Which squad of mixed Nationals players is superior?
October 23, 2019 by Daniel Prentice and Keith Raynor in Fantasy with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s reporting on the Club Mixed division is presented by Universe Point cleats. All opinions are those of the authors. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at Universe Point!
We’ve had so much fun with the college fantasy drafts the last few years, we finally brought them over to the club level. The basic idea is the same as the college draft: four GMs trying to draft the best team made up of players attending Nationals. So it’s more than simply picking the players who will put up the most impressive stat line, and you probably wouldn’t want to draft a team of nothing but deep cutters, no matter how dominant they may be.
Since this is a first time for us with the club division, though, we decided to add an exciting twist. This year, our loyal subscribers got to join in on the fun! For the mixed draft, Anna Thorn of Chicago Nemesis joined Ultiworld staffers Daniel Prentice, Keith Raynor, and Karoline Hart on this noble venture. Just as with the college drafts, your jobs as the readers are to vote for the team you think is best, and let us know where we went wrong in the comments.
- Snake draft. Keith, Karoline, Anna, and Daniel pick 1-4, respectively, in odd rounds, and then in reverse order for even rounds.
- 14 players per team, 7 female matchups and 7 male matchups
- Two two-way players who will be on both offensive and defensive lines per team, and twelve line-specific players for gender balance (six O-liners, six D-liners)
- Assemble the best possible team that would beat the three others if they were to play an actual game of ultimate
|Round 2||(1) Sarah Meckstroth, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust||(2) Brian Schoenrock, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust||(3) Khalif El Salaam, Seattle Mixtrap||(4) Anna Thompson, Philadelphia AMP|
|Round 3||(8) Jenny Fey, Washington DC Space Heater||(7) Jen Cogburn, Seattle Mixtape||(6) Erica Baken, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust||(5) Tannor Johnson, Boston Slow White|
|Round 4||(9) Sean Mott, Philadelphia AMP||(10) Alan Kolick, Washington DC Space Heater||(11) Raha Mozaffari, Philadelphia AMP||(12) Georgia Bosscher, Washington DC Space Heater|
|Round 5||(16) Caleb Denecour, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust||(15) Kat Ritzmann, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust||(14) Tommy Li, Seattle BFG||(13) Kieran Kelly, Seattle Mixtape|
|Round 6||(17) Peter Prial, Boston Snake Country||(18) Lexi Zalk, San Francisco Mischief||(19) Lucy Williams, Montana MOONDOG||(20) Kevin Christian, Dallas-Ft. Worth Public Enemy|
|Round 7||(24) Evan Klein, Seattle Mixtape||(23) Orion Cable, Boston Slow White||(22) Luke Ryan, Philadelphia AMP||(21) Becca Ludford, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust|
|Round 8||(25) Emily Shields, Philadelphia AMP||(26) Chelsea Murphy, Boston Snake Country||(27) Emily Smith-Wilson, Seattle Mixtape||(28) Adam Simon, Seattle Mixtape|
|Round 9||(32) Ian Engler, Boston Wild Card||(31) Brett Tan, Boston Slow White||(30) Ethan Falat, San Francisco Mischief||(29) Michael Ing, Philadelphia AMP|
|Round 10||(33) Gina Schumacher, San Francisco Mischief||(34) Helen Eifert, Dallas-Ft. Worth Public Enemy||(35) Lisa Couper, San Francisco Polar Bears||(36) Linda Morse, Philadelphia AMP|
|Round 11||(40) Nick Lance, Ft. Collins shame.||(39) Claire Thallon, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust||(38) Reed Hendrickson, Seattle Mixtape||(37) Christine Bookhout, Durham Toro|
|Round 12||(41) Hailey Alm, Boston Wild Card||(42) Leo Sovell-Fernandez, Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust||(43) Tristan Green, Durham Toro||(44) Shellie Cohen, Boston Snake Country|
|Round 13||(48) Sion Agami, Columbus Cocktails||(47) Jake Taylor, Boston Snake Country||(46) Patrick Shriwise, Washington DC Space Heater||(45) Matthew Heath, Boston Wild Card|
|Round 14||(49) Margot Stert, San Francisco Polar Bears||(50) Emily Barrett, Columbus Cocktails||(51) Caitlin Fitzgerald, Boston Slow White||(52) Alissa Soo, Seattle BFG|
|Round 15||(56) Heather Zimmerman, Durham Toro||(55) Jacob Smith, San Francisco Mischief||(54) Julia Bladin, Seattle BFG||(53) Johnny Malks, Washington DC Space Heater|
- We did have a couple cases of slight homerism. Karoline, who played with Snake Country last season, took three Snake players and four Boston-based players, more than any other drafter. Anna, with her deep Boise and Utah ties, showed a lot of love to the Big Sky and Northwest, taking six Northwest players total. Anna also led the group in name drops.
