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The Baltimore Ravens are one of the toughest teams in football. Entering the season with 18 players on IR, including its two starting runners and a revamped offensive line, Baltimore's ground game was a shadow of itself in Week 1 and they still managed to take the ascending Raiders to overtime.
The Ravens addressed its issues with the run in Week 2 but still had to make up two significant deficits to upset the Chiefs. Remember when everyone said Baltimore can win if it gets too far behind in a game? What better team to demonstrate that idea is a dump truck filled with horse manure than to overtake Kansas City?
And while many will scoff at the idea that the Lions are a tougher team than their record (and they are), you don't have to believe me to appreciate that Baltimore didn't panic or lose its morale after Marquise Brown dropped three passes — two during the same drive where either one would have padded the Ravens' lead — and did what was within their control to win the game despite a controversial ending.
From its coaching staff down, Baltimore has the mental grit and trust in its teammates to play to win rather than not to lose. Although it isn't the best statistical start to a season, Lamar Jackson is a legitimate MVP candidate if you actually watch football and honor the context of injuries, game scripts, and the numerous plays where Jackson did everything that he could to put his teammates in a position to win.
The Ravens receivers are one of the reasons this team has been through a drama-filled month. Mark Andrews is the primary option on this team. Much of Baltimore's scheme revolves around a symbiotic relationship between the Ravens' ground game and Andrews' ability to win over the middle in the intermediate passing game. Andrews' receiving skills are a massive contribution to the bind that opposing linebackers confront with the Baltimore offense.
Although Andrews hasn't been the elite fantasy force at the tight end position at this early point of the season, he's coming off his first 100-yard effort in two years and faces a Broncos defense that struggles to cover the position. Still, Andrews and this offense need reliable support elsewhere to stretch the field in ways that the defense will respect.
Brown and Sammy Watkins are part of that answer. Sammy Watkins' versatility makes him a valuable contributor, especially with his work from the slot. However, that versatility isn't something that Jackson can maximize because Jackson doesn't throw the perimeter timing routes with the velocity needed to make this a staple of the Ravens' passing offense.
Brown is a big reason why. Although he has been a top-15 PPR option, he has had a rollercoaster of highs and lows in September. If he can't make opposing defenses pay consistently for cheating against the short and intermediate passing game, then defensive backs will not provide the cushion Jackson needs to win on the perimeter. Although we've seen Baltimore succeed without a viable perimeter passing game, the more this offense can widen and deepen the range of the field that its opponents must cover, the easier Jackson's job will be.
Right now, Jackson's job has been harder than it needs to be. Brown has been gift-wrapped enough opportunities to deliver elite fantasy receiver production — most important, his drops illustrate how this offense has created enough big-play opportunities to deliver elite production without making Jackson work so hard.
Devin Duvernay strikes me as a player the Ravens don't know how to use. A former high school running back who Texas used frequently at the position as a runner and receiver, Duvernay is a speedster with a lot of running back qualities to his game that the Ravens could use — now more than ever — from the slot ala Austin Ekeler or former Raven Danny Woodhead. Instead, Greg Roman uses Duvernay as a field-stretcher on the outside.
There are potential reasons worth the speculation — and I am speculating because we need more time and film to know for sure:
- The absence of Myles Boykin and Rashod Bateman creates a demand for Duvernay's perimeter speed for that role.
- The Ravens prefer Watkins and Brown earning targets over the middle and you can only flood the middle with so many receivers without congesting the region of the field.
- Baltimore fears Duvernay's usage from the backfield makes them too predictable, especially if he's not a skilled enough blocker or runner.
Duvernay has talent, but as is the case with many players with skills that fall between two positions, it's often difficult for NFL coaches to maximize their skills without being too predictable. While players like Duvernay often have great success in the college game, a lot of game plans work because the key players have a much larger athletic advantage on Saturdays and it makes it more difficult for opponents to match up — even when they know what's coming.
Jackson's excellent performances, the design and ceiling of potential for the Ravens' passing game, and the strengths and limitations of the receiving personnel are all compelling reasons why Bateman has the opportunity to elevate the Ravens' offense to elite production. As a fantasy GM, you want to know whether Bateman's involvement will translate to consistent fantasy production as a 2021 starter.
The potential is there for Bateman to deliver as one of the best rookie producers of this class.
Bateman's scouting report and the difficulties he experienced during his final year at Minnesota tell the tale.
