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Michael Mayer

2023 Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update: Michael Mayer

We focus on each rookie’s situation, talent, opportunity, risk, and market to provide post-draft analysis for dynasty managers.

Michael Mayer

The NFL Draft is behind us, rookie drafts are taking place, and as dynasty managers, we are looking ahead to the upcoming season. In our Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update series, we break down all the incoming fantasy-relevant rookies, looking at their profiles and where they fit. The basis of the rookie profile involves the usage of STORM analysis, focusing on five key components: Situation, Talent, Opportunity, Risk, and Market.


Name: Michael Mayer

Position: Tight End

Pro Team: Las Vegas Raiders

College Team: Notre Dame

Draft Status: Round Two, Pick 35

Mayer’s situation isn’t my favorite of the tight ends who received high draft capital in the NFL Draft. The Raiders already have Davante Adams as their clear top receiving weapon, and they signed Jakobi Meyers to a three-year, $33 million contract this off-season. Additionally, Hunter Renfrow is a solid slot receiver who will compete with Mayer for over-the-middle targets in this offense. The Raiders also brought in Austin Hooper, although he’s only on a one-year deal. However, it’s possible Hooper and Mayer could share playing time, at least to open the 2023 season.

Beyond the other receiving weapons, the rest of the Raiders’ offense is also unappealing for fantasy football. Head coach Josh McDaniels is one of my least favorite coaches in the NFL, spreading toxic and negative energy wherever he goes. New starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a fine player, but he’s not a high-ceiling quarterback. He struggled to support multiple weapons consistently in Kyle Shanahan’s system, so I’m not optimistic for anyone beyond Adams in 2023. Before the NFL Draft, I had Mayer well ahead of all the other tight ends in this class, but his draft capital and situation caused his stock to tumble.


Michael Mayer Combine Results:

Height: 6′ 4 ½”

Weight: 249 lbs

Arm: 31 ⅝”

Hand: 9 ½”

40-Yard Dash: 4.7 seconds

10-Yard Split: 1.66 seconds

Vertical Jump: 32.5″

Broad Jump: 9′ 10″

It’s fair to say that Mayer’s physical measurables are far from the most impressive in this class. He didn’t excel in any of the events at the NFL Combine, and some of his athletic comparables include Hayden Hurst and Dalton Schultz. Now, while those two players had some production in the NFL, neither hit high-end fantasy numbers due to their mediocre athleticism.

Like Hurst and Schultz, though, Mayer boasts a well-rounded skill set, allowing him to play the NFL tight end position from Day 1 better than any other tight end in this class. He immediately became Notre Dame’s starting tight end as a freshman in 2020, tying for the team lead in receptions. Then in 2021 and 2022, he easily led the team in receptions, serving as their top receiving target in both years. Even though he slightly regressed production-wise in 2022, he had a far higher share of the receiving production compared to 2021, as Notre Dame’s offense moved away from throwing the ball.

After his strong 2022 performance, Mayer had nothing left to prove in college, as he had two years of receiving production and showed blocking ability in Notre Dame’s run offense. He’s also Notre Dame’s all-time leader in tight end receptions, despite only playing three college seasons. Yet, despite his strong track record, he was the third tight end selected in the NFL Draft, behind Dalton Kincaid and Sam LaPorta. Neither has the blocking ability or the production history of Mayer, but they were more athletic at the NFL Combine. It’s an interesting test for what matters more between athleticism and college performance for tight ends, both for fantasy football and the NFL.


As referenced earlier, the Raiders have a relatively crowded offensive depth chart.


Chart courtesy of 4for4.

Therefore, I don’t expect much from Mayer in the short term. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not particularly fantasy relevant as a rookie. However, I do like how he’s not stuck behind an established incumbent starter, like Dallas Goedert or Trey McBride was behind Zach Ertz. Hooper was a low-cost free agent acquisition this off-season to replace Darren Waller and Foster Moreau on the depth chart, and there’s no loyalty to him as the starter.

I expect Mayer to see the field as a rookie, at least a lot more than McBride did in 2022. But unfortunately, he doesn’t have a wide-open depth chart like LaPorta in Detroit, where he could be the full-time starter from Day 1. I really wished that the Lions selected Mayer instead of LaPorta, as Mayer would’ve smashed in that spot.


Data courtesy of Sports Reference. 

Rookie tight ends don’t tend to be startable fantasy assets, with 2021 Kyle Pitts, 2017 Evan Engram, and 2002 Jeremy Shockey serving as the only real fantasy starters in this millennium. But rookie tight ends don’t need to be weekly starters to gain dynasty value; they need to show flashes of production and talent. Greg Dulcich and Chig Okonkwo are the TE14 and TE16 in May’s DLF ADP, even though neither finished in the top-20 fantasy TEs as a rookie. Neither Dulcich nor Okonkwo has the talent or draft capital that Mayer does, so there’s no reason why Mayer can’t take a similar path.

However, Mayer is already the TE11 in that same ADP data, so dynasty managers expect more entering the NFL than those other prospects. Therefore, he carries some risk, as even a relatively successful rookie year may not be enough for him to hold that dynasty value after one year. Additionally, his lack of athleticism hurts his ceiling, and I doubt he’ll ever quite carry that top tight ends like Kelce, Andrews, and Pitts do now. Lastly, his strong blocking skills may cause a “George Kittle” effect, where his fantasy production suffers from his blocking use.


Mayer is the rookie TE2 in May’s DLF rookie ADP, behind Kincaid and ahead of LaPorta.

Data courtesy of MFL May ADP on DLF. 

However, valuing him against other rookies is difficult, as this class becomes a mess after the top few players. I agree with the top-11 players in this ADP, and they form a clear tier ahead of everyone else in my rankings. I have Mims and Bryce Young ahead of Mayer instead of Mingo, but I rank him 14th overall in a 1 QB, non-TE premium format.

Data courtesy of DLF Trade Analyzer.

Despite Mayer’s profile, he’s not the best value in rookie drafts this year. LaPorta is a way better value at 23rd overall, as I see him and Mayer almost equivalent in value. Bizarrely, though, LaPorta is the TE10 in startup ADP, one spot ahead of Mayer, totally contrasting with the rookie ADP. Considering how messy the tight end position is in Dynasty, though, I have Mayer as TE9. I’d gladly invest in his startup price, where he’s a tenth-round pick.

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2023 Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update: Michael Mayer
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