We are back after a long, one week hiatus. It’s the APP Tour’s Beer City Open this week and we continue the long run of consecutive tournaments for some of these players. There are a number of players who have played a ton of pickleball over the past couple of months. It’s a question to ask whether some self-imposed off-seasons will be needed with a combined 51 tour stops announced for 2022 by the PPA and APP alone. However, that’s not our problem as armchair bloggers so off we go with another fantasy draft preview.
We are even Stevens heading into this week again for the year in fantasy. If this is your first time, we get 3 points for a gold, 2 for a silver and 1 for a bronze, with most combined points winning the week. Gritty won the draw this week and chose to have the first pick.
(1) Callie Smith / Andrea Koop (Gritty)
(2) Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(3) Jay Devilliers / Patrick Smith (Slim)
(4) Callie Smith / Steve Deakin (Gritty)
(5) Vivienne David (Gritty)
Gritty – It was close here between Smith/Koop or Jay Devilliers for the 1st pick on the board, and I liked the Smith/Koop combo a little bit more simply because this will be 8 tournaments in 9 weeks for Jay. I would have had Smith/Deakin higher if I wasn’t so concerned about Deakin’s wrist injury. I also think Vivienne has the highest ceiling in singles in this draw but the consistency isn’t quite there for her so she’s a bit of a dangerous choice at 5th overall.
Slim – I had Devilliers as number 1 on my board, so I was very happy to get him here. I am a little concerned about him having played so much, especially with singles on Sunday, but I think he is far and away the best singles player in this field, and I actually think the amount of tournament reps he has been getting, really helps with his consistency. I am going all in on Jay taking him and Patrick Smith, in men’s doubles next. I think they are becoming a very reliable team, especially in fields like this. I would have had Pat and Jay a little lower, if I thought Steve Deakin was healthy but I didn’t love what I saw from him, in Newport, and I didn’t think that Steve and Adam Stone had great chemistry playing together earlier this year. Gritty’s fourth and fifth picks are risks in my mind. Callie is clearly the best female in this field but if Steve isn’t healthy, they could fall, in a mixed field with some depth. Vivienne could on the right day win this singles field, but she could also miss the podium entirely so it’s a gamble.
(6) Andrea Koop / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(7) Corrine Carr / Adam Stone (Slim)
(8) JW Johnson (Gritty)
(9) Adam Stone / Steve Deakin (Gritty)
(10) Michelle Esquivel (Slim)
(11) Andrea Koop (Slim)
Gritty – I was perfectly fine with not getting Koop/Devilliers and Carr/Stone. I am not fully selling their stock but their recent results have not been super promising. On the other hand, JW’s singles stock continues to go up and in a relatively weak men’s singles field I think he is the best bet to hit the podium outside of Devilliers. These APP fields are already tough to handicap but when you have a top guy like Deakin coming off an injury it makes it even tougher. Stone/Deakin would be the #1 men’s team in this field but now I get them at #9 and I don’t feel that good about it.
Slim – I think I got the two of the most reliable teams in this mixed field. I know both pairings are coming off relatively disappointing showings but I feel like at the end of the day, both Koop/Devilliers and Stone/Carr will be on the podium. I actually get my top two women singles picks here. I know Esquivel is very streaky in singles, but in this field I think all the players are streaky, and I like that Michelle has more experience in singles than most of the players. Koop rarely plays singles, but had a very impressive singles showing in Cincinnati earlier. She knocked off Lea Jansen, but ended up having to withdraw before the gold medal match, as she had a court hearing the next, morning, so I just wish I had her trial schedule before making this pick. This is a local tourney for her though so likely a non-issue.
(12) Rob Nunnery / Rob Cassidy (Gritty)
(13) Lauren Stratman / Dylan Frazier (Gritty)
(14) Sarah Ansboury / Lauren Stratman (Slim)
(15) Michelle Esquivel / Maggie Remynse (Slim)
(16) Corrine Carr / Vivienne David (Gritty)
(17) AJ Koller / Dylan Frazier (Gritty)
Gritty – The Rob’s were clearly my #3 team in men’s and I was happy with this pick initially, except we did this draft before Nunnery came out with his blog disclosing he has a back injury. At the time, I thought it was nice it’s that I got to still get Koller/Frazier at 17th overall as they were my #4 team. It could be a bit of recency bias for me on Stratman/Frazier but I had them as my #3 mixed team in this field. It may not work out well for me but Slim seemed to keep taking the teams I didn’t really want this week. I had Carr/David higher than both the women’s teams he picked too so value is in the eye of the beholder.
Slim – I think you have to take the Robs where Gritty did, but I would have some concerns about Nunnery’s back holding up. I am very happy to get Sarah Ansboury and Lauren Stratman here as I think Sarah’s game should compliment Lauren’s game well. I was also very happy to get Michelle Esiquivel and Maggie Remynse here, as they are a team that has had some success playing together. These were my second and third ranked women’s teams, so at 14 and 15 in the draft that is good value.
(18) John Cincola (Slim)
(19) Lauren Stratman (Slim)
(20) Lee Whitwell / Patrick Smith (Gritty)
(21) AJ Koller (Gritty)
(22) Frank Anthony Davis (Slim)
(23) Lee Whitwell / Martina Kochli (Slim)
Gritty – Cincola was taken higher than I had him on my board but I can’t knock the pick too hard in this field. I went with some more recency bias taking Whitwell/Smith at this point in the draft. AJ Koller and FAD could have gone either way for me, but I had Koller one spot higher than FAD on my board. Slim got all the women’s singles players other than Vivienne David that realistically will hit the podium, but all I quibble with is his order. I had Andrea Koop and Lauren Stratman ahead of Michelle Esquivel, whose results have been spotty in 2021.
Slim – I like John Cincola to make the podium this weekend. I think this singles field lacks some of the depth we have been seeing in other fields this year and that really favors Cincola as it should hopefully have him a little fresher later in the day. I was very happy that Gritty let Lauren slip to me, as I had her, Andrea and Michelle and all ranked right around each other, and between the two of them I feel like I have at least two podium spots wrapped up and on the right day I could have all three. In this singles field FAD is a podium threat, despite me generally having viewed the game as having passed him by a bit.
(24) Jack Foster (Gritty)
(25) Sydney Sonday (Gritty)
(26) Michelle Esquivel / Rob Cassidy (Slim)
(27) JW Johnson / Johnny Goldberg (Slim)
(28) Jade Kawamoto / Megan Charity (Gritty)
(29) Milan Rane (Gritty)
(30) John Cincola / Rafa Hewett (Slim)
Gritty – I’m good with Jack Foster at the end of the draft here as he has podium upside if he gets hot. Sydney Sonday is also working her way up my draft board with her recent strong singles performances and I don’t think it’s out of the question to see her knock one of the top 4 ladies off. The end of the draft was limited in depth but Kawamoto and Charity are both players who have seen APP podiums this year. Milan Rane is a complete shot in the dark as someone I have never seen play singles but has been working her way through some 5.0 tournaments with some tennis background.
Slim – I am pleased to get JW and Johnny Goldberg here, as JW is someone I continue to buy stock in and he and Johnny are quite familiar with each other’s games, so I expect JW to be very comfortable (not that you could tell if he wasn’t) which will make him tough for opponents. Michelle and Rob just seemed like a solid team to get at this point in the draft, but their results playing together haven’t been great, despite both having some mixed success with other partners. I don’t see Cincola and Hewett running through this bracket, but in any match, if they get hot they could cause almost any team some problems as there is some shot making there.
Agree or disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org