Rashod Bateman Set to Break Out for Ravens in 2022

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman is the top option on the depth chart for quarterback Lamar Jackson this season.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman is the top option on the depth chart for quarterback Lamar Jackson this season. / Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

When evaluating the Baltimore Ravens' outlook ahead of the upcoming 2022 season, the inevitable question always seems to evolve around who Lamar Jackson will throw to.

Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is no longer an option; traded to the Arizona Cardinals during the 2022 NFL Draft. That leaves last year's receiving leader in tight end Mark Andrews and a whole lot of perceived question marks. Andrews finished with 107 receptions and 1,361 receiving yards to lead the team, but Brown, despite a down season still finished with 91 catches for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns.

With Brown gone, and a roster shake-up at the position, the Ravens now have 45% of last year's targets completely up for grabs, and second-year wideout Rashod Bateman is set to take complete advantage.

Like several of his Baltimore teammates, Bateman dealt with multiple injuries during the 2021 season; appearing in just 12 games; catching 46 passes for 515 yards and one single touchdown. The former No. 27 pick overall was out until Week 6 of the season; having to learn on the fly once the season got started.

Furthermore, Bateman only appeared in seven games with Baltimore's MVP quarterback. Jackson and Bateman only played together in just over half of his action in Year 1.

So why is Bateman the right option to take a massive leap in Year 2?

Rashod Bateman a Terrific Bet to go Over His Receiving Yards and Touchdown Props in 2022

Over at FanDuel Sportsbook, Bateman is projected for 825.5 receiving yards and 4.5 receiving touchdowns this season. The number is sizably higher than the 500-plus yards and single touchdown he put up last year, but the second-year wideout projects very favorably this year to exceed these numbers.

Fantasy and Betting analyst Sal Vetri points out that this offseason, Baltimore lost 267 targets from their receiving group in 2021. Rather than spend free agency money or use draft picks to make up for them, they are going with the core of players they already have on the roster; which own a whopping 72 catches in the NFL.

As he points out below, in a somewhat limited sample last year, Bateman still ranked in the top 25 at beating man coverage, and combined with plenty of opportunities to get open in an offensive desperate for receiver help; he should cash in.

If the health concerns scare you off, it's understandable. Past history is the best indicator of future issues, and groin injuries can linger on and off for years. He also missed practice last week to avoid any potential soft tissue issues, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

But if he plays even close to 17 games with a healthy Lamar Jackson, Bateman could be a legitimate 1,000-yard receiver in Year 2, armed with the most available opportunities from last year to this year than almost any other pass catcher in the league.

825.5 yards and 4.5 touchdowns is simply too short a number, and I plan to invest in Bateman's success for the upcoming season.

Follow all of Ben's betting plays in real-time HERE!