Bateman's Final Year at Minnesota in Context
You'll see in the scouting report below, that I had Bateman's listed weight as 210 pounds. He weighed about 190 pounds during his pre-draft workouts and this was after Bateman played a 2020 season after a difficult bout with COVID during the summer where he dropped 20 pounds.
While many will note that college programs often inflate height and weight data, and this was likely at Minnesota, I really don't care whether Bateman's pre-illness weight was 210, 200, or 190. This is a suitable range for a primary receiver in the NFL with Bateman's skills. What I care about is the fact that his 2020 film didn't look at strong as his 2019 season and there was a valid explanation.
And despite losing 20 pounds and playing in far less than optimum shape, Bateman still had excellent moments last year. I'm giving this assessment based on his overall work, not highlight-driven results or the box score.
If anything, Bateman's 2020 season displayed grit that you want to see from a professional. The weight was a temporary issue.
Two years ago, I thought A.J. Brown was a great fit in Tennessee when most panned it. Last year, I had similar contrarian thoughts about Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb when analysts thought Jefferson would struggle on the perimeter with Adam Thielen in the slot and there were “too many mouths to feed” in Dallas for Lamb to earn strong production.
My initial reaction of disappointment minutes after Baltimore drafted Bateman transformed quickly into excitement. As I thought about it, I realized I was emotionally tied to the idea that its past receiver picks—players I liked—weren’t earning a chance to develop without the team forcing more competition into the room. And the competition was also receivers I liked more than my peers—Bateman and Tylan Wallace.
While I still like Miles Boykin, Marquise Brown, and Devin Duvernay, they all offer something different to the team and they aren’t complete players. Boykin is the closest, but his game is at his best when running timing routes on the perimeter that Lamar Jackson doesn’t throw and the team doesn’t scheme. He’ll be a player to watch for a second contract elsewhere.
Brown has the open-field game and vertical prowess but he’s not a contested-catch option. The Ravens also need another receiver to threaten the vertical areas of the field that Jackson will target so Brown can work the middle of the field with selected routes.
Even so, Brown isn’t a physical receiver, so the team has to pick its spots.
Duvernay struck me as a slot option with could win outside and play from the backfield. The Ravens haven't used him as a backfield option and he didn’t see much work outside. We’ll see if that’s due to the team or Duvernay’s progress with his development.
Bateman’s skills tie a lot of disparate elements together that fit this offense. He’s a deep threat who can separate from press coverage and win contested targets. His catch radius is as strong on the perimeter as it is in the middle of the field and he has the balance and vision to earn chunks of yards after the catch.
He plays inside and outside with equal facility and he has demonstrated the game intelligence to make adjustments mid-play that the best pros exhibit on the field that can’t be practiced. This will mesh well with Lamar Jackson’s ability to hang in the pocket and make late decisions under pressure or work outside and extend plays with his improvisational flair.
While my rate of calls on wide receiver fits that go against the conventional grain may end with Bateman if my first reaction proves correct, I don’t think it was. I think the Ravens got it right and Bateman could open the field for Brown, Watkins, Duvernay, and eventually Wallace.
Bateman is an intuitive player. He makes adjustments that you don't often see from young receivers.
Plays like this on Bateman's college tape were also on display during Ravens' camp and had Sammy Watkins telling the media that Bateman already executes the game like a veteran.
Bateman is also a terrific tracker of the football with his back to the target. This is a great fit with Lamar Jacksons' ability to throw the ball deep and lead his receiver in the vertical game. It's also an area where Brown has struggled.
Bateman also offers a contested-catch presence that Brown lacks while also delivering a smooth, rugged, and elusive presence in the open field that is more dangerous than Brown. Sure, Brown has more speed and he's more likely to generate breakaway touchdowns, but Bateman isn't as all-or-nothing as a ball carrier and that's a scarier prospect down-after-down for opposing defenders.
Bateman is also a more natural presence in the middle of the field, which will eventually prevent opposing defenders from cheating higher or lower to account for Mark Andrews. It will also create more coverage busts because of the urgency that defensive backs will have to react to the combined presence of Bateman, Brown, and Andrews at various ranges of the field.
Bateman has the best template on his depth chart to become a primary option in this offense. It doesn't make him better than Sammy Watkins, who could be so much more as a perimeter option in a different passing game, but Bateman is a better all-around fit for the primary role in Baltimore.
