We have another PPA event in the state of Georgia this weekend and it will be the first PPA event in some time where we have a few more higher end APP stalwarts sprinkled throughout the draw. JW, Dylan Frazier, Federico Staksrud and Parris Todd will all be out there. Does DUPR give odds on the chances that Parris Todd is not on Anna Leigh Waters’ half of the bracket? Give me things that have next to zero chance of happening for $2,000 please, Alex.
Rob Nunnery and Adam Stone put out a really good idea on their latest podcast, which was that someone should find a way to do this Triple Crown gender doubles event that last happened in Simi Valley, California in 2019. We actually remember watching the event because, as crazy as it sounds, we have been following “pro” pickleball for a few years now, even if we basically had no clue what was going on in 2018. How the Triple Crown event works is that you have to play with a different partner on all 3 gender doubles days – 3 days, 3 different partners. We think a Triple Crown type event would be a ton of fun for players and fans, and 100% agree with Nunnery and Stone that someone needs to make this happen.
Slim is back to 5 up on the year and it’s now or never time for Gritty after it looked like we might have a photo finish at the end of the year. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick first in this week’s fantasy draft.
(2) Ben Johns (Slim)
(3) Matt Wright / Riley Newman (Slim)
(4) Anna Leigh Waters (Gritty)
(5) Anna Leigh Waters / Leigh Waters (Gritty)
Gritty – I went with the first pick because, for the first time in a while, it’s not obvious outside of Anna Leigh/Ben who is the clear favorite in each draw. Parris Todd is still in the draw as of us writing this, but she hasn’t played a singles event since injuring herself in Newport, which means I have Anna Leigh Waters still in that #1 slot for singles. The Waters lost to Jessie/Anna last time out, but they were due for a loss at some point. I’m expecting a bounce back for Mom and daughter in Atlanta.
Slim – I know Ben Johns lost in singles last week, but that kind of makes me like him more in singles this week, as I think he’ll be motivated and focused in singles this week. If Ben can’t do it this week, there will be a lot more questions. I also expect a little friendlier draw for Ben in Atlanta. In men’s doubles, I decided to ride with the hot hand and take Matt/Riley. I think the ultra aggressive style they have settled into presents a real problem for the Johns Brothers and if they get it done again, that means a lot more questions for the Johns bros.
(6) Parris Todd (Slim)
(7) Federico Staksrud (Slim)
(8) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Gritty)
(9) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(10) Jessie Irvine / Anna Bright (Slim)
(11) JW Johnson (Slim)
Gritty – I had Ben/Collin as my very slight #1 team so I’m quite happy to get them all the way at #8. They were possibly a weird let cord from beating Matt/Riley at TOC, and I have to think those two will be as ready as ever for what is coming. If Ben/Collin lose again, I’ll have a different view of the whole situation. Let’s hope that Catherine/Riley end up on the Matt/Lucy half of the bracket. If they do, I expect a Championship Sunday for these two who had finally figured things out before Lindsey Newman came back from her maternity leave.
Slim – I had Parris as the number two women’s singles player on my board, but would have had her number one if I was sure she was healthy and going to play. So I decided to take the chance and gamble on the upside. Federico brings a consistency to his singles game that makes it hard to believe that he is in his first year of pro pickleball. I am hoping that Jessie/Anna will be able to carry over the confidence from their first gold medal together last week into this week. I expect that JW, Federico and Ben will comprise the men’s singles podium this weekend, but am not sure of the order so I grab JW here so I have all three. Obviously there is always risk with this strategy in PPA events where there is no back door to the final, but I would be shocked if all three are on the same side of the draw.
