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Fantasy Focus: Chicago

By: Justin Felisko
January 09, 2016

Mike Lee begins the Built Ford Tough Series second in the world standings.

Mike Lee begins the Built Ford Tough Series second in the world standings.

THE CHICAGO INVITATIONAL: The Built Ford Tough Series begins its 2016 season this weekend with the Chicago Invitational. Don’t forget to set your lineups, and if you haven’t already, sign up now for your chance to win.

The tiers for PBR Ultimate Fantasy may seem a little off to players when they see two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves listed as Tier C options. This is indeed correct, seeing as the tiers are based on the current 2016 world standings. Riders had the option to get a head start on the BFTS season by competing at BlueDEF Tour, Touring Pro Division and International events.

TIER A: LEE BEGINS BFTS ON RIGHT LEVEL

Mike Lee went on a bull riding tear following the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals. The 2004 World Champion went 10-for-13 to rise to second in the world standings and he has a matchup in Round 1 against Strong Heart, a bull he previously rode for 86 points last year in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Lee faces Lieutenant Dan (5-0, BFTS) in Round 2. Lieutenant Dan has yet to be ridden in 16 outs at all levels.

Meanwhile, Cody Heffernan and Justin Paton are raw when it comes to competing on the BFTS. Heffernan is 1-for-2 in his career, and Paton is 2-for-12. They are currently fourth and fifth in the world standings respectively based on their performance at PBR Australia events.

Lee has 482 qualified rides and over 1,000 career outs.

TIER B: BRAZILIAN DUO

With two selections in Tier B, fantasy players would be naïve not to use one of their two choices on Kaique Pacheco.

The 2015 Rookie of the Year led the PBR in total qualified rides at all levels and took the BFTS by storm in his first year on tour.

He is a model of consistency and will take on Barstool Mountain (3-3, BFTS) on Saturday night. Barstool Mountain has been ridden twice by Silvano Alves, who has never been shy about offering advice to Pacheco.

Pacheco takes on Say Goodbye (4-1, BFTS) in Round 2.

Valdiron de Oliveira is the only veteran option for fantasy players that value experience over potential upside. Oliveira may not be a threat to really break the 90-point threshold, but Oliveira can normally put together at least two qualified rides at an event when dialed-in.

He has drawn Stuntin Like My Daddy (16-7, BFTS) and Shoot Out The Lights (6-6, BFTS) in Chicago.

Mason Lowe doesn’t have the best of draws, but he has shown flashes of potential last year.

Lowe takes on Say I Won’t Playboy (14-5, BFTS) and I’m Trouble (5-1, BFTS).

TIER C: WORLD CHAMPION EXPERIENCE

This weekend will likely be one of the few chances this season that both Mauney and Alves are in Tier C together.

They have won the last five PBR World Championships and are the two greatest bull riders in their generation.

Mauney begins his world title defense against Wipeout (2-0) in Round 1, while Alves kicks off his season against Full Throttle (0-0, BFTS).

Alves then takes on Kountze Kid (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2.

Mauney concludes the long rounds with a matchup against Machinery Auctioneer’s Little Joe (9-2, BFTS).

If you want to break the normal and roll the dice, two underdog options in Tier C include Bonner Bolton and Tanner Byrne.

Bolton has a favorable matchup against Redneck in Round 1 (3-6, BFTS), while Byrne is coming off a career-high 35 qualified rides last year.

Byrne has drawn Soldier’s Pride (7-2, BFTS) for Saturday night.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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