Week 10 NFL Survivor Friday Update: Should We Stick With The Ravens?

posted in NFL, NFL Survivor Pools

This week’s Thursday game had very little impact on most Survivor pools. Indianapolis was one of the smaller favorites of the week, and were only picked by a few percent of the public. While it would have been nice to have those few percent knocked out, in the big picture the result made very little difference.

Given Thursday’s unattractive choices, many of you have probably delayed making your Survivor decision until now. Let’s get to work.

Here’s a look at the updated Survivor data table. As a reminder, this helps us answer the three main questions we ask ourselves about each team when making our Survivor pick.

1. How likely are they to win? (consensus sportsbook Spread at -110 payout odds, Pinnacle Money Line, and TR Odds from our NFL win picks page)

2. How popular is this team? (Average public Pick % from sites like Yahoo! and OfficeFootballPool)

3. Should I save this team for later? (Future Value: a quick rating created by giving 1 point for a future game with 75%+ win odds and half a point for a game with 65%+ win odds, with only partial credit for games late in the season when teams may be resting players; Near Value: a modified version of Future Value that places more emphasis on near term value and is more relevant to players in very small pools. Both are based on averaging projections from our NFL Survivor Tool [which uses data from only this season] and our NFL Season Projections [which incorporates our preseason team projections].)

Week 10 NFL Survivor Decision Factors (Updated)

Teams are listed in order of how attractive we think they are as a choice this week. They’re also separated into rough tiers. If two teams are in the same tier, you may want to choose among them based on which pros and cons are more important to your particular situation.

TeamOpponentSpreadMoney LineTR OddsPick %Future ValNear Val
Tier 1: Top Options
San Franciscovs St Louis-11.0-560 / +46882%13.8%1.81.8
Baltimorevs Oakland-7.5-325 / +28579%7.1%0.00.0
New Englandvs Buffalo-11.0-550 / +46176%8.6%3.94.9
Tier 2: Worth A Look
Seattlevs NY Jets-6.0-260 / +23171%4.1%1.00.8
Miamivs Tennessee-6.0-250 / +22268%2.0%1.51.4
NY Giantsat Cincinnati-3.5-185 / +16660%0.9%0.90.7
Pittsburghvs Kansas City-11.5-525 / +44279%56.8%2.02.1
Tampa Bayvs San Diego-3.0-164 / +14859%0.3%0.50.4
Denverat Carolina-4.0-200 / +18067%1.7%4.55.8
Detroitat Minnesota-2.0-133 / +11354%0.1%0.30.3
Dallasat Philadelphia-2.0-128 / +11654%0.1%0.81.0
Atlantaat New Orleans-2.5-131 / +11952%0.1%1.72.5
Chicagovs Houston-1.5-121 / +11054%0.1%2.32.9

Teams We Already Picked: Houston Texans (WIN), Cincinnati Bengals (WIN), Dallas Cowboys (WIN), Green Bay Packers (WIN), San Francisco 49ers (WIN), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WIN), Minnesota Vikings (WIN), Chicago Bears (WIN), Seattle Seahawks (WIN)

What Has Changed Since Wednesday?

Whole lotta nothin’, that’s what.

Here’s the full list of even remotely relevant shifts

  • The San Francisco and Pittsburgh money lines have roughly flipped — the 49ers are the biggest Vegas favorite now, and the Steelers are third. But that’s a negligible difference, and it doesn’t change any of our Wednesday judgments. Pittsburgh is still way too popular to pick in normal pools, and the 49ers are still very attractive.
  • The public pick percentage for Pittsburgh is down a few points, but they are still absurdly popular, at 57%.
  • The money line for Denver rose from -184 to -200, and their TR Odds went up by a couple percent. However, it still doesn’t make much sense to pick the Broncos given their huge future value.
  • The TR Odds for New York are down from 62% to 60%. We thought about knocking them down to Tier 3, because the gap between the Giants and the other sub-200 money line favorites has shrunk. But they do still look like the best of that bunch, so we’re leaving them in Tier 2.

That’s it. No important changes. I bet you can guess whether we’ve flipped our pick, then…

Official Week 10 NFL Survivor Pick: Baltimore Ravens over Oakland Raiders

For a longer discussion of why the Ravens are our official pick, we’ll refer you to Wednesday’s Week 10 NFL Survivor preliminary strategy post. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

  • Pittsburgh is way too popular. AVOID in medium and large pools.
  • New England has too much future value, so save them.
  • San Francisco is actually a decent pick, but we’ve used them.
  • The next biggest favorite is Baltimore. They are still fairly safe, are only being picked by 7% of the public, and have zero future value. Sounds good.

