I drafted over 50% shares of tight end Sam LaPorta last year in his breakout rookie season. It paid off and helped me to my 27% advance rate on Underdog Fantasy last year. But as a rookie, LaPorta was going as late as the last round right after the NFL Draft up to the 12th round near the start of the season. 

LaPorta finished as TE1 and smashed his ADP value. So it's well established that I love Sam LaPorta's talent and role in the potent Lions' offense. 

Fast forward to this year, and he is now being drafted as TE1 in the third round of Best Ball drafts with an ADP of 30.6. This could pay off if he meets or exceeds last year's stats. Maybe he truly is what TE Travis Kelce has been in years past, which is a tight end that laps the rest of the position. But he would need to have those Kelce-like seasons over 10+ touchdowns and 1,000+ receiving yards to pay off this price tag. 

The other bull case for LaPorta would be if he goes off for a huge game during the Best Ball playoffs like he did in the quarterfinals last year. But if he doesn't meet expectations throughout the season, your team may not make playoffs because you need your high capital draft picks to meet value.

While it pains me to say this because of how good LaPorta was to me last season, I'm skeptical he can pay off this price tag and have another 10-touchdown season. With 10 touchdowns and 889 yards last season, he averaged 52.3 yards per game. 

My concern is now WR Jameson Williams will likely have a bigger role in his first full season as a true running mate with WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. So Williams should garner more targets overall and touchdown opportunities to likely massively exceed his three touchdowns and 354 yards from last season.

In the red zone the Lions tend to rely heavily on their one-two punch on the ground of running backs Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. So even if the Lions continue to be a top offense, I'm skeptical LaPorta will get enough of the pie to pay off being a third-round pick.

The other factor is the other elite tight ends' prices are very palatable and are anywhere from one round to several rounds cheaper than LaPorta. Tight ends Trey McBride (ADP 44), Dalton Kincaid (ADP 50.4), Mark Andrews (ADP 50.6), Kyle Pitts (ADP 61), and George Kittle (ADP 66) you draft a round or more later than LaPorta. There are also other tight ends with massive upside like Evan Engram, Jake Ferguson, Brock Bowers, and Dallas Goedert that you can draft even later. For all these reasons, I will draft another elite weapon in the third round and take a discount on one of these tight ends if I'm drafting an elite tight end in that particular Best Ball draft.

See the rest of 2024 Best Ball top 250 rankings on SportsLine.