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
The top four All-Americans of 174 made the Fantasy Top-5, all posting a PPM above 3.4, and Carter Starocci having the best of those four (4.3 PPM) with only 19 matches, and with only three wins by decision.
But you know who beat them out as the #1 Fantasy Wrestler? Tyler Stoltzfus did, with his 42 regular season match count and 2.1 PPM jumping over Labriola by five Fpts. Stoltzfus made the 2022 Top-20, barely squeaking in at #19 with roughly the same match count (38). Only this time in 2023, he had 13 wins by pin compared to his five in 2022. Crazy still, is that Stoltzfus also lost three matches by pin this past season, which is a total of -18 Fpts.
While he didn’t have the rocket ship of a start to the season like in 2022 (eight pins in his first nine matches), Donnell Washington did have seven bonus wins in his first nine matches of 2023 (two pins, three techs, and two majors). More matches and more bonus lands Washington at #7.
With a change of scenery and down a weight, Rocky Jordan made his return into a Fantasy Top-20 (his last time in the Top-20 was in 2020 at 184 finishing #18). Coming in at #10, Jordan only had two decision losses in the regular season and six techs and one pin. Right behind him, Logan Messer makes his second straight Top-20 in his second year of collegiate competition. Wrestling in just about the same amount of matches as he did in 2022, the difference between when he was #4 to this year’s #11 is solely due to bonus. 40% bonus rate in 2022 compared to 27% this year.
In his past four years as a starter, Michael O’Malley has steadily been climbing the Fantasy ranks. In 2020 he was #20, in 2021 (COVID season) he was #10, and in 2022 he was #2 at 174. This season though, with an injury in his first match of the season, it put a halt on a usually productive start. O’Malley only had one match at the Tiger Open, then two MFFs. He would return to the mat until December 20th at the Boilermaker Duals. In the past few years, he would have had about 12 matches to his record in that time. So, with only 14 D1 countable matches wrestled, and only four pins compared to 2022 where he had 11 Pins, his Fantasy stock for the season dipped a little.
Dustin Plott started the season out with 10 straight wins, and six of them being by bonus. After the Southern Scuffle, he would lose four times (-12 Fpts) and only have two bonus wins in his next 12 matches.
Two returning fantasy wrestlers to the 174 Top-20 both improved their previous season performance, but went in opposite directions in the rankings. Ben Pasuik was #13 in 2022 with 47 Fpts and Nick Incontrera was #11 with 51 Fpts. This past season, Pasuik launched up to #9 in the standings (with 61 Fpts), while Incontrera had 57 Fpts and fell to #13 in 2023.
174 is one of three weights to be composed of only Starters.
Who Missed The Cut:
Two All-Americans finished off the Top-20, one by four Fpts and the other by 36 Fpts. Ethan Smith (OHST) last made a Top-20 in 2021 where he was #10. Last season, he was just on the outside sitting at #22, and this season he tied Jared McGill (EDIN) with 39 Fpts but slots in behind him at #25 due to PPM.
The other AA, Nelson Brands (IOWA), finished at #76 with seven Fpts. With an injury midseason and four of his 10 regular season matches resulting in a loss, it was a tough hole to climb out of, but Brands did have an ADP of 141.6 (the equivalent of a 15th-round pick).
Out here in the field, he fought for his meals, and put his back into his matches, but Bailee O’Reilly (MINN) fell one point short of the Top-20. That said, he only lost three matches in the regular season (Plott, Mocco, and Labriola) in his 18 bouts. Hard to hold that against him.
If you check his WrestleStat page, Demetrius Romero (UVU) will show seven “L” designations. However, five of those “Ls” were Medical Forfeits and do not count for negative points (in standard WrestleStat Leagues). Granted, two were against non-D1 competitions so it wouldn't count for Fpts anyway. Coming in at #22 with 40 Pts, had he wrestled and won one of the other three (against either Labriola, DeVos, or Troy Fisher) then he would have, been #20.
The highest non-starter in the 174 Fantasy ranks comes in at #26 with Iowa State’s Joel Devine. Devine actually tied Tate Picklo (OU) in Fpts with 34, but just edged him out with a 1.4 PPM compared to Picklo’s 1.2. Dillon Sheehy (ARMY) was the next highest non-starter with 33 Fpts at #28, also slightly outdueling Troy Fisher (NU) who tied him in Fpts but had a better PPM (1.5 compared to 1.4).
Other notables include Alex Faison (NCST) at #32 with 26 Fpts, Luca Augustine (PITT) at #38 with 23 Fpts, MJ Gaitan (ISU) at #29 with 22 Fpts, Aaron Olmos (ORST) at #57 with 14 Fpts, and Phil Conigliaro (HARV) at #81 with 6 Fpts.
Don't see your favorite wrestler on the list? Let me know @FantasyD1Wrestl for the full stats.
Previous 2023 Top-20 Articles: