BILOXI, Miss. – J.B. Mauney looked extremely strong at the Calgary Stampede even despite a re-aggravation of his torn left ACL and fantasy players will be tempted to select the 2013 World Champion in Tier A.
Mauney, currently ranked third in the world standings, has won six Built Ford Tough Series rounds this season and continues to reward fantasy players with high scores and strong weekends when healthy.
The 28-year-old has drawn Bad Deal (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 on Friday night.
World leader Joao Ricardo Vieira will look to pick things up where he left off in May with a first-round showdown with Drunk Chicken – another bull making his BFTS debut.
No. 2 Matt Triplett went 2-for-3 at the Big Sky, Montana, BlueDEF Velocity Tour event last weekend and said his sprained riding wrist was much improved and he was ready for the second half.
He has a matchup against Lil Joe (0-0, BFTS).
Kaique Pacheco may not be the popular pick among Tier A riders, but after watching him go for 94 points on Bruiser in Guymon, Oklahoma, it is safe to wonder what the 20-year-old may be capable of accomplishing during the final eight BFTS events of the season.
The leading Rookie of the Year contender has drawn Power Trip (1-0, BFTS). Power Trip is 15-0 at various bull riding levels.
No. 5 Nathan Schaper will face I Get That (0-0, BFTS). Tyler Harr rode I Get That for 87.5 points at a Touring Pro Division event in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in April.
ALVES OFFERS GREAT VALUE IN TIER B
In Tier B, it should be a close to no-brainer about which rider should fill one of the two open spots on fantasy rosters.
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves is returning to competition for the first time following his broken left hip and it is hard to not justify giving Alves a good chance at covering at least one bull in Biloxi despite only attempting practice bulls since undergoing surgery in April.
Alves slipped into Tier B as he dropped from fourth in the world standings to eighth during his recovery.
However, Alves leads the BFTS this season in riding percentage (59.52 percent) and is a strong option in Tier B against Flip Out (1-3, BFTS). Cooper Davis and Stetson Lawrence each rode Flip Out for 86.5 points earlier this season, while Robson Aragao made the whistle on him for 83.75 points.
TIER C FEATURES SLEW OF POTENTIAL PICKS
Rookie Cooper Davis may not have won a BDVT event this summer, but he won two rounds in the final two BDVT events before Biloxi and is starting to consistently show the talent that helped him win the 2013 PRCA Rookie of the Year title.
Davis has drawn Scooter (0-2, BFTS) on Friday night. Alves rode Scooter for 71.5 points in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Sean Willingham made the 8-second whistle on him for 83.5 points in Kansas City, Missouri.
Veteran Renato Nunes has enjoyed his time away from the BFTS with four victories this summer. He won both BlueDEF Velocity Tour events in Bismarck, North Dakota, and he also took home top honors at the Amarillo and Gonzales, Texas, Touring Pro Division events.
Nunes went 4-for-4 in Bismarck and used an 86-point ride on Strong Heart and an 88-point ride on Cowtown Slinger to earn each BDVT victory.
The 2010 World Champion takes on Shilo (1-0, BFTS) in Round 1.
Other riders to keep an eye on are Kasey Hayes (92-point ride on DaNutso in Guymon, Oklahoma), Shane Proctor, who had an extremely strong summer in the PRCA to rise to fourth in that association’s bull riding standings, and Gage Gay (91-point ride on Brutus in Estes Park, Colorado).
Brady Sims has the only rematch in Round 1 after previously bucking off Cowtown Rock in 6.16 seconds at the Touring Pro Division event in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this year.
UNDER THE RADAR
This week’s sleeper pick is Emilio Resende.
Resende is set to make his 2015 BFTS season debut since undergoing multi-ligament right knee surgery following the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
The 28-year-old got on a few practice bulls at Silvano Alves’ ranch this week and nearly put together a strong ride at the Guymon, Oklahoma, BDVT event.
He has drawn Sand Man (0-0, BFTS).
CHANCE FOR PERCOLATOR TO SHINE
Most of the 2015 World Champion Bull contenders will not be in Biloxi, which means aspiring champion Percolator will take center stage at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
Percolator leads the bulls slated in Tier A with a 44.54-point bull score per BFTS out and he will highlight this weekend’s championship round.
Other bulls to keep an eye on include Walk Off (44.25 points per out), Buck Dynasty (44 points per out) Jeremiah (43.82 points per out) and I’m a Gangster Too (43.79 points per out).
Jeremiah is 10-0 in the BFTS, while I’m a Gangster Too showed a glimpse of his younger self with a 46.5-point outing in Nampa, Idaho, when he bucked off Eduardo Aparecido.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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