One of last year's breakout stars, a star of the future and the one-time king of Fantasy headline Melbourne's main Fantasy prospects in 2020.
As we count down to the start of the NRL Fantasy season, we reveal the starting player prices and preview the key players from all 16 NRL clubs.
Papenhuyzen was one of the genuine success stories of 2019 – the former Wests Tigers player started the year as the third-choice fullback at a Melbourne team that had just lost the greatest fullback of the modern era and ended it as arguably the standout player of a star-studded Australia under 23s side. Along the way, he racked up eight tries in the regular season, despite only being in the Storm starting side six times before the finals.
Ryan Papenhuyzen in focus
A string of games on the bench made him an awkward buy last year but will mean he starts the new season at a relative discount; he needs to score 41 points a game to break even but averaged a monstrous 68.3 points in games when he played the full 80 minutes last season.
Don't expect him to maintain those numbers – James Tedesco was the only fullback with an average close to 60 points last year, and opposition teams will be focused on shutting down Papenhuyzen in 2020 – but his electrifying pace and elusive running game means tackle busts and line breaks should continue to come his way at one of the league's best clubs.
Five key match-ups of the Storm's 2020 draw
No longer the undisputed king of Fantasy, Cameron Smith has been usurped by not one but two players in the past two years – Damien Cook outshining him in 2018 and Payne Haas producing an even more stunning breakout season in 2019. And yet, at 36 years of age, Smith still produced his best Fantasy scores since 2016 last season, averaging 63 points a game (equal second in the league behind Haas and alongside Dragons tackle machine Cameron McInnes).
The Storm have remained among the NRL's elite in recent years despite losing international stars like Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Jordan McLean and Tohu Harris, and Smith is a big reason why.
When he needs to take control of a game he invariably does, and his ability to score well in tight battles (via high tackle counts) or blowout wins (via goals, assists, tackle breaks and offloads) makes him one of the most consistent scorers there is. Remarkably, he's still a quality captaincy option at his age, even if Haas and Cook wind up in more teams.
Second-rower, front-rower, $300,000
A 197cm, 107kg forward born in the year 2000, Faasuamaleaui is one of Melbourne's brightest young talents. So bright in fact that he's already signed a bumper four-year contract with the Gold Coast Titans from 2021. He played five games off the bench last season – averaging 19 points from 23 minutes – but can be expected to make more of an impact and have a greater role this year (unless Melbourne take a dim view of his impending exit to the Titans).
His performances for the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the Intrust Super Cup were worth 43 points a game last year, and in that competition he showed he can play 55 minutes at prop or 80 in the second row. He may be a slow starter in 2020 but Faasuamaleaui could be a sneaky cash cow option while providing back-up for both forward positions on your bench.
Storm starting prices in 2020
|Jahrome Hughes||$561,000||HLF, WFB|
|Brandon Smith||$510,000||HOK, 2RF|
|Brenko Lee||$375,000||CTR, WFB|
|Tino Faasuamaleaui||$300,000||2RF, FRF|