Week 3 NFL Survivor Final Update: Another Photo Finish (Update: Sun AM)

posted in NFL, NFL Survivor Pools

****** Update Sunday morning 11:40am ET: Point spreads for CHI and DAL have held steady but the Chicago money line has dropped even further on Pinnacle. (It’s now DAL -390, NO -390, CHI -290, which is a big dropoff for Chicago.). That does not mean Chicago is still not the best play in some cases…in the comments, for example, one person has a pool where 2.5x as many people are picking Dallas than Chicago. In a situation like that, Chicago still grades out as #1. Outside of an extreme scenario like that, however, Dallas is the clear pick.

****** Update Friday 11pm ET: On account of the Bears line change and model prediction update after this post was published today, our top rated pick of the week is now the Dallas Cowboys. See notes below. We’re updating the official pick.

****** Update Friday 5pm ET: There has just been a (for the most part) consensus line move against the Bears over the last hour, potentially related to breaking Matt Forte news, not sure. It didn’t seem like Forte’s status would be a huge surprise, so it could just be an overreaction driven by public money, but you never know. Still, our analysis methods largely assume the betting markets are efficient, so this could change things. Our models have not updated their predictions yet, but if Chicago stabilizes at -7 -110 and nothing else changes, it makes the Cowboys the better pick across the board. But honestly, it’s so close, we may not even update our official pick. We just want to make sure our readers get the latest info. We’ll update the numbers and post once it looks like they’ve settled.  

I’ve gotta say, the last two weeks have made for some of the more exciting Survivor analysis I can remember us doing. Wednesday/Thursday shifts in numbers have conspired to leave us wanting to wait as long as we possibly can to issue a final pick. Well, here we go.

First, let’s take a look at the updated 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? (Vegas Line at -110 payout odds & 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 Val: the number of future games where the team is expected to have win odds of 75%+ from our NFL Survivor Tool, modified by some manual fudges for Week 17 and special-case weeks)

Week 3 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.

TeamOpponentLine (@ -110)TR OddsPick %Future ValNotes
Tier 1: Top Options
Chicagovs St Louis-7.578%14.4%1.5Good line move (0.5)
Dallasvs Tampa Bay-8.075%8.7%2.5Good line move (1)
Tier 2: Might Be Worth A Look
New Orleansvs Kansas City-8.076%33.2%1The crowd's pick
Tier 3: AVOID!
San Franciscoat Minnesota-6.572%20.6%4Bad line move (0.5)

Teams We Already Picked: Houston Texans (WIN), Cincinnati Bengals (WIN)

What Has Changed Since Wednesday?

Since we posted our preliminary Survivor article a couple days ago, like last week, there have been changes in information that impact our analysis.

1. Chicago is now favored by an extra half point at the sports books, which makes them look a little better this week.

Update Friday 11pm ET: No longer. This line move reversed itself Friday afternoon, and Chicago is back to -7 -110. Their model win odds dropped to 74% as well.

2. Dallas is now favored by an extra full point, and their win odds have therefore jumped a few percent. Dallas’ public pick percentage has also crept up by +1% or so, but the Cowboys remain the least popular pick of this week’s considerations.

3. San Francisco is now favored by 6.5, not 7, so their win odds have dropped.

4. Based on some comments questioning our future value calculations, we spent some extra time analyzing the season schedule and weekly available alternatives for these four teams. Some minor adjustments resulted. We gave a little more future value credit to Chicago, a little less to New Orleans, and we docked San Francisco a full win point. SF still has by far the most future value of any of these teams.

In terms of pick safety, Chicago, Dallas, and New Orleans are all extremely close. It really all depends on what source(s) you consider:

  • Money lines at Pinnacle Sports imply that New Orleans (-380) is the most likely to win this week, by a whisker over Dallas (-377). Chicago is a bit back in third (-342).
  • Our algorithmic prediction models, which blend Vegas odds information with statistical models we have developed, say Chicago (78%) is actually the most likely to win, by a whisker over New Orleans (77%), trailed very slightly by Dallas (75%)

Update Friday 11pm ET: Pinnacle money lines are now Dallas -385, New Orleans -380, Chicago -320. Decent dropoff for Chicago now. 

Given potential inefficiencies in betting lines, the possibility that higher vigorish (sports book commission) could be baked into the money lines of some teams vs. others, and margins of error involved in model calculations, it’s foolhardy to make any final decisions based on these small differences in win odds. Bottom line, it’s pretty much a dead heat in terms of pick safety between the Bears, Saints, and Cowboys.

OK. Take a deep breath, throw all these updated numbers into our analysis process and you get….

