NFL News & Analysis

Baltimore Ravens WR Rashod Bateman will undergo surgery, expected to return in September

Owings Mills, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman (12) returns a punt during mandatory mini camp at the Under Armor Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The much-anticipated debut of Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman will be delayed.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters Thursday Bateman will have surgery on his groin and is expected to return to the field “sometime in September.”

PFF's Doug Kyed reported shortly after the  press conference that the surgery is “a minor procedure to avoid more potential setbacks.” Core muscle surgery often sidelines a player for around eight weeks, though Harbaugh told reporters that he expects Bateman back in six weeks or fewer.

The injury occurred while Bateman ran a slant route against cornerback Marcus Peters in one-on-one drills, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. The first-round pick pulled up, fell to the ground and limped back into the Ravens’ facility followed by general manager Eric DeCosta. Bateman has been limited in training camp with muscle tightness but fought through the ongoing ailment.

Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown continues to miss practice with a hamstring injury. Baltimore wideouts Sammy Watkins and Miles Boykin also have missed time in training camp.

Bateman was the 27th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He looked like the Ravens’ best offensive player last week in practice while quarterback Lamar Jackson was out on the COVID-19/reserve list.

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Baltimore will continue to be the favorite in the AFC North, but the gap is narrowing: The Ravens have held throughout the entire offseason to a 40%-43% implied probability to win the division. Cleveland has been the big mover, opening at +200 to win the division before settling in at +140 heading into training camp. Any more injury news from Baltimore could force bookmakers to further shorten Cleveland’s odds of winning the division.

Baltimore Ravens Win Total: The Ravens have won 11 games in back-to-back seasons without much aid from wide receivers. This injury shouldn’t impact their season-long win total set at 11 wins. 

Lamar Jackson Player Prop: With injuries starting to pile up at wide receiver for Baltimore, hitting the under on Lamar Jackson’s 3,450 passing yards prop is the move to make. The prop has increased significantly from when the number first opened at 3,200.5 passing yards. 

Mark Andrews Player Prop: Take the over on Mark Andrews’ 775.5 receiving yards (-125) prop at DraftKings Sportsbook

Gus Edwards Player Prop: Take the over on Gus Edwards’ 600 rushing yards (-120) on DraftKings. His projection has him well over 700 rushing yards, and he has hit 700-plus rushing yards in three straight seasons.


Current Fantasy Projection: Bateman is the WR73 in PFF’s PPR projections

Current Fantasy Rankings: Bateman is the WR53 in PFF’s consensus PPR rankings

Mark Andrews a top-five TE: Any time missed by the Ravens’ first-round wide receiver would undoubtedly benefit Andrews, who looked to be facing more target competition in Baltimore’s passing game than in prior years. The potential Bateman injury would only further cement Andrews as a top-five tight end across all formats. 

A big opportunity for Sammy Watkins: With Marquise Brown also on the shelf nursing a hamstring injury, Sammy Watkins has a huge opportunity in front of him to step up as the team’s de facto No. 1 wide receiver. Watkins posted his only 1,000-yard season with current Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman in Buffalo back in 2015. He also finished that year ranked fifth in yards per route run (2.68) and in the top five in PFF receiving grade (90.3) from the outside.

A boost for Lamar Jackson in the running game: Losing talented wide receivers is never ideal for an offense, it could cause the Ravens to put more emphasis on the running game. That will make fantasy football managers happy, as Lamar Jackson’s fantasy appeal centers on his legs, not his arm. Expect J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards to also get fed as rushers early on.


Bateman looked set: Bateman was set up to be a featured piece in the Ravens offense. He was one of the biggest steals of the draft, selected 10 picks later than his spot on the PFF Big Board (27th versus 17th). Offensive coordinator Greg Roman told PFF reporter Doug Kyed at training camp prior to the injury that he “saw some real potential in terms of how we [the Ravens] can deploy him [Bateman],” and that he was “doing a really good job.”

Bateman is an NFL-ready receiver: The Minnesota product found success playing both outside and inside for the Golden Gophers but notably generated 3.60 yards per route run from the outside in 2019, the fifth-highest mark by a Power Five wide receiver in the PFF College era

Pressure on Watkins: Baltimore fielded one of the five-lowest-graded wide receiving corps of the 2020 season, and they brought in Bateman and veteran Sammy Watkins to help fix that. With Bateman out for “weeks,” the pressure will be on Watkins — who is coming off the lowest-graded season of his career with Kansas City (64.5) — to rise to the occasion early on.

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