According to official Lions.com reporter Tim Twentyman, rookie TE Sam LaPorta is “expected to have a role right away” and be an “important part” of the Detroit offense.
When the Lions drafted LaPorta in the second round of the draft a few months ago, it was clear they planned for him to be a contributor to the offense in the long term, but it appears that he’s taken the strides necessary to be a contributor in the short-term as well.
He was widely recognized as one of the best after-the-catch receiving tight ends in the draft, following in the steps of a few great Iowa TEs ahead of him (George Kittle, Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson). The similarities between LaPorta and Hockenson are only magnified by the fact that the Lions drafted LaPorta to fill the hole left by Hockenson after Detroit traded him mid-season to Minnesota.
While it’s hard to project rookie TEs for great fantasy success given their uninspiring track record, LaPorta certainly qualifies as a sleeper in a field of TEs that is incredibly top-heavy.