Tue Jun 28 2:21am ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Carson, Calif. The Houston Texans had been told that their former quarterback Deshaun Watson was sexually assaulting and harassing women during massage sessions, but instead of trying to stop him, the team provided him with resources to enable his actions and turned a blind eye to his behavior, according to a lawsuit filed Monday, June 27, 2022. Watson, who was later traded to the Cleveland Browns, has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Deshaun Watson's legal team takes on the NFL on Tuesday in front of a retired judge to determine his immediate future with the Cleveland Browns.
Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players' Association, will hold a hearing to determine whether Watson violated the NFL's personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.
The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback agreed to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct, but he's still facing a significant penalty. A person familiar with the NFL's position told The Associated Press last week the league is seeking a lengthy suspension for Watson based on the number of sexual assault allegations and conversations with the 11 women who were made available for interviews. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the hearing have not been disclosed publicly.
Watson's side, led by renowned attorney Jeffrey Kessler, will try to argue there's no basis for a long suspension. Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations. Watson has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.
The NFL has punished several players for violating the league's personal conduct policy without criminal charges. In 2010, Ben Roethlisberger received a six-game suspension after being accused of sexual assault by two women. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later reduced the suspension to four games. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott got six games in 2017 for domestic violence incidents.
On Monday, a woman who previously sued Watson filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans, alleging his former team provided him with resources to enable his actions and ''turned a blind eye'' to his behavior.
This will be the first hearing for Robinson, who was the first woman Chief Judge for the District of Delaware. Previously, Goodell had the authority to impose discipline for violations of the personal conduct policy. Still, Goodell holds considerable power. If either the union or league appeals Robinson's decision, Goodell or his designee ''will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,'' per terms of Article 46 in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
That means Goodell could ultimately overrule Robinson's decision and give Watson one year or even an indefinite suspension due to the potential for more cases.
In April, Major League Baseball suspended pitcher Trevor Bauer two full seasons following the league's investigation of domestic violence and sexual assault allegations made against him. That suspension didn't include the 99 regular-season games the Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander missed after being placed on administrative leave on July 2, 2021.
Asked whether MLB's handling of Bauer's case has been discussed, a league official told the AP it's difficult to compare the two but stressed the accusations against Watson are serious enough to warrant an ''unprecedented punishment.'' The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Robinson hasn't heard the case.
It's unknown how long it will take Robinson to make a decision, but the Browns should know Watson's availability before training camp. NFL discipline typically begins the week leading into the first regular-season game, so Watson would be eligible for camp unless a potential punishment stipulates otherwise.
The Browns traded a slew of draft picks to acquire Watson and gave him a five-year, $230 million guaranteed contract in March.
Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph made both of his field goal and extra point attempts in the team's preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, connecting on 20-yard and 23-yard attempts in this one. The 28-year-old made 33-of-38 field goal attempts and 70-of-78 extra point attempts during the 2021 season, so he should be a reliable option for fantasy managers in 2022. After finishing as the sixth-best kicker in fantasy a season ago, Joseph seems like a safe weekly starting option as the Vikings offense should have no trouble putting him in a position to score points this season.
Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu carried the ball seven times for 41 yards and caught two passes for an additional 18 yards in Sunday's preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The second-year back out of Iowa State will look to earn a role in the Minnesota offense this season, as he carried the ball just 13 times for 61 yards in his rookie year. Nwangwu was mostly used in the return game, showcasing his game-breaking speed on multiple occasions. As of now, he seems like a safe bet to be the RB3 behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, so his fantasy value could increase significantly if anyone ahead of him on the depth chart misses time this season.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Albert Wilson caught two passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. Wilson saw just two targets in this one as he clearly made the most of his opportunity. The former Miami Dolphin will look to carve out a role in the offense as the preseason continues, but it is hard to envision him earning a role that will make him fantasy relevant. Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and K.J. Osborn are locked in as the top-three wide receivers, so Wilson will need to fend off Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Bisi Johnson for WR4 duties in the high-powered Minnesota offense. Wilson can be left off the fantasy radar for now.
Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler carried the ball five times for 50 yards in Sunday's preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The fifth-round pick out of North Carolina will need to continue to impress if he wants a role in the Minnesota offense, as Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and Kene Nwangwu currently sit atop the depth chart. Head coach Kevin O'Connell praised the rookie after his strong performance, saying "he's pretty decisive in the run game, putting his foot down, getting north and south." Still, it is hard to envision Chandler having any fantasy value given that he is likely the fourth option in the backfield. The 24-year-old would need a lot to go his way to be considered for fantasy rosters this season.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond completed 9-of-14 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the team's preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. The Texas A&M collegiate product will look to gain the edge over Sean Mannion for QB2 duties throughout the rest of the preseason, as there have been reports that the 23-year-old has struggled in training camp. However, he outperformed his competition in this one, as Mannion completed 8-of-12 passes for just 79 yards. Mond won't have any fantasy value for the time being, but if he wins the backup job and Kirk Cousins misses time this season, he could be an interesting option with the Vikings' loaded supporting cast.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor will miss the entire preseason, according to head coach Frank Reich. The star running back was rested during the preseason opener. Now, the organization has decided to have Taylor sit out the rest of the preseason. The Colts aren't expected to use any of their starters next week because of a joint practice with the Detroit Lions. The lack of reps for Taylor shouldn't be much of a concern for fantasy managers heading into the regular season.
Detroit Lions tight end Garrett Griffin has been released by the organization. The 28-year-old was reunited with head coach Dan Campbell earlier this offseason. They overlapped with each other during their time in New Orleans. Regardless, it doesn't sound like Griffin made the first round of cuts. That is not a good sign for the veteran blocking tight end. He played in a career-high 13 games last season with the Saints. Although, he couldn't make the Lions roster who lacks serious depth at tight end. Griffin is unlikely to be fantasy relevant on any roster. Fantasy managers should expect T.J. Hockenson to be the focal point at tight end in Detroit.
Cleveland Browns defensive back Greg Newsome II (hamstring) won't be sidelined for long, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. The 22-year-old hasn't practiced since Tuesday and sat out the preseason opener. Despite that, the Browns don't expect Newsome to miss Week 1 of the regular season. The former first round pick battled multiple injuries last season. Although, he still had success with 37 tackles and nine passes defended through 13 games. Fantasy managers who have the Browns defense rostered shouldn't be worried about Newsome missing significant time from this injury.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara is unlikely to face a suspension, according to Adam Schefter. It seems increasingly more likely that Kamara won't be suspended before the regular season begins. That being said, it could happen down the road or even during the 2023 campaign. The 27-year-old is facing felony battery charges resulting in substantial bodily harm. The hearing is supposed to happen on September 29th, but it has also been postponed three times already. Kamara should be a fine RB2 after getting a career-high in touches last season. Although, the threat of a suspension is always looming, which does somewhat hurt his value.
New Orleans rookie wide receiverChris Olave turned his lone target into four yards in Saturday's 17-13 preseason loss to the Houston Texans. Only logging 15 snaps (eight routes run) during his time on the field, he will look to make a more significant impact in the next preseason matchup against the Green Bay Packers. The lack of targets should not be a concern for fantasy managers; look for that to increase when starting quarterback Jameis Winston(foot) returns to action. While we still wait to see whatMichael Thomaslooks like post-injury and whereJarvis Landryfits into the lineup, Olave still looks to be a great value as a later-round wide receiver with a high upside in what should be a pass-happy offense.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Ameer Abdullah was among the players rested during a 26-20 preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Aug. 14.
