Darren Fells is the starting tight end for the Cardinals this season, but tight end is not a position that's featured in Arizona's offense under Bruce Arians. Fells had 21 catches for 311 yards and three touchdowns in 2015, but he only had 28 targets. Fells might be the best tight end in Arizona, but he should not be drafted in the majority of leagues.
Fells signed an exclusive rights tender with the Cardinals on Monday. Fells' signing will keep him with the Cardinals, for whom he led tight ends with 21 catches for 311 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season. The former basketball player also caught a touchdown in Arizona's NFC Championship Game loss. Despite his development this past season, Fells' fantasy upside is somewhat limited by the Cardinals' crowded cast of pass-catchers, yet it'll be interesting to see if he takes another step in his unconventional career next term.
Fells caught two of four targets for 36 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's NFC championship loss to Carolina. Fells worked his way up the slot for a 21-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, providing Arizona with a strand of hope. The catch snapped a seven-game scoreless streak for Fells, who topped three catches just once all season. Arizona's depth of play-making wide receivers was a team strength all season, but it also limited the production of the team's tight ends. Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd all ended the season with more receptions than all of Arizona's tight ends combined.
Fells gathered in both passes for 14 yards during Saturday's divisional-round win versus the Packers. The Cardinals have relied upon a combination of Fells and Jermaine Gresham this season, but the former dominated the breakdown of snaps Saturday, earning 58 of the 66 offensive snaps versus 11 for Gresham. Fells was also the sole TE to make an appearance in the box score, notching a customary two targets, yet he's accrued just 30 through 15 games, including playoffs. Considering their recent usage, he's the Arizona tight end to trust in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Carolina.
Fells recorded one catch (on two targets) for seven yards during Sunday's defeat to the Seahawks. Among those in the TE corps in Arizona, Fells and Jermaine Gresham have alternated between modest and nearly non-existent performances. The latter made a bigger splash in the box score in the season finale -- two receptions for 36 yards on three targets -- but Fells earned 40 of 58 snaps, versus 21 for Gresham. Considering Fells' season-long lead in catches (21), yards (311), and touchdowns (three), he's the more palatable option entering postseason play.
Fells reeled in all three targets for 54 yards during Sunday's win at Philadelphia. After tallying a 36-yard catch on the Cardinals' touchdown drive to open the contest, Fells was largely ignored in the passing game until the waning minutes of the third quarter, despite picking up 69 of the 76 offensive snaps. However, the elevated workload was significant, as Jermaine Gresham (knee) returned from a one-game absence to earn 32 snaps himself. Expect the duo's snap count to even out as the regular season draws to a close, but Fells is coming off two of his most productive performances of the season, totaling six receptions (on seven targets) for 97 yards.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/12||New England Patriots||6||6.00|
|2||09/18||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||6.50|
|4||10/02||Los Angeles Rams||25||8.25|
|5||10/07||@San Francisco 49ers||7||6.13|
|6||10/18||New York Jets||2||4.75|
|10||11/13||San Francisco 49ers||7||6.13|
|15||12/18||New Orleans Saints||33||12.38|
|17||01/01||@Los Angeles Rams||25||8.25|
|3 Year Avg||20||13||191||2||10||14.69||31|