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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Fantasy College Wrestling - 2023 Season Top-20 (197 lbs)

    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



    This is the second time Tanner Sloan had been the #1 Fantasy Wrestler at 197, thanks in part to a 20-1 regular season Record. Oh, and with 15 of those wins being by bonus (four pins, one FFT, one win by injury default, two techs, and seven majors). His only loss on the season would be to Virginia Tech’s Andy Smith (who came in at #30 at 197).

    Last year's champion Max Dean finished as #2, an improvement to his 2022 rank of #8. Even though he wasn’t “allowed” to finish his roll-through on Ethan Laird, Dean did win in the battle of fantasy ranks, beating out Laird by three points, despite the regular season win by Laird.

    Coming off a double redshirt season, Silas Allred only had five regular season losses, and four of them were by two wrestlers (two by Issac Trumble and two by Tanner Sloan). 13 of his 28 matches were won by bonus, which helped him jump his season nemesis, Trumble, in the standings and secure the #4 spot.

    Michael Beard, Levi Hopkins, and Jake Kosar all finished within a decision of each other, and finished 6th, 7th, and 8th respectively. Interestingly enough, the better the rank, the fewer matches they wrestled to get those spots: Beard with 18 regular season matches, Hopkins with 29, and Kosar with 31.

    Making his second Top-20 in a row, Trey Rogers was also the highest-ranked Hofstra Wrestler in fantasy for the 2023 season. He finished one spot better than Jaxon Smith who had the same match total and same PPM as Rodgers, but fell one Fpt behind.

    Tyler Mousaw makes his return to the Fantasy Top-20, powered behind 33 matches, tied for the most by any 197 pounder in the 2023 Top-20. Now, when he was #3 in 2021, he only had 11 matches and a PPM of 3.8. Fast forward to a season not under COVID restrictions, he wrestled three times that previous season’s amount and fell three Fpts short of a Top-10 finish.

    National Champ Nino Bonaccorsi had the least number of regular season matches within the 197 Top-20, and only wrestled duals. It’s not always the number of matches you wrestle, but what you do with those matches that count in Fantasy Wrestling. Bonaccorsi would go on to win all fourteen of his matches and finish at #16.

    The Hawkeye most associated with not putting up big points finally breaks through and rounds out the Top-20. Jacob Warner had been on the outside looking in, but this year he put together just enough to be in the win column to beat out Luke Surber (OKST) via PPM. All this despite four of his 17 matches being losses (-12 Fpts).

    Who Missed The Cut:

    Three 2023 All-Americans missed out on the Top-20, with Bernie Truax (CP) being the best of them at #24 with 42 Fpts. Jacob Cardenas (COR) finished #26 with 36 Fpts, and Rocky Elam (MIZ) only wrestled eight matches for 22 Fpts to finish #39.

    As previously mentioned, Luke Surber tied #20 Jacob Warner but fell behind Warner in the standings due to PPM for the #21 spot. In fact, four wrestlers were tied with 43 Fpts. The #22 spot was actually shared by both Zac Braunagel (ILL) and Tanner Harvey (ORST) as they shared the same Fpts, matches wrestled, and PPM (of 1.7).

    Despite an injury mid-season, Louie DePrez (BING) still managed to almost crack the Top-20 with 12 matches and a point total of 37.

    Yonger Bastida (ISU) had a better PPM than Gavin Hoffman (OHST) (1.9 to Hoffman’s 1.8), but it was Hoffman who had the last laugh grabbing the #27 Spot with 35 Fpts. Bastida would conclude at #28, but had he won that match in Pittsburgh against Bonaccotsi, he would have been #25.

    A Senior redshirting is sometimes a rare sight, but that didn't stop Ben Smith (CSU) from taking his and still amassing some good fantasy stats. Only nine of his 12 wrestled matches count towards 2023 Fantasy, but he still put together 21 Fpts and finish at #43.

    Other notables include the Hokie duo of starter Andy Smith and redshirt TJ Stewart finishing almost identical with 32 Fpts and a PPM of 15, but Smith gets the rank boost doing it in fewer matches (21 matches wrestled from Smith compared to 22 by Stewart).

    Don't see your favorite wrestler on the list? Let me know @FantasyD1Wrestl for the full stats.

    Previous 2023 Top-20 Articles:

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 125

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 133

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 141

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 149

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 157

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 165

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 174

    Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 184

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