- Anna had to take a break at one point to let Riley, the dog she was sitting, outside. This then prompted Keith to introduce his own dog Maisie to the group. It was all very wholesome, and perhaps the most #DogsofUltiworld moment of all time.
- Female matchup selections were more highly valued in the early rounds, apart from Keith, who took male matchup players in rounds 3-6. Even with Keith’s four straight male matchup selections, female matchup players were 14 of the first 27 picks, and 7 of the first 12.
- The mixed division draft had the most teams represented of any of the the three drafts, with only Superlame not having anyone selected. But it saw top team dominance similar to the other divisions, with eight Drag’n Thrust players chosen, six of whom were women.
Two-way players in bold
O-line: Jenny Fey, Margot Stert, Hailey Alm, Sarah Meckstroth; Ian Engler, Peter Prial, Sion Agami, Sean Mott
D-line: Gina Schumacher, Heather Zimmerman, Emily Shields, Meckstroth; Nick Lance, Caleb Denecour, Evan Klein, Mott
Keith: I felt really good through three rounds, as I was prioritizing players I thought offered inimitable skillsets, and not only did I get a trio in Meckstroth, Fey, and Mott, but I can play all three together on this offense. With Fey and Engler leading the way from the backfield, my lengthy offense is going to either be able to get into the deep space, break side, or both. On defense, I get to deploy the 2018 DPOTY Evan Klein next to Meckstroth, a runner-up for the reward; both were also on the defensive podium in 2017. Denecour may have shifted to the O-line, but he’s a defensive force, and the size and tenacity of the combination of Gina Schumacher and Emily Shields will trouble the opposition. And then wild card, Nick Lance…
Daniel: I was surprised when Anna and Karoline were both skeptical of the Meckstroth pick to start the draft. I know she maybe hasn’t popped this season as much as she did last year, but that’s mostly because her team hasn’t needed her to. In my mind, she’s easily the most valuable player in the division and getting her is such a strong start. Beyond her and Fey, I don’t know if you have any truly take-over level women though. You waited longer than everyone else to draft the majority of your female matchup players, and I do think that shows. Still, with Meckstroth and Fey, and the strength of your men, I think this team is certainly competitive.
O-line: Kat Riztmann, Claire Thallon, Jen Cogburn, Emily Barrett; Leo Sovell-Fernandez, Jake Taylor, Jacob Smith, Brian Schoenrock
D-line: Chelsea Murphy, Helen Eifert, Lexi Zalk, Cogburn; Alan Kolick, Orion Cable, Brett Tan, Schoenrock
Daniel: Looking at this team, an obvious weakness jumps out: who is handling? The majority of these players, particularly among the women, are players who are naturally inclined to do their damage downfield. It’ll be difficult for any opponent to thwart all of Thallon, Cogburn, Barrett, and Schoenrock in the deep space. But at a certain point, it just gets too crowded downfield for them all to maximize their threat. And again, who’s gonna be the one chucking it to them?
