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
For the third season in a row, Daton Fix finishes as the #1 Fantasy Wrestler at 133. In the previous two seasons, he had claimed the top spot by the smallest of margins (by two Fpts in 2021 and one in 2022), but this season he was by far the best fantasy wrestler. He outscored #2 Michael McGee by 16 Fpts. His Average Draft Position (ADP) has increased each year as well, being ADP 16.52 in 2021, to ADP 8 in 2022, and this past season as ADP 5.31.
A battle for 2nd place in Fpts was won by Michael McGee by one point over Lucas Byrd, despite McGee wrestling six less regular season matches. Both McGee and Byrd have been mainstays in the fantasy top-10, both improving their finishing spots year after year: Byrd finishing 6th in 2021, 5th in 2022, and 3rd this season and McGee finishing 10th in 2021, 4th in 2022, and 2nd this season. Neither had an ADP within the top 25 in any season since 2020.
Two University of Penn wrestlers make the Top-10, with starter Michael Colaiocco finishing at #4 and Evan McGoualian at #10, just beating out Sam Latona by two Fpts. Another pair of teammates make the Top-20 from Campbell with back-and-forth starters Gabe Hixenbaugh (#9) and Domenic Zaccone (#15). Both had about the same number of matches, but Hixenbaugh made the most with his matches having a PPM almost one Fpt higher than Zaccone.
Finishing almost identically in the #5 and #6 spots were Gable Strickland and Kurt Phipps, respectively. Both wrestled over 35 matches, both had nine regular-season losses, the same PPM (1.8), and just one Fpt separating them. The difference looks to be Strickland's slightly higher bonus rate.
A model of fantasy consistency, Roman-Bravo Young has finished 8th this past season, 7th in 2022, 8th in 2021, and (you guessed it) 7th in 2020 in the Fantasy 133 rankings. Excluding the 2021 shortened COVID season, he's also finished with 13 regular season matches and 61 Fpts in 2023, 14 matches in 2022 and (you guessed it) 61 Fpts, and in 2020 had 18 matches with 66 Fpts.
Just like how the finals played out, Vito Arujau narrowly beat RBY to finish 7th by one Fpt (though Arujau had four more matches wrestled). Might be crazy to say, but this is the first time he has finished in the Fantasy Top-20 at 133… mainly because he wrestled 125 in 2022 (where he finished 14th), and he wasn't enrolled for 2020 and 2021. With his last year of eligibility available (and confirmed he WILL be wrestling the 2024 season), I expect at least a repeat in Fpts production… at 133.
Who Missed The Cut:
It hurts me to type this, but Micky Phillippi fell just short of making the Top-20 by four Fpts. Had he won that tiebreaker dual against Kai Orine, he would have eeked in and finished 19th.
Speaking of Orine, the All-American finished 34th due mainly to five losses, four losses by decisions and one by major, equalling -16 Fpts. Another fellow All-American Aaron Nagao, formerly of Minnesota, also fell outside the Top-20 as he only had three qualifying bonus wins and a loss by pin at the Southern Scuffle by Brayden Palmer. Nagao was the #26 Fantasy Wrestler at 133.
Since we talked about teammates earlier, the two Lehigh teammates finished back-to-back at the #30 and #31 positions: Connor McGonagle (27Fpts) and Ryan Crookham (26 Fpts). True freshman Nic Bouzakis finished at #29 with 29 Fpts, while Chris Cannon claimed the same number of Fpts as Crookham, with almost double the amount of matches, but finished at #32 due to his PPM of 1.2 compared to Crookahm’s 2.4.
Some other notables include Dylan Ragusin (MICH) at #24 with 35 Fpts, Chance Rich (CSUB) at #41 with 21 Fpts, and Rayvon Foley with 17 Fpts at #50.
Don't see your favorite wrestler on the list? Let me know @FantasyD1Wrestl for the full stats.