Start Sam LaPorta vs. Kyle Pitts vs. Tyler Higbee | Fantasy Football Tight End Week 2 Start Decision
Week 2 of the NFL season is already underway, and Sunday will be here before you know it. As owners continue to try and nail down their ideal lineup for the week, several interesting trending decisions have emerged on FantasySP’s “Who Should I Start?” tool.
Two of the trending decisions at the tight end position involve Detroit Lions’ Sam LaPorta. He’s matched up with Atlanta Falcons’ Kyle Pitts and Los Angeles Rams’ Tyler Higbee. Roster two of these three guys and don’t know which to start? Let me try and help you make a decision.
Tough start decision? We have you covered. Find out in depth stats, red zone opportunities, projections, breaking news, and crowdsourcing real fantasy owners faced with the same start/sit decision. Check out our Who Should I Start tool.
Why You Should Start Sam LaPorta
LaPorta made an impact for the Lions in their season-opening win over the Kansas City Chiefs, catching all five passes thrown his way for 39 yards. Those receptions went for two first downs, with a long catch of 14 yards.
LaPorta played in 58 of the team’s offensive snaps, which was the second-most among the team’s pass catchers, and finished fourth on the team in targets and second in catches. None of his targets came in the red zone.
You’d hardly guess that LaPorta was a rookie given those numbers, especially considering some of the other playmakers around him. The second-round pick looks like he has already established a strong connection with quarterback Jared Goff, and with so many other skill players around him, if teams try to take any of them away, LaPorta should continue to get a good amount of looks each week.
LaPorta is the 17th-ranked tight end according to our week 2 projections. He’s projected for five targets, five catches and 39 yards. LaPorta and the Lions take on the Seattle Seahawks, who allowed four catches and 70 yards to opposing tight ends in week 1.
Why You Should Start Kyle Pitts
Pitts was targeted three times in the team’s week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers, catching two for 44 yards. Two of the catches went for first downs, including a 34-yard reception.
Pitts was on the field for 34 offensive snaps, which was about 62% of the team’s total plays. Even so, he was second on the team in targets and second in catches among pass catchers. The Falcons passed just 18 times in total, so there weren't many opportunities for anyone to stand out.
Pitts and the Falcons will face the Green Bay Packers in week 2. In the opening week, Green Bay allowed Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet to go for 44 yards on five receptions and seven overall targets against them.
Pitts is the 12th-ranked tight end for week 2, with projections of four targets, 2.4 catches, 40 yards and 0.1 touchdowns.
Why You Should Start Tyler Higbee
Higbee helped the Rams to an upset win over the Seahawks in the opening week. The tight end caught all three of his targets for 49 yards. Each catch went for a first down.
The Rams have a tough battle scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers this weekend. In the opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Fran allowed three catches for 22 yards despite eight targets to tight ends.
Higbee is the highest-ranked tight end in our three-player discussion at 10th overall. He’s projected at five targets, 3.6 catches, 43 yards and 0.1 touchdowns.
Final Numbers and the Recommended Start
Our numbers show that if owners have Pitts and LaPorta, they are starting Pitts 77% of the team to only 11% starting LaPorta. Owners also like Higbee over LaPorta, starting Higbee 61% of the time to just 28% for LaPorta. Owners with Pitts and Higbee are starting Pitts 55% of the time to about 30% for Higbee. Owners are starting two tight ends under 10% of the time in any of the three scenarios.
On paper, I like LaPorta’s matchup the best and Higbee’s the least. Higbee is the only guy of the three with any kind of history against his opponent, going for 12 catches and 88 yards across two games against the 49ers last year.
With all that said, I like LaPorta over both Pitts and Higbee. His matchup is just too appealing for me to take one of the other two over him. There isn’t much history to back this stance up, but LaPorta should be involved and contribute a higher fantasy score than Pitts or Higbee this week.
I’d go with Higbee over Pitts for week 2. While 10 catches and 73 yards of his production against the 49ers came in one of those games last year, those numbers are just too inviting for me to go against. Higbee should also be a focal point for the Rams in the passing game with Nacua banged up. Pitts is on a team that’s likely to run a lot, making his production worthwhile only if he’s able to break a long reception or two, or by catching a touchdown.#sam-laporta #kyle-pitts #tyler-higbee