The Baltimore Ravens are our official Week 10 NFL Survivor pick.

Advice For Other Pool Sizes

Remember, all the discussion above is designed for large pools, where future value is still very important. Many of you are probably in pools with only a few people left. It’s important to remember that in small pools, the correct strategy can change considerably. Here’s a refresher on key three points about Survivor end-game tactics:

  • It’s less likely that your opponents’ picks will closely mimic the national public picking averages.
  • Future value means less.
  • Resist the urge to play overly conservative just because you’re close to winning.

For an expanded discussion on these points, see the Week 4 NFL Survivor post.

Here is our Week 10 small-pool advice. Nothing has changed since Wednesday:

Pools With 10-20 People — Future value is less important here, so the 49ers look like the clear best choice, and the Patriots are neck and neck with the Ravens. Though if one of these teams (or Pittsburgh) looks like they’ll be far less popular than the others, we’d opt for them.

Pools With 3-10 People — If you’re in a very small pool, where you can take some rough guesses about who your opponents will choose, all bets are off. Our picks are made based on the assumption that these public pick percentages roughly match the pick rates in your pool, and that won’t be true for your poolIn very small pools this week, it’s tough to lay out a one size fits all strategy. If your whole pool is split evenly between the three biggest favorites (SF, NE, PIT), it might be wise to take Baltimore. But if it looks like one of those safest three will be far less popular than the other two, they are likely the best pick.

Head-to-Head Pools— This is a very interesting week for head-to-head pools. Generally, we recommend taking the safest team. But there are three equally large favorites this week (SF, NE, PIT). Without knowing anything else about your particular situation, out of those three we’d suggest either Pittsburgh or San Francisco, due to their lower future value.

However, there’s another consideration: which teams your opponent has left. If he looks like he may have the upper hand in future weeks because he has better teams left, it’s probably wise to try to pick a different team than him this week. You’d be hoping to avoid playing out those future weeks by winning or losing the pool right now, with roughly equal chances of either happening (though the most likely result is still that you both survive). On the other hand, if you have the upper hand in the future, you should try to pick the same team as him, so he doesn’t get the chance to win now, and must fight against the odds later.

As always, feel free to ask questions about your specific situation in the comments section. If you’re in a small pool, be sure to include information about pool size, who you have available, and who you think your opponents will choose, as those are the key factors in small pools. If you’re in a large pool, please include info on why you think your pool is different than the generic Yahoo! and OFP pools.

  • Lin

    i can’t take SF or Balt and you sd that NE has a lot of future value, so should i take Seatlle?

  • lin

    8 people left in my pool.

  • rainman501

    I am in a pool with 4 teams left. all 4 teams have PIT available. 3 of the 4 teams have SF available including me. I am the only one that has NE available. I am also the only team that has HOU available next week against JAX and NE next week against IND if I don’t use NE this week. What would you suggest I do for this week?

  • AC

    I’ve got 39 people left in my pool — already used SF, Baltimore and New England. I contemplated Indy but I didn’t want to take a road team.

    Would you go Seahawks or Dolphins? Absolutely torn, especially with Locker back.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    With only 8 left, I’d probably go NE since the pool may not last til the end (making future value less important). But SEA is not bad either.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Hmm, tough. It would be nice to preserve NE for next week and HOU for Week 13. Usually I would try to avoid SF or PIT and root for the upset, but when you have clearly superior future value it may be OK to go with the crowd. Do you have an idea what teams people will pick? I don’t mean looking at who they have left, I mean actually looking at each player and predicting. If it looks like you’d be only the 2nd on SF, and the other 2 will be on PIT, I’d say go for SF. If you’d be the 3rd, I’d prefer NE.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Here’s a hint: “Teams are listed in order of how attractive we think they are as a choice this week.”


    But seriously, I’d wait as late as possible to see if there are any line changes. Assuming nothing major shifts, I’d go SEA.

  • AC

    Duh — I use this as a guideline but sometimes my gut makes me switch (i.e.; I took Baltimore last week coming off the bye.). Thanks for the help all year!

  • rainman501

    My best guess right now is that at least 2 people will take PIT and the other will take SF. So if I take SF, it would probably be 2 picks PIT and 2 picks SF. You like NE in wk 10 and Hou in wk 13 more so than HOU in wk 10 and NE in wk 13?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Oh, yeah, you are right. HOU in 11, NE in 13 is probably slightly better than the reverse. Either way, nice to save NE.

