PPA Tour North Carolina Open – Fantasy Draft Preview

This is our 2nd dueling weekend of the year between the PPA and the APP. This one is a little bit different though as we have the APP’s first 6 figure, big money, $100K APP Tour event in St. Louis. Apart from the viewership duel, the player pool comparison is one of the more interesting side discussions to have about the tournaments as the APP Tour has arguably a better overall player pool this weekend. It’s a small and thin PPA draw. Most notable is the fact that Thomas Wilson and AJ Koller, two people advertised by the PPA as their players (Wilson does not have a signed contract from what we understand), are in St. Louis rather than North Carolina. Rob Nunnery will also be in St. Louis. In terms of PPA omissions, Ben Johns, the Waters and Jay Devilliers are not in this North Carolina field. We don’t know what is going on with Devilliers as the US Open withdrawal was last minute and now, he is not in North Carolina.

We’ll have fantasy draft previews for both events, one live blog and then one set of takeaways for those curious. Slim is still up 6 on the year and this is another chance to get right for Gritty with two tournaments in a weekend. Slim lost the toss and Gritty chose to go second in this draft

(1) Catherine Parenteau (Slim)

(2) Riley Newman / Matt Wright (Gritty) 

(3) Tyson McGuffin (Gritty) 

(4) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Slim) 

(5) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Slim) 

Slim – Outside of Anna Leigh, Catherine has been dominant over her opponents in singles this year. In a field without Anna Leigh or Ben, she was a pretty easy first overall pick. Riley and Catherine are the top team in this mixed field as Lucy/Matt have had a rough go in 2022. Lucy and Callie have had some disappointing results this year, but in field without the Waters, I think you still have to take them as the first women’s team. But if they can’t get results this weekend, we will really have to start asking questions.

Gritty – I took the 2nd pick because I didn’t want to have to take Lucy/Callie. I think they are the #1 team but they have not performed as one recently. I also felt there were 3 good bets to find gold in thin North Carolina field. Riley/Matt do not have to contend with Collin/Ben, and Tyson does not have to contend with, well, any top singles player. They are either all in St. Louis or not playing in NC. Anything but gold will be a bad result for Tyson.

(6) Lea Jansen (Gritty) 

(7) Tyson McGuffin / Tyler Loong (Gritty) 

(8) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Slim) 

(9) Catherine Parenteau / Lea Jansen (Slim) 

(10) Lauren Stratman / Irina Tereschenko (Gritty) 

(11) Lauren Stratman / Tyson McGuffin (Gritty) 

Slim – Matt and Lucy have had a very disappointing year, but in a shallow mixed field this year I would hope to see them in the finals at least. Catherine and Lea are coming off their gold medal at the US Open in just their second tournament together. Is that the start of a run for them?

Gritty – Lea Jansen is locked as the #2 singles player right now. I liked what we got from Tyson/Tyler at the US Open and with no other strong men’s teams in the field, silver should be theirs for the taking. Tyson/Tyler should benefit from that PPA seeding to avoid Matt/Riley too. In this weak PPA field, I’m quite happy to get Lauren Stratman 2X. Stratman/Tereschenko have done well together and Irina continues to get results, although no slower Franklin ball this weekend. Lauren/Tyson could definitely find their way to a bronze and I have a feeling they will avoid Catherine/Riley’s side of the draw after the “random” coin flip for the 3-4 seed.

(12) Julian Arnold (Slim) 

(13) Collin Johns / Patrick Smith (Slim) 

(14) Callie Smith (Gritty) 

(15) Callie Smith / Chuck Taylor (Gritty) 

(16) Ryan Sherry (Slim) 

(17) Jessie Irvine / Julian Arnold (Slim) 

Slim – I think this is the weekend Julian Arnold finally cracks the podium as I like his chances in a singles field really lacking depth. I know Gritty wasn’t as high on the Pat Smith and Collin John’s partnership, but I actually like their games to mesh pretty well together, and they have some of the better hands in this field. I had Tyson/Tyler ahead of them but not by a lot. I also can’t quit Ryan Sherry. I am going to need him to get some results this weekend or I may need to finally reevaluate. I think at 17 Jessie Irvine and Julian Arnold are a steal. Jessie continues to be one of the best female mixed players, and Julian’s ultra aggressive style really suits the mixed game.

Gritty – This is where I got sloppy with the draft. I always seem to miss a team when putting together my rankings and I missed Jessie/Julian Arnold somehow. So I picked Callie Smith/Chuck Taylor. They could do better than Irvine/Arnold, but I would have had them behind. Callie Smith in singles is what I wanted here and she is still the #3 player in this draw, but her hold on it as not as good as I would like it.

(18) Anderson Scarpa (Gritty) 

(19) Jake Kusmider (Gritty) 

(20) Jessie Irvine / Yana Grechkina (Slim) 

(21) Julian Arnold / Spencer Smith (Slim) 

(22) Rachael James (Gritty) 

(23) Callan Dawson / Chuck Taylor (Gritty) 

Slim – Jessie and Yana should be competing for a podium spot so getting them at 20, again feels like good value. In a field lacking some depth, this is a good opportunity for Yana. Julian Arnold and Spencer Smith are an interesting first time partnership. Spencer’s steady game should help Julian, who I think tends to be a bit too aggressive in the men’s game.

Gritty – No excuses, but more screw ups from me here. I crossed Irvine/Grechkina off my board when I thought Slim was taking them instead of Irvine/Arnold. So I took Scarpa and Kusmider, but I should have taken Irvine/Grechkina and Scarpa. We’ll see if that bites me in the ass in this women’s doubles field that only features 4 potential medal teams. The good thing is that the singles field is thin as well and either Scarpa or Kusmider could be fighting for silver if they don’t get on Tyson’s side of the draw. Rachael James has one pro tourney to her name but I still went with the upside over Irina. Callan/Chuck probably don’t have enough weapons between them but who knows with this men’s field being so soft.

(24) Irina Tereschenko (Slim) 

(25) Salome Devidze (Slim) 

(26) Lea Jansen / Collin Johns (Gritty) 

(27) Meghan Sheehan-Dizon / Allyce Jones (Gritty) 

(28) Anderson Scarpa / Greg Dow (Slim) 

(29) Frank Anthony Davis (Slim) 

(30) Shannon Moore / Brooke Buckner (Gritty) 

Slim – Irina is the veteran singles player and if any of the players above her slip, she’ll be ready to grab a podium spot. Salome is a newcomer on the scene, who has shown some real ability. I am curious as to why she chose the PPA over the APP this weekend, when it would seem from a field and prize money perspective to make more sense to play the APP. Dominique Schafer is one to watch in her first tourney for singles too. Anderson Scarpa and Greg Dow had their breakout performance with a bronze at South Carolina APP, can they build on that this weekend? FAD hasn’t gotten a lot of results lately, but he has a real chance to make some noise in this singles field.

Gritty – If Lea/Collin can’t make some noise in this mixed field, I don’t know how the two of them can feel about things. They are starting to train in Austin together now so maybe more time is needed but neither of these players are best suited for mixed it seems. I end with the final two women’s teams. Same comment for Sheehan-Dizon/Jones. If they can’t make noise here, where can they? Shannon Moore has some pro results here and there, and Brooke Buckner was a star at Michigan State as a tennis player.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at nmlpickleball@gmail.com. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook too!

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