You can make the case that Deshaun Watson is the Bill Cosby of football. Let me explain.
Both of them were well known in their respectable entertainment industries. Watson in football, Cosby in television and film. Their figures are universally known, and their accomplishments, too. Cosby had his hit TV show and the Jell-O ads. Remember that Watson defeated Alabama in the 2017 College Football Playoff. He was picked in the first round of the draft. His former coach compared him to Michael Jordan. They were never obscure figures.
Oh, and they both had a move.
Cosby allegedly would lead fellow women actors to a private room after parties and roofie their drinks. You can fill in the blanks as to what happened when they passed out. Watson on other hand was accused of targeting masseuses. He was already half-naked, you see.
Both of them allegedly used the space of a private room, away from anyone else so that they could confront their victims and tease out if what they desired was attainable. Cosby, who was convicted of aggravated assault only to have it overturned on a technicality, was said to rely on drugs. Watson, according to lawsuits, used a dark room where the victim was already touching his body.
But what truly makes these men comparable is the fact that so many women have come out attesting to their behavior. Even one woman coming out about sexual abuse should be heard, but when there are more than twenty it leaves no room for doubt, especially given the fact these guys had a system in place.
The justice system carried out its role, but there’s no rational way we can say that both of these men are not sexual predators. There’s just too much evidence here, no matter what was settled in the court of law. I didn’t believe Cosby when he said he didn’t do it. And I don’t believe Deshaun.
I have the feeling very few people do.
And yet both men are free. They’re not in jail where they belong with the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. Cosby’s career is over, sure. But Watson’s career just gained a second life.
This is what makes it so difficult with football. As fans, we grapple with concussions and the effects that it has on players and the knowledge more must be done with players’ safety. We also understand this is a violent game, and players can get seriously injured.
We also lived through the Ray Rice debacle where he struck a woman, but at least his career crumbled because of it. Watson was accused of sexually assaulting over twenty women and received $230 million fully guaranteed. He was granted the face of a franchise. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
This is inextricable from fantasy. You can take the high road and say you’re not going to have Deshaun on your team, but what about the other players on the Browns? Is no one going to draft Nick Chubb ever again? I have Donovan Peoples-Jones in one league and Chubb in another. You don’t think in the back of my mind I am looking at the month of December and figuring the offense may open up and score more points with Watson in the fold?
The fact is we’re powerless. Injustice will continue to unfold all over the world, not just in the realm of football. If we love this sport, then we also have to acknowledge that it’s not perfect. The league is but a mirror to the world. When you’re a kid, football (and sports in general) is soaked in innocence.
It takes on a different face when you’re an adult. It’s a machine that makes money, and the machine demands talented quarterbacks, no matter the crimes they committed off the football field. One must protect the shield. Players like Ray Rice are expendable if only because of the position they played on the gridiron.
Maybe the least we can do is hope. Football is about redemption. Players coming back from injuries or being a low draft pick or not even drafted at all and winning the super bowl. The greatest player of all time wasn’t drafted until the sixth round.
We as fantasy players know a thing or two about redemption. Every year there are thousands of stories of teams that started 0-3, 0-4, and won it all. Let us hope there’s no redemption for Watson, just as there’s no redemption now for Cosby. We have seen Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Russell Wilson crumble this year, but perhaps it will rock Deshaun Watson like nothing we’ve ever seen.
One can wish Watson’s game turns to dust as he continues to lie about what he has done. He’ll get booed at every game, and I’m sure he’ll be asked about the women he claims he did not sexually assault at press conferences, but the only way to make sure he doesn’t stick around is for him to lose. Let his career go the way of Bill Cosby’s. He hasn’t done anything for close to 20 years. The only credit to his name since this is a short that he wrote himself an uncredited voiceover. His storied career came was met with a quick demise.
That’d be the ultimate redemption.
Fantasy football Week 13 start ’em
Quarterbacks to start in Week 13
Trevor Lawrence (JAC) vs Detroit
Fresh off a Thanksgiving Day loss gives Daniel Campbell and Co. ten days to further throw their hands in the air to stop opposing quarterbacks. This week it will be Trevor Lawrence, who just led a comeback against the Ravens and passed for three touchdowns.
As a reward, he gets to play against the Lions, in a dome, and in a game that’s sure to register a high number of points. The Lions are last against fantasy quarterbacks this year, and nothing’s going to alter this fact on Sunday.
Mike White (NYJ) vs Minnesota
I mean, if you think about it, he has all the weapons: Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis. His defense is going to put him in good field position throughout the game. And his name is not Zach Wilson. I’m writing this on Monday, but I’d be absolutely shocked if Robert Saleh doesn’t start White this week. Not after the clinic they put on against the Bears.
Now, you may think that Minnesota is tougher against opposing quarterbacks than Chicago. I assumed so myself. Right now Chicago ranks no. 18 and Minnesota is…. no. 28. You have to love going against a bottom-5 defense against quarterbacks, especially if the Jets cannot rely on their run game. Ride White while they keep winning.
Running backs to start in Week 13
Rhamondre Stevenson (NE) vs Bills
You’re probably already starting him, but let this give you the confidence to roll out this year’s RB8 on Thursday night against a good Bills defense. If this game ends 17-10, Rhamondre will find a way to get points.