Official Week 3 NFL Survivor Pick: Chicago Bears over St. Louis Rams Dallas Cowboys over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Update Friday 11pm ET: The dropoff in win odds for Chicago even by a half point line move is enough to put Dallas on top. We’re switching the pick. This typically doesn’t happen too often this late in the week (happened once last year), but our goal is to give you the best decision based on the most up-to-date information. If you’re already locked in with Chicago, don’t sweat it, it’s still really close.

We’re sticking with da Bears, but damn was it close. Make sure you read all of the notes below before you lock in your pick. And remember that all of our analysis assumes that the picking percentages listed in the table above are a decently close representation of how your opponents in your pool will pick. If you’re all of a sudden in a small pool now after the Patriots lost last week, there’s a good chance that is not the case. Read on for some tips.

First, let’s get rid of the losers. Picking San Francisco now looks really dumb given the options. To the 20% of the world out there who picked the 49ers, we say, thank you very much.

As for New Orleans, if you think your pool’s picks will look anything like the table above, it just doesn’t make sense, given how many people are already picking them. The Saints looked like they might be the safest pick a few days ago, but they don’t anymore…their money line is almost equal to Dallas now, and our models put their win odds in between Chicago and Dallas.

So why not Dallas? Well, probably no real good reason, besides the fact that we have to pick one team for this column, and the Cowboys rank as our #2 pick by oh, about as slim a margin as you can get. Here’s a few things you need to know:

  • Dallas is the top EV (expected value) team this week. This means if you ignore or highly discount future value and only focus on picking the best risk vs. reward team in Week 3, it’s clearly the Cowboys. In big pools, future value matters a lot. In small pools that aren’t likely to last until the latest weeks of the season, it matters significantly less. If you’re in a small pool with picking percentages similar to the table in this post, pick Dallas.
  • Our Bears pick is extremely sensitive to the number of people picking the Bears. For example, I re-ran our numbers shifting 2% of the public from the Saints to the Bears (e.g. Bears picked by ~16%, Saints picked by ~31%). Just like that, the Cowboys become the best pick. If you think that, compared to our public pick percentage assumptions, your opponents may gravitate even just a little more to the Bears and less to the Saints and 49ers, pick Dallas.
  • Based on what we know of team strength through Week 2, combined with the dynamics of this year’s schedule, right now we think that Dallas has more future value than Chicago. While the Bears do have several games against weaker opponents, only a couple are at home (Carolina and Cleveland). If you think Chicago has more future value or Dallas has less future value than we are giving them, pick Dallas and save Chicago.

If you’ve got less than 15 or so people in your pool, throw all this out the window. Your pick could be Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, or even the Niners based on how other people are picking. Catch up on the comments about tiny pool strategy in this article (surely coming) and the previous one for more insight.

When the dust settles, we gear our official Survivor picks toward midsize or larger pools, and based on the Friday numbers we’re sticking with the Chicago Bears. The Dallas Cowboys look better for smaller pools. Good luck everybody.

Update Friday 11pm ET: Cowboys for all size pools as of late Friday night. As you now know, this pick is sensitive to even a small line move, since Chicago and Dallas are close. Let’s just hope things stay steady from here on out, and we can just relax and enjoy the games!

As always, feel free to ask questions about your specific situation in the comments section.

  • http://twitter.com/swamiluv Russ Aragon

    Da bears

  • Chris

    Should be your Official Week 3 pick, but I understand you’re new to this job, so typos are excusable. :-)

    Why do you make your final pick on Friday afternoon instead of Saturday night or Sunday morning?

  • R Dog

    So I’m in a small pool with 14 people left (started with 60 but NE decimated the pool). 4 people used Chicago in Week 1, one person used SF in week 2. Nobody has used New Orleans (obviously) or Dallas in previous weeks (I don’t see this week’s picks until I make my pick). (I posted before in the previous article, but I wasn’t super clear — I seemed to indicate that 4 people picked Chicago this week when in fact 4 people used Chicago in Week 1). I am debating between Dallas and Chicago — on one hand, Dallas would seem to be the less popular pick in my pool, but Chicago can’t be picked by 4 of the 14 people. Obviously I probably just have to make own estimate/calculation as to which team I think will be less popular this week in my pool, but do you have any additional tips about small pool strategy or tips for my specific situation?

  • Chris

    I’m in a similar boat but I think the answer for me in more obvious.
    In one of my pools 12 of 30 have previously picked Chicago.

    That means only 18 people can pick them. I think in that pool Chicago is a clear pick.

    My other pool has 25 left, and 6 of those have previously picked Chicago. Because I want some diversity and a greater percentage of the pool still has Chicago as an option, I chose Dallas in that one.

