Week 16 NFL Survivor Friday Update: Much Ado About Nothing

posted in NFL, NFL Survivor Pools

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.

  • Greg

    4 teams left. I have 0 strikes. 3 teams have 2 strikes each. I can pick from this group: New England, Washington, Carolina, and Indianapolis. 1 team can pick from this group: New England and Carolina The other 2 teams can pick from Washington, Carolina, and Indianapolis (and these 2 teams usually pick the most popular pick which will be CAR or IND). What to do? I would like to save New England for next week if possible.

    It sounds like Washington has moved up and Carolina has moved down in the list. So if 2 teams pick CAR and the 3rd team picks NWE — should I pick NWE, WAS, IND or CAR? I would guess WAS by the sound of it.

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

    With a 2 strike lead, picking the same team as your opponents is a good thing, as you either survive with a win (good), or your opponents are eliminated while you maintain a lead with a loss (also good). So I would definitely go CAR here, as they seem likely yo be the most popular team, and they let you save NE.

  • DJ Eagan

    We are the only team (16 left out of 635) with Denver left, we can’t decide if we go with the masses this week and take Carolina and use Denver next week or do we use Denver this week and roll with the NYG or Pitt next week.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shawn.macdonell Shawn MacDonell

    We have to pick 2 games this weekend – we are concerned that saving some teams wil hurt us next week if they sit key players. We stil have Pit, Carolina, Denver and N. England left. Should we put down the gauntlet wirth NE and Den or split those teams and use Carolina as one of our picks. We were thinking Denver and Carolina. Thoughts? We are 1 of 24 left in a pool of 450.

  • Ron

    My pool has not yet been shut down by the Feds, so I could use some input. There are 7 people remaining. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the others picks will be. The 6 other people will be split between CAR, IND and WAS and I’d say that will be the likely order of most popular to least. Very little shot of any other team being taken by any of them. I am the only person with NE still available. I’m struggling with whether or not to save them.

    If everyone were to advance this week, the other people would break down as follows for week 17 picks, 1 SF, 3 NYG, 2 SEA (I’m fairly certain of these but possibly 1 PIT in place of SEA). And if I use NE in wk 16, I’d have NYG, PIT & TEN basically as my options for wk 17.

    So what it boils down to is do I burn NE this week and hope for upsets or do I try to take the likely least popular of CAR, IND, WAS (probably WAS in my pool)? And then save NE for wk 17.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hambone09 TJ Hannon

    With 4 left should I start hedging my bet and taking the moneyline of the team opp. of my pick….Ie taking Oakland just ib case Car loses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hambone09 TJ Hannon

    I’m already looking ahead to week 17. If all 4 of us survive 2 on Colts 2 on Panthers. According to the win % now for week 17 here is what they have to choose from.

    Player 1: Ten/SD/WAS/BUF

    Player 2: TEN/CIN/CHI/WAS

    Player 3: TEN/SD/WAS/NO

    Player 4: NYG/TEN/SD/WAS

    I am player 4 assuming we all survive my play is def the Giants right.

  • George

    Hi David and thanks for last few weeks of advice, but now here comes the problem. We have 15 people left and not knowing what they picked until game time or all picks have been made makes it more difficult. I have 3 top picks left but they are in a dangerous position. That said they are Cincy, Washington, and the Giants and then the bottom of the pack, Tenn, SD,Miami etc. Who do you take? It dosn’t matter that we spilt the pot as long as we get a piece. I need your help.

  • http://www.kizi4.info/ kizi4

    We always find interesting things in the share and full of useful information of the topic.thank you for sharing it.

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

    If you don’t care about how bug of a chunk you get, then all that matters this week is win odds. (Future value is irrelevant, obviously.) At this point I’d go NYG. Our models have SD as slightly safer, but there are no consensus money lines out for that game, so I’d be hesitant to choose the Chargers.

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

    Yeah, I think so. Safest option, plus no opponents can pick them.

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

    As I’m sure many of you guessed … since there are no games until Sunday in Week 17, we skipped the Wednesday post, and will only be posting a Friday Survivor column in Week 17. See you tomorrow!

  • Dustin

    Hey Dave,
    I’m in a pool, single elimination, with 10 ppl left. I can pick NY Giants, SD Chargers, NO Saints, Buffalo Bills, or Tenn Titans. All picks reset for Playoffs. We have to have our pick in by Tonight, thursday. Only one person has SF and one has SEA. 4 will pick SD, 2 NY Giants, 1 SF, 1 SEA, and 1 NO. who do you think is my best option??

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

    Given your projected pick distribution, tough call between NYG and TEN right now. If there’s any chance only one person ends up on NYG, I’d definitely go NYG. And overall, I lean NYG.

  • George

    Thanks for getting back so soon David. The season ends on Sunday and I’m sorry it’s over because I really injoyed your way of thinking and your advice which did help us a great deal, thanks and good luck for next year.

  • http://twitter.com/seangdula Sean Gdula

    Dave don’t leave me hanging! I’ve been following all year and I have 20 people left before the playoffs and picks reset and I have to beat the spread etc. But, could you throw out your top tier early in the comments? I have to pick by noon. I have NYG and NO left. Other than that, it’s slim pickings. Buffalo or Washington perhaps? But, those are my real options. So, I guess it comes down to NYG or NO. Your thoughts? Thanks for all the help this year!

  • StevenB

    I’m in a similar situation to Dustin, with the same 5 teams as my choices. My pool has 25 left. There will be 1 TEN, 1 DEN, 1 NE, and 2 SEA (none on SF or HOU). Of the other 19 (not counting me), only 4 have the NYG left. 7 have SD left. and just about everyone’s got NO, TEN and BUF left. This pool has followed the popularity numbers that you’ve posted (from yahoo or officefootballpool) for most of the season, with some variance, so I’d expect it to be close, but I don’t really know. Yahoo’s got NO at 18%, NYG at 17%, SD at 7%, TEN at 6% and BUF at 1%. The pool is based in NY, so maybe the 4 that have NYG will go with them, which would be in keeping with the Yahoo popularity numbers. I have a feeling that maybe 4 or 5 will go with SD. And 4 or 5 on NO. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Ron Burgundy

    Where is week 17????

  • Anthony

    Yea, these work office pools have to be in soon. Posting on Friday is troublesome.

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

    Hey, didn’t see this until now. Hopefully you went with the safer team (NYG). Here’s this week’s column: http://www.teamrankings.com/blog/nfl/week-17-nfl-survivor-strategy-use-it-or-lose-it

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

    Hey, in case it’s not too late: http://www.teamrankings.com/blog/nfl/week-17-nfl-survivor-strategy-use-it-or-lose-it

    Pretty straightforward week, since there was no future value to consider, and no huge public favorites, so hopefully you didn’t have any trouble on your own, if it came to that.

  • http://www.friv3.co/ friv 3

    Very detailed and specific information.

  • http://www.kizi800.com/ kizi

    Come on my team NY Jets . We can do better

  • http://www.yepi-yepi.com/ Yepi Friv

    Your considerations is so good. I have picked up some matchs and that results are so…

  • http://www.kizi800.com/ kizi

    We have to pick 2 games this weekend – we are concerned that saving some
    teams wil hurt us next week if they sit key players. We stil have Pit,
    Carolina, Denver and N. England left.