The Bay Area Roto (fantasy) League #BARF: Year 3

Every year I put together a live draft at the best sports bar in San Francisco called The Wreck Room. It is a fantastic collection of industry professionals and regular Joe’s that compete in a league called BARF or the Bay Area Roto fantasy League. It is a day of drinking, laughs, but most importantly drafting.

This year had a dark cloud over the draft as everyone was a bit depressed by the fact they had been dominated the previous season.

That is right! After a fantastic draft last year and a great working of the FAAB system, I prevailed, virtually going wire-to-wire at the top of the standings. Let’s just say the league was none too pleased by the outcome.



The draft order was done a few weeks ahead of time by random draw and included 13 participants this year.

  1. Howard Bender, Fantasy Alarm/Sirius XM
  2. Angry Mike
  3. Joe Green
  4. Justin Mason, Rotographs/Friends with Fantasy Benefits/Fantasy Alarm
  5. Doug Thorburn, The Baseballholics Anonymous Podcast
  6. Tod Alsman, The Wreck Room
  7. Greg Smith, Two QBs
  8. Danny Zarchy, Giants Pod
  9. Sammy Reid, The Baseballholics Anonymous Podcast/Rotogrinders
  10. Lawr Michaels, CreativeSports2.0
  11. Bubba Entrekin, TheSportsDegens
  12. Ray Flowers, GuruElite/Sirius XM
  13. Khang Do


This year we moved the league over to Fantrax for a multitude of reasons, but it also allowed us to have a live draft board for those paying attention on social media. We also took shots early on in the day which is how I maintain my advantage (mine is water.)

Also, this draft had been traditionally done in February, but Sammy Reid got married earlier this year, so we decided to move the draft closer to opening day.

The Format

Traditional roster positions with five bench spots. 5 x 5 roto with OBP and QS instead of Avg and Wins. 20 game positional eligibility.

My Strategy

After drawing the first pick, I figured I would land either Trea Turner or Nolan Arenado. After that I hoped that one of the premier first basemen would fall to me. If they didn’t, I was sure there would still be an elite hitter there available for me in the second round. I knew since I would not be taking a pitcher in the first round, I would not be addressing pitching until the fourth or fifth rounds as I am lower on the second tier of pitching than most. This being my last draft of the year, I also wanted to try and get a share of players I had not previously drafted this season.

The Draft

1.4- Nolan Arenado: I assumed that the draft would start Mike Trout, Jose Altuve and then either Arenado or Trea Turner. I was a bit surprised when Clayton Kershaw came off the board at pick 3 leaving me with a dilemma at pick four. I went with Arenado because I had zero share s coming into this draft and a bunch of Turner shares. You can’t really go wrong with 40 homers, 100 run and 130 RBIs.

2.23- Gary Sanchez: I just missed out on Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman, but settled for Sanchez over Jose Ramirez. In a two-catcher league the replacement level catchers can be a negative to your overall team and Sanchez is just head and shoulder above the majority of the players at the position. I have him as a top 20 player in a two-catcher league.

3.30- Dee Gordon: With taking two power bats in my first three picks, I didn’t want to be left behind on speed. He may not be as valuable in an OBP league, but speed kills and Gordon has stolen at least 58 bases in three of his last four seasons, the outlier being the season he was suspended for 80 games.

4.49- Kenley Jansen: I knew I would take a pitcher here, but with Lawr Michaels snagging both of my top targets in Luis Severino and Robbie Ray and knowing that two of the players in between my fourth and fifth round picks had taken a starter in the second round, I gambleed that one of Carlos Martinez, Zack Greinke, and Aaron Nola would make it back to me. In Jansen I get the best and safest closer in the game and can afford to wait a bit on the rest of my closers.

5.56- Carlos Martinez: My gambled paid off. Joe Green took both Greinke and Nola, but C-Mart dropped to me. Martinez is one of those safe and unsexy picks that no one ohhhhs over in the draft, but he is a fine start to the rotation. In a time in which pitchers drop like flies, I’ll take the guy that starts 30+ every year with strikeouts and nice ratios.

6.75- Billy Hamilton: People were shocked by this pick and I get why. I didn’t need Hamilton considering I already had Dee Gordon, but the value was too great to pass up and I can easily trade one in season to makeup for any other deficiencies or injuries that pop up.

