Buy Or Sell: Pat Freiermuth Will Rebound In Big Way From Fumble

The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.

That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).

The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.

Topic Statement: Pat Freiermuth will rebound in a big way from his critical fumble last week.

Explanation: There aren’t too many blemishes on the rookie’s record thus far. He has two dropped passes, and then there was that fumble, which is currently the lasting taste in everyone’s mouths. For the most part, he’s had a really smooth transition from the college level and has been able to produce. A moment like that could be confidence-shaking, however, and there aren’t always opportunities to contribute every week.


Opportunities shouldn’t really be an issue. He has averaged a little more than seven targets per game over the past four games, since wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was injured. He actually had a season-high nine from Mason Rudolph last Sunday, though they only connected on five, and that connection should be improved upon.

It is important to quantify what rebounding ‘in a big way’ here is. We’re not talking about a 100-yard game or something. There have been something like four or five out of the tight end position in Steelers history. His career high is 58 yards.

But can he do 5-70-1 or something similar against the Los Angeles Chargers, with a depleted and banged up wide receiver group surrounding him? I certainly think so. And they’ll also want to get him the ball early, I think, due to that fumble, and just get everybody past it.


Freiermuth doesn’t seem to be somebody who is poorly-composed in terms of how he would respond to adversity, but frankly, you never can tell. While he is further along than in most cases, we have certainly seen high-productivity college players who were high draft picks go in the tank after struggling in the pros, like Limas Sweed and Curtis Brown.

But more simplistically, the Steelers just don’t have the sort of dynamic passing game that is going to yield big numbers to anybody very often, and certainly not out of a slot presence. He might get a higher volume of receptions, but that will probably be with a trade-off of a shallow depth of target. The man is averaging 8.6 yards per catch this year, in spite of all of the praise he’s garnered. He’s not exactly a big-play machine, but that’s not what they drafted him to be, either.

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