Bateman is a fantastic prospect, though his 2021 outlook is muddled thanks to the Ravens’ run-oriented attack, the presence of Marquise Brown (and Sammy Watkins), and Mark Andrews as the team’s most dependable receiver.
Ravens wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin will return to practice this week, coach John Harbaugh said Monday, taking them one step closer to their potential 2021 debuts.
Bateman, the team’s top draft pick, suffered a groin injury Aug. 10 in training camp that required surgery. Boykin, who started 13 games last season, hurt his hamstring Aug. 2, sidelining him for nearly all of training camp and the Ravens’ preseason schedule. Both were placed on injured reserve to start the season. Once a player placed on IR returns to practice, his team has 21 days to place him on its active roster. If the player is not activated, he reverts to season-ending IR the story said.
BAL WR Rashod Bateman - 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook
Rashod Bateman is a fantastic rookie prospect. He reminds me of a faster Terrell Owens and I had him ranked second among my rookie receivers this year heading into April’s draft – behind Ja'Marr Chase. I’m that high on him. His addition to the Ravens offense could completely change the dynamic of the team, and there are already rumblings about how they want Lamar Jackson to throw the ball more. The team at least appears to be looking in that direction, adding Bateman in the first round, Sammy Watkins in free agency and Tylan Wallace in the fourth round. If they can even get to league-average in pass attempts – admittedly a big jump from last in the league – then Bateman’s ceiling grows exponentially.
The Ravens haven’t produced a solid WR2 season in fantasy since Mike Wallace in 2016, and they haven’t had a WR1 option since Michael Jackson in 1996. There may simply not be enough targets for Bateman to thrive as a rookie. He also will be vying with Marquise Brown – 100 targets last season – and tight end Mark Andrews. If the Ravens don’t transform their offense, top-level production seems far-fetched, even if everything clicks for the rookie. Additionally, Bateman, of course, carries the usual uncertainty around being a rookie.
2021 Bottom Line
Bateman is in an interesting position as a fantasy asset. His landing spot on a run-heavy offense has had fantasy owners running scared from him. Normally, first-round rookies with a clear path to a starting gig get over-drafted based on potential. Bateman is available in the 14th round. That makes him a wonderful dart throw in all league formats, just in case his talent wins out over historical offensive scheming. Without much investment, Bateman’s range of outcomes makes him worth considering as an end-of-the-roster WR5 with significant upside.