When it comes to putting together a successful fantasy football squad, it's important to find reliable players who will start every week aside from their byes. In-season roster decisions can be tough enough on the back end, so having a reliable stud who never sees the bench is key.
Naturally, the more of these players one can land, the better.
Here we'll examine three potential studs for the 2020 season who aren't trending as first- or second-round fantasy selections—based on average draft position (ADP) from FantasyPros.
Let's dig in.
Quarterback: Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock showed plenty of promise as a rookie. In five games, he passed for 1,020 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. Prorated over a 16-game season, this would put him on pace for 3,264 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. Those are decent numbers but not stud-worthy.
However, the Broncos significantly upgraded their receiving corps in the offseason, adding rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J.Hamler along with receiving back Melvin Gordon. With Courtland Sutton continuing to grow into a legit No. 1 receiver and Noah Fant entering Year 2, Denver's receiving corps could be one of the best in the AFC in 2020.
Additionally, Lock is entering his first full season as a starter and has had an offseason to build chemistry with his pass-catching targets.
"I think that [those workouts] really helped Drew mature and get to know some of his new players," running back Phillip Lindsay said, per ESPN's Jeff Legwold.
With an ADP of 147, Lock is a mid-round target who could emerge as a top-10 fantasy passer in 2020.
Running Back: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
When the Los Angeles Rams parted with running back Todd Gurley this offseason, it opened the door for a new potential workhorse back in the offense.
The workhorse probably won't be longtime backup Malcolm Brown, so the role will probably go to either second-year man Darrell Henderson or rookie second-round pick Cam Akers.
Akers, who racked up 1,369 combined rushing and receiving yards with Florida State last season, may be the best-suited for the every-down role. His physicality and strong work ethic are already drawing praise from teammates like Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Managers can expect to see a high volume of work for the 21-year-old in most weeks, and his touchdown potential is huge. Even though Gurley struggled in 2019—he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry—he still finished with 12 rushing touchdowns.
The 212-pound Akers is likely to see the goal-line work over the smaller Henderson, and he could also reach double-digit scores.
With an ADP of 64, he will be an earlier target than Lock but a potential value pickup nonetheless.
Wide Receiver: DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Second-year Seattle Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf is the closest thing to a proven commodity we have here. He amassed 900 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie and holds an ADP of 47.
However, the 22-year-old has the potential to outperform receivers drafted ahead of him in fantasy by a significant margin. He isn't being valued as a No. 1 receiver right now, but that's where he could end up by the time the regular season kicks off.
Metcalf has been one of the most impressive Seahawks in training camp.
"A reoccurring theme these past couple of days has been that throwing the ball to second-year receiver DK Metcalf tends to yield results," John Boyle of the team's official website wrote. "And it's not just that Russell Wilson and other quarterbacks are hitting Metcalf when he's open; they're also taking advantage of Metcalf's size and strength by letting him win contested balls."
It shouldn't come as a surprise if Metcalf is Wilson's clear top target in 2020 and if he blows past the coveted 1,000-yard receiving mark.