Fells is a free agent as of this writing, and though the 35-year-old may find work somewhere, he's unlikely to make much of a Fantasy impact. His 312 yards and four touchdowns in 2020 were the second-best totals of his career.
Fells expects to primarily serve as a blocking complement to T.J. Hockenson, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News reports. "He's more of an F tight end - faster, moving around, receiving - and I'm more of a Y tight end, where I can go in there and do a little bit more of the dirty work," Fells said after a June minicamp practice. "Had the conversation with him already, that if we're both in there, I'll be like an extra lineman for him, to give him time to get open, so he can bump that touchdown total up to 12." Fells was relatively productive for the Texans in 2020 with 312 receiving yards, four scores and career highs in yards per catch (14.9) and yards per target (11.1). However, he's now 35 and not catching passes from Deshaun Watson anymore, so last year's production is probably one of the best-case outcomes for Fells in 2021. The veteran's recent comments further support that notion, though it's possible that Fells could still be involved in the passing game to some degree given the Lions' lack of depth at both receiver and tight end.
Fells agreed Wednesday with the Lions on a contract, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. 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.
The Texans released Fells on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. It's reasonable enough that a rebuilding team would cut a soon-to-be 35-year-old, though the Texans aren't exactly loaded with talent at tight end. Jordan Akins, Pharaoh Brown, Kahale Warring and Ryan Izzo inhabit the Houston depth chart, while Fells will now become an unrestricted free agent. Fells averaged only 1.7 receptions for 20.4 yards in 32 games with the Texans, but he did score touchdowns on 11 of his 55 catches. The combination of competent blocking and red-zone utility should give Fells some real-life value as a backup option, though he's unlikely to achieve fantasy relevance.
Fells was not targeted in Sunday's 41-38 loss to the Titans. This was the fourth time over the last 10 games that Fells was not targeted. A surprise leader among tight ends with seven touchdowns last season, Fells was not presented with as many opportunities in 2020; his 28 overall targets and four red-zone targets this season were lower than the 48 and 13 he had in 2019. Fells has one year left on his current deal, but he has dropped behind Jordan Akins, who is also under contract for 2021, in terms of playing time and targets.
Fells secured one of two targets for a 22-yard touchdown in the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals on Sunday. The veteran tight end, who's shown a nose for the end zone in the past, was back in the scoring column Sunday for the first time since Week 6 courtesy of a 22-yard grab with 6:15 remaining. The score was the final one of the day for the Texans and gave Houston a relatively short-lived 31-27 lead. Despite hitting pay dirt Sunday, Fells remains fairly deep down the depth chart in Houston's pass-catching corps and is difficult to trust in a Week 17 matchup against the Titans to close out the season.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/12||San Francisco 49ers||1||4.50|
|2||09/20||@Green Bay Packers||5||5.78|
|7||10/24||@Los Angeles Rams||8||6.33|
|18||01/09||Green Bay Packers||5||5.78|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||29||22||257||5||15||11.68||55|