The Cowboys on Wednesday night signed edge rusher Aldon Smith to a one-year deal. Smith hasn't played since 2015 because of NFL suspensions for both legal and drug issues but is reportedly seeking reinstatement. He racked up 14 sacks as a 49ers rookie way back in 2011 and then climbed to 19.5 in his 2nd season. Smith dealt with injuries and off-field issues over the next 3 seasons, last playing 9 games -- and tallying just 3.5 sacks -- with the 2015 Raiders. He'll turn 31 shortly after the 2020 season begins, so we'll see what Smith looks like whenever team workouts become possible again. If he approaches his early career form, there are certainly plenty of snaps available after DE Robert Quinn left to sign with the Bears. Smith's worth a stash in IDP dynasty leagues where possible.
The Bears on Tuesday agreed to a 5-year, $70 million deal with EDGE Robert Quinn, including $30 million guaranteed. Quinn rebounded to tie for 9th in the NFL with 11.5 sacks last season and tie for 16th with 22 QB hits. That followed just 24 total sacks over his previous 4 seasons, though, including 2015 and 2016 campaigns halved by injury. Quinn turns 30 in May and has proved a dynamic pass rusher when healthy. He and Khalil Mack have a chance to become the league's top pass-rushing duo over the next couple of years. His move to Chicago's 3-4 base, though, also should change Quinn's designation in most IDP leagues from DE to LB. That will hurt his fantasy value even if he continues to produce. The Bears also reportedly will release former 1st-round OLB Leonard Floyd -- who had been starting in Quinn's new spot. Dallas, meanwhile, must replace the guy who led last year's defense by 6.5 sacks.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Dolphins have agreed to a "massive deal" with free-agent CB Byron Jones. The former Cowboy is regarded as 1 of the league's top cover men, but that hasn't translated to much fantasy production the past couple of years. We'll see if that changes in a new defense.
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.
Cowboys LB Sean Lee (pec, thigh) is active for today's game against the Rams. He'll play starter-level snaps with Leighton Vander Esch out, but could be in line for less playing time than the past few weeks given issues that kept Lee out of practice all week. He's merely a low-end IDP starting option.
Cowboys LB Sean Lee missed practice all week while dealing with pectoral and thigh injuries, but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Lee is "planning to go" against the Rams today. An active Lee would still carry some risk of decreased playing time. Even with Leighton Vander Esch out the past 3 weeks, Lee played 68%, 85% and 83% of the defensive snaps. Consider Lee no more than a LB3 for IDP lineups.
The Cowboys have ruled LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) out for Sunday's game against the Bears. That has meant starter level playing time for LB Sean Lee. The veteran (pectoral) is questionable for Week 15. We'll check his status Sunday afternoon.
Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch didn't practice Wednesday. HC Jason Garrett called him "day-to-day" afterward, according to the team website, adding that "it might be a little bit of time" before he can get back onto the field. Vander Esch is nursing a neck injury that seems to carry more long-term concern than immediate. Don't bet on him returning for your Week 15 IDP lineup. We'll see how things progress. Sean Lee becomes an IDP option whenever Vander Esch sits.
The Cowboys have ruled LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and S Jeff Heath (shoulder) out for Thursday night's game against the Bears. Vander Esch's absence makes LB Sean Lee an option for IDP lineups in Week 14.
Cowboys S Jeff Heath (shoulder) is inactive for today's game against the Bills.
The Cowboys have ruled LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) out for Thursday's game against the Bills. That means elevated playing time for LB Sean Lee in an upside matchup. S Jeff Heath (shoulder) is questionable. He missed Week 11 with the issue but returned for Sunday's game at New England.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones revealed on his Tuesday radio show that LB Leighton Vander Esch likely won't play against the Bills on Thanksgiving because of the neck injury that cost him last week. Jones refused to comment on LVE's outlook beyond Week 13, according to David Helman of the team website. Vander Esch's absence makes LB Sean Lee a startable IDP commodity against Buffalo.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Cowboys expect LB Leighton Vander Esch to miss practice Friday because of a back injury. "The team will continue to monitor it, but at this point, he's not slated to play Sunday," he reports. That would mean elevated playing time for LB Sean Lee, who delivered top-10 fantasy numbers when Vander Esch missed the Monday night game against the Giants. We'll watch this situation through the weekend.
Update: The Cowboys have officially ruled Vander Esch out.
Cowboys S Jeff Heath (shoulders) is inactive for today's game against the Lions. That should mean a start for Darian Thompson, who played 87% of the snaps after Heath left last week and totaled 5 tackles (2 solo). Thompson is merely a low-level IDP in a spot that hasn't meant big points for Heath this year.
Cowboys S Jeff Heath is questionable for Sunday's game against the Lions. He's listed with injuries to both shoulders. Heath is a low-level IDP option even when healthy.
Cowboys S Jeff Heath left in the 1st quarter of Sunday night's loss to the Vikings with a shoulder injury and did not return. We'll see if he can make it back for this week's trip to Detroit.
Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch remained limited in practice all week, but the team left him off the final injury report. That points to Vander Esch being ready for a full return Sunday night. We have him in LB3 territory for IDP lineups.
As expected, Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) is inactive for tonight's game against the Giants. Vander Esch put in limited practices all week but turned up questionable, and it was reported early in the weekend that Dallas didn't expect him to play. We'll see where the injury goes from here. Sean Lee gets the start with LVE out, and Joe Thomas joins the lineup on the other side.
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