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Dynasty Fantasy Football Second-Year Leap: Rashod Bateman, WR BAL

Will Rashod Bateman break out in Baltimore in year two? We analyze his sophomore season potential.

Rashod Bateman

In this series, I want to highlight some rookies I expect to take a massive step forward in year two. I’ll look at various rookies, from those who had solid rookie years to those who did almost nothing in year one. To completely break down each player, I’ll split these pieces into five sections: college career and NFL Draft profile, rookie statistics, dynasty ADP analysis, future situation, and final recommendation.

If you want to read my previous entries, I’ve included the complete list at the bottom of this article. I also added links to my 2021 series, so you can look at last year’s breakouts and how they fared. With that said, let’s jump into it!

College Career and NFL Draft Profile

Bateman was not my favorite wide receiver prospect in the 2021 class, but he was a solid collegiate producer at Minnesota.

Chart courtesy of Sports Reference CFB.

In his freshman season, he became a starting wide receiver, serving as the secondary receiving weapon behind Tyler Johnson. Then in 2019, he truly broke out, going off for 60 receptions, 1,219 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Johnson still finished ahead of him in all receiving categories, but Johnson was a senior. Therefore, Bateman’s performance was more impressive considering the experience gap.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, limiting Bateman to only five games. However, he was their clear top receiver, taking Johnson’s place after he declared for the NFL Draft. After that season, Bateman decided to declare for the NFL Draft, forgoing the rest of his college eligibility.

The Ravens saw his 2019 breakout, and they took him in the first round with the 27th overall pick. Even though he received first-round draft capital, he was only the eighth overall pick in DLF’s May 1QB rookie mock drafts. The 2021 class contained a loaded group of running backs and wide receivers, plus a generational tight end prospect in Kyle Pitts. In superflex mock drafts, Bateman fell to the 13th overall pick, behind all five top quarterback prospects. Personally, I ranked Bateman similarly to his ADP, although I chose Elijah Moore, Rondale Moore, and sadly Trey Sermon over him a few times.

Rookie Statistics

Bateman had an up-and-down rookie season.

Chart courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

He started by missing the first five games with a groin injury before returning in week six. Unfortunately, between his injury and Lamar Jackson’s injuries, he never had a fair shot at making a mark as a rookie.

Chart courtesy of DLF Snap Count App.

He failed to break a 75% snap share until week 15, serving as a part-time player until then. It seems like it took most of the season for him to get acquainted with the Ravens’ offense, especially considering all the other issues they had in 2021.

Considering Bateman only averaged 3.8 receptions and 42.9 yards per game in 2021, he didn’t make any fantasy impact in your lineup. But, there are some promising signs for his future development. He played far better with Jackson in the lineup over replacement Tyler Huntley.

Chart courtesy of DLF Player Splits App.

As you can see, he averaged more PPR points, targets, yards, and receptions with Jackson, even though he had a similar target share. Of course, 9.5 PPR PPG isn’t anything special, but it’s not terrible for a rookie, and 53.6 yards/game is a solid performance. Hopefully, he can build on his decent rookie year in 2022.

Future Situation

Bateman’s future situation changed entirely when the Ravens traded Marquise Brown to the Cardinals during the NFL Draft. Brown finished second on the Ravens with 146 targets in 2021, just behind Mark Andrews at 153. The Ravens had no other significant weapons beyond them, as Bateman was third in targets, receptions, and yards.

After making that trade, I expected the Ravens to select a wide receiver in the first or second round, but they picked two fourth-round tight ends instead. They didn’t pick a single wide receiver in the entire NFL Draft, and they also signed nobody in free agency. Sammy Watkins was their fourth receiver last season, but he signed with the Packers. Therefore, the Ravens have the most barren depth chart in the NFL, with Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and Tylan Wallace as their receivers behind Bateman.

Of course, the Ravens still may sign a free-agent wide receiver, although there are few options left on the market. Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr, Will Fuller, and TY Hilton are the only four players who would legitimately compete for targets, but none are overly appealing. Jones and Hilton seem entirely washed up, Beckham Jr won’t be ready to play for half the season, and Fuller hasn’t done anything since his PED suspension midway through 2020.

The Ravens will also likely move to base 12 personnel, as they have blocking tight end Nick Boyle and their two fourth-round tight ends behind Mark Andrews. I don’t expect any of the depth tight ends to compete for targets unless Andrews goes down, and no other receivers beyond Brown have mattered since 2019. So, for now, Bateman should step into a high-volume role, similar to Brown’s share in the 2021 offense.

However, the Ravens are committed to Jackson and a run-first approach. They drafted zero wide receivers, two tight ends, and a running back, and I think they want to return to their 2020 offense. That year, they had a league-low 406 passing attempts, compared to 611 in 2021. So even if Bateman retains Brown’s share in the offense, the passing pie will be lower. It’s challenging to project over multiple years, but I rank Bateman as the WR31 for 2022 redraft formats based on his situation.

Dynasty ADP Analysis

Right now, Bateman is the WR22 with an ADP of 45.67 overall in DLF’s May 1QB ADP data. Interestingly, his current value represents his peak value by a large margin.

Chart courtesy of DLF ADP Over Time App.

Previously, he peaked at 52 overall in December 2021, but he fell to 59th in January 2022 and then even further once the 2022 rookies entered the data set in February. But now, he’s at an all-time high. I rank Bateman almost identically to his current ADP, at WR23 and 45th overall. Therefore, I believe he’s fairly priced.

Trade Options and Final Recommendation

Generally, I thought Bateman was underpriced early this off-season, based on his potential upside and talent. But now, it’s almost certainly more challenging to acquire him, especially if a Bateman truther already had him on their roster. However, here are a couple of examples of some trades I would accept to receive Bateman using the DLF Trade Finder.

I still prefer Stefon Diggs to Bateman straight up, but the difference between them is far less than a 2023 first-round pick. I’d gladly tier down from Diggs to Bateman in this trade, buying extra youth at wide receiver and a future asset.

While I have Allen Robinson ranked a few spots higher for the 2022 season, he turns 29 in August, making him over six years older than Bateman. This trade would be easy for me to make, no matter the state of my team.

Overall, I see Bateman taking a massive step forward in 2022, even if he doesn’t become a fantasy superstar just yet. However, perhaps he can follow the same career path as Brown before him. If he succeeds as a solid option on a low-volume offense, he may eventually find himself in a better situation down the line. Considering he doesn’t even turn 23 years old until November, he has plenty of time along the dynasty age curve to improve his value. But to start, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do as the Ravens’ clear top receiver this year.

2022 Entries: Kyle Pitts

2021 Entries: D’Andre Swift, Cole Kmet, Chase Claypool, Harrison Bryant, Gabriel Davis, CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins, Lynn Bowden, Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darnell Mooney, Bryan Edwards, Jerry Jeudy

Dynasty Fantasy Football Second-Year Leap: Rashod Bateman, WR BAL
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