Darren Fells
Darren Fells
35-Year-Old Tight EndTE
Detroit Lions
2021 Fantasy Outlook
On his fifth team in six years, Fells yet again will provide both a veteran presence and meaningful depth to a Lions tight end room that has very little behind star T.J. Hockenson. Fells thus steps in as the No. 2 option, and, despite turning 35 years old this spring, he figures to have something left in the tank after averaging 14.9 yards per catch with four touchdowns and three gains of over 20 yards for the Texans in 2020. While he may serve primarily as a blocking complement to Hockenson in Detroit, Fells should be good for double-digit catches and a few more scores if he can stay healthy this season. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
$Signed a contract with the Lions in May of 2021.
Finds work in Detroit
TEDetroit Lions
May 5, 2021
Fells agreed Wednesday with the Lions on a contract, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
With reports surfacing earlier this week that offseason pickup Josh Hill is leaning toward retirement, the Lions acted quickly to bring in another veteran body at tight end in Fells. The 6-foot-7, 270-pounder is expected to offer most of his value as a blocking-oriented alternative at the position to starter T.J. Hockenson, but the 35-year-old Fells has also shown some ability as a pass catcher, particularly in the red zone. He topped 300 receiving yards in both of his past two seasons in Houston, scoring 11 touchdowns during that span.
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NFL Stats
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Fantasy/Red Zone Stats
See red zone opportunities inside the 20, 10 and 5-yard lines along with the percentage of time they converted the opportunity into a touchdown.
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Advanced NFL Stats
How do Darren Fells' 2020 advanced stats compare to other tight ends?
This section compares his advanced stats 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. The longer the bar, the better it is for the player.
  • Air Yards Per Game
    The number of air yards he is averaging per game. Air yards measure how far the ball was thrown downfield for both complete and incomplete passes. Air yards are recorded as a negative value when the pass is targeted behind the line of scrimmage. All air yards data is from Sports Info Solutions and does not include throwaways as targeted passes.
  • Air Yards Per Snap
    The number of air yards he is averaging per offensive snap.
  • % Team Air Yards
    The percentage of the team's total air yards he accounts for.
  • % Team Targets
    The percentage of the team's total targets he accounts for.
  • Avg Depth of Target
    Also known as aDOT, this stat measures the average distance down field he is being targeted at.
  • Catch Rate
    The number of catches made divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Drop Rate
    The number of passes he dropped divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Avg Yds After Catch
    The number of yards he gains after the catch on his receptions.
Air Yards Per Game
12.5
 
Air Yards Per Snap
0.37
 
% Team Air Yards
4.3%
 
% Team Targets
5.3%
 
Avg Depth of Target
7.1 Yds
 
Catch Rate
75.0%
 
Drop Rate
3.6%
 
Avg Yds After Catch
8.2
 
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2020
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2019 NFL Game Log
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2018 NFL Game Log
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Snap Distribution / Depth Chart
Snap Counts
Snap %
Detroit LionsLions 2020 TE Snap Distribution See more data like this | See last season's snap counts
#% of Team Snaps

76773%
46544%
424%
252%
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How often does Darren Fells run a route when on the field for a pass play?
This data will let you see how Darren Fells and the other tight ends for the Lions are being used. Some tight ends may have a lot of snaps, but they're not that useful for fantasy purposes because they're not actually running routes. This data will help you see when this is the case.
Darren Fells
198 routes   28 targets
← More Blocking
% Routes Run
More Receiving →
69%
13 routes   3 targets
100%
460 routes   101 targets
89%
Receiving Alignment Breakdown
See where Darren Fells lined up on the field and how he performed at each spot.
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2020 Darren Fells Split Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
Fells was a surprising boost to fantasy teams in 2019 when he finished third among NFL tight ends with seven touchdowns and had career highs in targets (48), catches (34) and yards (341). The 34-year-old held off competition from three tight ends drafted in 2018 and 2019 to become a preferred red-zone target. Fells' career season prompted the Texans to re-sign him for 2020, though it's unclear if he'll be as involved this season as he was in 2019. In nay case, he'll be the leading tight end in a rotation along with Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins and Kahale Warring.
The Texans drafted three tight ends over 2018 and 2019, so the veteran Fells faces competition for a roster spot. To invest three draft picks at the position indicates Houston head coach Bill O'Brien considers the spot a weak area, which presents an opportunity for the 33-year-old Fells. He brings a reputation as a blocking tight end, but has 10 touchdowns over five NFL seasons. He could be a red-zone option for a team that struggled to score touchdowns near the goal-line. His experience could be a factor, particularly if the organization stashes the newly drafted Kahale Warring (concussion) on injured reserve. Jerrell Adams also made the final roster, meaning five tight ends are on the depth chart.
Mostly used as a blocking tight end during his first four seasons in the league, Fells tied a career high with three touchdown grabs in 2017 as a member of the Lions. With David Njoku firmly planted as the Browns' starting tight end, Fells figures to once again be used as blocker in most running situations, though he might steal some touchdowns in the red zone.
Fells signed with Detroit in the offseason after spending the past three years in Arizona. His proficiency as a blocker boosts the prospects of the Lions' run game, but Fells individually isn't a difference-maker in the fantasy realm. In 2014, his best statistical season as a professional, the four-year veteran logged just 21 receptions for 311 yards and three scores. Fells will likely have trouble coming anywhere near that as second fiddle to Eric Ebron.
Formerly a pro basketball player abroad, Fells went the route of older brother Daniel, signing his first NFL deal with the Seahawks in March of 2013. Since landing on the Cardinals' practice squad in October of that year, he's slowly but surely worked his way first onto the 53-man roster and then to the top of the depth chart. Finishing last season as Arizona's top tight end in terms of catches (21), yards (311), and touchdowns (three), he culminated the campaign with a 21-yard touchdown grab in the NFC championship game beatdown at the hands of the Panthers. He enters 2016 as one of the Cardinals' starting tight ends.
John Carlson's sudden retirement in May removed a veteran presence from the tight-end ranks in Arizona, and general manager Steve Keim compensated with the late-July signing of Jermaine Gresham. While the former Bengal is the likely candidate to vacuum up Carlson's 55 targets from a year ago, Fells and 2014 second-round pick Troy Niklas are the primary holdovers to consider for reps in the Cardinals' offense. When Niklas' rookie season ended after Week 11 last fall, Fells took full advantage of the opportunity, receiving 56.9 percent of the TE snaps as opposed to 35.2 percent for Carlson and 30.2 percent for Rob Housler. During that six-game stretch, Fells hauled in six catches (on 11 targets) for 72 yards and one touchdown. The presence of Gresham hinders Fells' potential, though, due to the former's previous relationship with quarterback Carson Palmer during his rookie campaign in 2010.
Acting as tight end depth, but a Week 1 roster spot appears to be far-fetched.
More Fantasy News
Cut loose by Houston
TEFree Agent
March 18, 2021
The Texans released Fells on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
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Quiet in Week 17
TEHouston Texans
January 4, 2021
Fells was not targeted in Sunday's 41-38 loss to the Titans.
ANALYSIS
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Gets back in end zone
TEHouston Texans
December 27, 2020
Fells secured one of two targets for a 22-yard touchdown in the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals on Sunday.
ANALYSIS
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Targeted once in loss
TEHouston Texans
December 14, 2020
Fells caught his lone target for 15 yards in Sunday's 36-7 loss to Chicago.
ANALYSIS
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Targeted in loss
TEHouston Texans
December 7, 2020
Fells did not catch his only target in Sunday's 26-20 loss to the Colts.
ANALYSIS
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