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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Fantasy College Wrestling 101 (2024 version)

    We are a few weeks away from the first whistle blowing and the 2024 NCAA season officially begins. Which means it’s another season of Fantasy College Wrestling!

    If you’re reading this article, then you have at least an inkling of curiosity about what this crazy game is all about. It’s pretty simple really, just like all the other fantasy sports you probably play (like baseball, basketball, and football). While the season gameplay can have its moments of frustration, the framework of Fantasy College Wrestling is just like your run-of-the-mill Fantasy dashboard that any of the major sites offer.

    And we have WrestleStat to thank for it. 

    In the past, you and your friends would do a manual draft, set up your teams, and agree on a set number of rules. Then, either all team managers or one individual would tally the points for each team each week. For 18ish weeks straight. Plus Conferences. Then the national tournament. It is a royal pain in the ass, and I know (I have been doing it since 2014).

    Since about 2018, though, the guys at WrestleStat have created a full-fledged click-and-set style fantasy wrestling platform that plays just like ESPN, Yahoo, or whatever other site you use for fantasy football. Complete with a snake draft, projections, trade, and add/drop capabilities. 

    And if you are new to fantasy sports and looking for something to make each match and dual that more exciting? Well, you’re in the right place. 

    For the noobs, fantasy sports is a game where you assemble a team of real-life athletes and compete against other teams based on how those athletes perform in real life. Based on the rules of your league, the wrestlers on your team will earn positive points or negative points based on the actual outcomes of their play. At the end of the week, every athlete in your starting lineup will have their points totaled and whichever team has the most, wins that week. 

    In Fantasy College Wrestling, there are two types of leagues you can create or join that can range from five to fourteen teams: Head-to-Head and Total Point leagues. More on that later.

    If you don't want to read the whole article and want the boiled-down version, here you go (thanks for the clicks anyway)

    1. Leagues can be made up of 5 to 14 members
    2. Competition type: Head-to-Head or Total Point scoring
    3. Rosters are 16 wrestlers (10 starters, 2 flex, 4 bench)
    4. Scoring weeks run Monday to Sunday
    5. Win by Decision, +3, lose by Dec -3 per match. Same scoring for Maj, Tech, Pin, DQ, Inj, etc.
    6. Add and Drop wrestlers just like you do in Fantasy Football (no waiver wire, it’s first come, first served)
    7. Wrestlers will LOCK at 12pm on the day of their team’s first competition for the week

    Expanded Rule Explanation:

    Set-Up

    One member of your league will have to be designated as the “League Manager” or “Commissioner.” This individual will be responsible for setting up the league through WrestleStat and creating the basic settings: how many teams are in the league, how many points are worth each result (they default to the Standard Scoring amounts to start), the number of add/drops per week, and most importantly the draft day and time.

    In the past, WrestleStat had two tiers of user Entry costs: Single League Play at $4.00 per season and Unlimited League Plays at $10.00 per season. This year, it’s one set price of $6.00 for Unlimited League Plays. Clear and simple.

    This individual may also be responsible for league requirements outside the jurisdiction of WrestleStat, such as: league fees, documentation of rosters for postseason carry-over, etc. WrestleStat does not collect nor disperse your group’s dues, fees, winnings, etc.

    HOWEVER, new to this season, the Commissioner can pay for the entire league (regardless of size) at $28.00 instead of individual signups. Pretty sweet as FCW Team Managers have been asking for something like this for a while.

    The Draft and Rosters

    WrestleStat’s Fantasy College Wrestling draft is a fully interactive snake draft experience that takes as much time (or less) as your typical Fantasy Football draft. Each League Manager can set the number of teams, but the standard league is 10. Should a league not fill all the team spots by draft time, the open slots will be filled by “Simulated Teams,” who will draft on Auto for the next best available wrestler.

    With WrestleStat’s comparison algorithm, they are able to have draft data like number of duals and tournaments for the year and projected points for the season.

