Darren Fells

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tight End #87
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tight End #87

Darren Fells News

Back with practice squad

Fells reverted to Tampa Bay's practice squad Monday, per the NFL's official transaction log.

Analysis: Fells was on the field for eight snaps on offense and one snap on special teams in the Week 18 victory over Carolina. He appeared in two games during the regular season for Tampa Bay.

Jan 10, 2022 9:17 PM EST

Elevated to Bucs' active roster

Fells was elevated from the Buccaneers' practice squad to play against the Panthers on Sunday, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports.

Analysis: The tight end last appeared in a game with the Buccaneers in Week 10, playing only a single offensive snap. Fells will remain a depth option in Week 18 behind the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate as the team takes on the Panthers to end the regular season.

Jan 8, 2022 1:22 PM EST

Reverts to practice squad

Fells reverted to Tampa Bay's practice squad Monday, per the NFL's official transaction log.

Analysis: Fells just joined Tampa Bay after being waived by the Lions on Nov. 8. The veteran played just one snap on offense against Washington. As long as Rob Gronkowski (back) is out, Fells will likely have an opportunity to see the active roster again.

Nov 15, 2021 6:53 PM EST

Elevated to Tampa's roster

Fells will be elevated from Tampa Bay's practice squad to play against Washington on Sunday, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Fells will provide depth behind Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard with Rob Gronkowski (back) having been ruled out. The 35-year-old veteran brings a wealth of experience at the tight end position.

Nov 13, 2021 1:35 PM EST

Joins Tampa Bay's practice squad

Fells was signed to the Buccaneers' practice squad Wednesday, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Analysis: Fells cleared waivers and will join Tampa Bay's practice squad. However, Stroud reports that the 6-foot-7 tight end will likely be added to the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday's matchup with Washington. Rob Gronkowski's (back) status is uncertain, so if he isn't available, then Fells will likely play a depth role behind Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard during Week 10.

Nov 10, 2021 7:42 AM EST

Let go Monday

Fells was released by the Lions on Monday, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.

Analysis: Fells was in his second stint with the Lions, previously playing with them in 2017. He hadn't been active since Week 7 against the Rams and will finish his time with the Lions this season having recorded four receptions on five targets for 43 yards. Fells' release makes way for undrafted rookie, Brock Wright to be added to the active roster.

Nov 8, 2021 12:08 PM EST

Not playing Sunday

Fells (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's matchup with the Eagles.

Analysis: Fells has appeared in all seven games for the Lions this season, catching four passes for 43 yards. However, the 35-year-old will be sidelined Sunday, and Brock Wright will likely step into the backup tight end duties behind T.J. Hockenson.

Oct 31, 2021 9:08 AM EST

No targets against Bears

Fells wasn't targeted during Sunday's 24-14 loss to Chicago.

Analysis: This may not be the only game this season when Fells is a complete afterthought in the passing game. The veteran will look to get back in the box score in Week 5 against Minnesota.

Oct 3, 2021 3:19 PM EST

Totals 35 yards

Fells caught two of three targets for 35 yards during Sunday's 19-17 loss to the Ravens.

Analysis: There won't be many days when Fells outproduces Hockenson in nearly every receiving category. After catching just one pass for two yards over the first two weeks of the season, this could be one of the most productive outings of the year for the 35-year-old.

Sep 26, 2021 6:52 PM EST

Little impact as receiver

Fells caught one of two targets for two yards during Sunday's 41-33 loss to San Francisco.

Analysis: Fells was clearly the blocking-oriented tight end between himself and T.J. Hockenson, who caught eight of 10 targets for 97 yards and one touchdown. With left tackle Taylor Decker (finger) set to miss at least the next two games, Fells' largest responsibilities will surely remain as a blocker over the next couple of weeks.

Sep 13, 2021 8:47 AM EST

Re-signs with Lions

Detroit re-signed Fells on Thursday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Analysis: The Lions parted ways with Fells in the process of cutting down to the initial 53-man roster, but some subsequent IR transactions opened up room for the veteran tight end to return. Fells is currently Detroit's only backup behind T.J. Hockenson (shoulder), but the team will likely add more depth ahead of Sept. 12's opener against the 49ers.

Sep 3, 2021 4:16 AM EST

Done in Detroit

The Lions released Fells on Wednesday.

Analysis: Fells will need to search for a depth role elsewhere after failing to secure a spot on the Lions' initial 53-man roster. The veteran tight end appeared in 32 games over the last two seasons, in which span he handled a rotational role with the Texans.

Sep 1, 2021 1:20 PM EST

Catches two passes

Fells caught two passes for 20 yards in Friday's 27-17 preseason loss to the Colts.

Analysis: The 35-year-old Fells is mostly known for his blocking but also emerged as a red-zone threat in Houston the past couple seasons (11 TDs on only 55 catches). He's unlikely to maintain a similar ratio in the inexperienced Detroit offense, particularly while working as the No. 2 tight end behind third-year pro T.J. Hockenson. The Lions host the 49ers in Week 1.

Aug 28, 2021 9:57 AM EST

Preparing for blocking role

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."

Analysis: Fells was relatively productive 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.

Jul 9, 2021 10:30 AM EST

Finds work in Detroit

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 was 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.

May 5, 2021 11:45 AM EST

Cut loose by Houston

The Texans released Fells on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: 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 his position. Jordan Akins, Pharaoh Brown and Kahale Warring 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 tight end, though he's unlikely to achieve fantasy relevance.

Mar 18, 2021 10:22 AM EST

Quiet in Week 17

Fells was untargeted in Sunday's 41-38 loss to the Titans.

Analysis: 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 a deal, but has dropped behind Jordan Akins in terms of playing time and targets.

Jan 4, 2021 4:02 AM EST

Gets back in end zone

Fells secured one of two targets for a 22-yard touchdown in the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals on Sunday.

Analysis: 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 at the time. 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.

Dec 27, 2020 2:45 PM EST

Targeted once in loss

Fells caught his lone target for 15 yards in Sunday's 36-7 loss to Chicago.

Analysis: Fells finished behind Jordan Akins (six targets, 36 snaps) once again in targets but played more (40 snaps). Houston's tight ends could play a role going forward as the team's wide receiver depth chart has taken a hit. Brandin Cooks (foot) was inactive Sunday, while Will Fuller (suspension) is done for the season, Randall Cobb (toe) is looking at shutting down, and Kenny Stills was released weeks ago.

Dec 14, 2020 4:43 AM EST

Targeted in loss

Fells was targeted once in Sunday's 26-20 loss to the Colts.

Analysis: Fells had one or fewer targets for the fourth time in the last six games, a big departure from his usage usage in 2019 when the 34-year-old led NFL tight ends with seven touchdowns. Houston's tight ends have played a reduced role in 2020 in favor of the team's wideouts, and that state continues even while the Texans play without Will Fuller (suspension), Randall Cobb (toe) and Kenny Stills (released).

Dec 7, 2020 4:37 AM EST

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