Recently, a nine-person panel of ESPN Fantasy writers have come together to share their beliefs on players who are sleepers, busts and breakout performers for the 2023 fantasy season. Three Ravens were ultimately named, with one being named a sleeper and two labeled as busts.
Sleeper: Rashod Bateman
ESPN’s Liz Loza sees Bateman as a sleeper at wide receiver for the pending season, and there’s a great case to be made. The third-year receiver has arguably the greatest opportunity among the depth chart to break out this season. He’s already established chemistry with quarterback Lamar Jackson, he’s one hell of a route runner with speed and agility to boot, and the production was there when healthy, as he started the 2022 campaign with 167 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games. Focus will remain on tight end Mark Andrews until the new offense proves otherwise, and it may take some time for new additions Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Zay Flowers to hit their stride. In that time, Bateman may be the reliable target of the trio, and Jackson seems eager to air it out this season.
Bust: Mark Andrews
Don’t go full-throttle just yet and listen to their definition of “bust” before slinging arrows.
“A highly regarded player who will underperform in 2023, relative to his ADP/ranking.”
Andrews is a highly regarded player and is likely high in ADP/ranking, and with a full arsenal of weapons for the new offense, maybe Andrews won’t have the production some come to expect. Yes, there’s always a chance of him returning to a 1,300-yard season, but there’s also a chance he goes for his career average numbers of 862 yards and seven touchdowns. Great production but not the superstar tight end numbers many desire.
For the record, other big-name tight ends were also labeled busts, including George Kittle, Kyle Pitts and Evan Engram.
Bust: Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham’s name alone brings star power. I’ve seen it in coverage of the Ravens on national markets, and in pressers with more national reporters there than previously in attendance. But maybe a wide receiver who hasn’t played in nearly two years and is coming off a non-contact ACL tear could be too highly regarded by many and could underperform. But, that’s in the eye of the beholder. Ravens fans aren’t expecting some god-tier domination by OBJ, as they see him more in a complementary role with Bateman/Andrews. Regardless, there’s a chance Beckham outperforms Ravens fans’ expectations and see him as a sleeper while simultaneously being a bust by fantasy viewers for not enough production.