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Fantasy Football News 2021

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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.

Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb has landed on the COVID list. The Dallas Morning News' Calvin Watkins reports that Lamb is fully vaccinated, so it should be a short stay. We'll keep you updated, but consider Lamb's fantasy stock unaffected for now.

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (ankle) played 13 snaps in Saturday's preseason game vs. the Texans. He finished catch-less with QB Garrett Gilbert getting the start -- but the takeaway here is that the ankle issues that sidelined Cooper for much of the offseason are no longer a concern. He's a high-upside target in the 3rd or 4th rounds of fantasy drafts.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (shoulder) told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero that he has "no doubt" he'll be 100% for Week 1. Pelissero adds that Prescott has had no setbacks in his rehab and could have played vs. Houston on Saturday night if it was a regular-season game. Dallas reportedly plans to ramp up Prescott's reps in practice this coming week and have him be a full-go during the week leading up to the Thursday night opener vs. the Bucs

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy expects QB Dak Prescott (shoulder) to ramp up in practice next week. "He’ll definitely be involved in some form of practice more than this week," McCarthy said. "But to stand here and tell you he'd be full go and take all the reps, I’m not there yet.” We'll continue to keep a close eye on Prescott, with the season opener now 3 weeks away. All indications are that Dak will be good to go for Week 1.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (shoulder) was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, doing some light throwing. HC Mike McCarthy conceded that Prescott "probably" won't play in the preseason, but he remains on track for Week 1.

The Cowboys have agreed to a deal with free-agent K Lirim Hajrullahu, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The former CFL kicker went to training camp with the Rams last summer but didn't make the regular-season roster and has yet to kick in a regular-season NFL game. He joined the Panthers this offseason but got cut in March. The addition is significant because Dallas K Greg Zuerlein has yet to come off the PUP list following offseason back surgery. We'll have to keep an eye on Zuerlein as we get into the meat of fantasy football draft season. If you're drafting this week, it's probably best to pass on the veteran kicker.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott's Saturday MRI on his strained shoulder showed that his injury is "healing well," according to ESPN's Todd Archer. The QB did some on-field throwing before Friday night's game against Arizona and emerged without issue. He reportedly hopes to practice this week and potentially play against Houston in the next preseason game.

Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz missed the team's 2nd preseason game with a "minor" ankle sprain, according to the Dallas Morning News' Michael Gehlken. "Fully expected to be ready for start of season," Gehlken adds. We'll see when Schultz is able to get back on the field, but his absence will give TE Blake Jarwin a shot to lay claim to the starting job.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott told reporters Wednesday that he's getting another MRI on his strained shoulder this weekend. The QB said that there's been no setback in his rehab and that his body has responded well to the recent return to light throwing. He said the team is working to make sure the issue doesn't linger, and he still expects to be ready for the opener. "Once Sept. 9 comes, I'll move forward and won't think about this again," he said, according to the team website. We'll have to keep watching for updates/changes on Prescott's situation. He's holding at his current spot in our QB rankings, though.

The Cowboys have activated WR Amari Cooper from the PUP list after he passed his physical Tuesday. That should clear the veteran WR to return to practice. We'll see about his participation level in the coming days.

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup is spending more time on the inside of the formation so far in training camp, Pro Football Talk reports. “Everybody labels me as a deep-ball threat, but I know I can do a whole lot more,” Gallup said Monday. “So, me being able to come up on the inside and run some routes from there, short and intermediate game, can certainly show I’m more versatile than folks think.” The WR ran a career-low 6.3% of his routes from the slot last season, according to Pro Football Focus. At the same time, then-rookie CeeDee Lamb spent nearly all of his time (93.2%) inside. We've heard about Lamb spending more time on the edges heading into Year 2, so this shift for Gallup makes sense. We've always believed in Gallup the player. An increase in shorter-range work could help his fantasy-scoring consistency. It could also showcase some versatility as he heads toward unrestricted free agency in March. Gallup is going 6 to 6.5 rounds behind Lamb and Amari Cooper in ADP.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (shoulder) has resumed some "light throwing," HC Mike McCarthy said Saturday. McCarthy would not give a timetable for Prescott's return to practice. "We'll see how his progression goes," McCarthy said. "He's doing some things as far as throwing and everything is on a rep count." Prescott is reportedly on track to be ready for Week 1, but it'd be nice to see him get back on the field soon.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer hears that the Cowboys "fully expect" QB Dak Prescott to be ready for the start of the season. Glazer also reported that Prescott's injury is rare for a QB. "It's kinda under the armpit ... more of a baseball injury," Glazer said. Dallas' training staff has reached out to the Texas Rangers for help with the issue. We'll continue to keep an eye on the situation, but the big takeaway is that Prescott is expected to be out there come Week 1.

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.

Jon Machota of The Athletic reports that Cowboys WR Amari Cooper has actually been working his way back from a pair of ankle injuries. Cooper had January surgery to remove loose bone spurs from his right ankle, and the wideout said that procedure made him aware of another issue. “Because my foot was jammed up and not as flexible, I didn’t really feel the other injury I had in my bone,” Cooper says. “But when they took the spurs out, my ankle got more flexible and I was able to really feel that injury.” It's not clear exactly what the "other" injury is, but that revelation makes his extended return timeline a bit easier to understand. According to Machota, Cooper being Vitamin D deficient has also made the healing take longer. We'll see if the veteran receiver stays on track for the expected mid-August return -- and then how he looks when he does get back onto the field. Cooper remains a risky prospect at ADP.

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (ankle) told reporters on Tuesday that he's "close to 100%." It's still a bit concerning that Cooper isn't all the way back to 100% after January ankle surgery. But the news on his progress has been positive over the past few days. If he gets on the practice field in mid-August, as planned, and avoids a setback, he should be ready to rock come Week 1.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has “taken a step back” in his return from a right shoulder strain, per HC Mike McCarthy. “We’ve kind of taken a step back," McCarthy said Tuesday. “We still feel the same about the type of injury. Only the timeline has changed. After research and looking at, we just don’t want this to turn into something big. ...We’re just being a little more conservative with the rehab.” While Dallas is being overly cautious, Dak is still taking on more risk as an early-round QB1. Interestingly, McCarthy did note that the team “definitely” hopes to have Prescott get some preseason reps. We’ve altered our QB rankings to reflect today’s news.

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said Sunday that WR Amari Cooper (ankle) "looks great ... Everything has been extremely positive from the strength staff." Cooper, of course, remains on the active PUP list after January ankle surgery. The tentative plan is to have him get on the practice field in mid-August. McCarthy's words are nice -- but we can't feel totally confident drafting Cooper until we see him in action.

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said Thursday that the plan for QB Dak Prescott (shoulder) to play in the preseason is "still on schedule." We'll see if Prescott ends up getting on the field for the exhibitions, but this is another sign that the team isn't overly concerned with his strained shoulder.

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