Admittedly, I’m the worst fantasy sports player on the planet. If you need any evidence of such, I finished dead last in my baseball league this year and I’m currently 0-5, 0-5 and 2-3 in my three fantasy football leagues this NFL season.
My wife thinks I’m crazy. She’s probably right (read: is right), but one thing that I always look forward to when the wrestling season rolls around is my involvement in TheWrestlingTalk.com Fantasy Wrestling. While some view this as gambling or wagering, I assure you, no money is changing hands and it’s just for the fun of it.
I wrote one of my columns in W.I.N. a few years back explaining how the world of fantasy wrestling leagues have helped even the most ardent wrestling fans become even more in tune with wrestlers outside of their team or conference or even the rankings.
I don’t think I was in the first installment of the TWT league, a site run by Shane Jensen and formerly operated by the late Jacob Schlottke (you the man, we miss you bro). But since, several other TWT leagues have popped up, mainly due to demand. There are some others out there, although I only involve myself in one. I know TheOpenMat has also started such ventures on their boards, but TWT was here it started for me and I won’t get ambitious enough to try to jump into another league and monitor more athletes.
The format is simple. Pick 15 wrestlers, start 11. One per weight class and a flex option. They score points based on the dual meet scoring 6-5-4-3. Even with tournaments. The only tournament scored with tournament scoring is the NCAA tournament, and you only score that if you make the six-team playoff.
In the first few years, I thought I’d use my expertise in knowing the non-power Division I conference wrestlers. I’d rack up bonus points from guys chewing up less than stellar competition, but ultimately, would lose come tournament time because I didn’t have enough high placers.
I can’t remember if this is my third or fourth year in TWT’s Jensen league (they’re broken up by name on who runs them), but this has gotten increasingly tougher each year.
As it stands right now, we’re about halfway through the draft, which takes place via texts and message board posts. People trying to navigate through their real jobs for the sake of being wrestling fans can be difficult. Shane’s in the league, as well as posters I’ve known for a while, like GRIPSnHIPS, who was in my wedding and vice versa, LoStNuMbEr, who once squatted in my hotel room at NCAA’s and Wiltz, who you will find frequently on Takedown Radio and a number of boards.
Some teams load up on guys from their favorite team, which like in fantasy football, is a recipe for disaster. Some are itching to take the bluechip freshman and some wait as long as they can to steal a pick without anyone noticing or they think they have some inside information.
All of these things lead to a very fun, and sometimes erratic draft format. I won’t name who I’ve picked, but as of now, there isn’t a single Old Dominion wrestler on my team, I might pick up some guys later, but that’s par for the course.
To me, the fantasy wrestling perspective lends even more awareness into college wrestling. The first practices have started and the picks are rolling in.
Everyone’s a lot better than they were a few years ago, which means no more sleepers from the CAA or SoCon. The NWCA Scorebook is hit a ton by our league patrons, always looking for that extra edge in bonus points and deep schedules.
Your best hope? A team with a ton of duals, at least two major tournaments, an NCAA title threat AND be from a power conference. (Conference tournaments for the Big Ten and bigger tournaments like Las Vegas and the Scuffle get bonus points due to their depth).
Here’s to being crazy, like my wife says.