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2020 NRL Fantasy guide: Bulldogs

As we count down to the start of the 2020 NRL Fantasy season, we reveal the starting player prices and preview the key players from all 16 NRL clubs.

New faces and a contender for Fantasy centre of the year highlight Canterbury's best early buy options for 2020.

Will Hopoate

Centre, winger/fullback, $621,000

Centre is a notoriously tough position to fill in NRL Fantasy. Averaging about 28 points a game, centres don't generally run the ball as much as fullbacks or wingers, don't get the defensive workload of forwards, and don't get the kick and assist numbers that halves do. That's not the case for Hopoate, whose workrate was the best of all genuine centres last season – finishing the year ranked fifth among all players for total runs (with no other full-time centres in the top 30).

With an average score of almost 43, Hopoate has a genuine chance of climbing from fifth to first in the Fantasy centre rankings in 2020 – the top two John Bateman and Briton Nikora have lost their dual position status and are only available in the back row next season, while Latrell Mitchell will lose goal-kicking duties after moving to Souths and Jack Bird is returning from injury.

Joe Stimson

Second-rower, $390,000

Stimson loomed as a potential cash cow last year, having broken into the Melbourne Storm's starting side in late 2018, but instead lost his spot to Kenny Bromwich and eventually left the club. Now a Bulldogs recruit, Stimson brings grand final experience with one of the dominant forces in the NRL to a club that has been starved of success of late – but that doesn't mean he'll have a clear run to a spot in the starting 13. An edge back-rower, Stimson could struggle to beat the likes of Josh Jackson, Corey Harawaera-Naera, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Adam Elliott to a starting spot in the Bulldogs' back row and will probably need to start the year on the bench.

But if he does earn the No.11 or No.12 jersey he looks terrific value. Last year he averaged 26.2 points in 33 minutes per game. He's capable of playing the full 80 – and if he maintained last year's scoring rate that would equal a monstrous 63.5 Fantasy average. A 40-point average is more likely (again, if he gets a starting spot) but that would be more than enough points to result in a big price rise in the early part of the season.

Sione Katoa

Hooker, $342,000

A signing from Penrith who played in the Tonga side that stunned Australia in November, Katoa only played 40 minutes a game last season and could see that game time rise to 60 or even 80 minutes in 2020. That would obviously have an effect on his scoring potential; he scored just 21.6 points a game last year but could hit around 40 if he grabs the No.9 jersey at the Bulldogs.

Katoa played more than 50 minutes four times last year, for scores of 44 (in 69 minutes), 38 (71 minutes), 19 (59 minutes) and 44 (69 minutes). That's still a fairly sketchy record for a starting hooker, and he's definitely more of a ball-runner than the kind of defensive workhorse that tends to prosper in Fantasy.

Still, even if he'll never become a genuine Fantasy gun, an increase in game time in the middle of the park would make Katoa undervalued at the start of the new season – the only question is by how much.

Bulldogs starting prices in 2020

Aiden Tolman $694,000 FRF
Josh Jackson $692,000 2RF
Lachlan Lewis $638,000 HLF
Will Hopoate $621,000 CTR, WFB
Corey Harawira-Naera $601,000 2RF
Kieran Foran $574,000 HLF
Jack Cogger $571,000 HLF
Raymond Faitala-Mariner $545,000 2RF
Jeremy Marshall-King $544,000 HOK, HLF
Adam Elliott $532,000 2RF
Dean Britt $495,000 2RF
Jayden Okunbor $493,000 WFB
Nick Meaney $461,000 WFB
Dylan Napa $450,000 FRF
Kerrod Holland $414,000 CTR
Ofahiki Ogden $407,000 2RF, FRF
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak $405,000 WFB
Sauaso Sue $397,000 FRF, 2RF
Joe Stimson $390,000 2RF
Marcelo Montoya $354,000 WFB, CTR
Chris Smith $350,000 2RF
Sione Katoa $342,000 HOK
Brandon Wakeham $340,000 HLF
Reimis Smith $326,000 WFB
Renouf Toomaga $300,000 2RF, FRF
Christian Crichton $300,000 WFB
Francis Tualau $246,000 FRF
Morgan Harper $246,000 CTR
Isaiah Tass $228,000 CTR
Jake Averillo $228,000 CTR
Kayne Kalache $228,000 FRF
Zac Saddler $228,000 FRF

More NRL Fantasy articles for 2020

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.