The Rookie Scouting Portfolio Pre-Draft Report
If you're not familiar with the Rookie Scouting Portfolio (RSP), it is the most comprehensive analysis of NFL prospects at the offensive skill positions (QB, RB, WR, and TE) available to the public. I've been writing this publication for 16 years and it has grown to the point that it has become one of the two most used independent references for cross-checking of players among NFL scouts according to Division I recruiting directors I know who visit weekly with NFL scouts.
The RSP delivers a pre-draft and post-draft guide and I structure it this way so I can deliver real football analysis that is suitable for scouts while still catering to fantasy GMs. In addition to the two publications, readers also receive a newsletter. You can learn more about the publication at my site. Or, you can go here directly to buy.
Rashod Bateman's Scouting Profile
RSP Ranking: WR3
Height: 6-2 Weight: 210 School: Minnesota
Comparison Spectrum: Michael Thomas (Saints)/Keenan Allen-X-Cordarrelle Patterson
Depth of Talent Score: 88.1 = Starter: Starting immediately with a large role and learning on the go.
The Elevator Pitch for Bateman: There are a lot of ways to compare Bateman to successful NFL players. One could be that his work in the middle of the field as a route runner and open-field ability bears similarity to Keenan Allen. Another is that he’s a mix of Michael Thomas and Cordarrelle Patterson. He has the catch-point ferocity of Thomas and an excellent feel for the middle of the field, but he’s also more explosive and possesses some of that otherworldly open-field vision of Patterson.
Bateman was dominant at times in 2019 while playing with future Buccaneer, Tyler Johnson on the opposite side of the field. In 2020, Minnesota used Bateman as an extension of the ground game and less often as a vertical threat. Still, that big-play potential wasn’t a fluke. One should consider the difference between the two years as a good example of Bateman’s versatility.
Realistically, the less-productive 2020 campaign has pushed Bateman further into the background, which means he should be a draft-day bargain for his new team as well as fantasy hobbyists who don’t overreact to the production decline. If you’re a fantasy hobbyist who is so results-oriented that you prefer a worse talent that’s more likely to see the field early and produce to a superior talent who may need a year or two to fully realize his potential, Bateman will likely present a higher risk.
If you are stockpiling talent at the position, Bateman should be a high priority.
Where has the player improved? His weight drop into breaks looked better in 2020.
Where is the player inconsistent? Reading two defenders covering him. He was skilled when he had a plan before the snap but not as much when he had to adjust on the fly and wasn’t on the same page as his quarterback.
What is the best scheme fit? He’s used in the slot as well as outside at split end. Moving Bateman around to earn mismatches, as we see with many top receivers in the league would be a mutual benefit for the prospect and his team.
What is his ceiling scenario? Bateman, like Allen and Thomas, has the versatility to play all three positions at a starter level. The ideal scenario for statistical production will be in the slot where he can earn physical mismatches and have the advantage of two-way-go scenarios at the line.
What is his floor scenario? Bateman plays the split-end role in a struggling offense with young receivers and young and inaccurate quarterbacks. With no other teammate to take the pressure off, Bateman has to immediately defeat top NFL cornerbacks that press him and it hurts his confidence and the team gets impatient and moves on.
Physical: Bateman is comfortable winning the ball against tight coverage as well as working in the middle of the field where one step is the difference between turning a 15-yard dig route into a 50-yard gain and safety blowing up the play.
Technical: Although he has work to do with speed breaks, his stem-work with intermediate, vertical, and deep routes is as good as anyone’s in this class and arguably the best. He tells efficient stories at full speed that turn defenders around. He has some violence with his hands when facing press coverage, but he must use his hands more. He’s accustomed to earning separation solely with his footwork.
Conceptual: Bateman understands the broader perspective of things unfolding in front of him. See below.
Intuitive: Bateman showed the awareness necessary to prevent an interception with his break on a curl route. The quarterback threw the curl to the flat and didn’t see the cornerback dropping into that area. Bateman saw the dropping defender at the top of his stem and broke sharper so he could cut off the defender on his way back to the quarterback.
The depth of Bateman’s break was too shallow for the trajectory of the ball, but it blocked the defender from the target and for good measure, Bateman leaped and tipped the ball away in his attempt to make a circus catch.
Bateman also possesses the feel for reacting to defenders in tight proximity to him with micro-movements. This is something I often describe when evaluating top running backs and the way they can execute the smallest movements that enhance separation, deflect a hit, or emphasize contact. Bateman does this well as a receiver working over the middle.
Build: Bateman is built a lot like Keenan Allen. He has the size to be a mismatch outside and hold up in the middle of the field.
