Week 16 NFL Survivor Friday Update: Much Ado About Nothing

Well, it’s December 21st, and there have been no signs of an alpacalypse (though it may feel differently if your $200K Survivor prize pool was just seized by the feds). That means you still need to make a Survivor pick this week.

There have been quite a few shifts in the money lines and win odds since Wednesday. If, like us, you’ve still got one last trump card that you’re using this week, then those changes probably won’t make a big difference to you.

On the other hand, if you’re dipping into the Tier 2 pot, you’ll probably want to pay close attention.

What Has Changed Since Wednesday?

Three of the four Tier 1 teams saw minor increases in their apparent safety, with their money lines or TR odds creeping up by around 1%. This didn’t shift the order around at all, but here are the details:

Green Bay Packers — Money line from -630 to -661; TR odds from 83% to 84%.

Denver Broncos — Money line from -750 to -846.

Houston Texans — Money line from -350 to -389.

Some of the other changes have actually resulted in teams sliding around in Tier 2:

Washington Redskins — Their money line is up from -255 to -285, their spread is up from -5.5 to -6.5, and their TR odds are up from 70% to 72%. In most weeks, they’d have a chance to jump up to Tier 1, but because there are so many good options this week, they remain at the top of Tier 2.

Indianapolis Colts — The consensus spread (-6.5 to -7) and TR odds (69% to 72%) for the Colts have both moved up, making them seem a bit safer. This has been partially counteracted by a slight increase in their popularity (17.7% to 19%). Overall, Indianapolis looks slightly more attractive this morning.

Miami Dolphins — The Miami money line is up from -202 to -225, and their spread is up from -4 to -5. Their popularity is down from 2% to 1% (not important, really). Their safer profile helps them leapfrog three teams and move into the second spot in Tier 2, behind Washington.

Carolina Panthers — The Panthers look a little bit more popular than they did Wednesday. More importantly, all the small increases in win odds for other teams have made Carolina look relatively riskier. There is now even less of a chance that any opponents will be eliminated by an upset of Green Bay, Denver, or Indianapolis, so avoiding Carolina is now slightly more important. As a result, the Panthers fall a couple spots in our preference list.

Pittsburgh Steelers — The Steelers look a bit riskier now, as their money line (-195 to -173), spread (-4 to -3.5), and TR odds (65% to 64%) have all dropped. Pittsburgh remains in Tier 2, but drops below Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

Week 16 NFL Survivor Decision Factors (Updated)

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? (We’ve changed this section a bit since there is only one week left. We’re now listing an estimate for Week 17 Win% based on averaging several sources (our Survivor Tool, our NFL season projections, and projected spreads from SurvivorGrid.com), along with a column that indicates whether next week’s game actually Matters for each team. In some cases, the results of this week will determine whether next week matters, so we added our best guess, along with a question mark.)

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 %Wk17 Win%Matters
Tier 1: Top Options
Green Bayvs Tennessee-12.5-661 / +54283%5.2%59%yes?
New Englandat Jacksonville-14.5-900 / +70483%10.8%85%yes?
Denvervs Cleveland-13.0-846 / +66987%9.2%95%yes?
Houstonvs Minnesota-8.0-389 / +33777%0.6%62%no?
Tier 2: Worth A Look
Washingtonat Philadelphia-6.5-285 / +25272%3.8%61%YES
Miamivs Buffalo-5.0-225 / +20166%1.0%15%no?
Indianapolisat Kansas City-7.0-283 / +25072%19.0%38%no?
Chicagoat Arizona-5.5-235 / +21066%2.1%54%YES
Carolinavs Oakland-8.5-373 / +32477%44.8%34%NO
Tampa Bayvs St Louis-3.0-155 / +14062%1.1%24%NO
Atlantaat Detroit-3.5-195 / +17563%0.8%76%no?
Pittsburghvs Cincinnati-3.5-173 / +15664%0.7%69%yes?
Tier 3: AVOID
Dallasvs New Orleans-2.5-136 / +12354%0.0%39%YES
NY Jetsvs San Diego-2.5-140 / +12753%0.2%49%NO
at BaltimoreNY Giants+2.5+120 / -13251%0.0%43%yes?
San Franciscoat Seattle-1.0-119 / -10150%0.0%87%no?
vs San DiegoNY Jets+2.5+127 / -14047%0.1%73%NO
vs New OrleansDallas+2.5+123 / -13646%0.1%66%NO
NY Giantsat Baltimore-2.5-132 / +12049%0.1%82%YES

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), Atlanta Falcons (WIN), New England Patriots (WIN), Detroit Lions (LOSS), Pittsburgh Steelers (LOSS), New Orleans Saints (WIN)

Official Week 16 NFL Survivor Pick: Denver Broncos over Cleveland Browns

Because not much has changed, our official Week 16 NFL Survivor pick remains the Denver Broncos. For our reasoning, check out our Wednesday Week 16 NFL Survivor post from earlier this week.

Advice For Other Pool Sizes

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.

At this point, with only one week left, you have to assume your pool will last the rest of the season, so there’s very little difference in strategy between large and small pools.

The main thing to keep in mind in smaller pools is that the public pick percentages we listed in the table probably won’t hold once you’re down under 20 people or so. In addition, your pick makes up a sizeable chunk of the pick rate, so it’s tough to pick a truly unpopular team.

Pools With 3-8 People – In very small pools this week, the least popular out of the Packers, Patriots, or Broncos is probably your best option. If you’ve got none of the above available, then working your way down from safest to riskiest (by money line) and taking the first unpopular team (only 1 or 0 people picking them) may work.

Head-to-Head Pools – The pick percentages heads up 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 season will be over next week. In these cases, safety becomes the number one priority. So in head-to-head pools, we generally recommend taking the biggest favorite you have available, with future value only playing a role when there are multiple good options. This week, there are indeed multiple good options. Green Bay is the best pick out of the safest three teams because of their lack of future value.  After the Packers, we’d suggest the Patriots or the Broncos. If you don’t have any of the three available, follow our 3-8 Person advice and work your way down from safest to riskiest, picking the first team you have available, and making only minor adjustments for Week 17 value.

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 OfficeFootballPool.com pool.