Baltimore Ravens wideout Rashod Bateman had a pretty rocky start to his NFL career in 2021. After starting his rookie campaign in Injured Reserved, Bateman suited up for 12 games and made four starts. In his 604 offensive snaps, the Minnesota product accumulated 46 receptions on 68 targets for 515 yards and one touchdown.
Entering year two, Bateman will be relied upon as a go-to target in Baltimore’s passing game, especially after Marquise Brown was traded to the Arizona Cardinals during the first night of the NFL Draft.
ESPN’s annual stat projections for the NFL season have arrived and they expect Bateman’s production to far exceed what he put forth in 2021. ESPN predicts that Bateman will total 73 receptions on 112 targets for 889 yards and five touchdowns, while racking up 188.76 fantasy points.
Here’s their reasoning behind the projection:
“A 2021 first-round pick, Bateman missed the first five games of his career due to injury, but was a solid contributor once back to full health. He was a situational player most of the season, and though he did play a full-time role during the final four weeks of the season, Lamar Jackson was out with an injury. Bateman delivered three 80-plus-yard games, though he was severely underutilized near the goal line (three end zone targets), which allowed him only one touchdown and no weekly fantasy finishes better than 18th. With Marquise Brown gone, Bateman has a clear path to No. 1 wide receiver duties and joins Mark Andrews as Jackson’s clear top-two targets. The 22-year-old is a major breakout candidate and can be considered a WR3 with upside.”
Aside from the fact that Bateman will naturally see more targets without Brown in the lineup, being only 22 years old entering the 2022 season is huge. He has a ton of potential and was marginally productive as a 21-year-old, which is pretty rare in the NFL.
If the Ravens want to have a bounce back year and reach the postseason in 2022, Rashod Bateman will need to at least approach these lofty expectations from ESPN. If he can do that, Baltimore will be right back in contention.