Rashod Bateman Fantasy Football Outlook 2022

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The Baltimore Ravens are expecting big things from Rashod Bateman in 2022. The second-year wide receiver missed a large chunk of his rookie season due to injury but is currently projected to be WR1 for the Ravens. With a decent target share expected to go his way, Bateman’s 2022 fantasy football outlook is certainly intriguing.

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2022 Fantasy Football Outlook: Rashod Bateman

2021 Recap

A fair summary of Bateman’s rookie season would be that despite being affected by injury, Bateman showed some promise. While the numbers fail to show a good level of production, Bateman certainly passed the eye test when he did play.

Bateman was selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Many believed that the wide receiver should have gone higher, given his draft profile, leading to high expectations for his rookie year.

However, like many other Ravens, Bateman’s 2021 season was massively affected by injury. In August 2021, Bateman suffered a groin injury that led to him being placed on the IR. He ultimately missed the opening five games of the regular season before returning in mid-October. Despite being lifted from IR, Bateman’s groin injury appeared to bother him for the rest of the season; he was listed as questionable for the Week 9 game against the Miami Dolphins because of it.

Due to the persistent groin injury, Bateman only played in 12 games in his rookie season and started only four. Over these games, he recorded 46 receptions, 515 yards, and one touchdown; certainly not jaw-dropping numbers.

Despite the lack of production, there were positives to take away from Bateman’s rookie year. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher looked sharp when he did play and demonstrated the smooth route-running that was evidenced at college. Even though he was playing with a hurt groin, Bateman still looked fast and agile.

Bateman’s lack of production in 2021 could also have been due, at least in part, to the Ravens scheme as well as Lamar Jackson’s injuries, which left Tyler Huntley in charge a lot of the time.

2022 Outlook

The Good

The obvious positive for Bateman in 2022 is that he is free of the groin injury that hampered his 2021 season. And he has had a clean record with injuries generally, so fans should expect him to produce throughout 2022.

Indeed, the Ravens are putting a lot of faith in Bateman’s availability and talent. The second-year wideout is the projected WR1 on the depth chart following Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown’s trade to the Arizona Cardinals.

Bateman is currently the most reliable receiver on the team and many pundits believe his usage will reflect that. His competition for targets will largely come from unproven receivers in Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and Tylan Wallace. Baltimore also signed Sammy Watkins this off-season, but the coaches appear to prefer Bateman to be the ‘X’ receiver. As the primary receiver, Bateman will be on the field pretty much all the time which is a good indication that Bateman will be relatively productive in 2022.

The other reason Bateman’s stock is rising is due to Jackson being back under center. Jackson’s injury-riddled 2021 undoubtedly hampered the production of all the Baltimore receivers. However, with Jackson back, the team can re-install their primary game plan.

Throughout the off-season, coaches have been very positive about Bateman’s development, which is certainly a good sign. The news out of camp is that the second-year receiver has developed a superb connection with Jackson.

Looking ahead at the games, FantasyPros lists Bateman’s strength of schedule against wide receivers at 21st. Going up against some of the weaker secondaries in the NFL, Bateman should be able to find some decent production. Most of this will come in the form of yardage though; Bateman’s playstyle coupled with Baltimore’s strength at tight end and rushing means that Bateman will hardly be utilized in red zone and goal-line situations.

The Potential Concerns

There is no doubt that Rashod Bateman would be a risky fantasy football selection for many reasons. The main concern that managers may have is that Bateman simply was not that productive during 2021. While Bateman projects well for 2022, reality can sometimes be disappointing, especially if there is no precedent for solid production.

Baltimore’s scheme is another potential concern. The run-heavy, smashmouth-style style often neglects the boundary threat. The Ravens run most of their offense inside the numbers meaning Bateman’s targets, as a boundary threat, could be limited. This is especially a concern with J.K. Dobbins (here is Dobbins’ 2022 fantasy outlook) and Gus Edwards set to return for 2022 (both missed 2021). Jackson’s return also points to a 2022 playbook that will be more run-heavy than 2021. There is no doubt that a lot of Baltimore’s 2022 offense will consist of utilizing Jackson’s elite rushing ability.

The development of other receivers could also take away from Bateman’s targets. The WR1 position is currently Bateman’s to lose but the likes of Proche and Wallace are prime breakout candidates. Rookie tight end Isaiah Likely is also said to be impressing coaches and teammates. That is without even mentioning Mark Andrews, one of the league’s top tight ends. Andrews will likely be the Ravens primary receiver in terms of target share and production.

Average Draft Position

FantasyPros have Bateman’s ADP down as #89 overall, making him WR37 on average. There is a decent range for Bateman, however, as his draft position ranges between 80 to 100 overall (approximately between WR30 and WR45).

A realistic expectation for Bateman’s 2022 season would be around 800 yards and six touchdowns. Bateman is not a primary red zone threat and so most of those touchdowns will likely come from big downfield plays.

Fantasy football managers should not consider Rashod Bateman an option as a WR1. Given the unpredictability of Bateman’s usage, it would be safest to use him as a WR3/flex option with WR2 upside. Managers should not select Bateman as their second receiver due to Bateman’s low floor in the Ravens scheme.

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