Dynasty Dilemma: Rashod Bateman
By Cody Folden
If you haven't read Joe Goodwin’s article on Rashod Bateman in August of 2022, before you read this I would go and refer to that first. It is a very good article and is still relevant even an year later. Why? Rashod Bateman’s injury plagued season. Bateman played in six games and caught 15 passes for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns.. In his first 2 seasons he has played a total of 18 games starting 9 of them but averaging 13.1 per reception. The wide receiver coming out of Minnesota was a first round draft pick and as of right now hasn’t lived up to that potential. There are a few reasons for this though, first is the obvious injury, as we have talked about above. Second is, Batemans QB Lamar Jackson has also not been able to stay on the field. Finally, the coaching staff doesn't give WRs that enough to win at some points.
The 2023 season is a make or break year for Rashod Bateman in Baltimore I believe. With never having an injury history before going to Baltimore, it could be assumed that the training staff isn’t doing enough, the production on the field hasn’t been there but you can read anything about how good he is in practice and off the field that he has the talent. When your GM calls out his own picks saying that he is going to keep swinging because he hasn't found his All Pro guy might not be the way to go about it and you could see why a 23 year old player could be offended. The NFL is fast paced and there is no patience anymore. So what do we do with him in the fantasy?
As stated above, a few HUGE reasons to buy is his 13.1 yard per reception for his career. That is a good number and if he can get WR1 or even WR2 targets. If Bateman stays healthy those could be good numbers at the end of the season. In college, at Minnesota he averaged 16.2 yards per reception while playing in the Big 10 where there are great cornerbacks in that league. He has the ability for big plays, as he has shown in the NFL. September 18th, 2022 the Ravens are on the 25 yard line, Bateman is lined up in the slot and Lamar Jackson throws a beautiful ball to Bateman coming off of a slant route 7 yards down the field, and the rest is history. 75 yards later, its a touchdown. If you don't know the play, watch the play, watch his crisp route at the top and see how the defender bites to create the separation. This play gives you every reason to buy and we haven't even talked about Bateman still only being 23. Like many NFL general managers though, fantasy managers do not have the patience to see things come to fruition sometimes.
As of March 13th, 2023 we still don’t know his quarterback situation. Like above, is there reason to believe he has WR1 potential? Yes, but he has not proved that yet. Will he ever? With injuries riddling him so far and at such a young age, we just really don't know. The draft capital for Bateman coming out was in the middle of the first round or early second round and his rate of return just hasn’t been there. Remember, fantasy managers are even less patient compared to NFL GMs and that can be the wrong move in dynasty formats.
This argument skews one way and I believe it's obvious why. This offseason may be the cheapest Bateman ever is. If you don't have him and want him, you might get him for a 3rd round rookie pick if the person you are trading with is impatient, do your homework. Even giving up a 2nd round rookie pick to get him would get most managers to think about it. If you have Bateman stake, he has shown flashes and his value will either go up or you have an easy cut candidate down the road. In this draft depending where you are landing, Bateman is still a better option then most of the wide receivers this year and already established in the league. Hold your stock. Since there has to be a verdict, the stance for the article is for the person who does not have Bateman on his team.
Cody Folden joined the Dynasty Pros team in 2023. He plays in many dynasty leagues but dabbles in other leagues like devy, contract, and scouting leagues. He loves to dive deep into learning about prospects coming up through college and seeing them thrive when they get to the league.