Even with Damien Harris in the lineup, which doesn’t look likely this week, the Patriots want to get him the ball. His rushing attempts were cut in half last week, but then he received a season-high nine receptions for another season-high mark in receiving yards. Given all his usage, it is surprising he’s only scored four touchdowns this year. Don’t be surprised if he starts to catch up to the mean in the next few weeks.
Najee Harris (PIT) vs Atlanta
Look, if you make Brian Robinson look good then you must be a bad defense. That, and the season has kinda turned around for Najee Harris. First, we were worried about his foot injury in the offseason, then he didn’t look explosive and people started talking about Jaylen Warren taking touches.
Then, since the bye week, he has been on a tear. Couple that with the fact that the team trusts him more and more and needs to find a way to get the ball out of their rookie quarterback’s hands. Look for another big day for Harris against the waning Falcons.
Wide receiver to start in Week 13
Deebo Samuel (SF) vs Miami
I don’t have any analysis to give you here other than that Kyle Shanahan wants to win this game. Bad. He cannot let his understudy stage him up at home, and if you’re going to keep up with the Dolphins you have to score at least 30 points. That’s what the Dolphins have scored every week since late October.
To do this Shanahan is going to break out some plays special for Deebo. You can trust him to take at least one to the house, if not for fear of vengeance from his head coach.
Darius Slayton (NYG) vs Washington
The volume is not great, but considering his average yards per catch, the fact that he’s positioned himself as New York’s primary receiver, and that this is a big divisional game against Washington and they’ll need his big-play ability, Slayton is a safe start this week with touchdown upside.
Washington has gotten better as of late, but they are still a bottom-third team against the pass, so if you’re going to exploit any of their weakness it’ll have to be with Slayton.
D/ST to start in Week 13
Do yourself a favor and start any defense against the Broncos. You will never regret this decision.
Fantasy football Week 13 sit ’em
Quarterbacks to sit in Week 13
Tom Brady (TB) vs New Orleans
The Saints have proven to be a tough match-up for the Bucs, and that’s when they are firing on all cylinders. This team is anything but. It’s early in the week, but you cannot count on Tristan Wirfs after the injury he sustained in overtime last week.
I fear the Bucs’ O-line will not hold up to the pressure from the Saints’ front four. Remember this defense was constructed to stop Tom Brady. And they’ve done a great job doing this. In the five regular season games since joining Tampa Bay, Brady has averaged 12.44 fantasy points per game against the Saints. He’s had some good games, sure. He’s also cratered and lost the week for you. This is a high-risk, low-ceiling play, and it’s best to look elsewhere.
Justin Fields (CHI) vs Green Bay
This is such a sad story with his shoulder, as he was ripping teams apart with his legs. The problem is if you take this out of his arsenal—and teams know he’s not going to run—he doesn’t have much left.
Darnell Mooney is out for the year, and it’s not like Fields is used to putting up 300+ yards through the air. His highest mark this season is 208 yards passing. Against Green Bay in Week 2, he threw for 70 yards. This is a stay away, but with hope for the future.
Running backs to sit in Week 13
Cam Akers (LAR) vs Seattle
This team’s offense is abysmal. Akers is yet to run for more than 61 yards this year. He doesn’t catch passes out of the end zone. They give him the ball out of pure necessity. You have to pray for a touchdown, something I have never recommended this season, and you have to wonder just how many touchdown opportunities this team will have the rest of the year.
Latavius Murray (DEN) vs Baltimore
Speaking of lack of touchdown opportunities, if you caught the end of the Denver-Carolina game, you would’ve witnessed, down 13 points, the Broncos needed nine opportunities inside the red zone to score. Even with that, you were surprised they did.
This is another player that has to find the end zone for you to be happy. He put up a good average yards per carry against Carolina, but they have a bottom-five defense against fantasy running backs this year. Baltimore has a top-5.
Wide receivers to sit in Week 13
Ja’Marr Chase (CIN) vs Kansas City
I know, you want to play him. You’ve been waiting for so long, and we all remember that game against Kansas City last year. You know, in week 16 when he won everyone who had him a championship. 11 catches for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns.
It’s just so hard trusting players coming back from a major injury of the magnitude that he has. Remember Mike Williams came back from an injury a couple weeks ago only to sit out the rest of the game because he re-aggravated it? Chase’s hip injury is more than likely going to require surgery in the offseason, and he may not be up to par until that happens. Remember that the Bengals don’t mind throwing out a receiver into the game to act as a decoy. That’s pretty much what they did with Tee Higgins earlier this year until he was healthy.
This is one to sit and wait for. He is not going to post league-winning numbers against the Chiefs this week, that much I can promise you.
Gabe Davis (BUF) vs New England
The Patriots have done a good job containing Davis since he entered the league in 2020. The most receiving yards he’s gained against them was 41 in last year’s playoff game. So much of Davis’s game is boom or bust, that one must call their shot on what type of game he’s going to have. If it’s a toss-up I am good leaving him in your lineup, but looking at his history against New England you have to assume they’ll find a way to bottle him up again.