APP Tour LA Open – Fantasy Draft Preview
It’s a very busy June for pro pickleball. This is leg #2 of the consecutive APP run with the Los Angeles Open. We have said it before but for weird pickleball nerds like us these fields are a lot of fun to try to figure out. It’s also nice that there’s a little less group think between the two of us in these fields. Last week it was Lea Jansen and JW Johnson giving us some unexpected results. Who will it be this week?
Gritty had the first pick in the draft this week of our fantasy draft preview. Remember, 3 points for gold, 2 points for silver and 1 point for bronze.
(1) Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(2) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(3) Corrine Carr / Adam Stone (Slim)
(4) Andrea Koop / Irina Tereschenko (Gritty)
(5) Irina Terschenko (Gritty)
Gritty – I had Jay Devilliers first on my board as his singles results have become more consistent and, although I think Gabriel Joseph can give him a run, he’s the one most likely to secure the gold out of the rest of the teams. I didn’t feel great about any of the top men’s team so I went with what I thought should be a pretty good silver floor with in Irina Tereschenko who beat Lea Jansen a couple of months ago at the US Open (a very different Lea Jansen to be fair).
Slim – I actually had Lea number one on my board, I just love the momentum she has going after last weekend. Last week, I took Adam and Corrine number one overall but then they had to pull out due to Adam not feeling well, with mixed on the Friday this week, that should not be an issue, so I am pretty confident in this pick. I am a little surprised that Gritty had Jay #1 overall on his board. Jay is clearly the best singles player in the men’s field, but he still tends to be a little inconsistent in singles, and with singles being on Sunday after what I expect to be a couple long days for Jay in mixed and men’s, I wonder how we will fare against some of his potentially more rested opponents.
(6) Adam Stone / Jeff Warnick (Slim)
(7) Andrea Koop / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(8) Callan Dawson / DJ Young (Gritty)
(9) Gabriel Joseph (Gritty)
(10) Lea Jansen / Michelle Esquivel (Slim)
(11) Lauren Stratman / Jillian Braverman (Slim)
Gritty – I had Callan Dawson and DJ Young slightly ahead of Stone and Warnick who are back together after a long layoff. Stone is a different player from his days playing with Warnick but he’s always steady, which makes him a good foil to Warnick – I just slightly preferred DJ and Callan who are dangerous together. It’s not a super deep singles field for the men and Joseph is clearly the second best – same story as Irina with what appears to be a high floor but upside for gold.
Slim – Adam Stone and Jeff Warnick, a blast from the past in terms of teams, are back together. It used to seem like when Adam and Jeff played together they were always just short of that podium in the majors, but this weekend, I like them to take it all. As Gritty said Adam is a substantially improved player since when he and Warnick used to partner. I think Jay Devilliers is the most dominant mixed player in this field, so I am happy to get he and Andrea at 7, as I feel like they are well positioned for a top 2 finish. I am counting on Lea riding the momentum from last week as I have her and Michelle Esquivel as my number two women’s doubles team. Having Lauren Stratman and Jillian Braverman as my number 3 women’s team could be controversial as Braverman doesn’t play pro events regularly, but we think she has high level talent and Lauren is one of the top few women’s players in this tournament.
(12) Irina Tereschenko / Callan Dawson (Gritty)
(13) Rob Nunnery / JW Johnson (Gritty)
(14) Michelle Esquivel (Slim)
(15) AJ Koller (Slim)
(16) Vivienne David / Corrine Carr (Gritty)
(17) Vivienne David (Gritty)
Gritty – I was quite happy with Slim taking Stratman/Braverman as I had David/Carr slightly ahead of them. I’m super high on Braverman as a talent but she doesn’t play enough for me to have confidence in her even if she is playing with the consistently improving Stratman. Vivienne David’s singles results outside of Florida are not very good but I’m calling small sample size there to go with the upside as I had her ahead of Michelle Esquivel on my board. I also like getting Nunnery and JW who are both coming off big weekends and should both be playing with a lot of confidence despite the new partnership.
Slim – I feel like I am hitting a 7 iron up the middle of the fairway with the Esquivel and Koller picks just playing it safe. Esquivel is a proven singles player who has great ground strokes from both sides, though her health may still be a bit of a question in singles. And Koller is proving to be a consistent competitor at this point, and I feel like I can count on AJ to battle it out, which with singles on the last day is important.
(18) Lea Jansen / Rob Nunnery (Slim)
(19) Jay Devilliers / Morgan Evans (Slim)
(20) Lauren Stratman / Wesley Burrows (Gritty)
(21) Lauren Stratman (Gritty)
(22) JW Johnson (Slim)
(23) Rob Davidson / AJ Koller (Slim)
Gritty – Slim getting Jay Devilliers where he did is a good spot even though you can’t feel that good about Evans who has played only 4 tournaments since last March with middling results. I’m stoked to get the Stratman/Burrows combo here as Burrows has a lot of upside, particularly in mixed. Stratman is also coming off her best singles performance last week and has podium upside here.
Slim – I am pretty happy to get Jansen and Nunnery here as they are two players on the rise, who also have both been seeing results lately which has to boost their confidence. In a mixed field that doesn’t have that truly dominant team, I feel like their ceiling is gold, and their floor isn’t far from the podium. I like my Jay Devilliers and Morgan Evans pick, and the only reason this team isn’t a little higher, is Evans’ lack of tournament reps lately. If Morgan gets hot with his attacks, which he can, this team could roll through a lot of the bracket. JW Johnson is another guy who is obviously getting better every week, and in a singles field that doesn’t feature Ben, Tyson or Zane, I feel like he can play with anyone. Rob Davidson and AJ Koller are just solid.
(24) Jillian Braverman / Jeff Warnick (Gritty)
(25) Jack Foster (Gritty)
(26) Daniel Roditi (Slim)
(27) Susannah Barr / Lee Whitwell (Slim)
(28) Chuck Taylor / Spencer Smith (Gritty)
(29) Christine McGrath / Cierra Gaytan-Leach (Gritty)
(30) Christine McGrath (Slim)
Gritty – Upside is the theme of this draft and getting Braverman/Warnick this late is nice boost. If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on a deep run but I sure wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the podium either. There wasn’t much left at the end of the draft for podium upside. Gaytan-Leach is a weird player to watch as she clearly is a very good athlete but the movement is kind of jarring. Can there really be upside there? I could have taken a number of men’s teams at the end but I ultimately go with Taylor/Smith who will win some matches but likely don’t have the gusto to make any noise. I somewhat regret not taking Rob Nunnery who will likely play singles with it being on Sunday for this tournament even if he simply withdraws when he loses on the winners side.
Slim – Daniel Roditi hasn’t really played tournaments for a year and is also now in his mid-40’s but at this point, I like the upside as I feel like he can on the right day beat just about anyone in this bracket. I probably would have taken Rob Nunnery here except with singles on Sunday, I have to wonder, is he will play and if he does for how long, in an effort to save his body. Susannah Barr and Lee Whitwell are both very solid players, but I am not sure there is really podium upside here. With my last pick I take Christine McGrath in singles. She hasn’t been playing a lot lately, but at this point in the draft she is an easy pick.
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