If only based on opportunity being in front of him, it was easy to think Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta would be an immediate fantasy football factor. Some games have certainly been better than others, but by all measures and regardless of scoring format (total points, per game), LaPorta is a top-5 or top-10 fantasy tight end coming out of Detroit's Week 9 bye. His lowest output in a week, in full PPR, is 7.6 fantasy points.
LaPorta went off the board late in fantasy drafts, perhaps as a second tight end for some who took him. Even in a slightly better landscape at the position so far this season, he is a weekly starter with a high floor and high upside.
There's no reason to think LaPorta won't keep it up after the bye week. If anything, he'll get better at the nuances of playing tight end.
Still, let's take a look at LaPorta's post-bye fantasy outlook.
Fantasy Football, post-bye outlook: Lions TE Sam LaPorta
On the surface level, let's look at LaPorta's remaining opponents and where they rank in fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends through most of Week 9 (Yahoo! scoring, 0.5-point PPR; first being easiest matchup, 32nd being toughest). Note that the Lions' Week 10 opponent, the Los Angeles Chargers, plays Monday night to close Week 9.
Week 10, at Los Angeles Chargers: 9th
Week 11, vs Chicago Bears: 10th
Week 12, vs. Green Bay Packers: 22nd
Week 13, at New Orleans Saints: 20th
Week 14, at Chicago Bears: 10th
Week 15, vs. Denver Broncos: 2nd
Week 16, at Minnesota Vikings: 13th
Week 17, at Dallas Cowboys: 17th
If your league uses Week 18, LaPorta will get the Vikings again.
Overall, there isn't a bad matchup from here on out for LaPorta. The Saints are trending the wrong way against tight ends, with at least 9.5 full PPR points allowed to a tight end in four straight games (three of them scored). LaPorta had a solid four catches for 56 yards against the Packers in Week 4, and Green Bay has benefited from some games against less than top-end tight ends.
Those who have LaPorta are obviously deploying him as their TE1 from here on out. But a start as a top-10 fantasy tight end is well in line to pay off with a top-10 finish.