Second-Year Scouting Report: Rashod Bateman


Rookies get all the attention. They’re the flashy new piece that could be anything. And then a class of rookies comes through and they’re old news, replaced by the next flashy, new thing. But last year’s rookies aren’t gone, and in many cases, they’re going to be even better than the exciting new pieces that are just showing up.


Of course, sometimes they won’t be, and that matters too. So as we head toward training camp, preseason, and then the start of the 2022 NFL season, we’re taking a look at last year’s rookie class. What did we think about last year’s rookie class? What worked? What didn’t? And what’s the prognosis for them going forward?

Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Rashod Bateman was drafted with the 27th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And immediately penciled in as the Ravens’ second outside wide receiver alongside Marquise Brown. In his three seasons at Minnesota in college, he produced over 2300 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns in 31 games. His scouting report cited some inconsistency (against press coverage and higher cornerback competition) among his weaknesses, but praised his pro-ready hands, crisp routs and diverse set of releases. He also showed plenty of wiggle and field-stretching ability. He was a sneaky fantasy pick in some circles, going off the board as WR79 (per FantasyPros ADP), but he was more popular in rookie drafts, the WR6 (12th overall). 

What Went Right

Bateman started his rookie season on IR thanks to offseason groin surgery. He debuted in Week 6 and put up 68 targets (54 on first reed, per the FTN Fantasy advanced receiving stats). He caught 68% of his targets and had only 3 drops, both strong numbers. He caught 58.8% of his contested targets, more than teammates Brown or Mark Andrews. In 12 games, he put up double-digit PPR points six times, averaging 7.5 targets in those games.

What Went Wrong

There was the aforementioned injury, of course, that cost him the first five games and held him in check once he debuted. Later in the season he lost his quarterback, Lamar Jackson, for five games in the second half. The normally productive Ravens offense struggled as a result — the team put up fewer than 20 points eight different times, including seven once Bateman debuted. That kept Bateman from finding the end zone very often, as he scored only once all year.


Prognosis Entering 2022

Looking forward to 2022, we should expect a huge uptick in Bateman’s production. He is now the primary wide receiver in Baltimore. Although the Ravens offense is not a pass-heavy offense, Marquise Brown finished as the WR22 last season with 226.3 PPR points. However, Bateman and Brown are different wide receivers, Bateman is more of a possession receiver who should excel in the intermediate-to-short passing game that the Ravens run. It’s easy to envision a scenario where he cracks 1,000 yards as the team’s WR1, and that kind of yardage could result in plenty of touchdowns to boot. With a hopefully healthy Jackson and J.K. Dobbins, the Ravens offense should rebound from last year’s struggles. 

As a dynasty asset, Bateman is a definite buy. As mentioned earlier, the Ravens have not been a high-octane passing attack in the past, but last season they mentioned a want to increase this part of their offense and they did, averaging 233 passing yards per game, up from 171.2 in 2020 and 201.6 in 2019. This was all without their starting quarterback for five games. In these five games, they averaged closer to 200 passing yards than the 260 they averaged with Jackson at the helm. With all the pass-heavy offenses in the AFC, the Ravens will need to continue this trend in the future. As the primary target in the offense, Bateman is in line to see yearly value as a productive, safe WR2 with weekly WR1 upside at times. 

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