We have a number of big events coming up starting with the Atlanta PPA. Some deep draws here in Atlanta as this is a PPA Grand Slam event. The PPA is back with a singles play-in draw due to the number of entries, which is absolutely needed for massive singles fields so it’s nice to see that being done here. Very odd and disappointing that there is no Ben Johns or JW Johnson in the singles draw. We have no idea why, but it means we won’t get a US Open rematch, which we are certain most fans were hoping for.
This Grand Slam event is going to be followed up with a strong tier 1 APP field in New York and then Major League Pickleball the first week of June, which has a player pool that has been kept pretty under wraps. Jay Devilliers is going to be a wild card for this PPA Atlanta event. He has had to go back to France and been stuck there for the past little while due to some visa type issues. That’s all that we are aware of and as of early Wednesday morning he still appears to be out there. He is currently registered for Atlanta with his usual partners, but we don’t have any confirmation on whether he is in or out – he was included in the fantasy draft.
Slim is 7 up on the year. Gritty won the toss and took the 2nd pick.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Slim)
(2) Anna Leigh (Gritty)
(3) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Gritty)
(4) Anna Leigh Waters / Leigh Waters (Slim)
(5) Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
Slim – Ben and Anna Leigh have yet to lose yet this year. I am hoping for a rested and not rusty Anna Leigh after she took about 6 weeks off from tournaments. The Waters are on a three tournament winning streak and I am hoping that their break hasn’t cooled them off either. Without Ben or JW in the field, Tyson is easily the most consistent competitor in the men’s singles field.
Gritty – I took the 2nd pick again because you have two lock gold medal team at the top and then Ben/Collin are sort of in their own class of the possible gold medal teams, although now that JW/Dekel are around that is one more team to give them trouble. The women’s doubles field has suddenly become very competitive while singles is a totally different animal with no Ben and no JW. Another free for all singles field.
(6) Catherine Parenteau (Gritty)
(7) Riley Newman / Matt Wright (Gritty)
(8) Catherine Parenteau / Lea Jansen (Slim)
(9) Simone Jardim / JW Johnson (Slim)
(10) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(11) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Gritty)
Slim – Catherine and Lea are on a two tournament winning streak, so if they match up with the Waters it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. My first rule in fantasy is always bet on JW Johnson so I take him and Simone who remains an elite mixed player here even though Catherine/Riley are out there.
Gritty – Catherine has been a lock to beat Jansen and lose to Anna Leigh this year. Until that changes, she’s firmly the right pick here in my view. Matt/Riley are the #2 team until I see more from JW/Dekel. Although St. Louis could have been an anomaly first result for Dekel/JW, I need to see it before putting them ahead of Matt/Riley. I am quite happy to get Catherine/Riley at this spot. They have been playing very well and I’m not sure JW is quite enough to make-up for the current version of Simone in this deep mixed field. Similarly, I’m quite happy to get Lucy/Callie as the #3 team. I don’t have any solid foundation for this theory, but I think they have to figure it out here at some point, unless it is truly a matter of the field having figured them out.
(12) Dekel Bar / JW Johnson (Slim)
(13) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(14) Julian Arnold (Gritty)
(15) Federico Staksrud (Gritty)
(16) Jay Devilliers / Jessie Irvine (Slim)
(17) Jessie Irvine / Anna Bright (Slim)
Slim – I know Dekel and JW missed the podium in St. Louis but I remain very high on the potential of this pair and think we see them on the podium this weekend. Lea is clearly the third best female singles player, the question now is can she move up and start beating Catherine and Anna Leigh. I worry about Jay Devilliers being rusty, but Jessie Irvine is a podium machine in mixed so at 16 I felt like I had to pick them. Hopefully Jay is back from France. The upside of the Anna Bright and Jessie Irvine partnership is extremely high. Anna has the tools to be a dominant left side player and Jessie as we see in mixed could be the best right side female in the game.
Gritty – I did not know what to do in these spots. Jay Devilliers may still be in France, and I would have picked him here if not for that possibility. So I take a couple of up and coming singles players with Julian Arnold and Federico Staksrud. Julian and Fed are both on the tougher half of the draw that was released early, but both of these players have beaten Tyson recently. I like the odds of one of them to find their way to Championship Sunday.
(18) AJ Koller / Thomas Koller (Gritty)
(19) Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(20) Parris Todd (Slim)
(21) Anna Bright (Slim)
(22) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Gritty)
(23) Callie Smith / AJ Koller (Gritty)
Slim – I continue to be a big believer in the talent of both Anna Bright and Parris Todd so I take them both in women’s singles. I took them both ahead of Callie Smith, the more proven player, because I feel like one of these two could potentially break through and make a championship Sunday.
Gritty – AJ Koller may try to be too alpha when he plays with his cousin, but they are still a formidable team. I’m hoping they can figure things out this weekend. Despite the France question, I couldn’t pass on the bronze stallion as the 4th male, even though I think Ryan Sherry has a super favorable draw if nothing changes. Lucy/Matt seem unlikely to do any major damage in such a deep mixed draw but you never know. And you can’t leave Callie/AJ undrafted. Too much upside here despite another deep mixed field.
(24) Tyson McGuffin / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(25) Dylan Frazier / Rob Cassidy (Slim)
(26) Simone Jardim / Jorja Johnson (Gritty)
(27) Lauren Stratman / Irina Tereschenko (Gritty)
(28) Ryan Sherry (Slim)
(29) Pablo Tellez (Slim)
(30) Callie Smith (Gritty)
Slim – Again I am worried about Jay being rusty, but Tyson and Jay are backdraw warriors so they always give you a good shot at bronze. Dylan Frazier and Rob Cassidy are an intriguing partnership, Rob doesn’t often get elite partners, but when he does the results are very good. If the singles draw doesn’t get changed, I love Ryan Sherry’s draw and think we could see him in back to back championship Sundays. Pablo Tellez has great upside, but I do wonder if not having the CRBN paddle will affect him.
Gritty – The women’s draws are just getting deeper in general. Lauren/Irina should be assisted by a little bit of a slower ball in the Atlanta heat while Simone is a good fit next to Jorja’s ability to create offence. And what world is this where Callie Smith gets to be the #6 choice for singles? There’s still a number of quality female singles players out there that were not drafted and it’s evident for both tours that there are simply more quality female players across the board. It’s good to see as it was becoming a problem last year.
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