Fantasy Focus: Last Cowboy Standing

LAS VEGAS – When it comes to Ultimate PBR Fantasy this weekend, it will take fantasy players a keen eye to select riders that they think will be able to advance deeper into Last Cowboy Standing if they hope to have a rider that posts multiple scores for their rosters.

World No. 4 J.B. Mauney will have a great opportunity in Round 1 of Last Cowboy Standing to try and get a jumpstart toward a potential PBR Major event victory this weekend, and reward fantasy players in the process.

Mauney has a rematch against Celling Bioscience’s Jukebox Hero (5-11, BFTS) in Round 1, a bull he previously has ridden for 86 points in Des Moines, Iowa, last month.

The 2013 World Champion has gone 5-for-8 in his return from a torn left ACL and has raised his riding average to 48.57 percent. Mauney, who only had 25 qualified rides last year, already has 17 heading into Last Cowboy Standing and is heading into the summer break on quite the roll.

World leader Joao Ricardo Vieira won Iron Cowboy earlier this season, but he has gone 7-for-18 in his BFTS career in Las Vegas. However, Vieira does lead the BFTS with a 51.79 percent riding average.

Vieira has drawn Long Hair (0-0, BFTS) in the first round.

Valdiron de Oliveira has the second-highest riding percentage among active riders, and he is slated to face off against Mug Shot (0-0, BFTS), while Triplett’s 48.98 percent average is third on the BFTS. Triplett has drawn LL Cool J (11-3, BFTS).

Rookie Kaique Pacheco may have the toughest draw for Tier A riders in Round 1 when he takes on Hungry Eyes (9-1, BFTS). Hungry Eyes has bucked off four consecutive riders since being ridden by Fabiano Vieira for 86.5 points at last year’s Built Ford Tough World Finals.

Tier B: Can Schaper come through for first PBR Major win?

Nathan Schaper has been quietly flying under the radar this season, even with his Billings, Montana, victory. That could be in part because since Billings, Schaper has gone 1-for-7.

Despite that slump, the 24-year-old still currently has the sixth-best riding percentage on the BFTS, and he should have a good shot at making 8 seconds aboard Rough ‘em Up Tuck (3-8, BFTS) in Round 1 despite being bucked off by the bull in 3.24 seconds in Seattle.

Mike Lee, who has won two of the last three BFTS outdoor events, takes on Ghost Face (0-0, BFTS). Lee has gone 8-for-14 in the last five outdoor events.

Tier C: Familiar foes for Duncan and Davis

Beyond Mauney, only Douglas Duncan and Cooper Davis are the riders with rematches in Round 1 that have made the whistle before on their respective bull.

Duncan picked up 87 points on Classic Whoppin’ (2-3, BFTS) in Sacramento, California, while Davis made the 8-second mark with an 85.25-point ride on Heavy Dose (7-3, BFTS) last year in Laughlin, Nevada.

A potential sleeper pick in Round 1 is Michael Lane. The 24-year-old is returning to the BFTS for the first time since Last Cowboy Standing two years ago. Lane has a matchup against Gentleman Jim (4-3, BFTS), who has been ridden in two consecutive outs by Renato Nunes (87 points) and Brady Sims (87.5 points) in Billings.

Bull Power: Air Time/Percolator highlight bulls in Vegas

Jared Allen’s Air Time leads the way in the bull pen this weekend at the MGM Resorts Festival Grounds. Air Time is averaging 45.25 points per out this season.

However, don’t forget about Percolator just because he is averaging only 44.54 points per out. In fact, Percolator has been marked 45 points or higher in six consecutive BFTS outs.

Other bulls to keep an eye on in Vegas include Roy (45 points per out), Mississippi Hippy (44.65) and Mr. Bull (44.25).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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