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149: The Top 20 Fantasy Wrestlers of 2021

Boo Lewallen at the 2021 NCAA Championships (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

When the #FantasyCollegeWrestling season comes to an end, it's usual to feel like you need a break. I get it; even WE took a little time for some needed R&R (fear not, though, the FCW Podcast returns later this month!). The amount of work and game planning is exponentially higher than Fantasy Football or other sports.

There is not much to do other than research in the off-season. But just like we say in training, it's what you do when others are not looking that separates you from the pack.

We are left with a lot of raw data that needs to be filtered and sorted. The off-season is devoted to not only recording and organizing that data, but grouping, interpreting, and utilizing that data to forecast and strategize for the upcoming season. Sometimes the best way to prepare for the future is to look back on the past season and who is returning or names/data to remember come week 12 when you are struggling to find that 174 starter.

Usually, you have names like Spencer Lee, Shane Griffith, Aaron Brooks, and Tony Cassioppi that you think of to bring you success. Together this season, they combined for 84 Fantasy Points (Fpts).

Well, let me throw a couple other names at you: Codi Russell, Will Formato, Brit Wilson, and Michael McAleavey. This group totaled 185 Fpts this season.

As I say every year, that's the beauty and frustration of Fantasy Sports. Sometimes your top performers are not "household names."

Now, this year was definitely an "asterisk" type of year as there will be quite a few instances of skewing in one way or another (see the co-Hodge announcement). In past seasons, we have stressed that match count is not always a determining factor in actual or in Fantasy Wrestling success, but this year was different. Some teams were hit with COVID precautions or wrestlers actually got COVID making an imbalance of matches wrestled between wrestlers/teams larger than in years past and causing some big names to not make the Top 20 of their respective weights.

To compile these lists, we used WrestleStat Fantasy College Wrestling data. 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

Here are the previous #FCW 2021 Season weight class Top-20 Lists:

125: Codi Russell (Appalachian State)

133: Daton Fix (Oklahoma State)

141: Clay Carlson (South Dakota State)


Notes:

Your 2021 national champion, Austin O'Connor, comes in as the #9 Fantasy Wrestler this season with five of his six regular-season matches won by bonus (three majors and two pins). Surprisingly, that is six spots lower than his 2020 Fantasy standing, where he was #3. On the flipside, Appalachian State's only All-American was again a fantasy superstar. In 2020, he was the #4 Fantasy Wrestler; this season, he slots in one notch better at #3.

Boo Lewallen and Brock Mauller both wrestled 13 matches this season, tied for most among Top-20 wrestlers at 149, and were separated by only four points ending as #1 and #2, respectively. Mauller only had three bonus-point wins of his 13 victories (all three by major), so it's safe to say that there were points left on the table for Mauller to get the top spot.

Of the four non-starters to make this list, Hunter Lewis put together a Spencer-Lee-esque run, pinning six of his seven opponents to be the #6 Fantasy Wrestler. In fact, he could have been much higher still as his lone loss was by major, meaning if he had somehow won that match, it would have been a 7 point swing putting him at 39 Fpts and #4. But then again, that's why they wrestle the matches.

Regardless of whether Kyle Parco was at 141 or 149, he was a Top-10 Fantasy Wrestler at both weights. Even though he wrestled only one regular-season match at 149, he is part of this weight as this was his entry weight for the national tournament.

Bryce Andonian sits at #10, just like he did in 2020. If he finishes the 2022 at the #10 spot again, I will officially nickname him "Mr. Consistent."

Who Missed The Cut:

Just barely missing the cut was last season's #8, Andrew Alirez. Due to injury, Alirez was only able to get in four matches, three of them being in the first eight days of the season and the last one being almost a month and a half later.

Two of the eight All Americans fell short of breaking into the Top-20, Yahya Thomas (#33 with 14 Fpts) and Jaden Abas (#42 with 10 Fpts).

Other notables to miss the Top-20 include Ridge Lovett (#22 with 19 Fpts), Josh Heil (#32 with 14 Fpts), Max Murin (#51 with 8 Fpts, in large part to his loss by pin to Sasso), Kanen Storr (#64 with 6 Fpts), and Josh Finesilver (#96 with 0 Fpts).

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