Which mid-round WR should managers target?

In the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast, Andy Behrens and Scott Pianowksi explore a pair of mid-round receivers in Baltimore's Rashod Bateman and Buffalo's Gabe Davis.

Video Transcript


ANDY BEHRENS: I want to toss one more receiver out there. Only one. And this is a guy who didn't even really pop last year. Had some moments, flashed a little bit, never really gave us a monster week, but he is just absolutely set up. Assuming the Ravens don't do something really bold, assuming the Ravens don't--

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I thought you were going there.

ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah, assuming the Ravens don't-- I don't know. I guess Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are still up for grabs, perhaps. But if the Ravens receiving corps stays the way it does, I don't know how Rashod Bateman doesn't go off this year. A player I-- a little bit of a pet player of mine, obviously.

Only played 12 games last season, got off to the slow start because he was injured for all of September into October. Finished with just over 500 receiving yards on the year, only scored once, but again-- and then had limited time, right, in the back half of the season with Lamar because Lamar Jackson had the injury as well.

But Marquise Brown is gone. Sammy Watkins, kind of a punchline of a player, I guess, in recent years, but he's gone too. And the combination there leaves almost 200 targets up for grabs. A lot of those got to go to Bateman. I don't know how many more Andrews can handle, right? So expectations for Bateman last year-- it should go without saying that he's somebody that I'm going to be a little bit proactive with. How about you?

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, this is a rare disagreement with us, and it's not that I'm pounding the table on it. But because the ADP with Bateman is expecting him to improve-- look, we get it. The vacated targets. The fact that they let Hollywood go. And again, receivers play different roles, and they do different things well, so it's not like an apples for apples comparison. But they obviously are envisioning a second-year step up for Bateman.

Certainly, the role is going to expand. They would hope he'd be healthy for the full season. I'm just worried that he didn't play all that much last year. He got in limited games in his final Minnesota season. He was really productive when he played, but he only played five games that year at Minnesota. So we're going back a few years since he's really been a destructive guy. I just don't like that you have to bake in a significant step forward in his production to draft him, so I'm probably not going to get Bateman this year.

Because I just think that it's one of those-- he's become kind of a hipster pick. And I don't know. I'm just kind of allergic to buzz. I'm allergic to hipster picks. And I don't think I'll have a lot of him, but everything you're saying is plausible. I can't say that you're wrong on that. I just don't want to bake it into his ADP. And right now, I feel like, to some degree, that's happening.

ANDY BEHRENS: Can I just ask, do you feel the same way-- because these guys go in similar spots in a lot of drafts that I've been in. Do you feel the same way about Gabe Davis? Because Gabe Davis has a-- obviously, we saw the monster performance from him in the playoffs. There is a path for Davis to make a whole lot of fantasy noise. He's flashed certainly more than Bateman has in their pro careers, but it's not like we've ever had a monster season from Davis either. And he's also a guy where a significant jump is completely baked in.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: That's a great question and a great comp. If we were talking two months ago, and we were anticipating there would be kind of a spirited bidding for Gabe Davis, and you'd have to maybe do a little elbowing, I'd be like, OK, I'll mix up the elbows. But I feel like this is like a Filene's Basement sale where there's one wedding dress that's really worth $1,500 for $35, and there's like 10 women attacking each other for it.

I think the pricing for Gabe Davis has gotten ridiculous to the point that I'm just-- I mean, look, he's never going to be the number one receiver there. We know that. People want to-- they want to be first to things. And the urge to want to be first to Bateman or first to Davis and his-- last year, he did it in the playoffs. He really wasn't that great in the fantasy regular season. It just is a shiny new toy element to Davis. I think that means he's going to be over-drafted a little bit.

And I thought I'd be at least average weight on Davis this year, maybe even a little bit overweight. I think it's actually going to go the other way. I think the market's just gotten too Gabe Davis happy. And there's a lot of mouths to feed in the Buffalo offense. Still, they have the best quarterback for fantasy, but he's going to run some of those in.

And what if the defense-- they're going to be favored just about every week. What if they control some games, and it's like, OK, well let's just ice this game with the running attack. Josh, you're only going to throw 25 passes today, 30 passes today. They may have some games like that. I think Gabe Davis is set up to be-- I don't think he's going to flop by any means. But I think right now, he's set up to be a fantasy disappointment.