Tanner Sloan (Photo/Cam Kramer; CamKramerPhoto.smugmug.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)
174: Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley)
184: Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois)
Not only was Tanner Sloan the #1 Fantasy Wrestler at 197 this season, but he was also the #1 OVERALL Fantasy Wrestler across all weights (as you will see later). In 2021, Sloan went undefeated, winning 11 of his 13 matches by bonus, and of those bonus wins had six techs and three fins (that alone would have put him at #3 at 197).
Slightly beating out fellow true freshman (Tyler Mousaw) was national champ AJ Ferrari, who started the season with two majors and three techs. Both Ferrari and Mousaw lost one match by decision and who was the wrestler that gave Ferrari his only loss on the season? That would be #4 Noah Adams, who dropped from his 2020 Fantasy Ranking (#1 at 197 and #4 overall), due to his two losses to Stephen Buchanan (the #15 Fantasy Wrestler at 197 this season). Had he won both of those matches, he would have been #2 this season.
Speaking of Stephen Buchanan, the Cowboy could have been much higher in this list had it not been for two losses, one by injury and one by fall, which totals -12. Rocky Elam handed Buchanan the injury loss, which helped him climb to the #5 spot, and Kordell Norfleet pinned Buchanan, which was part of his six bonus victories this season.
Chris Kober only wrestled four matches but was able to get "the cycle" (Pin, Tech, Major, and Decision) which accounted for 18 Fpts and the #18 spot.
Four non-starters make the Top-20, with three of them being part of a Starter/Backup duos make up the list (Missouri, NC State, and Oklahoma State). Luke Surber led them in 27 Fpts and was the #10 Fantasy Wrestler. Issac Trumble also makes this list at #12 powered behind a decision win over national finalist Nino Bonaccorsi (and this year's #13) and five pins.
Who Missed The Cut:
Four 2021 All Americans missed the Top-20. Of them, Michael Beard was the highest ranked at #29 with 12 Fpts. Jacob Warner was one point off from Beard as the #30 Fantasy Wrestler at 197, and Myles Amine was close behind at #32 and 9 Fpts. At #52, Jake Woodley had five losses which was too much to overcome and finished the 2021 season with 4 Fpts.
Moving down to 197, Chase Singletary didn't gain the starting spot but finished as the better Fantasy Wrestler with 13 Fpts and 62 places better than Gavin Hoffman. On the flip side, Cam Caffey moved up to 197 and, while only losing twice to the #1 and #2 ranked wrestlers during the regular season (Eric Schultz and Myles Amine, respectively), it was still too much to overcome and finished with 10 Fpts which was good for the #31 spot.
Other notables to miss the Top-20 include Jack Brown (#23 with 15 Fpts), Lucas Davison (#36 with 8 Fpts), Jake Jakobsen (#40 with 7 Fpts), Marcus Coleman (#59 with 2 Fpts), and Kaden Russell (#105 with -11 Fpts).