7.82- Miguel Sano: With the news that Sano would not be suspended for an alleged sexual assault, his value skyrockets and the fact that this is an OBP league makes him a very safe power source even if the average regresses. I was actually surprised he lasted as long as he did.

8.101- Daniel Murphy: I was hoping to land another starter here, but a huge pitching run happened right in front of me and instead of grabbing a guy I didn’t like I pivoted to boost my OBP that I had neglected with a couple of my picks. Murphy will start the year on the DL, but appears to be getting closer to playing and has had OBPs on .390 and .384 in his two seasons with the Nationals.

9.108- Trevor Story: Story is going to hit for power and swipe some bags, but the average can be a killer. I am banking some variance in the average and Coors helping the OPB stay at a reasonable level.

10.127- Alex Wood: I continue to be the high man on Alex Wood, but I love the skills. With more innings built up after last season, I expect that the second half fade won’t be as severe, but even if he doe fade, he is so good when he is on that the upside is tremendous.

11.134 & 12.153- Ian Desmond and Bradley Zimmer: I was a bit worried about my first base situation, so I snagged Desmond as a fall back option in case I didn’t like the options later. Love the 20/20 upside with the average being boosted in Coors. Zimmer is a flag player of mine that I love especially in OBP formats where the potentially dreadful average is softened by his ability to take a walk. He had numerous double digit walk rates through his minor league stops and I would expect that to happen in his first MLB season. He also is a legit 15/35 guy as long as the playing time is there.

13.160 & 14.179- Garrett Richards and Michael Fulmer: The combination of these two gives me some strikeout upside (Richards) combined with some ratio and innings help (Fulmer.) There is a lot of risk to my staff already, but in a 13 team league, I’ll be aggressive on the wire.

15.186- Mark Melancon: Melancon was a top 5-7 closer coming into last season, but struggled with injury all year. A 100 pick+ discount is worth the gamble.

16.205- Mike Moustakas: Not a strong OBP guy, but no reason for him to slip outside of the top 200.

17.212- Chris Davis: Davis is one of those gross picks that looks better in an OBP league. He often has an OBP .100 points higher than his average and if I can get some variance in the average this year, he could be a .340-.350 OBP guy with 30+ homers.

18.231- Dominic Leone: Leone is likely to be the closer for St. Louis to start the year with Luke Gregerson starting on the DL. He has fantastic stuff and could easily grab the role and run with it. Either way, he is worth owning just for the elite strike outs and ratios.

19.238- Mitch Haniger: Haniger is one of those guys that could be a monster if he just stayed healthy. I don’t know if this is the year, but he is healthy right now, so at 238, he is worth the gamble.

20.257 – Sean Manaea: I believe in the talent, but he has to stay healthy. This late he is worth the gamble.

21.264- Jimmy Nelson: This league has five DL spots, so I should be able to stash a couple of guys for the stretch run. I love Nelson and as long as he comes back healthy, it’ll be worth the wait.

22.283- Stephen Piscotty: Piscotty dealt with off the field issues last year that obviously impacted him on the field. Being traded to Oakland brings him closer to his ailing mother and I believe we will see a big rebound.

23.290 & 24.309- Scott Kingery and Tim Beckham: The Kingery pick looks a lot better now that Kingery has signed a long term deal and is on the opening day roster. I love him as a power/speed threat that could gain eligibility at 3B and the OF.

25.316 & 26.335- Zach Britton and Brad Boxberger: Save specs.

27.342- Dustin Fowler: Fowler is a great prospect and could make the Opening Day roster. I may end up dropping him, but I love the upside.

28.361- Tucker Barnhart: I noticed in the 26th round that all the other teams had filled both catcher spots, so I was able to wait on my guy until the end of the draft. Barnhart isn’t going to win me the league, but he will also not be a negative like many other catchers that were drafted.

I don’t feel particularly fantastic coming out of this draft, but I said the same thing last year. As always, a league of this depth takes a lot of in season management, so I hope to make up any deficiencies there.

We hoped you liked reading The Bay Area Roto (fantasy) League #BARF: Year 3 by Justin Mason!

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Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as random topics that float into his juvenile brain. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for, owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and a fantasy football and baseball writer for Fantasy Alarm. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

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Looks like a fun day. As an owner of Sano, Fulmer, Haniger, Moustakas, and Richards in my AL-Only pool, I heartily hope your squad is successful. Good luck!