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Fantasy Focus: Anaheim

ANAHEIM, Calif. – World No. 3 Reese Cates heads to Anaheim as the BFTS-leader in wins (two), but he will be looking to start to get some consistency under his belt this weekend.

Cates admitted last week in Sacramento, California, that he had let some opportunities this season go for naught and the numbers show that to be the case.

In his two wins (Baltimore and Sacramento), Cates was 5-for-6, but in the other three BFTS events (Oklahoma City, New York and Chicago) he has gone 2-for-8.

He has yet to post consecutive weekends with multiple rides.

However, if Cates is on the right track in Anaheim, he can reward fantasy players with his average ride score of 86.39 points. He faces No Regrets, who Guilherme Marchi rode for 87.5 points in Oklahoma City, on Friday night and LL Cool J, who has bucked off five consecutive riders on the BFTS.

Another rider looking to get on the right track is J.B. Mauney. The 2013 World Champion heads into Anaheim dealing with a right groin and pelvis injury that – until last weekend – had yet to affect his riding.

However, in Sacramento, Mauney was dealt two buckoffs in less than 3 seconds that left him hobbling out of the arena without a qualified ride.

Mauney, who actually has a rematch in Round 2 against Wired Wishessince bucking off the bovine athlete last week in 2.23 seconds, has shown an ability to fight through the injury that he first sustained in New York whenCrack The Whip hooked him with his horn, but Mauney’s admirable toughness can only go so far if the injury continues to get aggravated. The 2013 World Champion has drawn Woody in Round 1.

The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider has also been scored 85 points or better in his past 21 qualified rides and will test that streak againstWoody in Round 1. The bull bucked off Lachlan Richardson in 3.5 seconds in Sacramento.

Matt Triplett faces the relatively unknown Hawaiian Hurricane in Round 1 and the 23-year-old has been a perfect 10-for-10 through in Rounds 1 & 2 at BFTS events.

In Tier B, Tanner Byrne has continued to build momentum through the first month of the season and the member of Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team has covered eight of his last 12 bulls. His last six qualified rides have all been scored 85 points or higher.

The 22-year-old will be greeted by Cowboy Phil and Pay It Forward in the first two rounds at the Honda Center.

Shane Proctor (12-for-16) has been a solid selection all year long in Tier B, but he will have a tough test in the second round on Saturday night againstRock River Red. Proctor was bucked off by the bovine athlete in the championship round last week in 5.28 seconds. Proctor will face Big Enough in the first round.

Kaique Pacheco will be a rider to watch in Tier B. The rookie went only 1-for-4 in New York a few weeks ago, but the 20-year-old has been clearly the top rider in the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division. Can he now make the next jump at the BFTS level?

Pacheco will attempt to ride Dead Calm and Play Up in Sacramento. Dead Calm has bucked off Silvano Alves and Proctor in two career BFTS outs, while Play Up makes his BFTS debut.

Brady Sims (Tier C) broke out of his 0-for-7 slump last week by going 2-for-3 in Sacramento. His 87-point ride on KISS Animalize in Round 1 was a season-high score for the second-year BFTS rider. Sims has drawn Meathook in Round 1 and Mr. Showbiz in Round 2. If he can make the 8-second whistle on Meathook (28-13, BFTS), Sims should receive a score in the high-80s. Mr. Showbiz bucked off Sims in 3.45 seconds during the 2014 BFTS event in Phoenix.

Nathan Schaper may have bucked off two of his last three bulls, but each of those buckoffs came just past the 7-second mark. Therefore, that makes his current 4-of-6 run an interesting one for fantasy players. Schaper was that close to riding Honey Hush for the victory in Oklahoma City and almost made the 8-second mark on Meathook to qualify for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in Sacramento.

Schaper faces Bad Gun in Round 1 and Game Over in Round 2.

This week’s sleeper pick will be Bryan Titman. The rookie bull rider showed that he belonged on the BFTS during his debut in Sacramento and showed no hesitation in wanting to select the still unridden Mick E Mouse. He rode Cash Ya Out for 85.25 points and will look to take advantage of his alternate position in the draw this weekend.

Titman has drawn Right Cross and Crack Back Jack.

Mick E Mouse (30) and Margy Time (11) will buck in the championship round and have yet to be ridden on the BFTS. Smooth Operator (45.5 points) was the high-marked bull in Sacramento and will try to do so again in Anaheim. For more bull advice, check out Slade Long’s Inside the Bull Pen.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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