Rashod Bateman Draft Profile, Dynasty Analysis & Props To Bet

Rashod Bateman Draft Profile, Dynasty Analysis & Props To Bet article feature image
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Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Rashod Bateman

Rashod Bateman Draft Profile

Position
WR
School
Minnesota
Height
6′
Weight
190
40-Yard Dash
4.41
2021 Age
22
Class
JR
Recruit. Stars
3-4
Projected Round
1-2

Rashod Bateman Draft Props

As of writing, there are only a couple props available that pertain to Bateman.

As noted in my DeVonta Smith prospect profile, I’m betting under 5.5 wide receivers in Round 1 (-162 at Fox Bet).

In my post-free agency mock draft, I have only four wide receivers going in Round 1, and one of them is Bateman.

While I rely on my own research, I also take a “wisdom of the crowds” approach by surveying an index of mock drafts. I find that these drafts — created by experts with established records of success — collectively give me a good sense of the realistic range of outcomes for what we might see with any given player or pick.

And in 70% of the indexed mocks, Bateman goes in Round 1. He’s by no means a lock to be a Day 1 receiver, but he has an excellent chance to go in the top 32 as the No. 4 receiver selected after Ja’Marr Chase (LSU), DeVonta Smith (Alabama) and Jaylen Waddle (Alabama).

After his excellent 2019 sophomore season, Bateman was widely expected to be a first-round selection in 2021, but his draft stock steadily declined throughout 2020, when the Big Ten went back and forth on whether to play football because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a truncated season for Bateman (per Grinding the Mocks).

In February, though, his draft stock saw a boost when evaluators started to dig into Bateman’s career numbers and he posted this tweet after the EXOS “combine” on Feb. 26-27.

With his career production and athleticism, I like Bateman’s odds to go in Round 1 — but after him, there’s a lot of uncertainty at the receiver position, which is why I’m going under 5.5.

Also, even though I like him for Day 1, I seriously doubt he will somehow jump over Chase, Smith and Waddle to the be the No. 1 receiver drafted.

The odds for Bateman to go off the board as the top wideout range from +2500 at PointsBet and Bet365 to +6000 at FanDuel, and I don’t see any value in those numbers. Even at the most generous odds of +6000, Bateman has an implied probability of 1.6% to be the No. 1 receiver, but I think his true odds are closer to 0.5% — and even that feels high.

In not one indexed mock is Bateman selected ahead of any of the Big Three of Chase, Smith and Waddle. For Bateman to catapult ahead of all of them is almost unthinkable.

Right now, if I had to set an over/under for him, I might put it at 26.5. In my most recent mock, I have him going No. 29 to the Packers. I’ll be very curious to see where sportsbooks initially put his over/under.


Dynasty Fantasy Analysis

On the field, Bateman does nothing exceptionally well. He doesn’t have a full route tree, and he’s not a notably crisp route runner. He doesn’t play with great speed, and doesn’t play especially big, probably because he’s not actually a big receiver.

But Bateman is an above-average receiver across the board, and that makes him a greater-than-the-sum-of-his-parts producer. With his limitations, he seems unlikely to be a true No. 1 option in the NFL, but he could be a very good No. 2 receiver with upside while playing multiple roles in a variety of schemes.

Bateman has many factors in his favor.

First of all, he is entering the NFL as an early declarant with just three seasons in college. That provides him with a massive edge, given all the work done in the past couple years to establish the supremacy of early-declaring receivers by analysts throughout the industry:

On top of that, Bateman produced right away as a true freshman.

While No. 1 receiver Tyler Johnson soaked up high-percentage targets in the slot, Bateman served as the top outside receiver for the Gophers, finishing No. 2 on the team with 51 receptions, 704 yards and six touchdowns receiving in 13 games.

And then as a sophomore, Bateman exploded with an undeniably great campaign. Although he still played behind Johnson, Bateman was one of the most impressive receivers in the nation.

  • Johnson (2019, 13 games): 86-1,318-13 receiving
  • Bateman (2019, 13 games): 60-1,219-11 receiving

With an early freshman breakout and a dominant sophomore season, Bateman (like Chase) probably could have sat out his junior year before declaring for the draft. But after the Big Ten decided to play football in 2020, Bateman returned for an abbreviated season.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images. Pictured: Prospect Rashod Bateman, now-Buccaneers WR Tyler Johnson

At a glance, Bateman’s junior numbers don’t look great: 36-472-2 receiving.

But they should be placed in context: He played just five games, which means that his per-game yardage production was almost identical.

  • 2019 (13 games): 93.8 yards per game
  • 2020 (5 games): 94.4 yards per game

Granted, his per-game touchdown production markedly declined in 2020, but that had more to do with the offense than with him: The team passed for only four touchdowns in his five games, which means that he had an elite market share of receiving touchdowns (MSTDs).

  • 2019 (13 games): 0.85 TDs per game | 35.5% MSTDs
  • 2020 (5 games): 0.4 TDs per game | 50% MSTDs

And the 2021 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook (SIS) grades his 2019-20 campaigns similarly (and excellently) using the proprietary Total Points Rating (TPR, scaled 50-99).

