Dynasty Dilemma: Pat Freiermuth
With the 55th pick in the 2021 draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Pat Freiermuth in the second round. The 6’5” 258-pounder out of Penn State had some excellent college tape. Over his 3 year career at Penn State, he had 92 receptions for 1185 yards and 16 touchdowns; that is even more impressive knowing the quarterback play at Penn St. was subpar.
Pittsburgh selecting Freiermuth was the best fit for him. The organization has a strong history of identifying and developing talent that goes less regarded in the draft; examples includer, Heath Miller, Hines Ward, and Antonio Brown. Kyle Pitts was drafted 51 picks before Freiermuth by the Atlanta Falcons. Even though Freiermuth had similar stats in college, the Steelers were able to draft him in a position with less focus and scrutiny than Pitts.
RESON TO BUY
Freiermuth’s stats in his rookie season were 63 receptions for 732 yards and 2 touchdowns with Ben Roethlisberger. Although a Hall of Fame quarterback, Roethlisberger in his last year was a shell of himself. By the end of the season, Freiermuth found his legs as a rookie and started becoming Ben's security blanket. Roethlisberger would then retire, and in 2022, Freiermuth notched 60 receptions, 497 yards, and 7 touchdowns; catching passes from Mitchell Trubisky (5 games), and rookie Kenny Pickett (12 games).
Freiermuth is the clear #1 tight end on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster. The tight ends behind Freiermuth on the depth chart are Zach Gentry, Darnell Washington, Rodney Williams, and Connor Heyward. Heyward primarily plays fullback. Rodney WIlliams has 1 year of experience but has yet to enter a game and may land on the practice squad or be cut. Zach Gentry and Darnell Washington are the other players on the team that are vying for playing time. Washington had a lot of pre-draft hype and some draft experts thought he may be one of the first tight ends selected in the draft. However, he fell to the Steelers at the 93rd pick in the draft. Gentry is a better blocker at this point and is a seasoned veteran.
REASON TO SELL
While Pat Freiermuth has missed only one game in his career, he has had three concussions in the NFL. The handling of Tua Tagavoila’s injuries last year highlighted how some head injuries are treated and has brought attention to when to allow players to return to the field. The NFL has made equipment changes to helmets that seem to be helping concussions happen less frequently. The NFL has also changed many contact rules that help protect defenseless players.
In addition, the NFL uses independent medical professionals to assess a player's readiness to return to the field. In all, the risk of head injuries is still there and with Friermuth having had 3 concussions, the likelihood of a recurrence is high.
In his first two seasons, Freiermuth has proven to be very consistent. However, if Freiermuth wants to ascend from the Top 10 into the Top 5 of tight ends, he will have to gain more yards. He has great hands and is capable of getting open as he continues to perfect his craft with 2nd-year quarterback Kenny Pickett.
As the DynastyProsFootball Superflex Dynasty Rankings say, Freiermuth is the 7th best tight end. In Sam Waldorf’s (DynastyProsFootball Contributor) rankings, he has Freiermuth at 9. I advise checking out both resources for all your ranking needs.
Freiermuth’s current Average Draft Position (ADP) on Sleeper is 97.
I am buying Freiermuth everywhere at his current ADP. If we look at the last two years of his fantasy production, his current ADP is undervaluing his impact. Comparing the tight ends being drafted ahead of Freiermuth, you are getting a discount for the number of fantasy points he produces. Freiermuth has 180 and 181 fantasy points averaging 180.5 points over the last two years.
How are Tight Ends performing that are being drafted ahead of Pat Freiermuth?
Evan Engram, with an ADP of 90, is averaging 166.5 points per season.
Darren Waller, with an ADP of 73, is averaging 130 points per season.
Dallas Goedert with an ADP of 63 is averaging 185.5 points per season.
Kyle Pitts with an ADP of 33 is averaging 152.5 fantasy points per season.
Based on this data, the only tight end performing better and being drafted ahead of Freiermuth is Dallas Goedert. The other tight ends will cost more in draft capital but are not providing managers with the same point production.
Kyle Pitts and Darren Waller may possess the more big-play ability, but our current NFL landscape still cannot shake a security blanket that the tight-end position has provided over the years to quarterbacks. Pat Freiermuth is the security blanket for Kenny Pickett.
In redraft formats, do not break the bank to draft George Kittle or Kyle Pitts in the 3rd round when you can get Freiermuth in the 10th.
And, If you do not currently roster Freiermuth in dynasty formats, open up communication with that manager to make a deal.
If you can trade for Freiermuth by sending a 2nd-round and 3rd-round rookie picks, I advise smashing that deal. I would even go as far as increasing the offer to two 2nd-round rookie picks.
Pat Freiermuth is an undervalued commodity at the tight-end position. You should run, not walk, to acquire his fantasy production for your team right now!
Cody Folden joined the Dynasty Pros team in 2023. He plays in many dynasty leagues but dabbles in other leagues like devy, contract, and scouting leagues. He loves to dive deep into learning about prospects coming up through college and seeing them thrive when they get to the league.