  • Picker12

    There are 3 people left in my pool. I have chosen all the official picks except for Minnesota (I chose New England). One of the people left is definitely choosing Pittsburgh. The other person is likely to choose Pittsburgh (already chose San Francisco and New England). Is the right pick for me to choose Baltimore?

  • greg w

    Just thought I’d share, heads up in a pool and we both picked PIT, but in my 9 person pool (down from 115) all 8 went PIT, I locked in with BAL, exactly why I read this site. Let’s go KC!!! Thanks for the advice as always!

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Sounds like it, yeah.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Wow, awesome spot in that 9-person pool. Go KC is right!

  • Mike S.

    Four left in a pool of 50. Out of the four, only one can pick SF, one BAL, two NE (one being me). No one has used PIT. I have used SF & BAL-still have PIT, NE, DE, ATL, NYG, SEA (no one has picked SEA yet). Is NE the best pick for me, or should I consider SEA? Thanks!

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    FYI it’s much easier for me to think things through if you post who each specific player can pick, rather than how many have picked each team. Just for future reference.

    If the person who can pick NE can also pick other reasonable teams, then I think NE is the way t go, and hope you’re the only one on them. If the NE person seems very likely to pick them, then … ooh, SEA I guess is correct. Though unless you are fairly certain that person will pick NE, I think I’d go conservative with NE.

  • Chris

    If you think the only guy with SF will pick them, and the only guy with BAL will pick them, why not go with PIT?

    In a sense its heads-up vs the other guy, so may as well go with the best. The NE also has more future value than Pit.

    If you think one of the first two will pick Pit, maybe look elsewhere.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Yeah, this makes sense … except that there is not actually enough info in the original comment to know whether the 1 SF and 1 BAL are different guys, or whether they have other good options. If the 1 BAL also can pick PIT … he may do so. Would be good to know actual possibilities for each person.

    Appreciate you chiming in when you have an opinion, here. It’s good to know when we agree on something, as you seem pretty smart about this stuff.

  • Elsner

    very large pool, you can lose twice (that also includes playoff picks). Unscathed so far. BAL, SF or MIA? Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/gunz4sale Ray P

    Im guessing everyone in my league is going to ride Pitt. What are the odds KC pulls a stunner?

  • Robert Ebin

    Hi David,

    Still 7 left in my pool. 5 are definitely taking pitt as they dont have bal, ne, sf….one guy playing like me and saving teams. Not sure if he’ll go pats or bal…..i have both pats and bal….which direction to go? Thanks in advance…

  • John F.

    Hey, David,

    Down to 137 from 1,800. I have two of those entries. I can use BAL with both entries, but have been splitting my 2 entries since being down to 2. I can either usr NE or SEA as the other. Roll the dice with both on BAL, saving NE for that one? Or spread the risk?

  • ML

    – Great stuff. Thanks as always. 11 people left in our “3 strikes and
    you’re out” pool. 5 (myself included) have one strike. I have NE, Balt and
    Pitt still available. Of the other 4, only 1 has NE and only 1 has Balt. 3 of
    the 4 have Pitt and 3 of the 4 have SF and I feel pretty strongly that those
    other 4 will go with either Pitt or SF. Should I take NE as “best
    available” or save and go with Balt? In your ‘Pools With 3-10’ advice you
    write, “if it looks like one of those safest three will be far less
    popular than the other two, they are likely the best pick.” In my case,
    I’m pretty sure NE will be far less popular than either Pitt or SF. So NE over

  • Jim

    I’ve noticed a lot of people from my pool asking you for advice. Ever run any numbers on how your picks effect how many people are on a given team from your Friday pick til Sunday kick-off? Wondering if it was enough of an influence to maybe not take a team you’ve suggested.

  • ML

    Oops, David, forgot to mention that the other 6 in my “3 strikes” pool have 2 strikes. No one has zero. Also, I know that sometimes there are subjective criteria in your overall analysis (injuries, etc.). Any danger in going with Balt or Pitt this week knowing that they play each other the following week and might not be as “interested” as they otherwise would? Thanks.

  • Jay

    Hi David,
    Still alive thx to your guidance. I have SF so I’m gonna roll that way. Good luck to all who use this blog’s info.

