Sam LaPorta’s Dynasty Value | Fantasy Outlook, Ranking, and More

Should the dynasty discussion surrounding Detroit Lions TE Sam LaPorta start with him atop the tight end fantasy football rankings?

There are impressive rookie seasons, and then there are outright outliers that threaten to change the landscape of fantasy football. The dynasty discourse surrounding Detroit Lions TE Sam LaPorta quickly evolved from the former to the latter, as he essentially dominated the league from a position that simply isn’t deemed as critical in most offenses these days.

Do we dynasty managers have the next big thing on our hands, or is this a “sell him while excitement is peaking” situation?

Decisions of this mold at the one-off positions can determine the trajectory of your fantasy franchise for years to come. Nail it, and you’re gaining consistent ground on your opponents. But mess it up, and you’ve invested in the Game Stop craze all over again.

Sam LaPorta’s Dynasty Outlook

LaPorta came out of Iowa like most tight ends do –- a reasonable profile but without a ton of collegiate production. In four seasons at Iowa City, not once did LaPorta reach 60 receptions, 700 yards, or even score four touchdowns.

It became clear, however, after about 30 seconds in the NFL that his limited numbers were the result of an offensive system that lacked creativity, not anything he lacked from a skill standpoint.

The physical boxes were checked, but we couldn’t help but wonder if he’d be more of a project than an instant success, the trajectory of most tight ends. As it turns out, LaPorta isn’t “most tight ends.”

In his first two months, the athletic rookie put together a résumé that most tight ends (forget rookies) would be thrilled with for an entire season …

  • Three straight with a 30+ yard reception
  • Three games with 10+ targets
  • A multi-touchdown effort

LaPorta refused to slow down with time (he scored in Detroit’s playoff opener and led them in receptions the next week), and the NFL has yet to prove that they have an answer for him.

Could that change with time? Of course, but given LaPorta’s ability to thrive without any professional experience, don’t forget that he gets a chance to adjust to the league as much as the league gets a chance to adjust to him.

LaPorta’s versatility was something of a calling card coming out of college, and he flashed that in a significant way during his first professional season. In 2023, he ranked fourth amongst tight ends in catch rate from the slot, while also scoring nine times when not lined up in close to the offensive line (no other TE scored more than five times in such spots).

MORE: Sam LaPorta’s Best Ball Fantasy Outlook 2024

Some voiced concern about LaPorta’s ability to separate and struggles to haul in passes when covered. He turned those into strengths by hauling in 13 of 21 contested throws (61.9%), an average that put him near the top of the NFL amongst tight ends.

Those underlying skills allowed LaPorta to give us a rookie season for the ages, spitting in the face of the “rookie tight ends require time to develop into fantasy options” trend that has developed over the years.

  • All-time rookie TE reception record
  • Third rookie TE to score 10 times (Gronk and Mike Ditka)
  • 10 games with 5+ catches (more than DK Metcalf or Mike Evans)
  • More TD catches than Davante Adams (55 fewer targets)

There are more than a few young tight ends that dynasty managers have their eye on, given the injuries/age at the top of the redraft board (Travis KelceMark Andrews, and T.J. Hockenson), and LaPorta’s star is shining as bright as any when it comes to evaluating the next crop of elite talent at the position.

LaPorta’s Dynasty Ranking

Where does LaPorta land in the dynasty TE landscape going into the 2024 offseason? Here are Soppe’s latest dynasty rankings, featuring where LaPorta lands in comparison to other top names at the position.

1) Sam LaPorta | DET
2) Trey McBride | ARI
3) George Kittle | SF
4) Mark Andrews | BAL
5) T.J. Hockenson | MIN
6) Evan Engram | JAX
7) Travis Kelce | KC
8) Jake Ferguson | DAL
9) Dalton Kincaid | BUF
10) Kyle Pitts | ATL
11) David Njoku | CLE
12) Dallas Goedert | PHI

Should You Trade LaPorta in Dynasty?

Are you considering trading LaPorta? Our free PFN Trade Analyzer makes it easy to find the best trade offer in seconds!

I’m clearly buying what LaPorta is selling, but be careful in paying a premium for his services. Yes, I think he has the potential to be a true difference-maker, but so does the rest of your league.

Coming off of a historic season at a position that rarely comes with consistency and longevity isn’t the optimal time to buy. We know that QB Jared Goff turns into a superhero when playing at home/indoors, so it should be noted that all but one of LaPorta’s scores this season have come at home. Meanwhile, the lone road TD was at New Orleans (indoors).

That’s not to say that he can’t produce elsewhere, but it’s worth monitoring. LaPorta was productive when Goff was at his best, but a truly elite fantasy option comes with the ability to put up numbers in all situations.

Of course, we need not look further than WR Amon-Ra St. Brown for proof of this. The Sun God didn’t score on the road in 2022 but was able to elevate his play away from Detroit in his encore performance (seven road touchdowns).

We are nitpicking with that home/road split. LaPorta is nothing short of excellent and deserves consideration at the top of the TE board in both redraft and startup dynasty formats.

KEEP READING: Should You Move Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, and Josh Reynolds in Dynasty?

The TE position has been top-heavy in years past, and all signs point to LaPorta being a part of that top tier, giving fantasy managers a distinct advantage over the competition!

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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