Pat Freiermuth was a surprise fantasy football stud last season, finishing as the TE11 behind a strong rookie campaign. Freiermuth was a consistent red-zone threat and will look to continue his scoring presence in 2022. But with some personnel changes on Pittsburgh’s offense, his usage could sway to the higher end. They could use him as a solid option to be a safety-valve tight end, or they could use his frame and hands to put points on the board. Either way, he will try to build off of a good year in 2022.
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2022 Fantasy Football Outlook: Pat Freiermuth
Freiermuth compiled 60 catches for 497 yards in 2021. Plus, he added seven touchdowns, including one multi-touchdown game against the Chicago Bears. He averaged roughly four receptions and 29 yards per game, numbers he will surely improve with a higher usage rate. In fact, he was only out on the offense for roughly 65% of the team’s plays.
Freiermuth finished as the TE11 behind a list of perennial stars like Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, and George Kittle. In fact, the tight end position was rather weak last season, with just Andrews and Kittle being the only guys who averaged over 14 points per game. Freiermuth’s average was pretty low, being between nine and ten points per game. But, this happened because of a low target share; Freiermuth only had 79 targets all season, for an average of about 4.6 per game. Freiermuth should see a sharp uptick in his usage and his fantasy totals with a new, more mobile quarterback and a newly-installed offensive system. Regardless of what you think of Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, it’s hard for either to be worse than Ben Roethlisberger was last year.
With an improved offense, Freiermuth is likely to have a breakout season. I would expect Freiermuth to surpass 70 catches and come out close to 600 yards by the end of the year. His ball and possession skills make him a likable target for either Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett. I would also expect Freiermuth to get more touchdowns than in his rookie year (7). It’s a bold prediction, but he should be able to pass these expectations as long as he is given the chance to by the Steelers.
Freiermuth is, as of now, the only highly experienced option available at tight end for the Steelers. There are other guys like Zach Gentry and recently-drafted Connor Heyward on the squad, but he will remain the top option barring any unforeseen circumstances. As long as his usage rate increases, his production should also skyrocket as well. I estimate he gets close to 11 points per game and finishes around the top ten of fantasy yet again.
Average Draft Position
With Rob Gronkowski announcing his retirement and Noah Fant going to a weaker offense in Seattle, Freiermuth moves up to the tight end #9 spot for the beginning of the season. As for an overall spot, he looks to be anywhere from the 90th to the 110th pick, likely going in the ninth or tenth rounds in most ten-player leagues.
He will likely be a tight end #1 for most leagues this year, although he won’t be the top player; those spots will go to guys like Kittle, Kelce, Andrews, or maybe Darren Waller. But, don’t overlook Pat Freiermuth in fantasy football this year; he’ll be a solid option for any time at tight end and could end up rewarding some owners with a few big games here and there.