  • Office Pool King

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks again for another great post! Still in the final 3 spots in a single-elimination and this might be my worst chance.

    Both Opponents can pick SF or PIT. One can even pick BAL, (regional bias). The only top choice I can go after is PIT. But I also have all tier 2 teams remaining. Is the smart choice to play PIT, hope they choice SF, and play another week where I have slight future value advantage? If we all go PIT, they’d still have SF on me while I have HOU & NYG down the line.

  • CJ

    Hi David,

    I’m heads up with another player who has Pitt, SF, Sea, Den, & Mia still available. I have Pitt, NE, Sea, Mia, Den, & NYG still available. I’m confident he’ll either pick Pitt or SF this week. Is it a no brainer to pick Pitt this week regardless of who he picks, or is there a scenario where going contrarian would make sense (ie NE)? Also, given the remaining teams available to each of us, which team between Pitt & SF should I be hoping he chooses? I might be able to sway him one way or the other between those two. Thanks for all your help this year!

  • rcc22

    Chris…you know your stuff very well…
    I have SF/NE and Baltimore…
    im thinking SF and Balt.( i have 2 picks left out of60) and so far70% are going on Pitt

    whats your thoughts…

  • rcc22

    Just heard…this may affect the baltimore vs raiders game…

    Young son of defensive line coach passed away…very sad…but…have to say…teams rally behind tragedies…so…what im saying is, the raiders may win this game for there coach. I know..David goes buy stats..and numbers…but this is emotion. So this game may no be a easy one…

    David..any thoughts?
    I may look else ware now..and go with SF or Seattle/NE or Pitt?

  • Tony

    Hey Dave..11 remain in the pool & everyone still has Pittsburgh, 4 have NE, 4 have Baltimore, 5 have SF. Per your info, will not be taking Pitt but thinking of Seattle since NE has great future value. Or should i be conservative & take NE ??
    Thank you again for the great info..

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Hmm, tough. I think SF has the most potential playoff value there, so definitely not them. I guess if you are pretty sure you’ll need to win some playoff games in order to win the pool, I’d go MIA to preserve BAL.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    100% – 79% = 21% … Or, if you convert the Vegas line, they say around 17%.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    If you aren’t sure whether the other guy will take NE or BAL, I think I’d go with NE. Even if he DOES pick NE, with the recent line changes, it looks being the second person on NE is better than the first on BAL (when considering immediate value only). Obviously NE’s future value is more, but with so few people left I think I’d prioritize the immediate value.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    I think given the recent line changes, NE is looking mighty attractive as a second option there. So I’d go BAL/NE.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    I’m guessing the other 6 people have 2 strikes? If so, it may be worth examining who the other might pick. It’s good to pick the SAME team as people with more strikes than you.

    Anyway, ignoring that factor, yes, I would lean NE in your case, but it’s pretty close.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Not sure what kind of numbers we could run on that… unless you’re suggesting we’re affecting Yahoo public pick data. Which I suppose becomes more likely the later we go in the season.

    At any rate, yeah if other people in your pool are taking our advice, that would of course change things. This advice is based on leveraging the pick biases of your opponents, and we base that on public pick data. That wont match your pool, so the advice would change.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    No. The people betting the lines know the schedule. That should be factored into the line (if it really matters at all).

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Hmm, tough spot. I think in this case, the increased risk with SEA isn’t worth it. Even if BOTH opponents pick PIT, picking SEA would only give you a very slight immediate value advantage. If only one or zero pick PIT, then PIT is a much better choice than SEA. So I’d go PIT.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    You obviously want him to choose the team with more future value, so NE.

    As for your pick, the main differences between PIT and NE are A) NE has more future value, and B) picking PIT *might* mean you are on the same team as him.

    (A) is obviously a reason to pick PIT.

    The effect of (B) however, depends on your future value situation. If he seems to have better teams left than you, then you want to pick a different team than him, so you have a chance to win this week and avoid being at disadvantage later. If YOU have better teams left, you’d like to pick the same team as him, to ensure he doesn’t beat you this week (when neither of you have an advantage) and has to play later weeks.

    Based on the lists you laid out, you seem about equal in future value, so I don’t think (B) is very important in this case. So I’d go with PIT due to (A).

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Baltimore money line hasn’t changed.

    But if you read the post, you’ll see that I said SF was probably as good or better of a choice than BAL this week, so if you want to switch to SF I’d say definitely go for it.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    The drop from NE to SEA is really quite large this week. I imagine it’s as big or bigger than any future value you gain by saving NE. So I’d go with NE rather than SEA this week in your case.

