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Fantasy Football News 2021

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Cowboys S Donovan Wilson is questionable for Sunday's game against the Chargers with a groin injury. It's an aggravation of an issue that dogged him through most of August. The fact that he logged no practice time despite the long week following a Week 1 Thursday night contest doesn't seem to bode well. S Damonte Kazee is also questionable after sustaining with a thigh injury Thursday. He finished the week with a limited Friday practice. We'll check the status on both players Sunday afternoon.

Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence broke the 5th metatarsal in his foot in Wednesday's practice, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That's the famed "Jones fracture." He'll need surgery but reportedly could make it back onto the field in November. We'll keep an eye on Lawrence's progress. At this point, though, he is droppable in nearly all redraft IDP leagues. Tarell Basham looks like the next man up in Lawrence's spot. With DE Randy Gregory also out with COVID right now, Dorance Armstrong figures to start opposite Basham this Sunday against the Chargers.

Cowboys S Donovan Wilson sat out Wednesday's practice after aggravating a prior groin injury in the Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay. "It's just not where we thought it would be or hoped it would be," HC Mike McCarthy said, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. "We're just being smart with it. He played a lot of football on Thursday, too." Wilson played 55 of Dallas' 65 defensive snaps (85%) in that game. We'll see about his availability for this Sunday against the Chargers. Jayron Kearse would likely be the fill-in if Wilson can't go.

Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence left Wednesday's practice with a foot injury. "The severity is not yet clear," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. We'll keep an eye out for more, but approach waivers tonight as though you won't have Lawrence in Week 2. Dallas was already likely to miss DE Randy Gregory for Sunday's game against the Chargers after he tested positive for COVID.

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory tested positive for COVID on Monday, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. That will cost Gregory at least a game, but he can make it back by Week 3 if he shakes the virus quickly enough. Tarell Basham and Dorance Armstrong are the next 2 up at DE.

The Cowboys will be without RG Zack Martin for Thursday night's season opener at Tampa Bay. HC Mike McCarthy announced Sunday that Martin has tested positive for COVID. We'll see whether that also jeopardizes his availability for Week 2. Losing Martin figures to impact RB Ezekiel Elliott the most, from a fantasy standpoint. It's a particularly tough blow against a Bucs defense that has consistently ranked at or near the top of the league in run defense in recent seasons. Don't be surprised if we get a slow statistical start for Elliott. At the same time, we're not going to recommend immediately benching a RB you likely drafted in Round 1 -- unless you're loaded at the position. Check our full Week 1 rankings to see exactly where Elliott lands.

The Cowboys have started rookie Micah Parsons and converted S Keanu Neal at LB in each of their past 2 preseason games. It looks as though that pair will lead the playing time at the position. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch did mix in heavily with the 1st-team defense against Houston on Saturday, though. The ascension of the 2 new guys is noteworthy. Smith has been a full-time player and carries 1 of the league's largest cap numbers among off-ball LBs (nearly $10 million), and LVE is a former 1st-round pick who has dealt with injuries the past couple of years. Parsons, of course, arrived in Round 1 of this year's draft. Neal has history with new DC Dan Quinn, having played for him in Atlanta. The exact playing-time breakdown in this crowded corps is likely still working out, so we're wary of over-committing to any Dallas LB in IDP leagues. Parsons looks like the player with the highest upside and makes for a nice LB3 option (if he lasts). Neal could be a worthwhile late flier in deeper drafts. We've updated our projections for the group this week.

The Cowboys on Tuesday activated DE Demarcus Lawrence from the PUP list, after he passed his physical. Lawrence had offseason surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, which he said caused him some leg issues last season. “I feel like I’m in Phase 3 of the rehab out of four phases,” Lawrence told The Athletic. “I feel like I’m progressing real well. It’s all about getting the legs back and attacking and working myself in with the boys.” We'd rather have Lawrence be in Phase 4 by this point, but there's still time for him to round into shape. We'll see about reports on Lawrence's readiness as the season draws closer. There's a chance he plays healthier this season than last, which would obviously be good for his production.

The Cowboys have declined the 5th-year option on LB Leighton Vander Esch, leaving 2021 as the final year on his rookie contract. It's not a surprising move given LVE's injury issues the past 2 years (13 games missed). The decision adds upside to 1st-round pick Micah Parsons, who should find a full-time role by 2022 (if not sooner).

The Cowboys selected Penn State LB Micah Parsons 12th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, after a trade down with the Eagles. Before opting out of 2020, Parsons delivered cross-category production for the Nittany Lions. His 2019 stat line included 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 5 pass breakups and 4 forced fumbles. He backed up that college production and tape with stellar athletic testing, including a class-leading 129.6 speed score (on a 4.41-second 40). That’s an even better speed score than Isaiah Simmons or Devin White, who led the past 2 LB classes. Parsons could be an option at any LB spot for the Cowboys. Sean Lee recently retired. Leighton Vander Esch has had neck issues. Even Jaylon Smith has been up and down. We'll see about the specific plan for Parsons, but he looks like a good bet for stat production.

The Cowboys have ruled LB Leighton Vander Esch (ankle) out for Sunday's game against the Giants. It'll be his 2nd straight missed game. No Dallas LB other than Jaylon Smith played more than 58% of the snaps with LVE out last week against Philadelphia.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch and S Xavier Woods left Sunday's win over the 49ers with injuries. Vander Esch injured an ankle, which will require a Monday MRI. Woods sustained a rib injury. We'll see about the status of both defensive starters heading into next Sunday's matchup with Philadelphia. Neither is more than a low-level IDP option at this point, though.

12:12pm EST 12/20/20

Cowboys S Xavier Woods (groin) is active for today's game against the 49ers after entering the day questionable. He's a low-level IDP option at best.

The Cowboys on Saturday activated CB Trevon Diggs (foot) from IR. The rookie missed the past 4 games after sustaining a hairline fracture in his left foot. We'll try to find out how much Diggs is expected to play against the 49ers today. If he's back to full playing time, Diggs would be a nice option for DB spots in IDP lineups. The fact that Dallas had replacement CBs Saivion Smith (IR) and Rashard Robinson (questionable) go down with injuries last week can only help Diggs' chances.

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy "expressed confidence" Monday that CB Trevon Diggs, CB Chidobe Awuzie and S Donovan Wilson will return to practice Wednesday. Wilson missed the past 2 games with a groin injury. Diggs has been on IR since a Week 9 foot fracture but is eligible to return whenever he proves ready. Awuzie missed last week's game on the COVID list. Diggs and Awuzie are the starting outside corners when healthy. Wilson reached 100% playing time in his last 2 games. All 3 will have some IDP relevance if they make it back for Sunday's game against San Francisco.

Cowboys S Donovan Wilson (groin) is out for today's game against the Bengals. It'll be the 2nd straight game he has missed. Darian Thompson played every defensive snap in Wilson's absence against the Ravens on Tuesday.

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