If only based on opportunity, even going against history of first-year tight ends, Sam LaPorta was easy to be positive about in fantasy football circles heading into his rookie season. In plainer terms, he became the most-talented tight end on the Detroit Lions' roster the moment he was drafted in April.
It was just up to him to earn the TE1 role, and he went out and did it right from the start.
In Thursday night's season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, LaPorta played 83 percent of the Lions' offensive snaps (58-of-70). Brock Wright (27 snaps) and James Mitchell (six snaps) were clearly behind him, as what seemed sure to be the pecking order proved true if only for one game.
LaPorta did some excellent work as a blocker, which will help him continue to have big snap shares. But he also had five catches for 39 yards against the Chiefs. That catch total was the second-best on the team, behind only Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Sam LaPorta is lined up to be a must-add for Week 2
Here are snippets of some deeper data from LaPorta's performance against Kansas City.
In Week 2, the Lions face the Seattle Seahawks. Depending on full or 0.5-point PPR, Seattle allowed either the most (full-point) or second-most (0.5-point) fantasy points per game to tight ends last year. A massive game from Lions' tight end T.J. Hockenson against them in Week 4 (eight receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns) skews those numbers some, but they were still bad against tight ends last season. On Sunday, Rams' tight end Tyler Higbee is lined up for a big game as Seahawks' safety Jamal Adams remains out.
As of Saturday morning (Sept. 9), LaPorta looks to have been drafted in a lot of Yahoo! (65 percent rostered) and CBS Sports.com (72 percent rostered) leagues. However, he's widely available in ESPN (34.8 percent rostered) and NFL.com (8.1 percent rostered) leagues, so it really depends on your league host. It's definitely worth checking to see if he's available in your league as you plot potential Week 2 waiver wire adds.
In any case LaPorta is lined up to be among the most added players in fantasy for Week 2, regardless of position.