Fantasy Focus: New York City

By: Justin Felisko
January 15, 2016

Joao Ricardo Vieira is a rider to watch in this weekend's competition in New York City.

Joao Ricardo Vieira is a rider to watch in this weekend’s competition in New York City.

THE MONSTER ENERGY BUCK OFF AT THE GARDEN: The Built Ford Tough Series resumes this weekend in New York with the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden. Don’t forget to set your lineups, and if you haven’t already, sign up now for your chance to win.

TIER A: Joao “Mr. Major” Ricardo Vieira

Joao Ricardo Vieira knew when to elevate his game to the highest level last year when it came to the PBR Majors and the fourth-year BFTS veteran went a combined 6-for-10 at PBR Majors.

Combine that with Vieira’s 3-for-3 start to the season in Chicago last week and you have to like the 31-year-old’s possibilities in New York.

Vieira has drawn Flip Out (3-3, BFTS) in Round 1.

World leader Wallace de Oliveira went 2-for-3 at the Denver BlueDEF Tour event and will face Tex-lo (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 on Friday night.

Mike Lee is 12-for-19 at all PBR events this year and started off his 2016 BFTS campaign with a 2-for-3 performance in Chicago. The 2004 World Champion has a good matchup against Texicali (2-4, BFTS).

Valdiron de Oliveira went 3-for-3 in Chicago and is coming off an 0-for-1 week in Denver. The 36-year-old, and No. 2 bull rider in the world standings, will face Mr. U (5-2, BFTS).

Paulo Lima is set to make his 2016 BFTS debut as he is competing on a BlueDEF Tour event win exemption.

Lima won the L.J. Jenkins Invitational in Clovis, New Mexico, in October and is currently fourth in the world standings.

The 28-year-old has drawn Playgun (3-0, BFTS) for Round 1.

TIER B: Alves riding full steam ahead

Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves was perfect in Chicago (3-for-3) and he made things look easy at the Denver BlueDEF Tour event (3-for-3) this week.

Alves has drawn Rusty for Round 1.

J.B. Mauney has three career wins on the big stage of Madison Square Garden and the defending World Champion seems to always bring his best when in New York.

Mauney is 16-for-21 (76.19 percent) in the last five BFTS events in New York, and he will take on Blue Hurricane (0-0, BFTS).

Ryan Dirteater begins the event coming off two 3-for-3 performances in his last two BFTS regular-season events. He has drawn Magic (0-0, BFTS).

TIER C: Spiderman wants to dance at MSG

Robson Aragao has a favorable rematch in the first round after previously riding Machinery Auctioneer’s Little Joe for 86.5 points last year in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I am very happy right now,” Aragao said Friday morning.

Mauney won Round 2 in Chicago with an 89-point ride on Little Joe.

Watch out for Eduardo Aparecido.

The fourth-year pro is in the draw this weekend after missing Chicago because of visa issues and is a Top-10-caliber rider.

He finished 11th in the world last year, and he has a good matchup against Walking Through White (1-2, BFTS).

Kaique Pacheco, last year’s runner-up to the world title, takes on Gentleman Jim (5-5, BFTS) in Round 1. Pacheco went 2-for-3 in Denver. He should ride Gentleman Jim with ease.

This week’s sleeper pick is Stormy Wing.

Wing faces Sasquatch in Round 1. It is by no means a favorable matchup as the bull is 20-0 against left-handed riders, but if Wing can pull off an 8-second ride he will be in position for a round win.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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