We are just about at the turning point where last season’s results and memories start to fade into the WrestleStat archives and the general wrestling community ramps up the interest and speculation of the upcoming season. And when it comes to Fantasy College Wrestling, drafters need to start thinking about who they want to pick in their 2024 draft.
One way to do this is to look at the results of the 2023 season. The 2023 FCW Top-20 at each weight can give you a good idea of who the top Fantasy wrestlers in the country are. Seeing who returns, who leaves, who outplaced who, what teams made these lists more than others… all important information and data to digest.
Of course, things can change quickly in college wrestling. Wrestlers can transfer, injuries can happen, and new stars can emerge. But the 2023 FCW Top-20 is a good starting point for your fantasy draft preparation, as you will see some (many, actually) repeat names from the 2022 Top-20 articles and even 2021 Top-20 articles.
Take for instance: Pat Glory (PRIN), Yianni Diakomihalis (COR), Keegan O’Toole (MIZZ), and Carter Starocci (PSU). That championship group scored 223 Fpts in the 2023 season. How about these names though: Caleb Smith (APP), McKenzie Bell (RID), Evan Barczak (DREX), and Tyler Stoltzfus (LHU). That group scored 313 Fpts, and none were All-Americans.
As you look at the list, keep in mind that not all of the top performers are household names. Some of the wrestlers who scored the most points in 2023 were not All-Americans. This is just one of the things that makes fantasy sports so exciting and unpredictable.
So start your draft preparation today by taking a look at the 2023 FCW Top-20. You might just find some hidden gems that can help you win your league in 2024.
To compile these lists, we used standard WrestleStat Fantasy College Wrestling Data & Scoring. Just a reminder of how points were tallied in WrestleStat leagues:
1) The scoring used was Standard Team Scoring across all competitions (+3 for a win by decision, -4 for a loss by Major, etc)
2) Scoring only counted against D1 competition
3) Wins via Forfeits (FFT) would count as +6 towards a wrestler's point total
4) Wins or Losses by Medical Forfeit (MFF) did not count as + or - towards a wrestler's point total
5) Points were only accumulated during the regular season
Once again, Anthony Noto (LHU) is your top fantasy wrestler at 125. Seems like the fantasy wrestling public took note of his 2022 season where he did not have any Average Draft Position (ADP) data to this year in 2023 where he had an ADP of 37.09. Finally, some of you are starting to listen to me!
Now a name that has been picked time and time again for the past four years is Spencer Lee. But unlike those previous years where he has been ADP #3 in 2020, #1 in 2021, #1 in 2022, and #1 this season (2023), this is the first time he's finished within the Top-5. His last highest placement was in 2020 as the #6 Fantasy Wrestler at 125, then in 2021 when he only wrestled 4 matches and finished as the #14 Fantasy Wrestler (all pins).
“Shock” National Finalist Matt Ramos wrestled up at 133 last season and finished juuuust outside the Top-20 (by 1 Fpt). This season, down to his more suitable weight, he finishes as the #2 Fantasy Wrestler at 125 and #14 overall. Had he won that regular season match against Spencer Lee, he would have been your #1 at 125 (or if he had beaten Anthony Molton and Richie Figueroa instead, both were close losses).
At one point, Maximilian Leete was one of the leaders in pins for all of D1. Now, he didn’t end up taking that designation home at the end of the season, but he did ride that wave into being the #10 Fantasy Wrestler at 125.
One of Franklin & Marshall’s two Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers this season, Mason Leiphart, finished with 36 regular season matches wrestled. He finished tied in Fpts with Pat Glory and Stevo Poulin thanks to his over 50% regular season bonus rate against D1 wrestlers, but finished at #13 behind both of them due to his lower PPM.
Two non-starters make this list, one redshirt, and one backup. The redshirt, Sheldon Seymour, was able to make it into the Top-10 despite six of his matches (all but one of them a win by bonus) being against non-D1 competition. The backup, Richard Figueroa, held down the starting spot until late 2022 until Courtney returned, then started on-and-off for some duals into January. Ultimately the decision to go with Courtney was made, but Figueroa went 14-0 (all against D1 competition) and included wins over Noah Surtain and Matt Ramos. There’s a case to be made that maybe he starts the season as ranked #1 at 125 next year??
Your National Champion, Pat Glory, wrestled in just two events during the 2022 portion of the season (Princeton Open on 11/6 and the Rutgers Dual on 12/11). Once the calendar changed to 2023, though, he wrestled twice a week. He finished one spot and two Fpts behind being in the Top-10, even though he wrestled about half as many matches as #10 Leete.
Who Missed The Cut:
George Mason’s true freshman Markel Baker fell 2 Fpts short of tying Medley at 47 Fpts and Wyoming's true freshman Jore Volk just 4 points. They finished #21 and #22 ranked at 125, respectively
Surprise 27-seed AA Eddie Ventresca (VT) finished at, surprisingly, #27 in Fpts at 125. He finished with 38 Fpts, one behind the eventual Rutgers starter Dean Peterson.
With a late start to the season and only 12 matches to draw from, 2023 3rd placer Brandon Courtney wasn't able to finish the four-peat of making the 125 Fantasy Top-20 and landed at #45 for this season. He previously finished at #2 at 125 in 2022, #3 in 2021, and #15 in 2020.
In the same boat as Courtney was Killian Cardinale, who made his 2023 debut at Midlands as well. He ended up with 35 Fptsin essentially 10 matches since three were “losses” by medical Forfeit. Had he won two more matches at Midlands, he'd be in the Top-25. Instead, he finishes as #30.
Other notables include the usual backside bandit Pat McKee (MINN) who finished at #32 with 30 Fpts, Ryan Miller (PENN), and Brandon Kaylor (ORST) ted with points (25) and PPM (1), but Miller did it with one less match and takes the #39 spot while Kaylor is #40, and Troy Spratley (MINN) at #49.
Don't see your favorite wrestler on the list? Let me know @FantasyD1Wrestl for the full stats.