June 13, 2021

157: The Top 20 Fantasy Wrestlers of 2021

Jacob Wright 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)

149: Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State)


Seven wrestlers make their return from the 2020 Top-20 list.

Tied for the most matches of any wrestler in the Top-20 at 157, Jacob Wright earned his #1 spot by finishing the regular season with a nine-match win streak.

Right behind Jacob Wright as the #2 Fantasy Wrestler at 157, for the second year in a row, was Hayden Hidlay. Hayden finished with the second-best PPM in this Top-20 as well (just like last season too). But tied at 32 points with Hayden was Campbell’s own Ben Barton, who lost his final match of the regular season (which, if he had won that, would have put him at 38 Fpts and the clear #2).

Stop me if you have heard this before, but yet another Appalachian State Mountaineer makes a Top-20. Cody Bond netted one Fpt in four matches to start this season, and ended with 25 Fpts and the #8 spot.

The highest-ranked National Champ (to this point) in these Top-20 lists is David Carr with 29 Fpts. The crazy thing is, he also wrestled five non-D1 matches, which (if they would have counted) would have been an additional 27 Fpts!

2021 Runner-up Jesse Dellavecchia falls a few spots from his 2020 Top-20 ranking (3) to #12 this season. Not entirely his fault; he only wrestled in four out of five possible duals but scored nothing less than a tech in each of those matches.

Holden Heller started this shortened season by pinning the 2020 #6 Fantasy Wrestler and NCAA #12 seed, Markus Hartman. Using that momentum, he would go on to get two techs in his next four matches (finished 5-0 in the regular season) to help make him the #13 Fantasy Wrestler at 157 in 2021.

Three non-starters make this list, with the highest being Clayton Ulrey whose only loss came to #3 on this list.

Who Missed The Cut:

Four 2021 All-Americans missed making significant regular-season impacts for their team managers this season. Ryan Deakin comes in at #31 with 12 Fpts and only three regular-season matches, while Jacori Teemer finished just slightly higher at #34, but also with 12 Fpts (Deakin had a higher PPM with four compared to Teemer with 2.4 and five matches wrestled).

The other two All-Americans who finished the regular season outside the Top-20: Kaleb Young at #39 with 11 pts in three matches and Wyatt “Don’t Call It A Comeback” Sheets at #53 with seven points in nine bouts.

Other notables that are on the outside looking in were Cade DeVos (#22 with 18 Fpts), Brady Berge (#23 with 16 Fpts), Requir van de Merwe (#25 with 15 Fpts), and Will Lewan (#26 with 14 Fpts).