  • Joe84

    Hey Dave, why do you say SF doesn’t have much future value? Seems like Wk12 @NO, Wk13 @STL, and Wk14 vs MIA, would be decent picks considering what few top teams are left…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Did I really say SF doesn’t have much future value? I definitely crank through a lot of comments, so maybe I did. But as you can see from the table in the post, I think they have less than New England, more than Baltimore, and about the same as Pittsburgh. None of those games you mentioned are gimmes, but they would be possible options, yes.

  • Frankie G.

    Go Chiefs!!!!!!!!!

  • rcc22

    Damn…SF Tied…..

  • http://twitter.com/Coco_Drila12 CocoDrila

    I’m out of the game because SF tied…. So unfair. They didn’t even give me the chance of a tie braker :(

  • rcc22

    did you want to revise that comment? lol….

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Nope, not really. San Francisco was a much bigger fave than Baltimore, so I thought they were equally as good of a pick this week (the extra safety cancelled out the future value you gave up). Obviously SF ended up not winning, but that doesn’t change the inputs into the decision making process.

    One of the things we try to be really careful about is not letting the results of a single game cloud our judgment. We try to make decisions based on large sample sizes and metrics which have proven to be reliable in the past (Vegas lines, TR Odds). Those metrics said SF had a roughly 1 in 5 shot at losing the game, so it’s not *hugely* surprising that they didn’t win. That’s pretty much the whole reason we recommend avoiding the super popular favorites as a strategy — no team is truly a *lock* to win in the NFL any given week.

  • Frank_Elways

    Wow almost nailed that one David.

  • gus

    week 11 …i have used: houston,atl,pats,dallas,packers,bears,pitt,san fran,nyg,denver…..who is left that is a viable option? tough week and even tougher for me without any good teams left…welcome any thoughts and I have to turn in by Wed @ noon…thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.silberfarb Daniel Silberfarb

    Not ideal, but you might consider Washington hosting Philly. Only 3.5-point favorites, but like you said – you don’t really have any great teams left. My calculations had put it at 9th-best overall, but still your best option.

    I’m predicting the official pick will be Atlanta.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.silberfarb Daniel Silberfarb

    Updated my program with the latest odds.

    Using the latest TeamRankings numbers, WAS v PHI is still your best bet by a comfortable margin.

    Using Vegas numbers only, NO @ OAK is your best bet, followed closely by STL v NYJ and then WAS v PHI.

  • Frankie G.

    Thanks David, we almost got lucky last night. Considering that most people have used Atlanta, I am guessing they are the pick this week? Guess I will find out tomorrow.

  • Dave

    Yea, people that picked Pit got lucky indeed last night. Chiefs almost pulled that one off. I agree, my guess is that the pick will be Atlanta this week, since most people in pools have used them already.

  • Dave

    wow, you have used every team. I would likely say New Orleans over Raiders first. Raiders have looked awful recently, and Saints look better recently. Both teams have no defense though. But even that one is somewhat iffy. Eagles do look awful, but the Redskins haven’t look that great either.

  • Dave

    And there’s always the “pick against the Chiefs” strategy (Bengals), I still think they are going 1-15 this year.

  • gus

    I was looking at Rams…or Buffalo….your thoughts?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Based on a quick look, I would say either WAS or NO. They have less future value than CIN and seem a good chunk safer that your other alternatives. NO has a slightly better Vegas line, though our models prefer WAS. And WAS looks quite a bit less popular on Yahoo right now. Tough call.

  • Frank_Elways

    All depends on Foles. He looked pretty bad, but small sample size makes Vegas line a little less predictive than normal I would think.

  • Brendan M.

    6 left out of 121, including myself. I have used Texans, Giants, Bears, Packers, 49ers, Falcons, Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks, and Ravens. Any early suggestions on what might look attractive? No one has Atlanta left, and its single elimination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.silberfarb Daniel Silberfarb

    Your best bet is DAL v CLE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.silberfarb Daniel Silberfarb

    The Buffalo game is practically a coin flip. Between the two, Rams are better pick.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Atlanta seems like the obvious choice then. Safest team available to you, nobody else can use them, not much future value.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess
  • Brendan M

    I have already used Atlanta. Leaning Saints.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Woops, misread that. Saints are good if you’ll be the only one on them. Or Dallas if you think only 1 other person will pick them (probably unlikely).