Releases: Bateman’s stance is questionable for his efficiency. The back leg is a little wide with some snaps and difficult for him to push off efficiently and just roll off the front foot, which leads to wasted movement. He rocks off his back foot to compensate for the wide stance. The stance was tolerable in 2019 but in 2020, it appears wider and needs to be addressed.
Bateman has an affective stick to attack the man coverage’s leverage at the line of scrimmage that aids an inside release. He’s also quick to stack within the first 10 yards. The execution is patient but sudden.
Bateman also uses a quick-two separation technique with an attempt to rip. When he doesn’t earn separation at the boundary, he can get pinned to the sideline by a physical cornerback. This may not be the best move when at the numbers or outside and the defender is playing tight. However, to his credit, Bateman can work back inside and force the defender to commit pass interference with the ball in the air.
He’ll use the quick-two to widen the defender and turn the man’s hips before breaking inside on the slant or dig. Bateman also has a three-quick to set up a fake break inside before accelerating downhill. This could be labeled a stutter but because his route style often uses these two- and three-quick moves at the top of short stems, I’m calling it a three-quick. He pairs it with a wipe when the defender shoots his hands.
He’ll use a hesitation inside to set up the fade in the red zone. He also uses the hesitation to the outside and finishes with a shed upward to get inside man-to-man coverage. He’ll also use two hesitations or a quick-two and a hesitation to set up a release.
Bateman’s hesitation at the top of his stems needs more exaggeration to sell the move. He does this well off the line or when he’s pairing it with a quick-two that comes first.
Bateman saves some of his best moves for late in the game. He won with a quick-two and double-up inside to beat the off-coverage corner on the fade with 17 seconds left in the game, but the quarterback didn’t target Bateman.
Bateman uses a hip shift to set up off coverage defenders, using it to work into their leverage midway through his step. He’ll also use a stutter step midway into his stems. Both moves he uses to set up an inside release.
He’ll use a trigger-step although sometimes that “step” is more like a jump stop with both feet before taking the back of the defender early in the release. Bateman uses a quick-three or a quick-two at the top of short stems to set up shallow in-cuts. His footwork techniques are patient but sudden in terms of pace.
When working as the backside blocker on a run play or a designed pass to the play side, Bateman will steal a release against man coverage to collect intel on how his opponents will react to specific release techniques.
When a defender shoots his hands, Bateman has to develop a greater arsenal of hand techniques to address the jam. He can reduce shoulder and he has a shed, but he seldom uses his hands due to a lack of need to do. However, when there is a need, he’s inconsistent with using them effectively. He must cultivate greater violence with his chops, wipes, and sheds. His double-swat has the violence he’ll need to win in the NFL.
Separation: When he earns a quick release, Bateman has the acceleration within the first 10-15 yards to earn 1-3 steps on a man-to-man defender playing tight. He can win intermediate and vertical routes against man-to-man coverage. He’ll stack defenders at any point in the route where he earns a clear step or two on the defender.
These observations match the assessment of the RSP’s data source: Bateman has starter speed but his top speed places him in the middle of the pack among this impressive class of athletes playing the wide receiver position. Unless you considered him an elite speed merchant, there is no need to downgrade him. His athletic ability is at a starter standard and that’s only part of the equation.
Route Stems: Bateman sells the vertical with the stem in terms of pacing and pad level. He’ll take the blind spot of the defender if given to him, and he runs his stems at a strong rate of speed that threatens the opponent vertically.
He stair-steps the dig route well with a vertical push after widening the defender and giving him a brief expectation of the slant early in the route. Bateman will also run at the defender to set up his break.
Route Setups: Against high-low coverage, Bateman will give a pace and hip shift to set up the safety and outside corner to expect an underneath-breaking route and then split them with good acceleration up the flat. He’ll also employ a look-in/peek inside at the top of his stems on out-breaking routes.
Another variation of this strategy against an off-coverage corner and a safety is to sell the slant, flatten out, sell the corner just for a few steps to widen the corner, and split both defenders. Bateman stair-steps the over route well, attacking each phase at the pressure points of the zone coverage outside and above him.
When facing off-coverage, he can sell a double-move with his eyes. He’ll deliver a stutter that sells a short route and after the stutter, he’ll keep his eyes up and on the defender over the top while taking a few steps up the numbers to reinforce an outside stem. Once the defender opens to that side, Bateman accelerates inside and downhill.
Route Breaks: Bateman has a long break step into his speed breaks. The rest of his steps are precise or imprecise depending on play. He’ll have short outs where the drive step is perfect and the line step isn’t flat enough and then it’s the drive step that’s not nearly as sharp as the line step. The same is true with intermediate and deep-outs.
