We joke a lot about how the most ominous famous last words a Fantasy Football analyst can utter are, "Maybe tight end isn't so bad anymore." It's the kind of narrative we try to talk ourselves into every season, and every season, Travis Kelce ends up lapping the field, with maybe one other guy emerging as an elite option, a few other must-start guys, and then a whole bunch of, "Boy, I hope he scores a touchdown" guys.
But the emergence of rookies Dalton Kincaid and Sam LaPorta, plus second-year guy Trey McBride as must-start Fantasy options has changed the outlook of the TE position this season, and they may have been joined by another young breakout candidate Sunday, as Pat Freiermuth put together a huge performance for the Steelers in Week 12.
Freiermuth, who played a limited role after coming back from IR in Week 11, was fully unleashed and was a focal point for the Steelers passing game against the Bengals. He was targeted a team-high 11 times, catching nine passes for 120 yards – a career-high in catches and his first 100-yard game.
It's just one game for Freiermuth – his first this season with more than 41 yards, even – but it's hard to ignore that kind of production from a position where 100-yard games are incredibly rare – Freiermuth is just the eighth tight end with more than 100 yards in a game this season. And, like, McBride, we are talking about a young, recent second-round pick who has shown some upside in the past.
And, perhaps most notably: Freiermuth did this in the Steelers' first game after Matt Canada's firing. The scheme wasn't completely different, but the results were, as they had their first 400-yard game as an offense in 58 games. Freiermuth probably won't be the top target for the team moving forward – he benefited from a matchup with a Bengals defense allowing the third-highest yards per target to tight ends this season of any defense. Diontae Johnson will almost certainly earn more targets than Freiermuth moving forward, and I'd bet on George Pickens doing so as well, but if this offense can be more like league average moving forward, that could still leave a big enough role for Freiermuth to matter.
Again, it's just one game, so you don't want to overreact. But, unless I had one of Travis Kelce, Sam LaPorta, Dalton Kincaid, Trey McBride, George Kittle or T.J. Hockenson, I'd absolutely be looking to add Freiermuth on waivers where he's available. And I will be ranking him as a top-10 Fantasy option at TE in Week 13. And that might be too low.
Here's who we'll be looking to add ahead of Week 13:
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Jalin Hyatt WR
NYG N.Y. Giants • #13
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
The Giants passing game has been abysmal pretty much all season, and there really hasn't been much to get excited about here, especially since Darren Waller's injury. However, Hyatt put together the best game of his young career Sunday, leading the team in every receiving category for his first 100-yard game of the season. It's just one game, and his quarterback is still Tommy DeVito, so Hyatt certainly isn't a must-add option, especially with the Giants facing a bye in Week 13. But he heads into the bye week with some momentum and could be a late-season breakout.
Jordan Love QB
GB Green Bay • #10
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Love has certainly had his ups and downs in his first season as a starter, but heads into Week 13 riding high. Love had arguably his best game of the season in Week 12 against the Lions, passing for three touchdowns and 268 yards, and he now has seven touchdowns over his past three games, with just two interceptions. The Packers have figured out how to scheme up some easier looks for him, and they've started to figure out the best way to deploy their many young pass-catching options. It's a tough matchup in Week 13 against the Chiefs, but with Love playing as well as he is, it might be worth trusting him.
GB Green Bay • #9
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Among those young weapons of Love's, I still think Watson's is the most intriguing skill set, given his size, athleticism, and proven ability to create big plays both down the field and after the catch. This has been a trying season for sure, and his breakout in Week 12 may end up being a foot note in an otherwise disappointing season. However, given that skill set and Love's recent growth, Watson still has a ton of upside, and I want to have him on my bench for the stretch run, just in case.