2021 All-American Louie DePrez (photos courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.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 Binghamton Bearcat Lou DePrez makes his third consecutive Top-20 list in as many years, this time as the Top Cat. Despite three losses and moving up a weight, DePrez only had two majors of his nine bonus point wins which helped him claim the 1 spot.
Close on DePrez's tail was Jaxon Smith and Cam Caffey, who both wrestled 29 regular season matches (the most wrestled by any in the Top-20), though technically Smith wrestled 28 and Caffey 27, as they had some non-D1 competition. Smith finished as the highest Redshirt in any Top-20, with the help of five pins and two majors in his last 11 matches of the season. Caffey had a similar streak, winning his last 10 matches, but of those matches, only two were won by bonus (two majors).
Whenever a wrestler transfers into the Big Ten, their Fantasy Stock gets questioned. As was the case with Greg Bulsak moving from Clarion to Rutgers for his final season of eligibility. Bulsak proved the doubters (yes me, I had some hesitation) wrong. With almost a 60% bonus rate against D1 competition in the regular season, Bulsak actually had a fighter's chance of finishing 2nd at the weight. Two of his four losses were in sudden victory and, had he won those two matches, would have been right behind DePrez as a runner-up.
Tied for the Best PPM in the 197 Top-20, Stephen Buchanan finds himself at #6 solely because of his loss by pin to #12 on the list (Owen Pentz). Had Buchanan only lost by decision? He'd be in the Top-4.
National Champion Max Dean came out firing with six straight bonus wins to start the season. He would go on to only have one loss (by decision), and only three wins by decisions, but in a weight where 90% of the Top-20 wrestled over 20 matches, 16 by Dean just wasn't enough firepower.
Four All-Americans made the 197 Top-20 this season.
Who Missed The Cut:
Missing the cut by 0.2 PPM, Yonger Bastida (ISU) finished at #21 with the same number of Fantasy Points as Rocky Elam, despite beating him in the last match of the regular season. What did him in? Probably that loss by pin against Silas Allred (NEB) at the Daktronics Open. Cleveland State's Ben Smith also finished with 44 Fpts and a PPM of 2.1 to be #22.
National Finalist Jacob Warner (IOWA), may have wrestled four matches at the Luther Open, but from a Fantasy perspective, it's like he didn't even weigh in. He won three matches by bonus over non-D21 competition and then Medically Forfeited to teammate Zach Glaser in the Finals. That left Warner with 13 countable matches, which he only won by bonus twice (two majors) and lost by decision three times. Warner finished at #39 with 23 Fpts.
One of the biggest surprises of the NCAA Tournament was Gavin Hoffman (OHST) taking home 6th place as a 21 seed. With seven losses in the regular season, it's no wonder how he didn't crack the Top-20. Especially when he only recorded two countable bonus wins of his 18 matches.
Even though he was injured mid-season and only wrestled in 10 matches, AJ Ferrari (formerly of OKST), only had two wins by decision to finish at #23 with 43 Fpts.
Eric Schultz (NEB) and Jay Aiello (UVA) finished out their senior seasons as #24 and #25 respectively (42 and 41 Fpts). And, tell me if you've heard this before in this article, the main reason they are not higher on this list is due to the low match count totals (15 for Schultz and 12 for Aiello).
Other notables to miss the cut include: Nino Bonaccorsi (PITT) at #26 with 40 Fpts, Braxton Amos (WISC) at #27 with 39 Fpts, Kordell Norfleet (ASU) at #29 with 38 Fpts, and Michael Beard (formerly of PSU) at #35 with 26 Fpts.