Fantasy Focus: St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — When it comes to PBR Ultimate Fantasy, Tier A has become a bit of a difficult task for fantasy players.

Normal stalwarts Silvano Alves and J.B. Mauney have gone a combined 3-for-10 in the past two weeks and neither qualified for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

Alves (2-for-5) will attempt to get back on track in the first round against XD Sports Double Agent (2-0, BFTS). XD Sports Double Agent bucked off Kasey Hayes in 1.71 seconds earlier this season in Chicago.

Alves faces Chili Dog (3-0, BFTS) in Round 2, and Chili Dog bucked off J.W. Harris and Marco Eguchi in New York this season.

Mauney (1-for-5) is still dealing with a groin and pelvis injury and will take on Pistol Pete (3-2) in Round 1 and Closing Time (5-1) in Round 2. Both bulls are making their 2015 season debuts.

Be cautious when selecting Reese Cates, who heads to St. Louis with a left shoulder injury. He takes on Hard Times (9-2, BFTS) in Round 1 and Damn Right (1-9, BFTS) in the second round.

Current world leader Matt Triplett continues to find success and is developing into not only the top bull rider in the world standings, but also potentially the top selection for fantasy players. Triplett has ridden four straight bulls and is averaging 86.95 points for his last five qualified rides.

Triplett has drawn Easy Money (0-1, BFTS) in Round 1 and Shaft (6-0, BFTS) in Round 2. Shaft bucked off Triplett last year in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2.15 seconds.

Chase Outlaw highlights Tier B this weekend in St. Louis with a favorable matchup in the second round when he takes on Crystal Pistol (3-4, BFTS) for the second time in his career. Outlaw previously rode the bovine athlete for 88.25 points last year in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Outlaw faces Kicking MS, who has never competed on the BFTS, in the first round on Friday night.

Fabiano Vieira heads to St. Louis coming off a solid second-place finish in Anaheim, California. Vieira has ridden 7-of-11 in the past three events and is slated to face Escape Artist (0-3, BFTS) in the first round. Two of the three rides aboard Escape Artist have been scored 85 points or higher.

Vieira then will try to make the 8-second mark aboard Jared Allen’s H4WWThumbs Up (5-5, BFTS) in the second round.

Cody Nance has drawn two tough matchups in St. Louis, which doesn’t bode well for the rider currently dealing with a broken forearm and a streak of seven consecutive buckoffs.

Nance faces Clementine (4-0, BFTS) in the first round and has his fourth matchup against Raven Flyer (19-1, BFTS), who is undefeated against Nance, in the second round. Clementine also bucked off Nance in Baltimore in 3.61 seconds.

Sean Willingham provides a quality punch in Tier C and has quietly gone 5-for-10 in the last three events. Willingham is also averaging 86.25 points per ride during that span. He takes on Open Season (5-1, BFTS) in the first round and will meet Sundance in Round 2.

Joao Ricardo Vieira is another good option in Tier C and he gets a great rematch against Kraken (0-1, BFTS) in Round 1. He previously rode the bull for 87.75 points three weeks ago in Oklahoma City.

Vieira then takes on Tahonta’s Magic (7-3) in the second round. Tanner Byrne rode Tahonta’s Magic for 87.25 points in New York this season.

St. Louis will feature a variety of bull power. Stanley FatMax (49-3, BFTS) brings a 22-consecutive BFTS buckoff streak into St. Louis and takes on Mauney in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, while Walk Off is back once again this season and takes on Cates. FatMax is averaging 45.11 points per out and Walk Off is averaging 44.18 points per out and is 7-0 in 2015.

Other bulls to keep an eye on include Crack The Whip (43.63 points per out in 2015), Cooper Tires Brown Sugar (44.5 points per out in 2015), Who Dey (44.38 points per out in 2015) and Mississippi Hippy (45 points per out in 2015).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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