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).
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.
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 is questionable for Sunday's game against the Bengals. He missed practice all week again after sitting out Week 13 with the groin injury. Wilson looks unlikely to play and would be a high-risk IDP option even if active.
Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after fracturing a bone in his left foot in Sunday's loss to the Steelers. That timeline at an already fungible position makes Diggs droppable in redraft IDP leagues. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were the other CB starters for that game. Saivion Smith picked up Diggs' playing time after the injury. The Cowboys get a Week 10 bye.
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 DE DeMarcus Lawrence (knee) is active for today’s game against the Seahawks. He saw his playing time limited last week by injury, though, and then saw limited practice participation this week. Try to avoid using Lawrence in IDP lineups if you can help it.
Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence is questionable for Sunday's game against the Seahawks. He missed the 1st 2 practices of the week with a knee injury that limited his Week 2 playing time. Dallas estimated him at a limited participation level for Friday's walkthrough. Keep Lawrence out of your Week 3 IDP lineups if you can. DE Everson Griffen figures to see extra playing time.
Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence barely played in the 2nd half of Sunday's win over the Falcons because of a knee injury. HC Mike McCarthy said Monday they "were just keeping an eye on" Lawrence's knee in the 2nd half after he hurt it in the 1st, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. The coach said they should know more about Lawrence's status for Week 3 once the practice week begins Wednesday. Lawrence's downtime produced more snaps for DE Everson Griffen. Aldon Smith led the edge group in playing time for the 2nd straight game.
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.
The Cowboys on Thursday released S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. It's an unfortunate turn for a veteran free agent Dallas signed this offseason to take over for Jeff Heath at SS. But it's not surprising. Multiple reporters mentioned Clinton-Dix trending toward losing the starting gig to Darian Thompson. Clinton-Dix's release makes Thompson a deep IDP sleeper in a role that has seen productive turns under DC Mike Nolan through multiple coaching stops. A 3rd-round pick by the Giants back in 2016, Thompson spent 2 injury-affected years there before spending the past 2 as a reserve with the Cowboys. Thompson will turn just 27 in September, though, and delivered big plays in coverage back at Boise State (19 INTs in 4 seasons, including 12 over his final 2).
The Cowboys have reached a deal with DE Everson Griffen, according to NFL Network. Griffen spent 2010-19 with the Vikings, the last 6 of those as a starter. Injury and off-field issues derailed his 2018. Griffen missed 5 games and finished with just 5.5 sacks. He rebounded in 2019, however, missing only a meaningless Week 17, notching 8 sacks and tallying 24 QB hits. That last number tied for 11th in the league. In Dallas, Griffen immediately looks like the favorite to start at right DE opposite Demarcus Lawrence. He'll likely be available at least into DL3 range in IDP drafts. Griffen presents upside beyond that.
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.
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