The Cowboys’ defense allowed 358 points, 21.1 points per game, which was the seventh-best total in 2021. The passing defense allowed over 4,000 yards and was the 20th-ranked by yardage but only allowed 24 TDs and had 26 interceptions – the most in the league. The rushing defense was middle of the road.
Dan Quinn is returning for the second season in Dallas, where he has changed the entire face of the defense. I mean, how the players are put in the right places to succeed, making noise across the NFL, particularly rookie sensation Micah Parsons. Quinn does face a top ten schedule strength, which could lead to more opportunities for the IDP relevancy from America’s team.
Lawrence is set to begin his ninth NFL season all in Dallas, where he has produced only two double-digit sack campaigns. He has become a disrupter and takes up a double team for Parsons, blitzing off the edge more than anything. Lawrence will be a bye-week filler/injury solution.
Dorance Armstrong, Jr./ Sam Williams
The word out of camp is that both Armstrong and Williams will be in rotation with each other for the opposite end of Lawrence. The Cowboys resigned Armstrong to a two-year deal, so they must see something they like. He hasn’t produced the numbers we want from a fantasy perspective. However, Williams is incredibly athletic, boasting a 4.46 40 at 6’4″ and 260 lbs., and has all the tools to become a premier pass rusher. He fell into the draft because of felony charges from 2021, which is in his past. Dallas is looking to find a replacement for Randy Gregory, and I believe they found one in Willams, but time will tell. Stash him on a bench/ taxi spot because he could light the league up with the quickness.
What is there to say about Parsons? He is in the top tier of IDP that needs to be taken, and I mean the top two, with TJ Watt being number one as they both have the dual eligibility LB and DL. There was only one week in the 2021 season where he didn’t score 17+FF points or more, and his average was 19.63 points per game. He had 13 sacks, 84 tackles, and three forced fumbles as a rookie, which earned him Defensive Rookie Of The Year. Trade for him if you can, but prepare to pay up big trade pieces.
Leighton Vander Esch
Many IDP experts are timid about buying into LVE because of his injury history while also bringing in Anthony Barr in the offseason. Dallas looks to move Parsons down more to the edge, and LVE should stay at the MIKE linebacker if he is healthy. Most likely, you can find him on your waivers, or someone will sell him cheap, but I like LVE this season to get back to rookie season numbers.
Barr has been brought in to play that WILL linebacker when Parsons moves down to rush the passer, and his job is next to LVE and to handle anything in that middle half of the field. He is a wait-see and is used before pulling the trigger and going after him anywhere, including waivers.
Kearse is coming off a career year in 2021 with 99 tackles and two interceptions. He was consistent throughout the season, with no less than 12 points in a game. He is a suitable DB2 in your leagues with a chance to have a better year with an improved front seven—worth making a trade if you need the position and want consistency.
Trevon Diggs/Anthony Brown
Diggs is coming off an 11-interception season which led the NFL. I like him as a low-end DB2 or high-end DB3 because of his interception possibilities. Making a trade for him will work, but do not let someone tell you he is worth more than he is. Anthony Brown will
The 26-year-old safety had a career year for the Cowboys with critical injuries to the secondary that let him get in and prove himself. He had stats across the board in every category, which does not come easy. Not making a trade for him, but I would pick him up on the waivers if needing the position until you see the consistency, then make more solidifying moves.
The Cowboys got better on defense but will need to stave off the injury bug, which is not exactly exterminated in the locker room. Parsons will cause problems all season long, regardless of who plays on this defense. Diggs and Brown will ball hawk anything in their direction.
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