An inspirational leader, a young gun with a new role and a returning one-time Fantasy star headline St George Illawarra's best buys for 2020.
We're previewing the notable NRL Fantasy buys and revealing all player prices for each club as the days tick down towards the start of the new season.
St George Illawarra's best player last season and their new club captain was also the third-best scorer in NRL Fantasy, with a league-high haul of 49.8 tackles a game plus an underrated running game out of dummy-half.
And yet he was never in many Fantasy teams, giving a real advantage to the 13% of Fantasy coaches who snapped him up.
McInnes was one of three hookers to score 63 points a game (Payne Haas is the only player in the league to score more), and the other two were the always popular Cameron Smith (in 31% of teams) and Damien Cook (37%).
It's likely McInnes will be in few teams again at the start of 2020 with a knee injury to rule him out of the early rounds. Once he does return to full fitness McInnes should be as good a captaincy option as Smith and Cook, with the likelihood that he keeps an 80-minute role despite the arrival of fellow hooker Issac Luke at the Dragons this season.
Centre, winger/fullback, $389,000
Still only 20, Lomax is heading into his third year in the NRL with a positional switch presenting a big opportunity.
The Dragons are giving Lomax the first shot at the fullback spot in 2020 ahead of Matt Dufty, which creates the possibility of a significant lift in Lomax's Fantasy scores.
In 2019, Lomax played three games off the bench (with less than 10 minutes on the field on those occasions) plus four at centre, five on the wing and one at fullback.
He averaged 26 points for the season, a number which was weighed down by his time on the wing (22 points per game) and the bench (13 ppg). He scored 35 in his one game at the back.
Fullbacks generally score better than centres, wingers and interchange backs, so it's easy to see Lomax's scores climbing into the 40s early in the new year.
Back at the Dragons for what will be his eighth season at the club following a three-year stint at Penrith and a season at Leeds, Merrin could go straight into a starting role in the Red V pack.
Once a Fantasy gun – he scored in the mid-50s in 2015 and 2016 – Merrin's numbers trailed off a little in his time at the Panthers so there is some question whether at the age of 30 he can get back to his best.
Nonetheless, he'll be an affordable option at $578,000, with a break even of 39, and has a better Fantasy pedigree than other forwards at his price range.
Dragons starting prices in 2020
|Blake Lawrie||$578,000||FRF, 2RF|
|Zac Lomax||$389,000||CTR, WFB|
|Jacob Host||$379,000||FRF, 2RF|
|Tyrell Fuimaono||$246,000||2RF, CTR|