Dion Lewis had a career season in 2017, and he turned that into a nice payday from the Titans with a four-year, $19.8 million contract. He will now share Tennessee's backfield with Derrick Henry, and the two should form a formidable tandem. The key for Lewis will be staying healthy since 2017 was the first time he played 16 games in his seven-year career, and he played 14 combined games from 2013-16. But he looked the part of a standout Fantasy running back for the Patriots with seven games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, including six of those in the final eight games of the regular season. Our expectation is Henry will start for the Titans, and Lewis will be a change-of-pace back and work in the passing game (he's had at least 32 catches in two of the past three years). Lewis is worth drafting as a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 Fantasy running back, with his value higher in PPR. He will likely come off the board in Round 5 or 6 in the majority of leagues.
Lewis' four-year, $19.8 million contract with the Titans contains $5.75 million fully guaranteed and another $2.5 million guaranteed for injury only, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com reports. While he had an argument to be considered the top running back in free agency, Lewis ultimately signed a contract much smaller than Jerick McKinnon's deal with the 49ers and landed with a team that already has an established power runner in Derrick Henry. The Titans likely plan to deploy a dual-threat backfield with Lewis handling passing-down work and mixing in on early downs while Henry serves as the main thumper on early downs and near the goal line. The 27-year-old Lewis played double-digit games for the first time since 2011 last season, taking 180 carries for 896 yards (5.0 average) and six touchdowns and catching 32 of 36 targets for 214 yards (5.9 per target) and another three scores. He'll have a hard time replicating the rushing and scoring production if Henry stays healthy, but Lewis' role as a pass catcher should increase. Lewis displayed his ability in that department back in 2015, when he caught 36 of 50 targets for 388 yards (7.8 per target) and two scores in only seven games.
Lewis intends to sign a four-year deal with the Titans, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. The Titans land their second former Patriot of the day, just a few hours after it was announced that Malcolm Butler was heading to Tennessee. Lewis will serve as half of a one-two punch in the backfield alongside Derrick Henry, a similar role to that of DeMarco Murray over the past two seasons. Last season, Lewis carried a team-high 180 times for 896 yards and six touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 216 yards and another three scores in New England.
Lewis appears unlikely to re-sign with the Patriots this offseason, Michael Giardi of NBC Sports Boston reports. Lewis was reportedly frustrated with his usage early last season and again during the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Eagles, but he did enjoy a busy and productive stretch from Weeks 6 to 16, averaging 14.6 carries for 72.5 yards with eight total touchdowns in 11 games. Prior to the playoffs, Lewis didn't get much work in the passing game, an area where he shined back in 2015, notching 36 catches in seven games. Coming off the first 16-game season of his career, the 2011 fifth-round pick is widely viewed as the top free agent at his position, with his lack of a big contract in the past suggesting he'll likely go to the highest bidder. New England still has James White and Mike Gillislee under contract, though the latter could end up as a cap casualty.
Lewis carried nine times for 39 yards in Sunday's 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. Lewis logged 21 (of a possible 76) snaps on offense Sunday, while sharing backfield duties with James White (45 snaps) and Rex Burkhead (nine snaps). During the regular season, Lewis carried a team-high 180 times for 896 yards and six TDs, while also catching 32 passes for 216 yards and another three scores in the air. The 27-year-old is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and while we'd expect that the Patriots would like to keep their leading rusher around, that will only happen on their own terms financially. Lewis' 5.0 yards per carry were indicative of his effective running in 2017, but at five-foot-8 and 195 pounds, durability has been an issue throughout his career.
Lewis rushed nine times for 34 yards and brought in seven of eight targets for 32 yards in Sunday's 24-20 AFC championship game win over the Jaguars. He also lost a fumble and gained 34 yards on two kickoff returns. The Patriots' lead back didn't see much work on the ground, with game flow making the passing attack a priority, particularly in the second half. Lewis also lost control of the ball after hauling in a 20-yard pass from the arm of Danny Amendola on a fourth-quarter trick play. Despite the miscue, the 27-year-old did play a key role through the air, as he drew even with Amendola for the team co-lead in receptions. Lewis also picked an optimal time for his longest run of an afternoon in which he was consistently stuffed near the line of scrimmage, squirting loose for an 18-yard jaunt on 3rd-and-9 with 1:30 remaining and the Jaguars still holding on to their final timeout. The scamper essentially sealed the victory and punched a ticket to Super Bowl LII for New England, a game in which Lewis will look to see an uptick in rushing opportunities.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|7||10/21||@Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.38|
|10||11/11||New England Patriots||17||17.47|
|13||12/02||New York Jets||24||18.50|
|15||12/16||@New York Giants||21||17.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||98||471||3||28||232||2||100|