Fantasy Spin: Josh Jacobs and Abdullah rested in the preseason contest, which seems to support the rumors that Abdullah has emerged as the third-down back for Las Vegas. Kenyan Drake and Zamir Wchite are lurking, but Abdullah is worth grabbing in the later rounds of PPR formats.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Charlie Woerner (core muscle) was removed from the PUP list on Sunday. The 2020 sixth-round selection out of Georgia had surgery during the offseason. However, he's buried deep on the depth chart, with a big chunk of his workload reserved for the special teams unit. Still, if George Kittle or Tyler Kroft miss time this season, there's a chance Woerner could receive more snaps. But even then, his fantasy expectations will remain low.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (knee) came off the Physically Unable to Perform list, per head coach Matt LaFleur. The rookie had an offseason procedure and hasn't been active throughout training camp thus far. He will be eased back into action, performing individual drills. However, his status for Week 1 remains up in the air. Nevertheless, while Watson figures to see plenty of attention from Aaron Rodgers this season, he will probably need some time to work out any rust caused by his lengthy absence. As a result, he may not be a starting fantasy option early in the season, although he could pick things up as the year progresses.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (knee) came off the PUP list on Sunday to start drilling individually, according to head coach Matt LaFleur. The 28-year-old tore his ACL in Week 8 last season during a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals and wasn't available for the remainder of the year. While it's still not certain if he'll be in uniform for Week 1, he's at least moving in the right direction. Nevertheless, his workload may be limited even if he's good for the season opener. However, Tonyan is a familiar face for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, so he could progressively get more targets and snaps throughout the 2022-23 campaign.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Trill Williams (knee) suffered a torn left ACL during Saturday's preseason matchup against the Buccaneers. He will miss the 2022-23 season. The 22-year-old was forecasted to backup Xavier Howard and Byron Jones (leg). However, Williams had a chance to see more action, at least for a game or two, if Jones wasn't recovered enough from leg surgery to be ready for Week 1. Still, even if the Syracuse alum had remained healthy, he wasn't expected to see any interest from most IDP managers.
Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller says the team has a plan for him in the red zone, which is different than in years past. 'There was a lot of times in the last couple years where I felt like there wasn't a clear defined attack in the red zone or like a plan for me specifically,' Waller said. 'Now I kind of feel like that's something that's in place with [head coach] Josh [McDaniels].'
Fantasy Spin: Waller tallied nine touchdowns in 2020, but sandwiched around that were campaigns that saw him total three in 2019 and two in 2021, although he missed six games in the latter season. That said, one of the best tight ends in fantasy getting more red zone looks is a good thing. Waller is an elite TE1 and should be one of the first off the board at his position in re-draft leagues.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (knee) will come off the PUP list on Monday and start drilling individually, according to head coach Matt LaFleur. The 28-year-old tore his ACL in Week 8 last season during a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals and wasn't available for the remainder of the year. While it's still not certain if he'll be in uniform for Week 1, he's at least moving in the right direction. Nevertheless, his workload may be limited even if he's good for the season opener. However, Tonyan is a familiar face for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, so he could progressively get more targets and snaps throughout the 2022-23 campaign.
Dynasty | Bills rookie receiver Khalil Shakir totaled 92 yards on 5-of-5 receiving Dynasty Analysis: Shakir continues to garner a following from the dynasty community and his production in his first professional game will only accelerate his climb. While not expected to be a starter in week one, Shakir continues to receive high praise in camp and could mix in with the starters in four-wide sets. Found as DLF's rookie WR16, he'll remain a name to watch as training camp rolls on.
Dynasty | Texans rookie running back Dameon Pierce rushed for 49 yards on five carries Dynasty Analysis: Pierce looked the part of no less than an early-down starter on his five totes, one of them being a 20-yard scamper. The running back position is somewhat of a wide open proposition for the Texans in 2022 with Marlon Mack and veteran Rex Burkhead expected to lead the way. Given Pierces profile and youth, however, it will be no surprise to see the rookie garner starter's touches by mid-season. Pierce is listed as DLF's rookie RB5 and our RB39 overall.
Dynasty | Chargers rookie running back Isaiah Spiller rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries Dynasty Analysis: He also caught his lone target for 10 yards. Spiller is locked in a battle for the backup role behind Austin Ekeler but still looks to be behind Joshua Kelley at this juncture. As DLF's rookie RB7, there's little question the 21-year-old has starting upside but his drafted situation in L.A. will require patience from his dynasty coaches. It's a long training camp and general belief is that it will be Spiller backing up Ekeler by the end of the season, but without injury above him on the depth chart, there's little runway for material production in 2022.