    IMPORTANT TO NOTE: If you sign up now, you can try your hand at some “Mock Drafts.” So if you want to do some trial runs, see how the process works, or even get some friends excited for the upcoming season, so give it a try!

    The typical league team consists of 16 wrestlers: 10 starters (one per weight class), two Floaters (any weight class) and four bench spots. The League Manager also has the ability to increase the number of bench wrestlers per team for the league.

    The 10 starters will only score points if they wrestle at the designated weight class. For example, if a wrestler is in the 125 roster spot (say Matt Ramos) and wrestles up at 133 for a dual meet. That result would NOT count.

    However, the wrestlers in the two Floater spots can wrestle at any weight class and have the result count. For example, a 125 wrestler (say Matt Ramos) wrestles at 133 and is in one of the Floater spots. That result WILL count.

    The bench spots will not score points.

    Scoring

    The Default Scoring in WrestleStat’s Fantasy College Wrestling leagues had the following parameters:

    1) Standard Dual Scoring was used for all competitions (Dual and Tournaments). Meaning, that a win by decision was +3 and a loss by decision was -3, etc., etc. A win/loss by Fall, FFT, INJ, or DQ was +6/-6. No advancement or placement points are counted. MFF and Byes are zero points (though this can be changed by the League Manager)

    2) Only matches against D1 competition counted for your wrestler’s weekly Fantasy point total. Any match against un-rostered, DII, DIII, etc. wrestlers would not count for or against your wrestler’s weekly point total

    3) Wrestlers on Olympic Redshirt or grayshirting would not be eligible to accrue Fantasy points

    4) Regular redshirts ARE eligible for accruing Fantasy points

     

    Add/Drop

    Each Scoring Week runs from Monday to Sunday. A wrestler will “lock” for the Scoring Week at 12pm EST on his team’s first competition. This means any add/drops or changing Starters/Floaters would have to be completed before 12pm EST. 

    Limitation on add/drops per week can be set by the League Manager. For instance, my average amount of add/drops between my three leagues was 89 transactions in 2022. 

    Competition

    There are two styles of gameplay: Head-to-Head and Total Point leagues.

    For Head-to-Head leagues, each week your team would compete head-to-head against another member of your league. Total accumulated points vs total accumulated points and the team with the higher total wins the week. Standings go by overall record, with the tiebreaker being total aggregate points. Very much like a traditional fantasy sports league.

    The regular season lasts about 15 or 16 weeks, with the top four teams competing for the championship in the final two weeks of the NCAA season (much like the National College Football Championship). The middle four teams (#5-8 in the standing) would compete in the “Best-of-the-Rest Tournament.” for bragging rights.

    For Total Point leagues, each week your team is competing against all other teams in the league to get the highest score. Each week, your score is added to your current running total to shape the standings. At the end of the season, whoever has the most points scored WINS.

    WrestleStat leagues do not carry over into the postseason (Conferences and NCAAs)... yet.

    And that, my Fantasy College Wrestling friends, is the boiled-down ruleset that you need to know. If you want to read the full rules, (and you SHOULD ALWAYS READ THE RULES) you can view them HERE.

    If you participated last year, I hope you sign up again. If you didn’t participate, I highly encourage you to do so. Everyone always talks about growing the sport of wrestling; what better way to do so than to make it a competition between friends. Now instead of following just Penn State, Iowa, or your local team, you become interested in how 141 Cael Happel (UNI) does against Joey Zargo (Wisconsin), or that your week’s success hinges on the hail mary pickup of South Dakota State’s Tanner Cook to win that tournament.

    Like making pasta, you have to fold the flour in gently, not all at once. Fold your friends into the sport, and get them to have a vested interest in duals and tournaments. In other words, get them involved in Fantasy College Wrestling. I truly believe Fantasy College Wrestling has an opportunity to not only add another dimension to the fans we have, but an excellent opportunity to gain new fans. It’s cheap and fun (and frustrating) exposure.

    Next up, Tony Two-Cents on Tips & Tricks to win your #FCW24 League…

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