PPA Tour Newport Beach Shootout – Fantasy Draft Preview

When the PPA comes to Newport they keep it to doubles only, which is ideal for pickleball if you ask Lea Jansen. While we are not on the side of taking away singles, it sure seems to be the case that singles is the least viewed event in pro pickleball. That doesn’t mean it should go away though. They still have doubles and mixed doubles in tennis despite the fact that virtually no one watches. Singles is an event that is viewed in pickleball and the ratio of pro pickleball fans that care about it versus those who don’t has to be a lot higher than any tennis doubles event. Keep in mind that the PPA has the mixed doubles final on CBS on Saturday at 1pm EST and it will only be a best 2 out of 3 because of the 1-hour time window they have.

No singles also means an abbreviated fantasy draft preview with only 3 draws to account for. Gritty is 1 up on the year right now, winning the toss and electing to pick first. 

(1) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Gritty) 

(2) Andrea Koop / Ben Johns (Slim)

(3) Andrea Koop / Anna Bright (Slim)

Gritty – Ben and Collin are the most dominant team in pro pickleball currently. The closest anyone has come to beating them was in the first tournament of the year at the PPA Masters where JW/Dylan came close in the quarterfinals. Since then, it has pretty much been lights out. They are due for a loss. I’m just hoping it isn’t this week.

Slim – I took what I felt like were the most talented teams in mixed and women’s doubles but both of these teams are far from a sure thing. Anna and Andrea failed to make the podium when they last played together in Minnesota and both of them have had by their standards, some disappointing women’s doubles result the last few tournaments. Ben and Andrea also failed to make the podium when they last played together, last year in Austin, but I feel like whenever you can take Ben in mixed you still have to take him.

(4) Riley Newman / Matt Wright (Gritty)

(5) Etta Wright / Jessie Irvine (Gritty) 

(6) Allyce Jones / Riley Newman (Slim) 

(7) Dylan Frazier / JW Johnson (Slim) 

Gritty – Riley Newman/Matt Wright avoid JW/Dylan on their half of the draw as well as Rettenmaier/Arnold. I would have had Julian/Travis as the 4th team in this draw if they weren’t on the same half of the draw as Ben/Collin and JW/Dylan. I have been talking about wanting an Irvine/Wright partnership since early in the year and it is happening. They should go together like peas and carrots as Forrest Gump might say. But you simply don’t know with a new partnership. 

Slim – It will be interesting to see how Riley does this weekend with the rock solid Allyce Jones. His results haven’t been great by his standards this year, but they have a good draw to make a championship Sunday. Dylan and JW seem almost certain to make a podium, which is why I took them, but they will have to show another gear against the Johns brothers if they want to make Championship Sunday.

(8) Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Gritty) 

(9) Anna Bright / James Ignatowich (Gritty) 

(10) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Slim) 

(11) Lea Jansen / Allyce Jones (Slim) 

Gritty – I like the draw of JW/Jorja better than Anna/James. They will play Allyce/Riley and that should be a winnable match considering they beat Bright/Newman. I went off my board going back to back mixed because I think JW/Jorja and Anna/James have gold medal potential in this draw. A Koop/Ben Johns vs. Bright/Iggy semi-final matchup could be spicy.

Slim – Gritty was probably smart to take James/Anna and JW/Jorja back to back, so I counter going women’s doubles picks back to back with Callie/Lucy and Allyce/Lea. The Callie/Lucy draw is a little more favorable which is why I have them ahead.

(12) Tyson McGuffin / James Ignatowich (Gritty) 

(13) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Gritty) 

(14) Tyler Loong / Callan Dawson (Slim) 

(15) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Slim) 

(16) Hurricane Tyra Black / Jorja Johnson (Gritty) 

(17) Mary Brascia / Maggie Brascia (Gritty) 

(18) Julian Arnold / Travis Rettenmaier (Slim)

Gritty – I had Tyson McGuffin/James Ignatowich on my board here before Slim texted me that Tyson said on his podcast he’s, let’s say, not pleased about the coverage he has been getting here at No Man’s Land Pickleball. Ignatowich still needs more reps in men’s doubles but their draw is most favorable to find a semi-final outside the big 3. Lucy/Matt are what they are and every once in a while they might find a big day. I’m having some regret with my women’s picks. I’m fine with Tyra Black/Jorja in this 2nd last slot as Tyra’s hands look very good even if the rest of her game looks awkward. I definitely should have chosen Dizon/Tereschenko for this last slot though. Silly choices.

Slim – Dawson/Loong and the reunited Irvine/Devilliers are two teams that you always know will be in the mix at these PPA events. Irvine and Devilliers could benefit from there being a number of new partnerships in mixed this week, and it feels like Dawson/Loong should sneak into a final at some point? They are always right there. Gritty choosing to go with the Brascia sisters over the red hot Meghan Dizon and Irina was certainly an interesting choice.

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2 thoughts on “PPA Tour Newport Beach Shootout – Fantasy Draft Preview

  • April 23, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    Looks like Slim busted Gritty on this one. Busted.

    • April 23, 2023 at 10:49 pm

      Gritty is blaming the Etta/Jessie withdrawal due to illness. Could have changed the whole weekend. 3 points for Lucy/Callie who got to play Lina/Lacy instead of possibly Jessie/Etta.


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