The pickleball news cycle feels like it is endless right now, but we can’t forget about more tournaments to be played. We’ll go from the Texas Open this weekend to an extremely intriguing field for Nationals the following week at Indian Wells in California. With the announcement of the Vibe Pickleball League scheduled for some time Thursday, we’ll plan to have something bigger in terms of a reaction post to that whole situation as well.
Slim is 5 up on the year in our fantasy drafts and he ended up winning the toss so he got the first pick this week.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters (Slim)
(2) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Gritty)
(3) Ben Johns (Gritty)
(4) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Slim)
(5) Anna Leigh Waters / Leigh Waters (Slim)
Slim – Anna Leigh remains dominant in women’s singles and it may be the biggest upset of the year if she loses this week. Ben and Collin seem to be figuring out Matt and Riley’s ultra aggressive style, and how to slow down the points so I liked them most of the men’s teams. The Waters lost in the gold medal match in DC, but they are still best women’s doubles team in the game right now in my opinion.
Gritty – Anna Leigh and Ben have been a tour de force this year and nothing seems like it is going to get in the way of that in 2022. There’s some more uncertainty at the very top for these gold medals in the PPA right now. Despite a deep singles field, I choose to go with Ben Johns, who hopefully will be provided with a classic PPA friendly draw.
(6) Matt Wright / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(7) Jessie Irvine / Anna Bright (Gritty)
(8) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Slim)
(9) Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
(10) Julian Arnold (Gritty)
(11) Catherine Parenteau (Gritty)
Slim – Catherine and Riley, dropped a tight match to Matt and Lucy enroute to bronze in DC, but I like them to bounce back this week. With a number of the top APP singles guys skipping this weekend’s stop, I like the still ultra consistent Tyson McGuffin to find a way to Championship Sunday. You know the PPA will pit as many APP guys against each other early too with the seeding.
Gritty – I had Matt and Riley as my slight #1 team for the men only because this matchup is so close these days that I think they are due for one. Top notch logic, I am aware, but getting them #2 means I didn’t have to reach on a gut feeling. Jessie/Anna have gold medal potential with the Waters having lost to Lucy/Callie last time out in DC. I had Julian Arnold as my #2 player purely based off his performance in Hilton Head. Maybe I shouldn’t be betting on a guy on the wrong side of 30 being able to string together two long singles weekends in a row, but I’m doing it anyway. Catherine is fresh off two Championship Sundays in a row in singles, but I am concerned about Parenteau’s kryptonite, Salome Devidze, being in the field.
(12) Callie Smith / Lucy Kovalova (Slim)
(13) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(14) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(15) Dylan Frazier (Gritty)
(16) Dylan Frazeri / DJ Young (Slim)
(17) Salome Devidze (Slim)
Slim – Lucy and Callie finally found the top of the podium again in DC, and I am hoping they can carry the momentum into this weekend. I also like Lea Jansen to reach Championship Sunday this weekend, and was very happy that Slim let her fall to me. If DJ Young is on with his shot making this weekend, he and Dylan Frazier are going to be a problem this weekend, as at this point, I think Dylan is the best right side player in the game. DJ will be back on the left after two straight weekends with Dekel Bar on the left. After taking a couple weeks off, Salome looked good in Hilton Head last week, and I am hoping she is still relatively re-energized.
Gritty – Jessie and Jay have been uber consistent this year and it should be their turn to avoid the Anna Leigh/Ben side of the draw. Dylan Frazier is now a legitimate singles threat and I definitely like him over the rest of the field out there. The only question I had for Frazier is whether he should be above Arnold, but I get them both so all good on that front.
(18) AJ Koller / Thomas Wilson (Gritty)
(19) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Gritty)
(20) Catherine Parenteau / Lea Jansen (Slim)
(21) Jay Devilliers / Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
(22) Megan Fudge (Gritty)
(23) Irina Tereschenko (Gritty)
Slim – Catherine Pareneatu and Lea Jansen haven’t been getting the results they probably expected lately, but they still have gold medal potential which you rarely get with the 20th pick. Jay Devilliers and Tyson McGuffin have become a really consistent team, and are always in contention for the bronze medal.
Gritty – We had some differing boards this week as AJ/Thomas were my #3 team so getting them as the 4th male team is something I was happy with. Lucy/Matt saw a Championship Sunday in DC with a win over Catherine/Riley to get there, which means I can’t get my hopes up too much for them to do it two weeks in a row. Megan Fudge is clearly the best pick of the rest of these ladies following her gold medal a couple of weekends ago. I reluctantly chose Irina over Anna Bright as my final women’s singles pick, and I’m already regretting that decision. Bright has more upside in a deep-ish PPA field.
(24) Callie Smith / AJ Koller (Slim)
(25) Anna Bright / Tyler Loong (Slim)
(26) Spencer Smith / Tyler Loong (Gritty)
(27) Irina Tereschenko / Etta Wright (Gritty)
(28) Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(29) Gabriel Joseph (Slim)
(30) Meghan Sheehan-Dizon / Allyce Jones (Gritty)
Slim – The mixed teams of Callie / AJ and Anna / Tyler both offer a fair amount of upside. AJ / Callie have shown they can make a Championship Sunday when they have their offense clicking on all cylinders, as they have as much in the way of weapons and fire power as any team out there. I think currently Anna is best suited playing mixed with Tyler, because she is so much stronger as a left side player. Jay Devilliers is always in the mix for the podium in singles, and you can count on him competing till the end. With my last pick, I took an upside gamble on a guy we haven’t seen a lot of lately, in Gabe Joseph.
Gritty – I am not satisfied with this draft overall. The fact that I have to end my last 3 picks with teams that have the least likelihood of finding a podium of all the 30 drafted teams is not a good sign. Irina/Etta are a new partnership that should be interesting, and they have an outside chance at that bronze medal. Etta Wright is already good and is going to be very good. Spencer/Tyler are a poor man’s version of Callan/Tyler, but you know they are going to make teams work. That bronze medal is up for grabs so I wouldn’t be floored if they found a podium. Finally, Meghan/Allyce have played some tough loss in recent tournaments, including a 19-17 exit to Lea/Catherine in DC. Do they have a podium in them finally?
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