Then, he’ll run a fantastic out route where he takes the back of the coverage, sells the post with a dive inside late in the stem, and delivers excellent drive and line steps with no break step. When his break, drive, and line steps become consistently good when all used together, his out routes and dig routes will become one of the strengths of his game.
Bateman also uses the long break step to set up a quick-three back to the quarterback. He could drop his weight more with his quick-three break. This is something he did much better earlier in 2020 than he did later—an indication that he might have played hurt during the later games before opting out.
He creates a friendly target with his chest and pads, getting his head around at the breakpoint. If the break doesn’t earn a target, he’ll transition to find another open area.
Whether it’s a zone or man-to-man defense, Bateman breaks flat on routes working to the middle of the field. He earns productive flexion with his feet and ankles on speed breaks, which helps him set up double moves like post-corner routes.
Zone Routes: Bateman understands the dynamics of the coverage triangle immediately in his area and knows when to work to depth beyond the shallow defender and when to break under the defender playing over top. He tempos his breaks effectively to maximize the time to work the open area for the quarterback.
Route Boundary: Bateman displays awareness of the boundary and will stop his feet or set up a toe-tap with both feet with catching routes breaking to the sideline. He’ll slide his feet near the boundary when he has to extend beyond his gait to make a play on the ball.
Pass Tracking: Bateman tracks the ball well over his shoulder against tight coverage. He’ll also make awkward adjustments while tracking the ball when necessary, such as tracking the ball over the inside shoulder with a defender playing tight to the inside and leaning towards the underthrown ball with his torso to make the catch with the ball arriving over his chest. The result of the adjustment is Bateman tracking the ball directly over his head at the last moment.
Bateman does great work on scramble drills to find open space and attack the ball, high-pointing it with a body into his side or chest. He can also get under a low throw while working back to the ball.
Bateman uses late hands to catch targets and can snatch the ball. This is the case even when he has several yards of separation against a trailing defender and he’s turning back for the ball.
Hands/Catch Radius: He has a terrific catch radius with targets away from his frame on in-breaking routes towards the middle-of-the-field defender. Bateman will work low and get under the ball on breaks across the middle. He’ll also extend behind the momentum of his break with trail coverage tight.
With chest-level targets on the numbers into his frame, Bateman will use underhand framing that’s less than optimal for the situation while working over the middle. Up the sideline, Bateman will use the overhand technique.
He has strong hands and can pull the ball away from the grip of a defender. He can also withstand pulls to his biceps and forearms as he’s securing the ball to his frame. When wide open, Bateman extends his arms to catch the ball at the earliest possible point.
Position: He has a productive, fingertips technique to catch the ball away from his frame. When he has lapses and drops the ball, it’s because he claps onto the football after extending his arms for the target. He must work on his extension technique so his hands are in position as his arms extend rather than extending his arms first and closing his hands second. Bateman has good pull-down technique with high and low throws, turning away from tight coverage that can knock the ball away.
Focus: Despite extending towards the middle-of-the-field defender on an in-breaking route, he can make the catch and retraction with the defender bearing down and taking a hit from behind by the trailing cornerback. He takes contact to his chest and makes plays with coverage tight to his frame—back, chest, or side.
Transitions: Bateman displays quick processing in the middle of the field to transition away from oncoming defenders despite breaking and extending toward them for a target. His catch-and-pierce technique has moments where it’s the most impressive I’ve seen on tape this year among college prospects.
He and Ja’Marr Chase often adjust to get downhill with the ball still in the air. However, Bateman’s short-area explosion has translated to the field with a greater frequency.
Elusiveness: Bateman has the sudden first step in the open field and can elude defenders in one-on-one matchups when they are attacking downhill. He can also set up trail pursuit and pursuit over the top with one stick and slide away from both defenders.
Bateman also has a nice stutter to break down opponents coming for him. He’ll combine it with a spin and a stiff arm. His spin is tight and explosive, which can help him shed reaches and wraps, in addition, to avoiding contact altogether.
He also uses head fakes and shoulder fakes that he pairs with his release footwork off the line. He has a good juke to set up downfield cuts at a high rate of speed and he can duck under reaches.
Bateman also possesses the feel for reacting to defenders in tight proximity to him with micro-movements.
Vision: In addition to his quick processing and feel for open space, he’s an efficient runner who sets up elusive maneuvers well. He’s patient as a screen receiver but also attacks creases decisively.
