Michael Mayer Was a Steal for the Raiders and Could Be For Your Fantasy Team Too
Michael Mayer’s first trip to Las Vegas was one to remember. Last October against BYU, Mayer set the Notre Dame career receptions record (146) for a tight end. He caught 11 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-20 win over BYU at Allegiant Stadium.
The Raiders front office got an up-close look at Mayer in their backyard as Allegiant Stadium hosted the Fighting Irish for the 2022 Shamrock Series contest with BYU. They liked what they saw, apparently.
So much so that Mayer’s second trip to Las Vegas featured him donning a Raiders jersey at their team headquarters in Henderson, Nevada.
The Raiders were thrilled to land Mayer in Round 2
After the second day of the NFL Draft wrapped up, Raiders GM Dave Ziegler said that the Raiders tried to trade back into the first round to select Mayer, calling him “one of the top 15 players” on their draft board. So, when that didn’t happen, they made sure they moved up early in the second round to nab Mayer. Ziegler said the Raiders were “really excited to be able to get a young tight end with his skill set where we got him. We felt like that was very good value.”
“When we got to the end of the first round there were some discussions there about possibly moving back into the first round, and he was one of the guys that we had discussions about in that mold. Ultimately that didn’t come to fruition, it didn’t kind of work out that way. So, talked about it a lot last night, talked about it a lot today, and the fact that he was still there was a very exciting moment for us. He was one of the top-15 players on our board just in totality. So, to be able to get a guy like Michael [Mayer], a tight end, good size. A really unique thing about him I’d say is his short area quickness. He’s a bigger guy, but he still has – when you watch the tape – he has the ability to win in a short area, can win on third down, use his size down in the red zone. Obviously has some size to continue to develop as a run blocker. Another kid with excellent traits, very smart. Probably in terms of our scale of traits, one of the highest guys on our board in that regard too, the way we kind of measure that. So, really excited to be able to get a young tight end with his skill set where we got him. We felt like that was very good value.”
Good value is an understatement. I have Mayer as one of the biggest steals of the NFL Draft for the Raiders. As for Mayer, he’s excited to call Vegas home and work with head coach Josh McDaniels. McDaniels knows tight ends, having produced arguably the greatest ever in New England, Rob Gronkowski.
“Coach McDaniels knows how to use tight ends, and he loves tight ends,” Mayer said at his introductory presser last month. “And so, I think I’m going to fit very well into the offense.”
Mayer was a steal for the Raiders and figures to be a big part of their offense. Mayer can slide into the spot vacated by Darren Waller, whom the Raiders traded to the New York Giants. Given Josh McDaniel’s expertise with tight ends and the amount of playing time up for the taking for Mayer in Vegas, the Raiders are arguably the best spot in the NFL for Mayer to begin his career.
But Michael Mayer could be a steal for you too!
According to 4for4’s Pranav Rajaram, Mayer is currently being drafted as a TE20 (via Underdog ADP). If you’re wondering why, I can point to one specific projection model that doesn’t see him having a significant impact.
Mike Clay’s 2023 projections over at ESPN were not kind to Mayer. Clay has Mayer catching 28 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns on 41 targets this season. In addition, Clay has veteran tight end Austin Hooper catching 40 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns on 60 targets.
I’m not buying that model. Neither is Rajaram, who says that while Mayer won’t see the targets to be an elite receiving tight end this season, he “should easily be able to compete with guys like David Njoku and Pat Freiermuth to be a low-end TE1.”
You can check out Pranav Rajaram’s complete write-up on Michael Mayer’s 2023 fantasy football outlook at 4for4: