Rashod Bateman was one of the most complete wide receiver prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. He may not be quite as flashy as someone like LSU's Ja'Marr Chase, but it's hard to find many holes in his game. And he's stepping into what could be a big role on an offense led by an MVP quarterback.
Normally, that would be a dream situation for fantasy football purposes. But concerns about his usage in a run-heavy Baltimore Ravens' offense do put a significant cap on his upside. Still, Bateman looks like an intriguing late-round flyer this season.
Rashod Bateman Fantasy Outlook 2021
Bateman currently carries an average draft position (ADP) of WR59, per FantasyPros. That makes him a WR5, and he's well worth a gamble at that spot.
The rookie was a beast for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, averaging 93.9 receiving yards per game over his last two seasons. He amassed 96 receptions and 13 touchdowns across that 18 game span. He dominated NCAA opponents at an early age, carrying a breakout age of 18.8, which puts him in the 93rd percentile among WRs. That's typically a great predictor of future NFL success.
Athletically, Bateman tested pretty well. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, which isn't exactly blazing fast. But it's exceptional for a possession receiver like Bateman, who is a polished route runner that can make highlight-reel contested catches.
Baltimore also doesn't exactly have the best WRs ahead of him. Marquise Brown has yet to breakout in any meaningful way, and Sammy Watkins is, well, Sammy Watkins. Tight end Mark Andrews should continue to eat up targets as Lamar Jackson's No. 1 option, but Bateman has a legit path to WR1 duties. His reportedly excellent performance in training camp certainly helps in that regard.
So why isn't an uber-talented rookie with a chance to start for an MVP quarterback being drafted higher? Lamar Jackson isn't a typical MVP quarterback. The Ravens have the league's most run-heavy offense. As a result, no Ravens wideout has ever produced a top-35 fantasy season in PPR formats during Jackson's two years as the full-time starter.
While there's a case to be made Bateman is already the best WR Jackson has ever played with, he's probably not surpassing Mark Andrews as this team's No. 1 target. And being the No. 2 option – a role we don't actually know if Bateman will secure – in an offense that averaged 25.4 passing attempts per game last year is not a path to fantasy success.
Rashod Bateman ADP
Bateman is definitely worth a late-round flyer at his ADP. But it would've been awesome to see one of the most underrated rookie WRs land in a more pass-heavy offense.
He definitely has upside, but he's got a lot of hurdles to clear in order to realize that potential.
We currently have Bateman as the WR50 in our 2021 fantasy football rankings – putting him 9 spots ahead of his current ADP.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.