Power: He can pull through reaches to his lower half from defensive backs. He also has an effective stiff-arm in terms of placement and power. When he lands it on a defensive back, he can cast the defender aside as if he’s throwing the man to the ground because of the placement on the shoulder.
In the open field, Bateman can run through multiple points of minor to moderate contact. When in traffic, he can keep his feet when wrapped up and push a pile.
Direct Contact Balance: I didn’t see him bounce off direct contact. He has the size to at least stalemate safeties. He has been so good in the open field that he avoids direct hits.
Indirect Contact Balance: Bateman bounces off glancing shots.
Blocking: As a man-on-man blocker, Bateman can cock the arms to keep the elbows bent when attacking the opponent and earn a position in the chest plate or chest-to-shoulder to remove air between them. However, this behavior wasn’t common with Bateman’s game.
Most of his film features an overextended position when delivering contact. He’s capable of dominating as a blocker when he closes the gap before delivering his hands.
When facing Man-Over-Me assignments, Bateman moves his feet once he has engaged the opponent with his hands. He redirects quickly enough to remain square to the defender and keep his hands on the opponent.
Bateman understands his role with Most-Dangerous-Man assignments inside but can get confused with which man is his—linebacker or safety—and end up approaching the linebacker only to be too late to earn position against a safety. When he identifies the correct defender early enough in his approach inside, he’ll earn a squat and square position but he has a tendency to overextend and lead with his pads. However, he has a habit of dropping his head into contact with these blocks, which leads to initial contact and an immediate shed by the opponent.
Bateman can Tilt Technique the corner by running the defender downfield and using the route to turn into the opponent and engage.
He transitions quickly from route runner to blocker when a teammate catches the football in his general area.
Ball Security: Bateman secures the ball high and tight to his chest and he’s capable of doing it immediately after a catch where he has to extend well beyond his frame and heading towards an oncoming defender. He also uses the correct arm that’s working away from the nearest pursuit.
His first inclination when securing the football is to tuck it under his left side regardless of the position of the nearest pursuit or the side of the field he’s working. The elbow is still a little loose from his frame as he carries the ball.
Durability: Bateman has had no significant injuries during his college career.
Pre-Draft Fantasy Advice: I think Bateman will be available among the bottom half of the first 10 receivers that leave rookie draft boards before the NFL’s event. Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore, and Terrace Marshall could all go ahead of Bateman. If you can target Bateman as your fifth or sixth option at the position, you’re getting decent pre-draft value for a player with a bright future.
Boiler/Film Room Material (Links to plays):
- RSP Boiler Room: Rashod Bateman
- Twitter: Intuitive Play of Rashod Bateman
- Twitter: Athletic Adjustment by Rashod Batemen
- Twitter: Bateman's YAC Skills
- Rashod Bateman Career Highlights
The Ravens activated Bateman and Miles Boykin from IR this week. Expect Bateman to earn playing time over the next 1-2 weeks and get a chance to solidify his role as one of the three most productive receivers in this offense. Although an athletic player with contested-catch skills and poise in traffic, these two traits that can elevate his game to fantasy starter tiers also require trust and rapport with his quarterback.
Until Bateman and Jackson develop this rapport in games, we're unlikely to see some of these trust throws for at least the next 4-6 weeks, if not much this year. Still, Bateman should earn vertical shots, crossing routes, dig routes, and over routes that are a massive part of the Ravens' passing game.
I would value Bateman as a flex-play in leagues that start at least 3-4 receivers. If you have a strong starting lineup, value Bateman on the lower end of this range because you don't need to take the risk on him. If you are weaker at receiver and could use an upgrade to one starting spot, value him as a potential WR3. If you have more than one spot that's weak, take a shot on him as a player with enough upside to deliver top-24 fantasy production down the stretch and, of course, keep shopping as you do.
Although Bateman has the talent to earn space in a tier with Lamb, A.J. Brown, and Jefferson, the Ravens don't have the same caliber of surrounding talent at receiver to create easier mismatches. And, as good as Jackson is, his lack of perimeter velocity as a thrower places just enough limitations on the breadth of the passing game to put a lower ceiling of expectation on Bateman short-term.
Bateman is an intriguing addition for your squad if you are receiver needy. He's going to earn a lot of love from analysts who do the film work like me but be selective about how many unproven players you keep on your roster who you're waiting to deliver for you. My advice: 3-4 should be your maximum, depending on the size of your roster. Think 1 for every 12-15 players.