APP Tour Hilton Head – Fantasy Draft Preview

So, what’s been going on good people? Oh right, we accepted a $100K bet from Travis Rettenmaier for a 2 vs. 1 match against him. All credit to Travis, he is not backing down from this bet, so we’ll be working on the finer details of the match, including timing, location, scoring, number of games etc. Of course, we will keep all our readers up to date once we have settled on some more of those details. In the meantime, we actually have professional pickleball to watch, which is really what the people should care about. The APP Hilton Head is a pretty big event and we have quite a few intriguing matchups to keep an eye out for.

Slim is still up 6 on the year after a double tie last weekend. That closes the door on any possibility of a comeback for Gritty. That’ll be two years in a row for Slim and it looks like we may have a Bill Simmons vs. Cousin Sal gue situation happening here. Slim won the toss and elected to pick first this week. 

(1) JW Johnson / Dylan Frazier (Slim) 

(2) JW Johnson (Gritty) 

(3) Jorja Johnson / Andrea Koop (Gritty) 

(4) Simone Jardim / JW Johnson (Slim) 

(5) Simone Jardim / Anna Bright (Slim) 

Slim – JW and Dylan are the clear #1s in this field. Dekel and DJ had a good showing last weekend, but ultimately fell short. JW did not get it done with Parris last weekend, but Simone is so steady in her mixed role. With a clear top 3 in women’s doubles, I forego the weird women’s singles field and take the next women’s team available. 

Gritty – JW Johnson did not play last week and I’m hoping the risk pays off that he plays this bigger event despite 2 Championship Sunday matches last week. Jorja and Andrea have the most combined firepower in this group of women’s doubles teams and Koop is so steady. Those two won a bronze at a PPA together and Jorja Johnson is only getting better. 

(6) Salome Devidze (Gritty) 

(7) Lauren Stratman / Parris Todd (Gritty) 

(8) Megan Fudge (Slim) 

(9) Federico Staksrud (Slim) 

(10) Dekel Bar / DJ Young (Gritty) 

(11) Vivienne David / Thomas Wilson (Gritty) 

Slim – I had Megan Fudge as a the #1 singles player so I’m really happy to get her at this spot. Gritty continues to show no faith in Fudge despite her beating Parris Todd twice last weekend. Federico Stakrud has been so steady so I’m counting on that to come through despite last week’s performance. 

Gritty – It was tough going with Salome over Fudge, but I felt Fudge played the wind so well last week. She’ll have a hard time getting into a ground stroke battle with Devidze, especially if it’s not windy. Lauren and Parris are the 3rd women’s team on my board but it’s not inconceivable to see them get a silver or gold when all is said and done. Dekel and DJ had a strong performance last weekend, and they were up 8-5 in the second game before Zane/JW finally got things sorted. I wonder about Thomas Wilson’s consistency in a stronger mixed field this weekend, but how can I not have Vivienne and Thomas in this spot after their gold last weekend? 

(12) Jorja Johnson / Dylan Frazier (Slim) 

(13) Andrei Daescu / Kyle Yates (Slim) 

(14) Hunter Johnson (Gritty) 

(15) Anna Bright (Gritty) 

(16) Ewa Radzikowska (Slim) 

(17) Dylan Frazier (Slim) 

Slim – I liked getting Jorja/Dylan here as I think they have potential to win it all together. Andrei/Kyle came 2nd at MLP together and they should be a strong podium contender this weekend. I had Radzikowska barely ahead of Bright so getting her at this spot is something I like to see. Dylan Frazier is a singles monster these days. Enough said. 

Gritty – Hunter Johnson is coming off a gold medal performance last weekend. It’s a question of whether he can maintain this consistency over another weekend. I had Bright ahead of Ewa as we only saw Ewa do it once in Alabama. Notably, Ewa beat Fudge in the gold medal match, which looks like an even better win now. I wonder if players will be able to exploit her a little bit better now that there is some film on her game. 

(18) Thomas Wilson / James Ignatowich (Gritty) 

(19) Andrea Koop / Zane Navratil (Gritty) 

(20) James Ignatowich (Slim) 

(21) Anna Bright / James Ignatowich (Slim) 

(22) Mary Brascia / Susannah Barr (Gritty) 

(23) Federico Staksrud / Julian Arnold (Gritty) 

Slim – Are we sleeping on James Ignatowich in singles? It is possible. I’m going with Anna/James as a high upside mixed team even though Anna still does not really look fully comfortable on the right side. James is becoming a beast in mixed. 

Gritty – Thomas/James are an upside team in this field. I expect Thomas to be on the right because of James’ comfort on the left and his improvement with his backhand roll dink becoming a real weapon. Andrea/Zane are so solid together in mixed and could easily podium this weekend. If anyone is going to upset the top 3 women’s teams, it will be Brascia/Barr, who have the weapons to make those better teams uncomfortable. Staksrud/Julian Arnold are another scary team. Do they have the consistency to hold up for an entire day together? 

(24) Mary Brascia (Slim) 

(25) Rob Cassidy / Chuck Taylor (Slim) 

(26) Jade Kawamoto / Dekel Bar (Gritty) 

(27) Julian Arnold (Gritty) 

(28) Sarah Ansboury / Jade Kawamoto (Slim) 

(29) Maggie Remynse / Michelle Esquivel (Slim)

(30) Jorja Johnson (Gritty) 

Slim – Mary Brascia hasn’t had big results since the summer in singles, but she has the capability. I go with the old guard for my final men’s pick, Cassidy and Taylor have been doing this pickle thing for a while. Sarah Ansboury/Jade Kawamoto are two steady player while Maggie and Michelle, I thought, offered the most upside with the final women’s pick. 

Gritty – Dekel Bar in mixed is one of the most fascinating conundrums in pickleball. After his tough performance with Koop last week, I am feeling good getting the upside of Jade and Dekel this late in the draft – I had Lauren/Rafa as my 6th team actually and did not have Anna/James as part of my draft board. Slim made a comment about me not picking Christian Alshon with my 6th slot, but Julian Arnold has a bigger body of work to his name right now. Jorja Johnson as the final female is a pretty good place to get someone who has quite a few singles podiums in 2022.

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2 thoughts on “APP Tour Hilton Head – Fantasy Draft Preview

  • October 26, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    I think you are sleeping on Yates Johnson for singles! I peeked at the brackets and it looks like both Johnsons could be knocked out by JW. But someone has to come up from the loser’s bracket so why not Yates. I’d put him in place of James.

    Keeping with my Johnson theme, I would put Johnson/Johnson in place of Cassidy/Taylor.

    For mixed, I like Jorja and Dylan for the gold. But the teams look close between Gritty and Slim here.
    Fudge/Long might be a contender but probably not over Hewett/Stratman if you had to add a different team somewhere.

    You have the potential podium teams well covered for WD.

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