Rashod Bateman is the newest member of the Baltimore Ravens. At No. 27 overall, the Ravens selected the former Minnesota wide receiver, meaning Baltimore has now used a first-round draft pick on a wide receiver in two of their last three draft classes.
It's not often you see four-star recruits out of Georgia head out to Minnesota to play for the Gophers in the Big Ten, but that's exactly what Rashod Bateman decided to do. In the process, Bateman, a two-sport athlete, chose to pass up scholarship offers from Virginia Tech and Penn State to play basketball. The basketball background is easy to see when watching Bateman, who plays much bigger than his size would indicate and displays nuanced footwork when it comes to his releases off the line of scrimmage. Ultimately, after receiving 20 football scholarship offers, Bateman decided to join P.J. Fleck at Minnesota.
Bateman set single-season high school records in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns before leading the NCAA in yards per route run (from an outside alignment, per Pro Football Focus) as a sophomore. He even added experience as a slot receiver in 2020 to his arsenal. While Bateman isn't the flashiest prospect, he separates from coverage with ease and has consistently proven himself a deep threat. This makes him one of the most exciting prospects for Fantasy both in redraft and Dynasty formats.
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We're breaking down everything you need to know about Bateman from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
2021 Fantasy impact
The Ravens were rumored to be interested in Allen Robinson before the Bears tagged him and Kenny Golladay before the Giants signed him, so it was clear they might be looking to upgrade Lamar Jackson's receiver corps in the draft. Although Baltimore used their first-round pick in 2019 on Marquise Brown, a combination of injuries and a slow-developing rapport with Jackson has limited his production through two years. Enter Bateman -- a polished route runner who might be the smoothest in and out of his breaks of anyone in this class not named Devonta Smith.
Bateman could immediately take over as the No. 1 boundary X receiver in this offense, but he also found success when working in the slot at Minnesota. That is not off the table either. However, it's important to note that the ceiling is probably capped for Bateman in Year 1 unless Baltimore makes dramatic changes to their offense and game script dictates more pass-heavy plans. Neither of those things seem to happen and the Ravens are likely to be the most (or one of the most) run-heavy teams in 2021. Still, there's a clear path for Bateman to see nearly 100% of the snaps in Year 1 and that won't be the case for all of these talented receivers in the 2021 class.
Bateman is no secret in Dynasty leagues and was consistently selected in the first round of one-QB rookie drafts prior to 2021 NFL Draft. After landing in Baltimore, despite being in a run-heavy offense, the upside for immediate volume means he's likely to be a first-round rookie pick. In our pre-draft rookie only-PPR mock draft, I grabbed Bateman with the 10th pick in the first round. In the pre-draft rookie-only Superflex mock draft, Heath Cummings grabbed Bateman with the first pick in the second round (13th overall).
- Seamless ability to create separation with his footwork immediately off the line of scrimmage -- this is his calling card trait and it should translate immediately at the next level.
- Elusiveness after the catch, consistently forcing missed tackles in the open field (more on that below in advanced stats).
- Nuanced route running.
- Lower-body agility that allows him to transition in and out of cuts.
- Better-than-expected straight-line speed (4.39 40-yard dash) and consistently wins on vertical routes.
- Shows the ability to come back to the football and doesn't let passes get into his body.
- Versatility: won consistently against both man and zone coverage both as an outside X receiver in 2019 and when kicked inside to the slot in 2020.
- Plus body control that shows up when Bateman is in the air and asked to adjust to the football.
- Dominated against top-25 competition in 2019.
- Smaller than advertised on the team's official site and than expected at just 6-foot and 190 pounds.
- Not the most physical or tough receiver when asked to make plays that could often result in taking big hits over the middle and in most contested-catch situations.
- Struggles with concentration-based drops (more on that below in advanced stats). Important to not be mistaken for hands-based drop issues -- he is not a body catcher.
- Doesn't possess a large catch radius, which could make him a subpar option for any team inside the red zone.
- Didn't show much as a blocker on run plays.
|2020 v top 25||1||8||111||1||13.9||0|
|2019 v top 25||3||19||448||2||23.6||0|
Advanced stats to know
- 43.7% College Dominator rating puts him in the 88th percentile among all WRs, per Player Profiler.
- 18.8 Breakout Age puts him in the 94th percentile among all WRs, per Player Profiler.
- 36 forced broken tackles on just 147 career catches, per PFF.
- 19 dropped passes on 166 career catchable targets, per PFF.
- 46 catches on passes thrown 10-plus yards downfield in 2019 -- most in all of CFB.
Bateman's ability to win so immediately off the line of scrimmage is what makes him sneaky as a prospect. Similar to players like Keenan Allen and Michael Gallup before him, Bateman doesn't have the flashy traits and so it's possible he could slip into Day 2 of the draft like they did. I don't fully see Allen or Gallup when watching Bateman, but he reminds me most of a smaller but quicker version of Cooper Kupp. Ultimately, when translating to the NFL, I think his best fit could come in the slot.