184: The Top 20 Fantasy Wrestlers of 2021

Northern Illinois' All-American Brit Wilson (Photo/Tony Rotundo;

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)

174: Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley)

Six of the eight All Americans from this year were also Top-20 Fantasy Wrestlers at 184.

Had it not been for one loss, Dakota Geer would have been the #1 Fantasy Wrestler at 184 this season. At the same time, Brit Wilson was able to hold on to the top spot despite having one loss. Wilson had a bonus rate of 73%, while Geer was at 69%.

Two SoCon wrestlers make the Top 5 this season at 184. Caleb Hopkins claimed the #3 ranking due to winning by pin in five of his last seven matches. Zach Brown (not the band), bookended his season with four total Pins.

Both Parker Keckeisen and Hunter Bolen finished the regular season undefeated. Keckeisen used that one extra match he had to his advantage to get the #6 spot over Bolen.

For the second year in a row, Matthew Waddell just fell ever so close to making the Top-10, but this time it wasn't by one Fpt; it was a 0.3 difference in PPM.

Your national champion at 184 comes in at #12 in Fantasy rankings. With a bonus rate of 83%, his only non-bonus win was against Michigan's Jaden Bullock.

Gardner-Webb's only Top Fantasy Wrestler (by the slightest of margins- see 285) this season comes in at #15, despite losing by pin (-6) in the middle of the season. Speaking of "only," Hudson Stewart was the only true freshman to make the list going 6-1 with two bonus wins.

Who Missed The Cut:

The highest All American placing to miss out on the Top 20 across all weights resides at the 184 class. In 2020, he was the #13 Fantasy Wrestler with a 48% bonus rate during the regular season, but this season Trent Hidlay had zero bonus matches (outside of a forfeit with Duke). He finished with 12 Fpts to be the #25 Fantasy Wrestler. Interestingly enough, had he beaten Hunter Bolen (lost 2-1), he would have been #17.

The second All American that missed out on the Top-20 was John Poznanski, who went 3-1 in the regular season (all decisions) with 6 Fpts and claimed the #41.

Missing the cut by only one point was true freshman Gopher Isaiah Salazar (who was 4-1 in D1 matches and lost by Decision to Nelson Brands) and Hofstra's Charles Small, both with 14 Fpts. Small went 4-1, with his lone loss being unfortunately due to injury, which accounted for -6 Fpts.

Some other notables to not make the Top-20 include Taylor Venz (#28 with 11 Fpts), Owen Webster (#30 with 10 Fpts), Chris Weiler (#47 with 5 Fpts), Nelson Brands (#50 with 4 Fpts), and Max Lyon (#65 with 2 Fpts).


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