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174: The Top 20 Fantasy Wrestlers of 2021

Utah Valley's Demetrius Romero (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)

149: Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State)

157: Jacob Wright (Wyoming)

165: Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State))


Notes:

The 174 Top 20 tied the 165 weight class with seven All-Americans.

Seeding controversy aside, Demetrius Romero takes the #1 spot with 50 Fpts, beating the second place wrestler Austin Murphy by 14 Fpt and (yet ANOTHER Appalachian State Mountaineer) Thomas Flitz by 15 Fpts.

For the second year in a row, Mr. Sicknasty (Twitter handle) Hayden Hastings, makes the Top 20 at 174, with only two bonus-point wins of his 12 matches wrestled (albeit those two were both pins). Flip that with surprise All American Bernie Truax, where six of his eight bouts were won by either tech or pin.

The only true freshman to make this weights Top 20 was Dustin Plott, who unfortunately ran into some injury issues late in the season, which accounted for his 2-2 record in the last week of the season (net 1 Fpt).

Logan Massa won five of his six regular-season matches, all by bonus. His lone loss to Carter Starocci in Tie-Breaker solidified him in the #16 spot, but had he eeked out that won, he would have been #11 this season.

Your 2021 National Tournament Finalists hold down the #17 and #18 spots, but despite Carter Starocci having almost double the number of regular-season matches, he only beat Michael Kemerer by 1 Fpt.

Three backups make the cut with Michael Ferree being the highest. Three majors and a pin helped propel him to the #11 spot, while Alex Faison had just as many matches but fell 2 Fpts behind (dropping him down to #15).

Who Missed The Cut:

The lone All American to not make the Top 20 at 174 was Jackson Turley, who finished as the #36 Fantasy Wrestler with 11 Fpts in only four matches.

With maybe one of the most surprising wins this season in the Big Ten, Donnell Washington fell just one point short of making the Top 20. Because of his loss, by fall, to Logan Massa, he finished the 2021 season with 16 Fpts. Had he of "only" lost by tech, he would have been #20.

Tyler Eischens started off hot and jumped between 165 and 174, but going 2-3 in his last five matches of the season (net -4) put him below the Top 20 at #26.

Two Top 20 Fantasy Wrestlers from 2020 did not make the list this year. They were Jacob Oliver and Anthony Mantanona. It wasn't for lack of competition, as both wrestlers had double-digit matches. Jacob Oliver was #7 last season, comes in at #31 this season with 13 Fpts and Anthony Mantanona was #12 last season and finished as #72 with -1 Fpt this season.

Some other notables who did not make the cut include Trey Munoz (#32), Kaleb Romero (#33) and #33 Clay Lautt, all with 12 Fpts, and Anthony Montalvo (#44 with 6 Fpts).

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