Buy or Sell: 2022 Dallas Cowboys Defense IDP

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The Dallas Cowboys have the pieces for an explosive offense, but do they have the defensive pieces to allow the offense to win games? Here are my Buy/Sell IDP pieces that will decide how far the 2022 Cowboys go.


Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker

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Leighton Vander Esch is ranked as the 142nd ranked IDP player on and doesn’t even appear on some IDP ADP lists. We need to remember that Vander Esch was drafted as the 19th overall player in the 2018 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. At 6′ 4″ and 255 lbs, he is the perfect size to be a force at the second level of any defense.

He scored in the elite category in all of the explosion grades. This would include broad and vertical jump, three-cone, and short shuttle. His speed was above average also, especially the 10-yard and 20-yard splits.

Vander Esch is going into his fifth year and is still just 25 years old. As a rookie, he played in all 16 games and delivered 140 tackles (102 solos), two tackles for a loss, seven passes defended, and two interceptions. This was good enough for him to be named to the pro bowl.

The injuries started to mount in his second year as Vander Esch suffered a neck injury that would eventually require surgery. He missed seven games but still produced 72 tackles (43 solos), one tackle for a loss, a half sack, three passes defended, and a forced fumble.

The Injury Bug Strikes in 2020.

Vander Esch suffered a broken collar bone in week one. This put him on injured reserve until week six. Then he suffered a high ankle sprain, which cost him the season’s final two games. For 2020, Vander Esch still had an admirable 60 tackles (32 solos), including a tackle for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

The 2021 season gave him a complete year where he played all 17 games. These were his best stats since his rookie year. 77 tackles (48 solos), four tackles for a loss, a sack, two passes defended, and an interception.

In 2021 his snaps increased as the year moved on. In his first 15 games, Vander Esch averaged 36 defensive snaps per game. His bottom two games with snap count were week one with 14 snaps and week nine with 20 snaps.

Vander Esch then played 57 and 65 snaps in the final two weeks of the regular season as the Dallas Cowboys were fighting for playoff position. In those two games, he produced 16 tackles (11 solo), a pass defended, and an interception.

He has always had the talent, and now Vander Esch is healthy and finished 2021 strong. His end of the season was strong enough to get him a one-year contract worth two million dollars. Vander Esch is projected to start in 2022 for a defense that looks to be improved under Dan Quinn, who returns for his second year. Vander Esch costs nothing, which is a great price for a starting linebacker in the NFL. Buy him now, before the reports start coming out in training camp of how good he looks.


Micah Parsons, Linebacker

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Micah Parsons is a fantastic football player for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft by the Cowboys. Parsons was immediately thrust into the starting lineup. He played 827 snaps for the Cowboys defense. Out of those 827 snaps, 454 snaps were at linebacker, 347 snaps were on the defensive line, 25 snaps at cornerback, and a snap at safety.

As a rookie, Parsons delivered 84 tackles (64 solo), 20 tackles for a loss, 30 QB hits, 13 sacks, three passes defended, and three forced fumbles. He played every position on the field during his rookie year and produced at those positions. I see the Cowboys having a similar plan for Parsons in 2022. It is a great story for him and the Cowboys, but it hurts his IDP fantasy football value.

Number one in our hearts, but #2 in ADP and Dynasty Rankings

The number two linebacker in my leagues for 2021 was Jordyn Brooks. Brooks had 184 tackles (109 solo) in 2021 to obtain that number two ranking. Parsons would have to double his production to obtain the top two status in IDP.

The number three linebacker in 2021 was Roquan Smith with the Chicago Bears. He had 163 tackles (95 solo) in 2021. His rookie numbers in 2018 were 121 tackles (89 solo). Parsons was ranked as the #75 overall IDP scorer as a rookie, and the #26 linebacker.

I do not see how he can crack the top 10 in overall scoring with all the different spots he plays on the defensive unit. Because of his age of 23, and the hype that is with him being on the Cowboys, you can receive a king’s ransom for Parsons. It could be the wisest decision of your 2022 and beyond IDP rosters to sell him now for multiple players and picks.

Thank you for checking out the latest Buy/Sell/Keep article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_FF and @IDPGuys (we have offense, too), and please check out our website at

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