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Leighton Vander Esch Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

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Cowboys LB Micah Parsons tested positive for COVID Wednesday. The Saturday night kickoff would seem to make it difficult for him to make it back, but we're not yet seeing Parsons reported as being out for the game. If he does miss the regular-season finale, then LBs Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal should see playing-time boosts. Vander Esch would be our preferred IDP play.

The Cowboys will "essentially" move LB Micah Parsons to DE starting today against the Chargers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The shift comes out of need, as Dallas lost DE Randy Gregory (COVID list) and DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot fracture) over the past week. As a result, LB Leighton Vander Esch "should stay on the field in all packages, along with Keanu Neal," Rapoport reports. Neal could see more snaps at safety this week, with S Donovan Wilson (groin) also out. That would leave more playing time available for Jaylon Smith. Vander Esch played just 22% of defensive snaps in the Week 1 loss to Tampa, while Smith played just 25%. Parsons led the group at 78%, with Neal just 1 snap behind. There will obviously be risk in using any of the Cowboys LBs in IDP lineups for Week 2. But Parsons, Neal and LVE all look usable at varied levels. We'd try to hold off on trusting Smith's snap share for now, as the likely 4th guy in order of playing time here. The move also hurts the IDP upside for Parsons by cutting down on his tackle opportunities. We've adjusted them all in our Week 2 LB rankings.

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 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 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.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch is active for tonight's game against the Cardinals. It will mark his 1st action since he suffered a collarbone fracture in the opener.

The Cowboys have activated LB Leighton Vander Esch from IR. That falls in line with last week's word from HC Mike McCarthy that Vander Esch was trending toward facing the Cardinals tonight. We'll confirm LVE's active status closer to game time. It's tough to know whether he'll jump back to full playing time right away. But Vander Esch's activation puts him ahead of Joe Thomas as an IDP option for Week 6.

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said Saturday that he's "definitely encouraged" about LB Leighton Vander Esch's chance of playing Monday night against the Cardinals. "All the arrows are pointing up right now," McCarthy added. The team has yet to actually activate the LB from IR, though, following surgery for a Week 1 collarbone fracture. If you're hoping to use Vander Esch -- or replacement Joe Thomas -- in your IDP lineup, then you'll need to watch the situation into Monday.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch has returned to the practice field this week. CBS Sports reports that he's on track to play Monday night against the Cardinals. Dallas, however, has yet to list him on this week's injury report, which means the team has yet to activate him from IR. Vander Esch suffered a collarbone fracture in Week 1, so playing in Week 6 would mark a surprisingly quick return. Players typically take half a season to return from that surgery. We'll see about Vander Esch's status for Monday night as we move into the weekend. He's at least worth picking up now where available, though, assuming that he'll be ready to play Washington in Week 7. His return will push Joe Thomas back out of the starting lineup.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch will have surgery on his fractured collarbone and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Joe Thomas played full-time snaps filling in for Vander Esch on Sunday night and is an option for deep IDP leagues. LB Jaylon Smith and SS Darian Thompson also gain tackle upside with LVE out.

Cowboys MLB Leighton Vander Esch fractured his collarbone in Sunday night's loss to the Rams and will go on IR, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Vander Esch is expected to return this year, but he'll likely miss at least half the games. Don't bother hanging on to LVE in redraft leagues, unless you have an IR spot to play with. His absence will help the tackle upside for LB Jaylon Smith and SS Darian Thompson.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch left in the 1st half of Sunday night's game against the Rams with a collarbone injury. He's questionable to return.

Update: The Cowboys have ruled him out for the game. We'll await further word on his outlook. Joe Thomas entered in his place.

NFL Network's Jane Slater reports that Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch will have "minimally invasive surgery" within the next few weeks to fix the nerve issue in his neck that ended his season early. Dallas expects Vander Esch to be back "long before camp." Veteran LB Sean Lee remains an IDP starting option for Week 17, coming off 17 tackles in Sunday's loss to the Eagles.

The Cowboys have ruled LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) out once again. He hasn't played since Week 11. Sean Lee remains an IDP starting option in LVE's absence.

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