Back to Basics: Rashod Bateman is Primed for a Breakout

by Jonathan Lange · Fantasy Football

Rashod Bateman is a dormant volcano ready to erupt all over NFL secondaries. Promise hangs in the air for this young stud who’s getting an increase in playing time, has made some minute contributions for the team so far, and has yet to eclipse 90 yards or even score his first touchdown. The time is now! Football fans can expect explosive plays and production coming soon from this talented rookie Raven.

The College Profile

Rashod Bateman saw the field instantly and had meaningful production his true freshman season, sharing the field with future NFL draft pick Tyler Johnson. And he demanded a major portion of the targets, even with the established college alpha. Other great receivers that have a Breakout Age similar to his 18.8 (93rd-percentile among qualified wide receivers) mark include Brandin Cooks, Larry Fitzgerald, and Allen Robinson.

Rashod Bateman College Stats

In 2019, the year after Bateman’s breakout season, he was able to produce while sharing the field with Johnson. He even had a higher yard per route average, meaning they preferred him over Johnson to take the big plays downfield, and the team trusted him to make those impact plays. He isn’t only taking the small slants, curl routes, the cheap PPR points fantasy managers love to see; he made big plays and attacked down field against Power 5 conference secondaries. Reflected above, his numbers increased across the board his sophomore season. His junior season was cut short due to COVID19, and he only played five games. The Baltimore Ravens drafted him with their first-round pick.  

The Situation

It’s laughable how we come into a season with our own expectations and know what to expect from football teams when podcasting and predicting in July, and then preseason rolls around and situations change. The Baltimore Ravens had such awful injury luck with losing both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, so the running back depth took a hard hit, and they haven’t had a strong player at the position this season that would command more touches. Over the last two full seasons, Lamar Jackson had seven games with 30 or more pass attempts. So far this year, he has already had seven such games. The secondary also lost starting defensive back Marcus Peters, and this Baltimore defense has not been as imposing as in previous years.

Rashod Bateman Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

So, to recap, the defense is weaker, the offense is starting to lean on the passing game for more production, favoring pass catcher production. Unfortunately, Rashod Bateman had a groin injury in early August and missed valuable reps. He was on IR and missed the first five games of the season until he was activated on Week 6.  

The Production (So Far)

We should be encouraged that even after the later summer injury, Rashod Bateman was able to find the field once healthy, see a reasonable Snap Share, and even get four to six catches and roughly 30 to 80 yards.

Rashod Bateman 2021 Game Logs

Nothing major yet, but why am I so confident that the eruption is coming? Sammy Watkins popped up on the injury report in Week 6 and returned in Week 10. So, we would assume that the team would favor the veteran over the young rookie still learning the nuances of the game, right? RIGHT??

Sammy Watkins 2021 Game Logs

The snaps played and routes run reflect that Bateman has elevated himself above all receivers not named Marquise Brown. However, I would like to point out that Brown isn’t a typical target hog, but a big play received, and Bateman actually out-targeted him in Week 6. He has cemented himself to be the key cog of this passing attack, and the touchdowns will come raining down soon. 

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Final Thoughts

If this has felt similar to a cheesy car sales pitch and you’re not ready to jump on the Rashod Bateman bandwagon (I need to look into licensing for that), let me leave this article with one last piece of data. My favorite feature about the PlayerProfiler pages is the player comps. The Best Comparable Player for Bateman? Stefon Diggs. Giddy up! 

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