Air Force's Big 12 champion Wyatt Hendrickson (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
It shouldn't be a surprise that Wyatt Hendrickson sits as the #1 Fantasy Wrestler for 285 after the season. Hendrickson may have started a month late, but he finished as the Pin King in 2022 with 13 regular season falls against D1 competition. The pins alone would still make him the #2 overall Fantasy Wrestler this season.
Just as everyone had predicted, Navy's Grady Greiss finished as the #2 Fantasy Wrestler at 285. Greiss went to six opens throughout the year, but won only the Mat Town Open II at the end of the season. Griess also started for Navy twice (going 1-1), and despite six losses on the season, he was able to get the most out of his other 21 matches to maximize his Fantasy potential.
To quote Larry David, coming into this season some people did not "respect wood" and maybe didn't have high expectations for Jordan Wood. Well, naysayers, Wood powered his way to an 18-2 regular season, first announcing his mark on the season by taking out Matt Stencel (the perennial pinner) at the Journeyman Classic. His only two losses were each by one point (to Tony Cassioppi and in TB to Cohlton Schultz). Lehigh also had Redshirt Nathan Taylor make the Top-10.
In 2021, Michael McAlevey was one of the top pinners which helped him take the #1 spot at Heavyweight. This past season, he had just about the same number of pins, but also had nine losses (127 Fpts) which anchored him down to #8 at 285.
The highest amount of matches wrestled in the Top-20 goes to recent transfer AJ Nevills of South Dakota State. The least amount goes to your 2022 Champion Gable Steveson. Steveson wrestled only one more match than he did in the 2021 season but scored two less Fpts. That said, he finished just inside of the Top-20 with the #19 spot.
Seven All-Americans made the Top-20 this season at 285.
Who Missed The Cut:
The only All-American to miss the Top-20 was Nebraska's Christian Lance who was the 12 seed at Nationals. With only four wins by major and ending the regular season with five losses in his last eight matches slotted him at #40 with 21 Fpts.
Ethan Laird redshirted this past season for Rider, only wrestling in 12 matches and losing only one. He finished at #21 with 41 Fpts and edged out the true freshmen Ryan Catka (NAVY) on PPM differential (Laird bested Catka by 2.0 PPM more at 3.4 PPM)
Owen Trephan was the highest NC State heavyweight in Fantasy last season at #24 with Tyrie Houghton at #31. From a Fantasy perspective, the NC State Heavyweight situation was the equivalent of a Football "Backfield By Committee," and unless you have "the Committee" on your roster, it never works out well for Fantasy Team Managers.
With only two losses on the season, Taye Ghadiali (CAMP) finished just outside the list to #25 and 37 Fpts.
Other notables to miss the cut include: Quinn Miller (UVA) at #26 with 36 Fpts, Zach Elam (MIZZ) at #33 with 28 Fpts, Hunter Catka (VT) at #36 with 25 Fpts, Sam Schuyler (ISU) at #44 with 18 Fpts, Luke Surber (OKST) #48 with 16 Fpts, and Tate Orndorff (OHST) at #55 with 10 Fpts.