Mon Sep 16 6:31pm ET
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
Players: Antonio Brown
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) scores a touchdown as Miami Dolphins cornerback Jomal Wiltz (33) attempts to defend, during the first half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) and defensive end Deatrich Wise, celebrate during the end of the second half at an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 43-0. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (17) smiles on the sidelines, during the second half at an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) New England Patriots receiver Antonio Brown's availability is again in limbo this week with the NFL preparing to meet with the former trainer that has filed a civil lawsuit accusing the star receiver of rape and sexual assault.
On Monday, the NFL declined to comment on the allegations against Brown or when it would speak with his accuser. But the league told the Patriots last week that it was opening an investigation into the matter.
Brown has denied the allegations made in the lawsuit. Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown, told The Associated Press his client plans to countersue.
Sports Illustrated also published a story Monday afternoon in which a second woman, an unnamed artist, alleged that Brown exposed himself to her while she was working on a mural for him at his Pittsburgh home in 2017.
In a statement issued Monday via Twitter , Heitner said Brown also denies the allegation made in the SI story.
''Antonio Brown has reviewed the sexual misconduct allegations made by an unnamed artist included in a recently published Sports Illustrated article and denies that he ever engaged in such activities,'' the statement said. ''There will be no further comment at this time.''
Brown has not spoken publicly since the lawsuit was filed and he did not address reporters leading up to the game against the Dolphins. He also was not made available following the Miami game and was not present in the locker room during a player availability on Monday.
The Patriots resume practice Wednesday.
Asked during his Monday morning conference call if he expected to hear anything from the NFL about Brown's availability this week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, ''I don't really know anything about that.''
''I'll just answer any questions about the game, and I'm not getting into anything else outside of that right now,'' Belichick said.
In the lawsuit filed by Brown's former trainer Britney Taylor last week in Florida , she alleges Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions. According to the lawsuit, Taylor says she was sexually assaulted by Brown on separate training trips to Pittsburgh and Florida that same month in 2017. It also alleges he forcibly raped her in 2018. The suit includes what it says are text messages from Brown bragging about the second assault.
The AP does not usually name the alleged victims of sex assaults, but Taylor was identified in the federal lawsuit and was quoted in a statement provided by her lawyer, David Haas.
Though the allegations made by Taylor against Brown made him subject to discipline under the NFL's personal conduct policy, he played and scored a touchdown on Sunday during the Patriots' 43-0 win at Miami. Two sources told The Associated Press that Brown was not placed on the commissioner's exempt list last week and was eligible to play because no criminal charges had been filed against him and because the NFL hadn't fully developed its investigation.
Players on the exempt list can't play in games or practice with a team but are still paid. A player can be placed on the exempt list at any point. The one-year deal Brown signed earlier this month with the Patriots could be worth as much as $15 million.
The 31-year-old Brown was released by Oakland on Sept. 7 after clashing with the team throughout training camp. He agreed to a contract with New England that same day.
The Denver Broncos are likely open to listening to trade offers for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders with the deadline approaching, according to sources. The Panthers, Patriots, Eagles, 49ers and others are expected to be in the receiver market up until the Oct. 29 deadline. Denver received a fourth-rounder from the Texans last year in exchange for Demaryius Thomas, but the Broncos are expected to be seeking a higher pick for Sanders, who is in the last year of his deal. The 32-year-old has 30 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns in seven games, and getting away from inept quarterback Joe Flacco would be good news for Sanders' fantasy value, depending on where he lands. Courtland Sutton has become the Broncos top wideout this year, but life could be tougher on him if Sanders is out of the picture and he draws more attention from opposing defenses. Daesean Hamilton would become the team's No. 2 if Sanders is dealt.