Keith: You’re right that the talent is concentrated downfield, but if the young Leo Sovell-Fernandez can rise to the occasion, Kolick and maybe some Zalk can control the backfield. She gets the big chemistry boost from the Drag’N cohort and Boston crew; even Zalk, Ritzmann and Eifert have spent time in the Northeast. And there’s a lot of team speed here. But also a lot of youth. Can the youngsters stand up the best players in the division?
O-line: Erica Baken, Raha Mozaffari, Julia Bladin, Emily Smith-Wilson; Tristan Green, Patrick Shriwise, Khalif El-Salaam, Ethan Falat
D-line: Baken, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Lisa Couper, Lucy Williams; El-Salaam, Tommy Li, Luke Ryan, Reed Hendrickson
Keith: If I was hoping our subscriber guest would be a bit loose, I would be disappointed. Anna came away with some slick picks like Julia Bladin, Lucy Williams, and Lisa Couper, all probably above rate. Her D-line jumps out to me as an intimidating group, with intensity, size, and playmaking; if they get rolling, their momentum could bowl an offense over. I’m cooler on the offense, where I think there’s going to be a lot of weight on Mozaffari and El-Salaam to create downfield.
Daniel: Don’t forget about Baken, Keith! She has to be the POTY front runner going into Nationals, and getting her in the second round feels like a massive steal. And hey, if you’re just getting breaks all day, then you don’t really need to send the offense out there a whole lot anyway. If I have to nitpick I’d say Anna’s weakspot is in the handler core. But there’s probably enough versatility among her players that it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
O-line: Anna Thompson, Georgia Bosscher, Alissa Soo, Becca Ludford; Adam Simon, Kevin Christian, Kieran Kelly, Tannor Johnson
D-line: Thompson, Shellie Cohen, Christine Bookhout, Linda Morse; Johnny Malks, Matthew Heath, Michael Ing, Johnson
Daniel: I love the balance of my team. I have two handlers and two cutters of each gender matchup for each of my lines. We didn’t discuss exactly how we would work out our lines with regards for when we would play four women or four men, but I think my roster makeup allows me to survive it no matter how that play out. I was thrilled to get Kelly when I did. In fact, I considered taking him when I took Johnson at the start of the second round. They give me an unstoppable pair of pistons to build my whole offense around, with Thompson, Bosscher, Simon, and Christian offering my gobs of throwing ability to get it either of them, along with Ludford, who’s been an absurdly dominant deep cutter in her own right and the glue-player Soo. My defense is physical and athletic and more than couple of grinding out breaks, or riding on the hucking ability of Cohen.
Keith: Notice how Daniel left only a single sentence for his defense? He stuffed the stars on the offense, but outside of his two-way players, his defense was picked entirely from round nine and on. And I think it shows with a bit more of an unproven group. Morse has had a standout season, but even proven commodities like pulling specialist Shellie Cohen and college star Michael Ing haven’t quite been at their usual level this regular season. The downfield talent of the offense is immense, but I wonder about the male handlers and if they can take the burden of generating offense off of Anna Thompson.
Who would win?
Keith: In drafts past, having the first overall pick seems to have been pretty helpful in winning. With it, I took last year’s POTY and later got the 2018 runner-up. Anna’s got the best defense, and I think Daniel’s offense edges mine. I think have more questions about Daniel’s defense than Anna’s offense, so I think on balance, I’d take Anna in a head to head. That leaves me putting my own team against hers. And despite my attempts at objectivity, I think the top end of my defense and the proven acumen with a solid offense is enough to get a win. So yeah, I’ll be that guy.
Daniel: If I never get broken, I have a chance. But Keith is probably right that my D-line keeps me from being a contender here. I do really want to pick Anna’s team to win it at all, mostly to spite Keith, but I think his top six picks are just too strong and all complement each other very well. It pains me, but I also am going to give him the edge here.