PPA Tour National Championship – Fantasy Draft Preview
The number 1 thing we are watching at the PPA this weekend is how Ben Johns responds after a Thanksgiving holiday weekend. He has looked disinterested at recent events but he should have something to prove in Orlando coming off a loss to Riley/Matt and two straight tournaments without a mixed gold medal. With this being the final tournament before the MLP draft, there has been lots of recent chatter of Riley being the true alpha male in pickleball. It will be fun to see what type of energy Ben brings to the table for the final PPA of the year.
Again, Slim is 6 up on the year for fantasy drafts. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick first.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters (Gritty)
(2) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Slim)
(3) Catherine Parenteau / Anna Leigh Waters (Slim)
(4) Ben Johns (Gritty)
(5) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Gritty)
Gritty – Anna Leigh has been dominant in singles this year so this was a no brainer. Ben Johns in singles was less of a no brainer, but a thinner PPA draw along with the final event of the season will hopefully be enough motivation for him. Ben and Collin are favorites even though they lost at Takeya.
Slim – Anna Leigh and Ben may not be Anna Leigh and Riley, but they are still heavy favorites. Catherine/Anna Leigh showed at Nationals they should be a force to be reckoned with. This is a pressure tournament for Parenteau potentially to show AL she belongs with her in 2023.
(6) Matt Wright / Riley Newman (Slim)
(7) Anna Bright / Jessie Irvine (Slim)
(8) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(9) Tyson McGuffin (Gritty)
(10) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(11) Salome Devidze (Slim)
Gritty – Catherine/Riley have given some trouble to AL/Ben, and you know Riley will be motivated to show he is better than Ben. While I don’t expect Miller Lite will have to worry about giving out many beers on future Sundays on Tyson’s behalf, Tyson’s consistency has stayed true for 2022 and he has a good draw to get there again this weekend.
Slim – Can Matt/Riley go back-to-back with gold medals? I’m hoping Jessie/Anna are due for a breakthrough, but they will be in tough against Parenteau/AL. Salome Devidze always brings the drama and somewhere along the line we could be seeing Jansen/Devidze go at it after Don’t Talk During the Point Gate.
(12) James Ignatowich (Gritty)
(13) AJ Koller / Tyler Loong (Gritty)
(14) Callie Smith / Lucy Kovalova (Slim)
(15) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(16) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Gritty)
(17) Catherine Parenteau (Gritty)
Gritty – James Ignatowich has had a plateau to his results as of late so is this thinner PPA draw what the doctor ordered for him to get back on the podium. AJ and Tyler are a fascinating pairing. Loong is the real bronze stallion of pro pickleball and AJ should be an even better partner for him in theory. Lucy/Matt were my #3 team so to get them here is something I’m happy with. Parenteau falling to me here is also a plus as she should have a Lea Jansen matchup to go to Championship Sunday, if the draw goes as I expect it will.
Slim – Callie/Lucy are more boom or bust with their backdraw struggles. Nevertheless, this is a Championship Sunday potential team. I hesitated on this Jay/Jessie partnership that has lost its way to finish the year. Maybe they have one more run in them.
(18) Parris Todd / Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
(19) Jay Devilliers / Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
(20) Thomas Wilson / Patrick Smith (Gritty)
(21) Ewa Radzikowska (Gritty)
(22) Christian Alshon (Slim)
(23) Jay Devilliers (Slim)
Gritty – Pat Smith is limited but I liked the upside of Wilson/Smith over Tyson/Jay. Ewa Radzikowska is an interesting player and this will be another shot at an MLP showcase for her. If I’m a Challenger League team owner, I may be hoping she has a middle of the road performance so she goes unnoticed and keeps that stock well under the radar.
Slim – Parris/Tyson only have bronze upside, but that’s all I’m looking for in this spot. Jay/Tyson do not appear to be getting along. Still, those two will fight together. Christian Alshon is working at his game and has all the talent in the world. Is this his breakthrough weekend? I have all Jay Devilliers this weekend for the PPA event, which means Gritty should have no shot against me.
(24) Irina Tereschenko / Parris Todd (Gritty)
(25) Lea Jansen / Jackie Kawamoto (Gritty)
(26) Greg Dow / James Ignatowich (Slim)
(27) Dominique Schaefer (Slim)
(28) Callie Smith / AJ Koller (Gritty)
(29) Meghan Sheehan-Dizon / Allyce Jones (Gritty)
(30) Ryan Sherry (Slim)
Gritty – Irina/Parris are bringing the BLQK gang back together. After Irina’s run with Etta two weeks ago, I like this team to find a podium. Jackie Kawamoto’s steadiness seems like as good a fit as any for Lea Jansen, whose doubles results have been underwhelming in 2022. I do not expect Callie/AJ will run this partnership back in 2023, but their upside is still Championship Sunday. The Utah ladies get one more run together before this partnership ceases for 2023.
Slim – The Dow/Ignatowich pick could be somewhat controversial. I think Dow’s steadiness is the right recipe for Ignatowich’s dynamic game. Another arguably controversial pick, Schaefer is majorly talented and showed in Takeya she can beat the best out there by pushing Parenteau to the brink of defeat. Finally, I had to go with Ryan Sherry for this 6th slot that could have gone a few different ways. Sherry has trimmed to a cool 175 and we’re hearing he has worked hard leading up to this tournament on his essential mental training. North Carolina feels like forever ago so it’s about time Sherry found a podium.
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3 thoughts on “PPA Tour National Championship – Fantasy Draft Preview”
I like the Johns boys winning this one, have Matt and Riley won 2 in a row yet? Good to see iggy back in singles. Don’t think he’s played singles since in his last 3 events, maybe because he’s back in school? AJ and Tyler are an interesting team, for sure. They might have the upside to pull off an upset against one of the top two teams. I like AL for another triple crown. Ho hum.
Jason T: Matt and Riley won 4 in a row: NC Open, Atlanta Open, Orange County, TOC. Two of those were against Johns/Johns and not consecutive. Johns/Johns have won 3 in a row and 2 out of 3 were consecutive wins against Matt and Riley.
Mens Dubs Pick On Point
Iggy / Dow – “sleeper pick of the tourney”