Sebastian Rivera at the 2022 NCAA Championships (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
To steal the line from last year's FCW Top-20 Articles, everyone knows 125 Pat Glory, 133 Roman Bravo-Young, 174 Carter Starocci, 184 Aaron Brooks, and 285 Gable Steveson are bonus point monsters, and this season they totaled 283 Fpts. Top names and all NCAA Champions or Finalists (Nick Suriano did not make the Top-20).
But here's five names that totaled 328 Fpts: 125 Caleb Smith (APP), 133 Joshua Koderhandt (NAVY), 174 Logan Messer (GMU), 184 Jonathan Loew (COR), and 285 Ben Goldin (PENN). This group only has one All-American (Loew finishing 8th).
And as I say every year, that's the beauty and frustration of Fantasy Sports. Sometimes your top performers are not "household names."
So, with that, let's take a look at this past season's Top-20 at each weight to help give you an early start to win each week this coming year.
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 #1 overall Fantasy Wrestler for the 2022 season was Sebastian Rivera with a staggering 4.9 PPM. Only one other wrestler had a higher PPM, because Sebastian seemed to not want to pin anyone this year (just â€œnearlyâ€ pin them). He led the nation in Tech Falls with 13 of his 22 matches, and was held to only one Decision by Quinn Kinner.
Winning the #2 spot over last year's 141 #1 Fantasy Wrestler Clay Carlson by 0.6 PPM was Grant Willits and his seven Pins (and one FFT). After losing twice at CKLV, Willits went on to win the rest of his 14 matches to end the regular season, 10 of them by bonus.
After the Top 3, there was a steep drop-off in points. Cole Matthews, powered by Primanti Bros, amassed five pins in his 15 wins in the regular season. Compare that to his previous three seasons, including his 2019 Redshirt, where he had only six pins in 48 total wins.
Both NCAA finalists find themselves in the Top-20, with Champion Nick Lee making his third straight Top-20 list and Kizahn Clarke just barely squeaks in by one point. In 2020, Clarke (while a 149 lber at American University) was the #7 overall fantasy wrestler across all weights. Nick Lee this season, had the fewest matches wrestled within the top 32 wrestlers at 141.
Speaking of regular season match counts, Maryland's Ethen Miller tied Seth Koleno of Clarion with 32 regular season matches, and about the same number of D1 matches as well along with the same number of D1 losses (six each, both totaling -21 Fpts). These two did meet early in the season, with Koleno besting Miller 6-3, but it was Miller with the one-point edge at the end of the day to finish 5th at 141.
Taking out two top-ranked wrestlers in Andrew Alirez and Stevan Micic on his way to an 8th Place All-American finish, CJ Composto started off a little rocky with three losses (and two Medical Forfeits) in 13 matches. But after securing the starting spot, he rattled off nine straight wins, five by bonus.
Josh Mason finished the regular season 15-8 against D1 competition, with 10 of those wins being Pins to get him to the #17 spot. What's even crazier, half of his losses were by pin as well (-24 Fpts) which means had he â€œonlyâ€ lost those four matches by decision, he would have ended up as the #5 Fantasy Wrestler at 141.
Six of the eight All-Americans at 141 made the Top 20.
Who Missed The Cut:
The two All-Americans to miss the cut were Real Woods (STAN) and Jake Bergeland (MINN). Surprisingly enough, they finished #37 (23 Fpts) and #38 (22 Fpts) respectively. Woods's late start and a string of decisions account for him falling outside the Top-20 and Bergeland had a smattering of losses throughout the regular season that held him back.
Ian Parker (ISU), who himself had a late start to the season, finished tied with Woods but had the better PPM (2.3 compared to 1.5).
The scrutiny of what weight will Yianni Diakomihalis go overshadowed the other potential wrestlers of that weight class equation, Joshua Saunders (COR) and Cole Handlovic (COR). Handlovic ended with a negative total Fpts total, but Joshua Saunders fell one point short of the leaderboard to finish #21.
Wrestling 10 regular season matches and finishing with 10 Fpts was Michigan's Stevan Micic. Even though he was one takedown away from being an All-American this past season, he was nowhere near close to breaking into the Top-20 for fantasy purposes.
Other notables include Allen Hart (MIZZ) at #25 with 34 Fpts, Quinn Kinner (RID) at #26 with 33 Fpts), Ryan Jack (NCST) at #31 with 29 Fpts, and Joey Zargo (WISC) at #45 with 18 Fpts.