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Dallas Cowboys Injury Updates

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch is questionable for Monday night’s game against the Giants. ESPN reports, however, that he’s likely to miss the game with his neck injury. That should mean more playing time for LB Sean Lee, whom we’ve added to our Week 9 IDP rankings

Cowboys DE Robert Quinn suffered a rib injury at the end of the 1st half of Sunday night's game against the Eagles and has been ruled out. Fortunately for him, Dallas gets a Week 8 bye. We'll see about the official diagnosis and return timeline here.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch left in the 2nd quarter of Sunday night's game against the Eagles with a neck injury. He's questionable to return.

UPDATE: Dallas has ruled Vander Esch out for the game. We'll see about his return timeline.

Cowboys LB Sean Lee is active for today's game against the Colts after missing the past 5 contests with a hamstring injury. Lee told NFL Network's Jane Slater that he won't be starting, though, after telling the team that he doesn't want to disrupt the development of rookie teammate Leighton Vander Esch. IDP owners should go ahead and use Vander Esch as normal and ignore Lee for Week 15 IDP usage.

Cowboys HC Jason Garrett told reporters Monday that he expects LB Sean Lee to return to limited practice this week. The last time Lee did so this season (also off a hamstring injury), he returned to game action that weekend. Should Lee be ready to face the Colts this Sunday, Dallas coaches would need to decide how he fits back in. Rookie Leighton Vander Esch has filled in for Lee on the weak side, and the defense has played well. Jerry Jones said last week on 105.3 The Fan in Texas that Lee would "rotate" in with Smith and Vander Esch when he returned. Let's just hope we get a clear picture of the plan before the weekend so that we can set our IDP lineups accordingly.

Cowboys LB Sean Lee will "probably be out for a little bit" after re-injuring his left hamstring in Monday night's loss to the Titans, HC Jason Garrett said after the game. We'll see just how long this absence lasts. It's the same hamstring, though, cost Lee 3 games earlier this season. Leighton Vander Esch will re-enter the lineup. He topped 90% playing time in each of the 3 games Lee missed earlier. Vander Esch is worth picking up in most IDP leagues.

Cowboys DT David Irving will miss at least Monday night's game against the Titans after suffering a high ankle sprain this week. He told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this week that he could miss up to 4 weeks with the injury. That makes Irving droppable in most IDP leagues. We'll see how things progress.

The Cowboys announced Saturday that DT David Irving will not travel with the team for Sunday night's game at Houston. Irving did get activated Saturday after missing the 1st 4 games on league suspension but has barely practiced since last November. Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Irving stayed behind to deal with an "ongoing personal family matter that is out of his control" and that the team is supporting him through it. Irving will be a high-upside IDP once he's ready to play, but we'll have to wait to see when that will be. DT Maliek Collins also isn't traveling because of a knee injury.

Cowboys OLB Sean Lee is expected to miss at least a few weeks after injuring his left hamstring in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. HC Jason Garrett revealed after the game that the injury occurred to the hamstring opposite the 1 that knocked Lee from Week 2 early. Rookie LB Leighton Vander Esch stepped in to play the rest of the snaps at Seattle. He and Lee tied for a team-high 11 tackles despite playing half the game each. IDP owners can look to Vander Esch as a potential replacement for Lee in the short term.

Cowboys LB Sean Lee is active for today's game against the Seahawks. He entered the day questionable with a hamstring injury, which adds risk. But he's an LB2-level IDP option if you waited on him.

 
 
 

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