The Las Vegas Raiders selected Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer with the 35th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Here's what you need to know about how his Fantasy stock in both season-long and Dynasty formats is affected by his landing spot.
Mayer's Fantasy fit with the Raiders
The good news is that Mayer is a humongous player with hands of gold in an offense with minimal competition for playing time. He might even flirt with a decent target volume considering who his QB will be and who else is available to catch passes on the roster. The bad news is that he's known just as much for being a blocker as a receiver, and he's also not particularly fast. There's a chance his route-running opportunities won't be as high as we'd normally like for a tight end, and if that's the case then he might just be a glorified TD-or-bust Fantasy option. But he should play plenty, it's just a matter of what he'll do.
It's rare for tight ends to make sizable Fantasy contributions until their second season, if not their third or fourth season. There are exceptions for tight ends who play more like wide receivers. Mayer is not one of these tight ends -- he is a dual threat as both a blocker and as a receiver, likely meaning he won't see the same kind of target share in Las Vegas like he had at Notre Dame. He may become a start-worthy tight end on the basis of his touchdown prowess, but unless it's clear that Josh McDaniels views him as a primary target in the passing game, he could disappoint. Tack on the patience that managers must have if they take Mayer and he's not exactly a tight end to target. You'll probably chase Dalton Kincaid first. Mayer will end up as a second-round pick in all rookie-only drafts.
Michael Mayer: What to know
Mayer almost never played football. When he went to high school, his first love was basketball, and he also played baseball, preferring those to football. But once he was convinced by Covington Catholic High School freshman football coach Ted Edgington to just try football, everything else fell into place. Mayer wound up loving football, mostly because he was bigger than everyone else.
Gronk-sized by the time he was in the middle of his teens, Mayer became a force for Covington Catholic on both sides of the ball (tight end and linebacker), helping them go 39-1 while a member of the varsity team. In 2019 the team went undefeated and won the Class 5A State championship, and Mayer was named the Gatorade Kentucky Football Player of the Year. And if that wasn't enough, Mayer also had a 3.49 GPA and spent his free time volunteering at a soup kitchen. To no one's surprise, he was a four-star prospect by 247Sports and got offers from all over the place including Alabama and Georgia but chose Notre Dame.
Age as of Week 1: 22 | Height: 6-foot-4 1/2 | Weight: 249 | Hand size: 9 1/2 | 40-time: 4.7
Comparable body-type to: Dallas Goedert
We're breaking down everything you need to know about Young from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
- Massive human specimen from head to toe. Upper body isn't far off from being similar to an offensive tackle's. Tree-trunk thighs. He'll look like Gronk when he takes on NFL cornerbacks.
- Lined up everywhere imaginable including out wide and in the backfield. Was used in motion a good amount each game.
- Footwork was good, especially given his girth. Used hesitations, stutters and jab steps to buy slivers of space.
- Overall route-running was solid thanks to nimble nature and lateral agility. Was especially good at selling fakes in his routes to help put defenders on ice. Did round his cuts on occasion.
- Majority of his routes were close to the line of scrimmage, but nearly 21% of his receptions were on throws of 16-plus Air Yards. Most common routes run were out routes, crossers, go routes, hitches.
- Adept at separating with subtle contact in route, a difference compared to blasting into defenders before changing directions. This seemed to be his best way to get a step on his coverage.
- Exhibited an understanding of where to move when a play broke down.
- Gigantic catch radius. Snapped up off-target passes that were a yard behind him or two yards over his head. Terrific body control.
- Hands of gold. Big in size, soft in nature as he made many grabs away from his body. On 255 targets over the past four years, Mayer had 12 drops. In 2022, that drop number was just four on a career-high 101 targets.
- Willing, aggressive blocker with functional strength to move defenders back a few steps. Would even set up his coverage with what looked like a route before crashing into him with a block. Wouldn't flinch if asked to run-block a bigger defensive end.
- Three years of college experience with improvements in yards per catch, yards per route run, ADOT (average depth of target) and touchdowns every year.
- Loves the game and loves the physicality of the game. Famously told Notre Dame Insider that his favorite thing about football was "being able to hit people without getting in trouble."
- Didn't flash off the snap with any special burst.
- Needed at least four steps to accelerate and show at-best solid speed. Mayer won't have any breakaway catch-and-runs without a defensive breakdown helping him out. He will get caught from behind.
- Went down too easily too often for a guy his size. Should have been more plays of multiple defenders tackling Mayer. Overall YAC per reception was 4.85, 38th among 53 qualifying TEs in 2022.
- Not afraid to block but didn't always sustain them. There were multiple occasions when he would slip a defender's arm tackle, however.
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Advanced stats to know
- Led all FBS tight ends in targets with 101 in 2022 and was tied for third-most in 2021 with 95.
- ADOT (Average depth of target) in 2022 was 8.15 yards, 21st among FBS tight ends with at least 40 targets.
- Of his 67 catches, 14 were on throws of 16-plus Air Yards (20.9%).
- Per PFF, had a 65.4% contested catch rate.
- Dominant in the red zone, ranking first among qualifying 2022 tight ends in targets (21), catches (15), yards (153), yards per route run (3.73) and tackles avoided (five). Scored six times inside the 20 with his other three touchdowns coming from 22, 24 and 24 yards out.
If you watch his 2022 game against Ohio State you'll see him struggle. That was his toughest matchup in terms of competition and he ran just 20 routes, tied for his season low. There was an underwhelming feel to his game because he wasn't a big factor. But he kicked his game up a notch after that and showed out as if he was Dallas Goedert. That's the comparison in terms of size, not necessarily in game -- Goedert is a dominant big man who contributes as a blocker and a receiver and sucks up targets with few mistakes. He's just not as explosive as Goedert.