordan Whitehead (33) on a run during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

BREAKING NEWS
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Magic position themselves for better look at prospects at NBA draft combine

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Magic position themselves for better look at prospects at NBA draft combine

For the Orlando Magic, the next few days will be a significant step in a month-long process that’ll culminate with the June 23 NBA draft.

The NBA draft combine, which takes place Wednesday through Friday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, offers the Magic their most comprehensive look, up to this point, at the prospects they’re considering selecting in the June 23 draft.

The combine is more than simply physical measurements, medicals, on-court drills and scrimmages — although that information is helpful.

During the season, teams are allowed to scout prospects but aren’t allowed to contact them.

Like most teams that didn’t already start hosting pre-draft workouts, the combine will be the Magic’s first opportunity to interview and have one-on-one interactions with prospects.

It offers them a chance to get to know the prospect as more than just a basketball player.

This can go a long way in determining who gets invited for a workout at the team’s facility or who ends up higher on a team’s draft board.

Teams are allowed to interview a maximum of 20 players at the combine, while each player is allowed to interview with a maximum of 13 teams. Just because the Magic didn’t interview someone at the combine doesn’t mean they’re not interested or won’t pick them in the draft.

Every top prospect — from Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) and Jabari Smith (Auburn) to Paolo Banchero (Duke) and Jaden Ivey (Purdue) — will be present.

This matters for the Magic, who’ll once again have a top pick in this year’s draft.

While most players who are expected to be taken high in the draft typically don’t participate in all of the drills and will rarely scrimmage, those off-court interactions are part of the intel the Magic will consider leading into the draft.

The Magic also have second-round picks (Nos. 32 and 35).

While Orlando has a tendency of trading its second-round picks under president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, the combine will help the Magic gather the necessary information to see whether one of — or both — of those picks are worth keeping if they find a prospect they like outside of the first round.

There’s also the chance they could try to trade those picks with another team to get into the back end of the first round, among other possibilities.

Tuesday night’s draft lottery helped provide clarity into each team’s situation.

Teams also use this period to gather information on other organizations, such as intel about players they’re interested in acquiring, their own players who they’d trade, how they’re feeling about their lottery position and if they want to move their pick.

These conversations matter for the Magic as they continue to build a foundation with their young core.

The combine, however, isn’t the be-all and end-all.

Predraft workouts and the ensuing interviews allow teams to get a better look at players under their own roofs.

Weltman recalled meeting Wendell Carter Jr. for the first time during the predraft process and left with a strong and favorable first impression. Almost three years after passing on him in the 2018 draft, the Magic traded for him three years later.

Intel continues to be gathered after the initial contact, making the combine a springboard for what’s to come during the next month leading into the draft and beyond.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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St. Paul woman sentenced to more than 10 years for fatally stabbing boyfriend last year

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Kayla Janea Pope

A St. Paul woman was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for fatally stabbing her boyfriend in the back with a kitchen knife during an argument last year.

Kayla J. Pope (Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

Kayla J. Pope, 22, was sentenced in Ramsey County District Court to 128 months after pleading guilty to second-degree unintentional murder in the Sept. 10 slaying of Eric T. Brown, 23, of Minneapolis, on St. Paul’s East Side.

Pope was represented by Katie Allen and Luis Rangel Morals, who are attorneys for Neighborhood Justice Center, a criminal defense nonprofit based in St. Paul. The attorneys argued to Judge P. Paul Yang that Pope should receive no prison time and be put on supervised probation.

Allen and Morals cited prior to sentencing and again Tuesday the documented incidents of alleged physical abuse that Pope faced at the hands of Brown, who was the father of her 2-year-old son.

They also noted how Pope did not have a criminal record previously and how she has undergone therapy and mental health services through Ramsey County Child Protection.

Morals called the stabbing a “freak accident,” noting how the knife wound was less than two centimeters in length.

“Ms. Pope has scars on her body documenting the abuse,” he said.

Brown’s father, Sandy Brown, addressed the judge, saying that he told his son and Pope to “leave each other alone.” Brown “did not deserve to die,” his father said. “I hate that she took my son from me.”

BROWN FOUND WITH STAB WOUND

According to the criminal complaint, St. Paul police were called to the area of East Seventh Street and White Bear Avenue about 9 p.m. on a report of a man being shot during an assault.

When they arrived, they found Brown with a stab wound near his left shoulder. He was unconscious, not breathing and had no pulse, police said. Officers began lifesaving measures on the man. He was transported to Regions Hospital and died a short time later.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that the stab wound to Brown’s back had cut an artery, causing him to bleed to death.

Police interviewed Pope at the scene and later at the police station where she changed her story multiple times, the complaint states.

At first she said Brown was stabbed by a man wearing all black who had met him to sell him marijuana, the complaint said. Video from traffic cameras, combined with an earlier police call to the apartment for a domestic dispute, cast doubt on Pope’s story of a shadowy assailant.

