We discussed it last year but these APP fields are going to be even weirder sometimes with all the changes to pro pickleball. For us, weird is fun. We’ll be curious to see the stream numbers of the competing tours this weekend. Frankly, we have more interest in a thin APP field versus a thin PPA field (from a top pro standpoint), but that’s because we’re crazy pickleball people. What do the more casual fans want to see, if anything, after a PPA tournament last weekend already? There’s still some strong players in this field, particularly on the men’s side. People are forgetting that the two pickleball goats are at this APP event as well!
Again, Slim is 3 up on the year. Slim had the first choice in this one.
(1) Jorja Johnson (Slim)
(2) JW Johnson (Gritty)
(3) Vivienne David / Dekel Bar (Gritty)
(4) JW Johnson / Dylan Frazier (Slim)
(5) Maggie Remynse / Michelle Esquivel (Slim)
Slim – In a women’s singles field which lacks experience, Jorja’s results this year make her a pretty clear favorite. JW and Dylan are the most proven partnership in the mens doubles field, but a few intriguing partnerships will challenge them. In a women’s doubles field where I have questions about all of the teams, I decided to call my shot with Michelle and Maggie a team that usually plays very well together.
Gritty – What a world where JW Johnson is being picked behind Jorja Johnson, but with how thin the competition is in the women’s field is I cannot disagree with it. I really like JW as the clear #1 favorite for this tournament in men’s over Zane Navratil. Vivienne David and Dekel Bar have done better in their last go around, and I expect them to be the best team at this APP as well.
(6) Vivienne David / Lee Whitwell (Gritty)
(7) Kyle Yates / Dekel Bar (Gritty)
(8) Zane Navratil (Slim)
(9) Anna Bright (Slim)
(10) Corrine Carr / Simone Jardim (Gritty)
Slim – Zane was a pretty easy pick at number 8. With the 9th pick though, I go completely off the board and select Anna Bright, in a wide open singles field. Anna is a newcomer, with a very strong tennis background and has looked very impressive in the doubles I’ve seen her play, but full disclosure I’ve never seen her play singles so this is a shot in the dark here. Betting on talent over experience.
Gritty – What a world it was when some old footage of 2019 Vail Open has Kyle Yates playing the left side with Dekel Bar stacked on the left. I’m sure we won’t see that be the norm this weekend in Punta Gorda. Yates/Bar were my #2 team, but I see potential for a gold medal with Yates playing the right almost exclusihely, which is where he is at his best. It also looks like in our draft we made a mistake and I only got one pick here. We are not going to say there is possibly an asterisk on this fantasy draft…but there could be an asterisk here.
(11) Adam Stone / DJ Young (Slim)
(12) Simone Jardim / Dylan Frazier (Slim)
(13) Susannah Barr / Austin Gridley (Gritty)
(14) Corrine Carr (Gritty)
(15) Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Slim)
(16) Dylan Frazier (Slim)
Slim – Adam and DJ are an intriguing partnership and certainly have the upside to win this tournament, so they have great value at number 11. Simone is still one of the better mixed players in the game, so she and Dylan at number 12 also feels like great value. My rule is to always ride with JW in fantasy so he and Jorja are an easy pick for me. Dylan Frazier’s singles results are up and down so he is a bit of a gamble here.
Gritty – Barr/Gridley will officially be the weirdest pro team that has played together so far this year in my view. Nevertheless, I really like them as a duo and think they will be hard to beat and not fun for other teams to see. Who the heck knows what to do with women’s singles. Corrine Carr gets this pick because of name alone. I had her as my #2 player as I’m concerned Bright won’t be comfortable getting to the net as such a new player to pickleball. Carr should know to get to the net, at least some of the time.
(17) Ryan Sherry (Gritty)
(18) Amanda Hendry (Gritty)
(19) Megan Fudge (Slim)
(20) Zane Navratil / Altaf Merchant (Slim)
(21) Jack Foster (Gritty)
(22) Susannah Barr / Regina Franco (Gritty)
Slim – Megan Fudge is another relative newcomer with a strong tennis background, which I hope will carry her in this singles field. Zane and Altaf are the biggest proven commodity left in men’s draw and could find a podium.
Gritty – I actually had Ryan Sherry as my #3 guy in this draft for singles, but I’m somewhat concerned about the run he is on betweem partying and playing. It will be 3 tournaments and who knows how many nights partying over the past 2.5 weeks as Sherry plays the PPA and APP. Time zone training in full effect. I took Amanda Hendry who has some sort of results at APP’s. Foster could easily have gone higher in this draft and I had him as my #4 guy. Boom or bust, the thinner fields have not been as kind to Jack. Susannah/Regina is a team that has some potential. However, it’s hard to buy too much stock for Regina right now, who will be playing her first tournament since she had her baby.
(23) Corrine Carr / DJ Young (Slim)
(24) Eden Lica (Slim)
(25) Maggie Remynse / Zane Navratil (Gritty)
(26) Austin Gridley / Joey Farias (Gritty)
(27) Anna Bright / Jorja Johnson (Slim)
(28) Bobbi Oshiro / Megan Charity (Slim)
(29) Anderson Scarpa / Greg Dow (Gritty)
(30) Susannah Barr (Gritty)
Slim – If things go well for DJ and Corrine they could easily make the podium, however they could also have a very short day, if they get off to a poor start. Eden Lica has not had a ton of singles results of late, but I decided to take a gamble on him with my last mens singles spot instead of FAD. Jorja Johnson and Anna Bright probably hit the ball harder than any other women’s team in this field. Bobbi Oshiro is one of the smoother female players out there. I am curious if she will be playing some more pro events this year and if she will have different partners.
Gritty – I had the extra pick at the end here because of how we screwed up our draft. I go with Remynse/Navratil reluctantly. I had Corrine/DJ as my #7 team and Esquivel/Yates as my #6 team, but I’m unsure with Navratil’s lack of chainsaw whether they should be ahead of Esquivel/Yates. Gridley/Farias are an interesting team in any given match. I don’t trust Joey’s ability to string together multiple matches of consistency despite his still elite level shot making ability. My last men’s team is Scarpa/Dow. Tardio/Goldberg may have been the choice here in hindsight, but I still like Scarpa/Dow’s ability to get wins now as they slowly climb the pro ladder. They beat Gridley/Yates in their last tournament. Susannah Barr could have gone anywhere from #2 to #6 in this women’s singles field, and I’m happy to get her at #6. She has played a little bit of singles in her pickleball career. It’s just a matter of whether she can ever get up to the net consistently to win.
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