November 16, 2012 - by David Hess
I’m going to get a robot to start writing these Friday updates. Here are his instructions:
As hinted at above, Thursday night’s win by the Buffalo Bills was pretty meaningless from a Survivor standpoint. It knocked out a whopping 0.1% of our competitors.
On top of that, the line movement over the past couple days has been confined to lower-tier games. None of our top options were affected. Still, let’s review the relevant info once more before locking in our pick.
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].)
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.
|Team||Opponent||Spread||Money Line||TR Odds||Pick %||Future Val||Near Val|
|Tier 1: Top Options|
|Houston||vs Jacksonville||-15.0||-1200 / +865||84%||14.7%||3.3||3.2|
|Atlanta||vs Arizona||-9.5||-420 / +361||77%||10.0%||0.5||0.3|
|Tier 2: Worth A Look|
|New England||vs Indianapolis||-9.0||-400 / +346||77%||5.1%||3.4||3.4|
|Dallas||vs Cleveland||-8.0||-357 / +311||76%||38.6%||0.8||1.2|
|New Orleans||at Oakland||-4.5||-218 / +195||64%||7.0%||0.5||0.2|
|Baltimore||at Pittsburgh||-3.5||-180 / +162||68%||0.4%||0.5||0.6|
|St Louis||vs NY Jets||-3.5||-186 / +167||62%||1.3%||0.0||0.0|
|Denver||vs San Diego||-7.5||-325 / +285||74%||17.3%||4.2||4.2|
|Washington||vs Philadelphia||-3.5||-190 / +171||55%||0.7%||0.0||0.0|
|Tier 3: AVOID|
|Cincinnati||at Kansas City||-3.5||-179 / +161||62%||2.5%||0.8||1.0|
|Green Bay||at Detroit||-3.0||-155 / +140||67%||0.2%||2.3||2.3|
|Tampa Bay||at Carolina||-1.5||-113 / +102||52%||0.8%||0.8||0.6|
|San Francisco||vs Chicago||-5.0||---- / ----||40%||0.2%||1.4||1.3|
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), Baltimore Ravens (WIN)
Like last week, there haven’t been any major changes in the lines, pick percentages, or future value outlooks for the top options. However, we’ll discuss a couple small shifts:
That’s it. And, given that nothing has changed, neither has our official pick…
For a longer discussion of why the Falcons are our official pick, we’ll refer you to Wednesday’s Week 11 NFL Survivor preliminary strategy post. But the basic idea is that pretty simple. Atlanta checks off all three boxes:
For some of you, there may be a safer team available — the Houston Texans. The Texans, however, will be very valuable in future weeks, especially Week 15. So unless your pool is so small that it’s unlikely to reach Week 15, we’d recommend saving Houston for later.
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:
For an expanded discussion on these points, see the Week 4 NFL Survivor post.
Here is our Week 11 small-pool advice. Nothing has changed since Wednesday:
Pools With 9-20 People — While future value is less important here, Houston looks like such a valuable option in Week 15 that we’d still recommend saving them and using Atlanta. If you’ve got neither left, New England is the next best choice, and then Dallas, despite their popularity. After that, it’s a tough call on whether to save Denver (and take the Saints), or burn the Broncos now. Using the Saints is probably the right move, as anybody making this decision obviously doesn’t have many great options in future weeks.
Pools With 3-8 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 pool. However, in very small pools this week, Houston is generally going to be a good pick. Unless several people in your pool have all managed to save Houston until now, we’d recommend taking the super safe and super unpopular Texans, and hoping your pool is over before Week 15.
Head-to-Head Pools – Strategy totally changes here again, as the pick percentages will always be 50% or 100%. It’s impossible for you to pick an unpopular team, because you are half the pool. And future value means very little, as the pool may be over this week. In those cases, safety becomes the number one priority. So in head-to-head pools, we generally recommend taking the biggest favorite you have available, unless burning that team is going to leave you with no good options in one of the next few weeks. This week, that means you should take Houston.
However, there is a caveat here. If you don’t have Houston left, and you’re trying to decide between to teams that are roughly equally risky, you may want to consider which teams your opponent has left. If he looks like he may have the upper hand in future weeks, it’s wise to try to pick a different team than him now. You’d be hoping to win or lose this week (with equal chances of both), rather than waiting for the future (where he has the advantage). On the other hand, if you have the upper hand in the coming weeks, 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. However, please note that the volume has gotten high enough that we can’t commit to giving everyone a detailed answer. But we’ll do our best.
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 if and why you think your competitors may be picking differently than contestants in a generic Yahoo! or OfficeFootballPool.com pools.
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