  • 2019: 99 TPR per route | 99 TPR per play
  • 2020: 99 TPR per route | 99 TPR per play

It’s worth noting that in every efficiency statistic, Bateman did regress in 2020 as the No. 1 receiver in the offense. Without Johnson to pull coverage, Bateman fell short of his strong 2019 numbers (per SIS).

Average Depth of Target

  • 2019: 15.8 yards
  • 2020: 9.8 yards

Yards per Target

  • 2019: 12.4
  • 2020: 8.4
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Reception Rate on Catchable Targets

  • 2019: 91%
  • 2020: 82%

Yards After Catch per Reception

  • 2019: 6.0
  • 2020: 5.6

Receiver Rating

  • 2019: 121.1
  • 2020: 80.4

Yards per Route Run

  • 2019: 2.6
  • 2020: 1.6

But these numbers warrant some contextualization.

First, Bateman had the exact same positive play rate vs. man coverage (53%), so it’s not as if he was incompetent as a receiver.

Second, Bateman in 2020 was No. 1 in the nation with 15.1 targets above expectation per 100 routes (SIS). Based on contextual factors — where he lined up, how the defense played him, etc. — Bateman was targeted at an obscene rate (because the offense had no one else to throw to), and given that the ball was being forced him, his efficiency was destined to drop.

Third, the coaching staff forced Bateman into the “Johnson role” in 2020. Whereas Bateman lined up primarily on the perimeter in 2018-19, as a junior he replaced Johnson in the slot, where Bateman played the supermajority of his snaps.

  • 2018: 9% slot rate
  • 2019: 15% slot rate
  • 2020: 67% slot rate

With his move to the middle of the field, Bateman was bound to experience a decline in efficiency.

So I don’t hold his third-year underperformance against him, especially since he had to deal with the aftereffects of COVID-19, including weight loss (more on that later).

If anything, Bateman’s junior season serves to highlight his versatility and functionality: We know now that he can line up on the perimeter and also in the slot, and regardless of where he is in the formation, he can win at a similar rate against man coverage. That makes him a valuable prospect and worth a Round 2 pick at the very latest. I think he should go in Round 1.

But the hype for Bateman has recently gotten a little out of control. He has some great highlights.

When he scores touchdowns, Bateman looks like the best receiver in college football.

But he’s not a walking highlight reel. His average is not him at his best.

Pro Football Focus graded Bateman as the top perimeter receiver in the Big Ten for the 2019-20 seasons.

That’s kind of convenient, considering that he played most of his snaps last year in the slot, no?

I like Mina Kimes, so please don’t take this as Mina slander, but when someone with her large audience and big influence turns stan for a player …

… that’s probably a sign that his market is or will soon be inflated.

And that’s especially the case after his pro day. The big headline from the event was that he ran an unofficial 4.39-second 40-yard dash.

My friends, I have some stuff to say.

  1. I have watched way too many videos of combine and pro day 40-yard dashes in my life. To me, that’s not what a 4.39-second 40 looks like.
  2. While some scouts had Bateman’s best time at 4.39 seconds, multiple scouts had him in the 4.4s.
  3. A hand-timed pro day 40 time is about 0.03 seconds faster than the gold-standard combine 40, so within the context of most historical receiver prospects, Bateman is not a true 4.39-second 40 guy.
  4. Even if we give Bateman the credit of his unofficial time — I’m personally going with 4.41 seconds — he doesn’t play with that kind of athleticism on the field. He’s more of a technician and physical imposer than a silky speedster, and that might be a problem for him in the NFL, because …
  5. Bateman is much smaller than we expected him to be.

That should have been the headline from his pro day: SMALL.

In the big picture, it’s not as if Bateman is egregiously small. He’s much bigger than Smith (6-foot-1, 170 pounds), for instance. But Bateman entered evaluation season widely regarded as one of the few sizable receivers in the class, and his pro day measurements have forced draftniks to change their perceptions of him on the fly.

It’s not that he can’t be successful at his size in the NFL, but he has fewer outs.

Phrased differently: If a big receiver runs fast, he’s special. If a smaller receiver runs fast, he’s merely checking a box. At his size, Bateman is officially a smaller receiver, so what he did at his pro day was nothing special, but people are talking about his performance as if he proved himself to be some sort of athletic marvel. He didn’t.

If we put Bateman’s height, weight and 40 time into the RotoViz Freak Score Lab, he gets a freak score of 54 (scaled 0-100). And if we adjust his 40 time to the more modest 4.43 seconds that some scouts had for him, his freak score drops to 50, which makes him utterly average.

The 40 time is nice: Bateman’s timed athleticism is better than I thought it would be. But I’d rather he were big and a little slower than small and supposedly fast — because, again, speed is not his game. He is not Stefon Diggs.

Bateman does not run away from defenders on the football field. He outmaneuvers them. He outfights them. He outcompetes them. But he doesn’t often outrun them.

Without his listed size and absent truly game-changing speed, Bateman is likely to be less of a specialist and more of a generalist in the NFL.

With his college production, early declaration and expected draft capital, I still project Bateman for multiple 1,000-yard seasons. But I strongly doubt he will ever be one of the league’s best receivers.

NFL Prospect Comp: Robert Woods but older, smaller, and faster


Matthew Freedman is 1,018-828-37 (55.1%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

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