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who will make his debut with the team in Week 7 against the Falcons, promised the Rams that he won't hold out next season in the last year of his contract even if the two sides don't agree to a long-term deal this offseason, according to league sources. However, all bets are off if Los Angeles uses the franchise tag on the All-Pro cornerback in the winter of 2021. The Rams sent two first-round picks to Jacksonville for Ramsey, so they expect him to immediately bolster their suspect secondary. The Rams would like to sign Ramsey but aren't in a rush and could also trade him if they can't reach a long-term deal. Ramsey's presence in LA's secondary bolsters them no doubt, but they're still a weak streamer this weekend against a strong Falcons offense.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (hand, thigh) is inactive for Week 7 against the 49ers. You obviously shouldn't come close to trusting Washington's defense in fantasy this year, and having Norman out makes them an even weaker unit this weekend. Norman's absence is good news for San Francisco receiver Marquise Goodwin, but he'll still a shaky flex in fantasy because of a low target share this year and the fact that the 49ers probably won't need to pass all that much in this one.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (ankle) is active for Week 7 against the Giants, while wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) will miss his third straight game. Johnson was expected to play after getting in some practices this week. He should continue to be heavily involved in this improving offense in a great matchup against the Giants. Johnson is a strong RB1 choice. Chase Edmonds will remain a strong handcuff for Johnson owners, but he's a low-end flex as long as Johnson is active. With Kirk out again, Larry Fitzgerald has strong WR2 appeal. You can't really trust rookie Keesean Johnson, Damiere Byrd and Trent Sherfield behind him, though.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (ankle, knee) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson should receive plenty of touches this week against the New York Giants and is a must-start option in all leagues.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 7 game.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones is a healthy inactive for Week 7 against the Packers. It's a surprise considering Tyrell Williams (foot) is also out, but it appears that Jones just hasn't mastered the offense yet after being acquired from the Bills last week. Also inactive are right tackle Trent Brown (calf) and wide receiver Dwayne Harris (ankle). With both Jones and Williams inactive, the Raiders are thin at the receiver position; expect rookie Hunter Renfrow, Trevor Davis and rookie Keelan Doss to work in three-receiver sets against a solid Green Bay defense. Oakland will lean heavily on running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller.
Green Bay Packers wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) are both active for Week 7 against the Raiders after testing themselves in pre-game workouts. It's a bit of surprise that both are inactive, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn't complaining since he'll be without top receiver Davante Adams (toe) for the third straight game. MVS and Allison really haven't done much with Adams out, so they make for low-ceiling flex plays again this weekend, with MVS being the better target. Both receivers being active hurts the value of tight end Jimmy Graham, although he still has TE1 potential in this game. Rodgers remains a low-end QB1 until Adams returns. Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow can now be avoided in DFS.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (thigh) is officially active for Week 7 against the Falcons after sitting out last week. He's back in the RB2 mix in a good matchup against the Falcons, especially since backup Malcolm Brown (ankle) is inactive. Gurley should have a decent workload in this one, but rookie Darrell Henderson will spell him. As a result, Henderson has some flex appeal in deeper leagues against a Falcons run defense that continues to get beat by running backs.
Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Allison is a risky option since he did not practice much this week. He should still see a solid amount of targets during the game and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Westbrook should have a solid role in the passing game and will have a favorable matchup. He can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling likely will serve as the top option in the passing game for the Packers this week despite the injuries. He can be considered a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Buffalo Bills rookie running back Devin Singletary (hamstring) is officially active for Week 7 against the Dolphins. The matchup against Miami is as good as it gets, which immediately puts Singletary on the RB3/flex map in his return to action this weekend. However, his ceiling is still somewhat low as long as he continues to play second fiddle to veteran Frank Gore in this backfield, which is expected to be the case yet again against the Dolphins. Singletary could see more run in the second half if the Bills are up big, though. With the rookie back in the fold, T.J. Yeldon is a healthy scratch.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is officially active for Week 7 against the Bengals. Westbrook tested his shoulder before the game and will give it a go in a great matchup against a Cincinnati team that will be missing their top cornerbacks. D.J. Chark and Westbrook remain quarterback Gardner Minshew's favorite targets in the passing game. Westbrook will be at risk of an in-game setback, but you can leave him in your lineups as a WR3 this weekend with some upside in this particular matchup.
Correcting a previous report, the Cincinnati Bengals have declared WR A.J. Green, DL Carlos Dunlap, OT Cordy Glenn, OG John Miller, CB William Jackson III, CB Dre Kirkpatrick and DE Carl Lawson inactive for Week 7.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) and safety Reshad Jones (chest) are both inactive for Week 7 against the Bills. In an already excellent matchup, the Bills passing game just got a boost with Miami's top cornerback being out. It'll mainly impact Buffalo's top wideout John Brown and quarterback Josh Allen, who are both in a good spot to produce big numbers this Sunday. You should obviously stay far away from the Dolphins Defense this year.
The Los Angeles Rams have declared RB Malcolm Brown, OG Jamil Demby, OG Austin Corbett, LB Bryce Hager, DL Greg Gaines, LB Kenny Young and LB Clay Matthews inactive for Week 7.
The Arizona Cardinals have declared LB Ramik Wilson, WR Christian Kirk, C Lamont Gaillard, RB D.J. Foster, DL Zach Allen, DL Michael Dogbe and DB Zeke Turner inactive for Week 7.
The New York Giants have declared CB Corey Ballentine, QB Alex Tanney, TE Garrett Dickerson, WR Sterling Shepard, OG Chad Slade, DE Chris Peace and OL Eric Smith inactive for Week 7.