Let’s take a look at what to expect from Rashod Bateman as you prepare for the 2023 fantasy football season.
- Rhamondre Stevenson Profile
- Dynasty Trade Value Chart
- Dynasty Rookie Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Dynasty Rookie Draft Sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Latest Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft
Rashod Bateman was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens after an uber-productive college career. The highly-touted prospect’s 35% career dominator rating ranked No. 1 in his class among receivers from the FBS. The former Golden Gopher also led the nation in yards per route run (3.6) and was PFF’s eighth-highest graded receiver (89.2) from an out-wide alignment during his epic sophomore season.
The impressive stats were enough to convince the Ravens to draft him 27th overall as the fifth WR off the board.
But Bateman would not get the chance to make an immediate impact after undergoing a groin injury. He missed the first five weeks of his rookie season before making his season debut. The 6-foot-2 and 210-pound receiver compiled at least 50 receiving yards in his next three games, reaching 80 in two of them.
Then after an unusual snafu in Week 13 where Bateman was hardly used, he posted his first 100-yard game, catching seven of his eight targets from backup quarterback Tyler Huntley. It was at this point that Bateman had become officially entrenched in the offense.
Over the final five weeks, Bateman ran a route on 88% of dropbacks. In Week 18, Bateman tied Marquise Brown with 40 routes run. But what’s most impressive is that Bateman had more receiving yards than Brown from Weeks 14-18 despite the latter seeing 18 more targets.
It’s a credit to Bateman’s per-target efficiency that he was able to compile over 500 receiving yards on fewer than 70 targets. The only first-round rookie WR to accomplish that feat since 2010 is Brandin Cooks — arguably the NFL’s most underrated wide receiver.
The 2022 season presented a great opportunity for Bateman to step in as the Ravens No. 1 WR with Marquise Brown shipped off to the Arizona Cardinals. However, similar to his rookie campaign, Bateman’s sophomore season was cut short by injuries. But the per-target flashes of efficiency remained intact, as the Ravens wideout finished the season 13th in yards per route run (2.38) and third in yards per reception while averaging a 23% target rate per route run.
However, it needs to be hit home that it’s another small sample size from Bateman as his entire 2022 campaign was just a combination of big plays. His aDOT of target was over 20 yards in half of his games and his numbers plummet if you remove his 75-yard catch-and-run TD against the Dolphins. His yards per route run would fall to 1.76 — which is more fine than stellar. And when he wouldn’t deliver a big play, Bateman was strictly operating on the outside running slants and drags.
In 13 games played with Lamar Jackson, Bateman has averaged 51 receiving yards per game on 3.4 receptions and 5.4 targets.
Bateman finds himself in a much more crowded Baltimore WR room in 2023, with the Ravens selecting Zay Flowers in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. They also signed Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency to a lucrative veteran deal. Baltimore clearly viewed the WR position as an area of need this offseason with Bateman’s inability to stay healthy and that doesn’t bode well for his immediate fantasy appeal. It’s possible if he stays healthy he could emerge as the No. 1 WR, but that’s still likely just the No. 2 pass-catcher with tight end Mark Andrews entrenched as the true No. 1. And it’s no guarantee Bateman can earn more targets than a healthy Beckham or fellow first-rounder Flowers, who the team is definitely excited about as their new shiny toy. Considering Bateman could fall to No.4 in the pecking order, he has to be viewed as a boom-or-bust/big-play-only option that you should not rely on on as a starting option to open the season.
General Outlook for 2023 and Rest of Career
As I write the profile, I am currently looking to sell off dynasty shares of Bateman. The market isn’t super high on the Ravens third-year wide receiver (WR40 in the FantasyPros Dynasty Value Chart) but his first-round draft capital and high-end efficiency offer some dynasty managers hope. But two years in without a breakout to his name, the ship may have sailed on Bateman hitting.
Beckham isn’t a long-term concern on a one-year deal, but his presence hinders Bateman enough in 2023 to prevent another potential breakout. Bateman also isn’t likely to ever benefit from Jackson’s elite passing over the middle, with regulated to perimeter duties. Flowers will be more likely to kick inside, making him not only the better option this year but for dynasty managers in general.
My final point with Bateman is that his first two years don’t paint a pretty projection for him. He has reached 800 receiving yards on fewer than 100 targets, which has been done by 10 other players through their first two seasons. George Pickens went for 801 on 84 targets just last season alone. But the other most relevant names are not encouraging. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Henry Ruggs, Arrelious Benn and Robert Meachem round out the remaining group of recent names to accomplish the feat. No alphas, just role players.
Even if Bateman can carve out a DPJ-esque 2022 season as a big-play threat (61-839-3 on 96 targets), it’s not going to move the needle that much to skyrocket his dynasty value. I think I’d be fine trading him for older guys like Calvin Ridley or Keenan Allen. For Pickens straight up would definitely be ideal.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – that allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.