It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We continue with the wide receivers. Today, we take a look at Pat Freiermuth, who had himself one of the better tight end rookie seasons of all-time last year by some metrics. But, can he repeat that breakout campaign in his second year in the league?
Pat Freiermuth ADP and AAV:
Average Draft Position: TE11, 102 overall
Average Auction Value: $1.5
Pat Freiermuth Statistics:
|Year||Std Pts||HPPR Pts||PPR Pts||Pts/G||HPPR Pts/G||PPR Pts/G||Pts/Tgt||HPPR Pts/Tgt||PPR Pts/Tgt|
|Year||Air Yards||aDOT||YAC||YAC/Tgt||YAC/Rec||AYMS||Tgt MS|
2022 Pat Freiermuth Overview:
If you consider the threshold for startability around 10.5 fantasy points (the average TE12 finish last year) in PPR, then you can figure out who had the best rookie year campaigns by seeing how many times a rookie tight end surpassed that figure. By that measure, Pat Freiermuth had the second-best fantasy football season of all time, with eight such games. If you consider that Mike Ditka had nine such games in 1961, then Pat Freiermuth had the greatest rookie tight end season of all time. Kyle Pitts, who is more talented than Freiermuth, is tied for sixth all-time with seven such games (with Hunter Henry, Aaron Hernandez, and Jeremy Shockey).
It’s apt that Freiermuth is in a tier with Hunter Henry because I see a lot of parallels with their careers. First and foremost, PlayerProfiler.com lists Pat “Firemouth” Freiermuth’s top comparable as… Hunter Henry! Both are 6’5” and 250 pounds with about 32.5” arms, and both ran in the mid-4.7s in the 40-yard dash. They also both went in the second round, with Firemouth going as 2.23, and Henry as 2.04. Both players had somewhat similar final stat-lines in their rookie campaigns, as well. With Freiermuth totaling 497 yards and 7 touchdowns, and Henry notching 478 yards and 8 touchdowns. Freiermuth did it on 79 targets, however, to Hunter Henry’s 53.
So, what if Freiermuth is just Hunter Henry, redux? It’s possible; there’s nothing that separates early career Henry from Freiermuth. But, I fear that means that Freiermuth will run into the same problem as Hunter Henry: he needs lots of touchdowns to produce. Through five years, Henry averages 3.4 receptions for 41 yards per game, but he has 30 touchdowns in 72 contests. Since Henry entered the league, he has had the fourth-most games with double-digit fantasy points without a touchdown among active tight ends. Unfortunately, he has the same number of games with 15+ PPR points overall.
But, I’ve digressed. Let’s steer this back to Pat Freiermuth, who is looking a lot like Hunter Henry. And that’s a nice thing to have. But it also limits his upside to have that profile (Henry has a top-12 finish in 44% of his games but a top-five finish in just 15% of his games). He hovers right around the four catches for 40 yards to five catches to the fifty yards mark, which is useful but not prone to massive games without touchdowns.
This is the niche that Freiermuth filled his rookie year, as his high in yards was 58, and he topped 45 yards just twice. He’s a solid contributor to your tight end slot who has limited upside but a very solid floor… hopefully.
The Steelers will have a new quarterback under center, and Mitchell Trubisky is about as big of a wild card as they come at starting quarterback this year. But, is Pat Freiermuth’s price low enough that you can take that gamble?
2022 Pat Freiermuth Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:
In a snake draft, Pat Freiermuth pick 102, and TE11. In a salary cap draft, he’s just $1.5. Those prices are both dirt cheap and he’s a great option to get only if you plan on taking two tight ends. Don’t take just Pat Freiermuth, because he’s your hedge against a Cole Kmet or Irv Smith or Albert Okwuegbunam busting out on you. He’s not a difference maker so far in his young career, and there’s nothing to indicate that he will evolve into one this season. But, he is a reliable tight end. If he’s your only tight end it might be difficult to abandon him for an upgrade, but if he’s part of a tandem, you can cycle out that second tight end until you find a difference maker.
Best Case Scenario:
Pat Freiermuth continues his Hunter Henry streak and finishes as TE8.
Worst Case Scenario:
Pat Freiermuth retires from the NFL to market his Pat “Firemouth” brand of hot sauce that is exciting and spicy as Pat Freiermuth’s career so far. It’s a hit with Midwesterners because their delicate palette can appreciate the completely bland hot sauce that has a 0 on the scoville scale. He then markets a spicier version (with black pepper).
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[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]
[Header Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Pat_Freiermuth.jpg, cropped under CC BY SA 2.0]