Video showed Brown running from Pope and he appeared to be wounded in the altercation, the complaint states.

Pope later changed her story, saying Brown was abusive and had threatened to take their child and leave. She said she meant to stab his backpack, but that it shifted in the struggle and the knife went into his back instead, the complaint states.

She led police to where she had pushed the steak knife into the ground after fleeing the scene, the complaint said.

ALLEGED PATTERN OF ABUSE

The alleged pattern abuse was central to her attorneys’ argument for probation. They described her as a “battered woman.”

In April 2019, when Pope was 15 months pregnant, Brown punched her in the belly during an argument, according to a criminal complaint charging him with domestic abuse. That same day, after she was released from the hospital, Brown punched her in the chest, pulled her hair and choked her.

Brown was convicted of gross misdemeanor domestic assault for the incident. In July 2019, Judge Yang sentenced Brown to one year in jail, which was stayed, and two years of probation.

The next time Pope reported abuse to police was in January 2021, according to her attorneys. In the five months before the stabbing, she reported five more instances of either abuse or other violent behavior, her attorneys wrote to Judge Yang.

“I cannot help but be appalled at the many times she reached out for help and did not get the help she needed,” Allen told the judge on Tuesday.

Ramsey County prosecutor Cory Tennison acknowledged the past domestic abuse, but added “two wrongs don’t make a right.” He argued for a 150-month prison sentence.

“The criminal justice system did not take a knife and stab this man,” he said. “The defendant did.”

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Dylan Cease and the Chicago White Sox navigate traffic on the basepaths in a 3-0 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader

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Dylan Cease and the Chicago White Sox navigate traffic on the basepaths in a 3-0 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader

Dylan Cease had to deal with traffic in every inning of Tuesday’s start against the Kansas City Royals.

The Chicago White Sox right-hander made the big pitches each time.

Cease allowed seven hits and struck out nine in 5⅔ innings, leading the Sox to a 3-0 victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium.

“(The Royals) did a really good job of getting on,” Cease said. “There was a lot of traffic today, but fortunately I executed pitches with guys in scoring position pretty well and got some big strikeouts.”

Cease surrendered a season-high six runs in four innings in his last start Thursday against the New York Yankees. He bounced back, combining with four relievers for the shutout.

“He gave us all that he had,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He got into the sixth with two outs and that’s outstanding.”

Cease faced challenges from the start, as Royals leadoff batter Whit Merrifield doubled in the first. He moved to third with one out, but Cease struck out Salvador Perez and Ryan O’Hearn to end the inning.

The Royals had runners on second and third with one out in the third. Cease again struck out Perez and O’Hearn.

“I have enough experience now to where I know when I’m doing too much and not enough,” Cease said. “It’s just staying the course and trusting it.”

The Royals came up empty again in the fourth when Hunter Dozier was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a single. The play at the plate wasn’t close.

All three runs came in the fifth. Reese McGuire doubled and scored on AJ Pollock’s sacrifice fly to left. José Abreu made it 3-0 with a two-out, two-run double.

Abreu went 2-for-3 with a walk.

“Looking more like himself, isn’t he?” La Russa said.

Abreu fielded a grounder and beat O’Hearn to first for the third out of the fifth as the Royals stranded two more runners.

Cease exited after striking out MJ Melendez for the second out of the sixth on his 94th pitch.

“He worked hard,” La Russa said. “I didn’t want to push him there in the sixth. He gave us what he had. He worked out of some jams.”

Bennett Sousa struck out pinch hitter Michael A. Taylor with a runner on second to end the sixth.

Joe Kelly allowed a double and two walks to begin the seventh. Kelly bounced back, striking out pinch hitter Carlos Santana (Perez left with a left thumb sprain) and O’Hearn and getting Dozier to pop out to second.

“His command you can tell, he hasn’t been here,” La Russa said of Kelly, who was on the injured list April 4 to May 9 as he recovered from a right biceps nerve injury. “He’s got outstanding stuff. He’s a great competitor. He’s got great guts.

“You see that pitch he made on Santana and O’Hearn. … He’s tough as nails. When he had to, he made pitches. It’s the sign of a champion.”

The Royals went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and struck out 14 times.

“The way that I was taught to look at it is what did they have to hit,” La Russa said. “We pitched Perez (1-for-3 with two strikeouts) like the Hall of Famer he is. There were very few mistakes in RBI situations.”

Before the first game, the Sox selected the contract of pitcher Davis Martin from Triple-A Charlotte, added reliever Kyle Crick from Charlotte as the 27th player for the doubleheader, placed starting pitcher Michael Kopech on the paternity list and transferred reliever Garrett Crochet (season-ending Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day IL.

Martin, 25, made his major-league debut as the Game 2 starter. He is 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA and 41 strikeouts in seven starts between Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham this year.

He allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts at Birmingham before being promoted to the Knights on May 5. He is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and eight strikeouts in two outings with Charlotte.

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