(12) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(13) Dylan Frazier / JW Johnson (Gritty)
(14) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(15) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Slim)
(16) Catherine Parenteau / Lea Jansen (Gritty)
(17) Salome Devidze (Gritty)
Gritty – Jessie/Jay are so consistent and I expect that either Jessie/Jay or Catherine/Riley will avoid Anna Leigh/Ben until the gold medal match. Matt/Lucy looked a lot better before the summer break but the last two PPAs it has not been their best. It’s been a while since we have seen Dylan/JW at a PPA event, and they are going to end up on one of the top two teams side of the draw. Ben/Collin is definitely a better matchup for them so let’s see if they can break-up the expected men’s doubles final. I wanted to get Lucy/Callie as I believe they have an adjustment in them to cure what ails them, but Catherine/Lea are just coming off a victory against them in Cincinnati so no sweat getting them here instead. I am finally putting Salome ahead of Catherine Parenteau. Beyond the two wins for Salome against Parenteau, she is much more likely to be motivated if she gets bumped to a back draw and secure a bronze as she did last weekend.
Slim – Lea Jansen has gotten two straight silver medals, she seems to have an answer for most players, except for Anna Leigh. It would be interesting to see her play Parris to see if her coming to the net, creates any issues for Parris’s ground stroke style. It is noteworthy tha Jansen had a very close win over Salome last weekend. Lucy/Callie have a real chance, as always, to take gold in women’s doubles so getting them at 15 offers great upside. They have to figure it out at some point, don’t they?
(18) Irina Tereschenko / Parris Todd (Slim)
(19) Catherine Parenteau (Slim)
(20) Callan Dawson / DJ Young (Gritty)
(21) Tyson McGuffin (Gritty)
(22) Parris Todd / Dylan Frazier (Slim)
(23) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Slim)
Gritty – I had the 4 through 6 men’s doubles team all clustered right next to each other. Callan/DJ must have put aside their differences when they split last year, and they are both significantly improved players. Callan has more tools in his arsenal while DJ is finally looks to be taking pickleball seriously. They are a good stylistic fit and should have a lot of comfort playing with one another. The PPA may have been teaching Ben a lesson for being late to his gold match at TOC, sticking Ben with a brutal draw in Cincinnati, and giving Tyson a relative walk through to Sunday. It won’t be so easy for Tyson this time around though, and he’ll almost certainly have to get through JW and/or Staksrud if he wants another Sunday appearance.
Slim – Irina/Parris have their MLP experience together so should have pretty good chemistry and Parris has thay big time power. It will be interesting to see how they stack up against the top four women’s teams. Catherine Parenteau, has struggled against Salome Devidze the last couple of tournaments, but if she can get a different draw we could be seeing her back in Championship Sunday. The Parris/Dylan partnership will be absolutely fascinating to watch in this field. Their ceiling is very high, but their lack of experience playing together could really hurt them against these top teams.
(24) Dylan Frazier (Gritty)
(25) Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(26) AJ Koller / Ben Newell (Slim)
(27) Tyson McGuffin / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(28) Callie Smith (Gritty)
(29) Mary Brascia / Lacy Schneemann (Gritty)
(30) Callie Smith / AJ Koller (Slim)
Gritty – Rounding out the singles spots, I had to take Dylan Frazier who arguably could be ahead of Tyson in this draft. I passed on Julian Arnold and Jake Kusmider in favour of the bronze stallion, Jay Devlliers. I don’t see any of these players with Sunday potential in this singles field so I wanted the player who was going to fight the hardest in the back draw, and that’s the bronze stallion. Slim made fun of me for going with Callie Smith again, but I wanted someone who will still fight in that back draw. I believe in Callie’s grit and she’s due for a better result in singles at some point, even in these deeper fields. Finally, head-to-head, I would take Jones/Sheehan-Dizon over Brascia/Schneemann, but with the top 5 women’s teams out there, I wanted a team that could surprise because of how unknown they are. Those PPA teams know Meghan and Allyce whereas teams have not seen much of Schneemann, who had a solid set of results at the APP Atlanta Metro last weekend.
Slim – Newell/AJ are likely to be an ultra aggressive team. If they get hot, nobody will want to see them. Tyson/Jay are coming off of their first Championship Sunday and are a team that is always going to compete until the end, so getting them this late in the draft seems like a real steal even though I had them as my 6th men’s team. Getting AJ/Callie as the last mixed team picked, really speaks to the depth of the mixed field. I was actually tempted to pick Anna/DJ here as I like the upside they offer, but AJ/Callie’s track record is too proven to pass on them.
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