Sean Lee
Sean Lee
33-Year-Old LinebackerLB
Dallas Cowboys
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The 32-year-old linebacker has been the heart and soul of the Dallas defense for years now, but the end is nigh. Lee only played in seven games in 2018 due to hamstring issues that plagued him all season, and the emergence of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith moved the veteran into a less prominent role and much lower snap count than he was used to. The usually reliable tackling machine recorded double-digits stops once in those seven games, and his workload isn't likely to increase this season except in an emergency. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $3.5 million restructured contract with the Cowboys in March of 2019.
Clear of pectoral injury
LBDallas Cowboys
November 8, 2019
Lee (pectoral) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Vikings, Jon Machota of The Athletic reports.
Lee actually finished the week not practicing, but the absence wasn't injury related. The veteran linebacker has seen an increased amount of playing time in recent weeks, including an 85 percent share of defensive snaps Week 9 against the Giants.
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Snap Distribution / Depth Chart
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2019 Sean Lee Split Stats
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Measurables Review
How do Sean Lee's measurables compare to other linebackers?
This section compares his draft workout metrics with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average.
6' 2"
245 lbs
40-Yard Dash
4.71 sec
Vertical Jump
37.5 in
Broad Jump
120 in
Bench Press
24 reps
Hand Length
8.75 in
Arm Length
32.00 in
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Like his teammate Jaylon Smith, Lee's IDP value is obscured by his injury history and the first-round selection of Leighton Vander Esch. Also like Smith, Lee's per-snap production is of a top-shelf pace, and he would project for monstrous numbers if only his snap count could be guaranteed. Despite the two young linebackers on his heels, Lee should still be regarded as easily the best linebacker in Dallas, and so whatever snap count cannibalizing occurs should mostly be a problem for Smith and Vander Esch. Lee's 25 career missed games in seven seasons illustrate his more likely risk.
The deal with Lee has long been clearly understood: he's as good as almost anyone when he's on the field, but he's as liable to get hurt as anyone, too. Knock on wood, but the last two years have been somewhat fortunate on the latter front. His one missed game last year was a healthy scratch with Dallas facing a playoff bye week, and he only missed two games in 2015. Lee produced nearly 10 tackles per game last year for a fourth consecutive season, reminding us of his clear high-end utility when healthy. And his remarkable instincts make him a good bet to grab a few interceptions.
Lee might be the greatest injury risk on this list, but his upside in any given week can also rank at the top. Lee is an elite player when healthy, capable of posting big tackle numbers while standing out as perhaps the most dangerous coverage LB in the league. Lee has 12 interceptions in five years despite missing 20 games, and he only needed 814 snaps to accumulate 128 tackles (76 solo) in 2015. Already a risk to miss time with almost any type of injury, Lee had arthroscopic knee surgery in May, though it shouldn't be an issue when the season arrives.
Lee is a prolific tackler and effective in pass coverage when healthy, but he missed the entire 2014 season after tearing his ACL on the first day of offseason workouts, just the latest in a litany of injuries. The Cowboys will shift him to weak-side linebacker this season in an effort to keep him in one piece, a move that could allow him to maintain his impressive per-game IDP pace, but he's a difficult player to rely on given that he's missed 34 games over his five-year career
Lee is probably one of the three best linebackers in the league when he's on the field. But as Lee's former IDP owners know far too well, the issue is that his durability is horrendous and seemingly getting worse. He tore an ACL back in 2008, and in his four pro seasons he's dealt with neck, toe, wrist, quadriceps, hamstring, shoulder and back issues at various points. He's never played a full season in the NFL, missing 28-of-64 games. The latest injury woe for the linebacker occurred in May, when Lee tore his ACL.
Lee might be the league's best inside linebacker when healthy. His brittleness, though, has a remarkably long history. His days at Penn State were full of durability troubles, and he added new chapters to the saga by playing through a dislocated wrist for most of 2011 and missing the final 10 games of 2012 with a toe injury. When Lee is on the field, though, he's a monster. He had 58 tackles and an interception on just 319 snaps last year, meaning he looks like an on-paper lock for 160 tackles should he ever make it to 1,000 snaps in a season. There's no reason to expect such luck, though.
If durability weren’t an issue for Lee, he would rank significantly higher. Although he’s tough as nails and possesses a rare work ethic, Lee seems to be remarkably brittle, as he has missed time with or played through quadriceps, hamstring, shoulder, concussion, back and wrist issues in his first two NFL seasons. That’s not even mentioning the ACL tear he suffered in spring 2008. If Lee should miraculously stay healthy a full season, his IDP production would more than likely be top-tier. He totaled 104 stops (71 solo) in 15 games last year despite playing with a dislocated wrist for eight games. He also has a rather brilliant total of six career interceptions in 29 games despite playing a part-time role as a rookie.
Young buck ILB has great instincts and athleticism and is a future captain of the Cowboys' defense, provided he can stay healthy enough to reach his potential. If he can take the starting job from Keith Brooking and play 16 games he could be a surprise IDP star, but there are much safer bets at the position.
Second round pick has top-shelf linebacking instincts and leadership abilities, and will get a season apprenticing behind Keith Brooking before he'll be asked to start. If injuries push him into a bigger role ahead of schedule he could be worth looking at as a bye-week IDP player.
More Fantasy News
Logs limited practice
LBDallas Cowboys
November 6, 2019
Lee (pectoral) was limited in Wednesday's practice, David Helman of the Cowboys' official site reports.
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Leads team in tackles Monday
LBDallas Cowboys
November 5, 2019
Lee collected 12 tackles (nine solo) with one for a loss and a pass defended in Monday's win over the Giants.
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Resumes practicing
LBDallas Cowboys
September 2, 2019
Lee (knee) is participating at practice Monday, Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News reports.
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Expects to practice next week
LBDallas Cowboys
August 28, 2019
Lee (knee) said Wednesday that he'll resume practicing next week and expects to suit up for the start of the regular season, Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News reports.
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Sits out Saturday, expects to play Week 1
LBDallas Cowboys
August 24, 2019
Lee said his knee is "just not right," so he sat out of Saturday's preseason matchup with Houston, but expects to play Week 1, Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News reports.
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