We just wanted to start off by saying our appreciation to everyone for listening to the new podcast. It’s pretty cool to see the number of people who care about what the two of us have to say about pro pickleball. It feels like the stories are never ending and we’re just happy to be along for the ride while having a blast doing it. It’s another fantasy draft preview week as Slim has finally pulled ahead in the season long standings following his 3rd consecutive win last week. He also won the toss and elected to pick first.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters (Slim)
(2) Anna Leigh Waters / Anna Bright (Gritty)
(3) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Gritty)
(4) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Slim)
(5) Ben Johns (Slim)
Slim – With no Lea Jansen and no Catherine Parenteau, it is really hard to see how anyone is even going to come close to challenging Anna Leigh in singles this week. Her losing this week, would have to be the biggest upset of the year. We should have a focused Johns brothers in doubles this weekend coming off of their upset loss to DJ Young and Patrick Smith.
Gritty – No one has come close to touching Anna Leigh Waters in women’s doubles this year. It’s hard to see why this tournament will be any different. Anna Leigh and Ben seem due for a let down weekend somewhere along the way. Ben Johns is coming off a grueling singles Thursday and a men’s doubles loss last weekend so I’m hoping this isn’t the week we see a let down. They still have only lost together once this year.
(6) Dylan Frazier / JW Johnson (Gritty)
(7) Federico Staksrud (Gritty)
(8) Anna Bright / James Ignatowich (Slim)
(9) Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Slim)
(10) Jessie Irvine / Lea Jansen (Gritty)
(11) AJ Koller / Riley Newman (Gritty)
Slim – I wasn’t quite sure what to do at this spot in the draft so I decided to go with Anna Bright and James Ignatowitch and the Johnson siblings, as I think one of those teams will be in Championship Sunday this weekend.
Gritty – Dylan Frazier/JW Johnson are firmly the #2 men’s doubles team in pro pickleball. Riley Newman plays with AJ Koller this week and the teams are set to face one another should the draw go according to plan. That should be a fun one to keep an eye on. Federico Staksrud has a good draw and continues to be the most consistent singles player outside of Ben Johns. Lea Jansen isn’t playing singles this week, which means no more excuses. If she and Jessie Irvine don’t have a good day in this draw, there are going to be some real questions. I back up my JW/Dylan pick with Koller/Newman as this team should be right in that mix for a silver medal. Koller has looked more focused the past few tournaments.
(12) Etta Wright / Lacy Schneemann (Slim)
(13) Yana Newell (Slim)
(14) Lindsey Newman / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(15) Tyson McGuffin (Gritty)
(16) Judit Castillo (Slim)
(17) Jaume Martinez Vich (Slim)
Slim – Etta Wright and Lacy Schneeman remain an intriguing partnership. It will be very interesting to see how they do this weekend. Yana Newell is coming off a big weekend in Seattle, and has a favorable singles draw. Can she keep the momentum going? I like either Judit or Yana to make it out of the bottom half of the women’s singles draw so I took Judit as well.
Gritty – Lindsey/Riley got a bronze medal last weekend. They don’t have a favorable draw being in the ALW/Ben half, but they pushed them to 3 games last week so there’s no telling what could happen. They are the best bet for bronze, regardless. Tyson McGuffin is back after a 5-week hiatus and I like a rested Muffin Man coming back in the middle of a long stretch of tournaments for some of these players.
(18) Callie Smith /Lucy Kovalova (Gritty)
(19) Matt Wright / Connor Garnett (Gritty)
(20) JW Johnson (Slim)
(21) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Slim)
(22) Mary Brascia (Gritty)
(23) Connor Garnett (Gritty)
Slim – JW Johnson always has the gold medal upside potential in singles so at 21, he is good value. However, JW really struggles with consistency in his singles game. We’ll have to see if his consistency improves at all and if he ever actually starts playing with that new paddle people have been talking about.
Gritty – Callie/Lucy find themselves with a soft quarter for their draw. They will likely have to get by Schneemann/Wright or Irvine/Jansen to get to Sunday, which could be a tall task. First time partnership for Garnett/Matt Wright. It is a good fit on paper, but it is unclear if Garnett is ready to compete at the highest level in men’s doubles right now. This is a smart partnership for Matt Wright, and one he may be looking to cultivate long-term. Mary Brascia in California is your best bet to get optimal Mary Brascia. I don’t like Connor Garnett in this draw as the #8 seed set to take on Ben Johns in his 4th consecutive tournament following a paddle controversy filled weekend. Nevertheless, his talent is too much to pass on with this last slot. And who knows how that Zane ProXR paddle is doing.
(24) Jorja Johnson / Vivienne David (Slim)
(25) Federico Staksrud / Pablo Tellez (Slim)
(26) Callie Smith (Gritty)
(27) Irina Tereschenko (Gritty)
(28) Julian Arnold / Thomas Wilson (Slim)
(29) Yana Newell / Lauren Stratman (Slim)
(30) Vivienne David / Thomas Wilson (Gritty)
Slim – Jorja and Vivienne have been proven to be a very strong team. Unfortunately for them, they are on the same side of the draw as Anna Leigh and Anna Bright this week. Federico and Pablo are having a very good year together, but they too got bad draw luck, getting the Johns brothers on their side. Yana Newell and Lauren Stratman have three PPA medals together but with AB and AL in their quarter, they will need a minor miracle to find a podium this weekend.
Gritty – Callie Smith is allegedly in this singles draw and I continue to think she is as good as anyone outside of ALW in singles for this field. Without Parenteau or Jansen in this field, Irina has a Charmin soft draw and I like her chances to take down someone like Newell or Black if she gets an opportunity. Vivienne David/Thomas Wilson made the semi-finals last weekend and were a game away from Championship Sunday against Bright/ignatowich. They are always a threat to contend in mixed.
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