Fantasy Football 2024: Is Sam LaPorta worth drafting at his lofty ADP?

Taking a tight end early in a fantasy football draft comes with risk, but is Sam LaPorta worthy of that investment this year?

As he immediately became the best tight end on the Detroit Lions' roster, hopes were high for Sam LaPorta. There was certainly an angle where he'd be factor in fantasy football, and buck the general history of rookie tight ends.

LaPorta exceeded that optimism, and blew any realistic expectations out of the water with 86 receptions for 839 yards and 10 touchdowns on his way to finishing as the TE1. Repeating that will be a challenge, but there's reason for optimism he can do it.

Coming off that 2023 season, with expectations he isn't going away, LaPorta comes with a lofty ADP this year. Via Fantasy Pros, he's the TE1 by ADP in standard and 0.5-point PPR right now (July 7) and the TE2 (behind Travis Kelce) in full PPR. By overall pick, he's going off the board at pick 23 (standard), pick 28 (0.5-PPR; Yahoo!) and pick 37 (full PPR; ESPN).

On Underdog Fantasy (best ball), LaPorta is coming off the board at pick 35.8 (pick 36).

Fantasy Football 2024: Is Sam LaPorta too big a risk to draft at his ADP?

If you're going to take a tight end early in your fantasy draft, you'd better be right. Even if you are right, taking a tight end before the fourth round comes with a big opportunity cost at other positions. Tight end is not as shallow as it once was, but if you draft one early and miss (personal example: Kyle Pitts in 2022, even before he got hurt) it's going to hurt.

Within the idea Jameson Williams will fully emerge this season, Mike Bonni of Fantasy Six Pack uncovered this data for LaPorta from last season.

-Without Jameson Williams: 7.4 targets/game (4th), TE4 in FPPG
-With Jameson Williams: 6.8 targets/game (6th), TE5 in FPPG

Bonni had those numbers with and without Williams last year as part of his case that LaPorta is "meh" at his ADP (TE2). Ultimately there wasn't much of a difference in targets or fantasy points per game, but we do know LaPorta is a prime candidate for touchdown regression this year.

According to data passed along by Hayden Winks of Underdog Fantasy, LaPorta's expected touchdown total last year was six. He of course exceeded that (10 touchdowns), overperforming his expected touchdowns more than any other tight end.

LaPorta is overall unlikely to fully match his numbers from last year, since he did set some new records. In PPR scoring, he had the worst TE1 season (239.3 points) since 2017. "Worst" is of course very relative, and even if LaPorta has some drop-off this year it's not as if he'll have an awful season. His upside is good, and his floor is high with a prominent role in a top-end offense.

The general idea that's out there, and it's spot-on, is LaPorta should not be a second-round pick in fantasy drafts this year. Third round feels a little more palatable, but fourth round is where he should be as the TE1 or TE2 off the board.

I previously gave LaPorta a 55 percent chance to repeat as the TE1 this year. Where you sit on that idea will drive where you are on drafting him at his ADP. But as someone who usually waits to draft a tight end, he'll probably have to fall a little beyond his consensus ADP for me to draft him this year.


Ranking Detroit Lions biggest draft gems of the last decade. dark. Next. Ranking Detroit Lions biggest draft gems of the last decade