  • Chris


    Forgot to mention Dallas/NO/SF have never been picked by anyone.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Woopsie doopsie, good catch, thanks. Fixed it.

    A few answers to your question. First one is, we’ve found over the years that more people tend to want us to get stuff out earlier than later — we constantly get comments like “My pool requires picks in by the start of the first game!” and the like. (All these Thu games really threw a wrench into things this year.) So we try to find a balance between using the latest numbers and getting stuff out before the very last minute.

    Secondly, people can get a little grumpy and suspicious if we start doing things like changing our picks at the last second. Obviously it makes sense from a strategy standpoint — you want to make final picks based on the most up to date info available. But then if the official pick were to switch on Sunday early morning, I guarantee you we’d hear complaints about it. Part of the reason is a bunch of people wouldn’t get the update in time — they’re not subscribed to DISQUS email updates, they don’t check the site again, etc.

    If there is interest for something like this, I would consider putting together some sort of custom Survivor email list where we could blast out a very quick final notice at the last minute, to confirm or change the Friday pick. Additional analysis would be slim to none — believe it or not, David and I would prefer not to spend our weekends running Survivor analysis — but I could see the value of a final quick Sunday update/confirmation to those who wanted it. Not going to promise anything here yet, but let’s see what people think of that.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    You’re right in that it comes down to a guessing game, but some numbers for you, IF your pool holds true to overall public percentages:

    – Of the 10 people who can pick Chicago, you’d expect 1-2 people to pick them (1.44 people to be exact), and 0-1 to pick Dallas (0.87 people)

    – Of the 4 people who can’t pick Chicago, you’d expect around 10% — up from 8.5% in the case of Chicago being available — to pick Dallas (0.4 people)

    Overall, 0.87 + 0.4 = 1.27 people. So you’d expect 1-2 people, but more likely one person, to be on Dallas this week.

    As mentioned above, you’d expect 1.44 people to take Chicago. Again, that’s 1-2 people, but more likely one than two.

    As you can see, just one person not picking as we expect them to would totally throw off this math. So you making your own guesses of your pool’s pick distribution trumps anything I write here.

    If you don’t want to do that and just want the quick answer based on the national averages, I’d stick with Chicago here, since it’s likely just as few of your opponents will be picking them as Dallas.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Sounds good to me.

  • Kevin

    Does Matt Forte’s absence impact the Bears pick?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    See the note I just added. Looks like it could. You have to assume that the recent lines were pricing in the probability of Forte being out. But if the news that he is definitely out is enough to prompt an unfavorable line move, as the post says, CHI and DAL are so close that it would almost certainly tip the scale in Dallas’s favor. We’ll update the post in a bit.

    What a week! Nothing else to say but we’ll keep updating things with the latest information. As always, the longer you can wait to lock your pick, the better.

  • wile

    The analysis is always good so I would take any information you want put together. Given that, last year when you 17-0 there was really only one time things changed.

    I would suggest that you offer the email list BUT only send it out if there is a major change. Another way to do it is to just offer an update via RSS feed. This would hopefully saves you some work.


  • Chupa por suerte

    Looking ahead week 11 seems to be a tough week with Dallas or NE being the current options. Obvious my you want to make it through this week so at even odds take chi-town. I thinking Ne is going to be week 5 pick but time will tell.

  • Matt


    I’m in a 55 person league that is double elimination (2nd strike and you’re out). Over half of the pool has one strike based off of last week. I have 3 entries in the pool and have picked HOU/CIN for one, CHI/CIN for another, and HOU/NYG for the 3rd over the last two weeks.

    This week I was toying with the idea of doing CHI/NO/DAL to spread the risk but that always increases my chance of one dropping right? Any thoughts on how you might use 3 entries? If you had to pick one team out of NO and DAL to double up on would you go NO/NO/DAL or DAL/DAL/NO?

  • Anonymous

    Consider me interested.

  • http://twitter.com/swamiluv Russ Aragon

    Hmmmm I like the 1st official pick Da bears!

  • http://twitter.com/swamiluv Russ Aragon

    why no luv for the steelers playing the raiders?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Just updating this answer R Dog…as of Friday night, Chicago would still be about a nano-point higher than Dallas (even though official pick has changed to Dallas) in your case. But it’s so close, that I’d say if you think the same amount of people will be on Dallas and Chicago in your pool, just pick whichever one of those teams you personally like best.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    If you like the Bears, go for it. It’s close enough that a very strong personal opinion either way can easily tip the scales. There are assumptions margins of error baked into every approach, including ours. Good luck!

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Steelers line is only -4, they’re playing away, almost same amount of people picking them as are picking Dallas, and they’re roughly in the same league as Dallas/Chicago in terms of future value. I know a lot of people have that game pegged as a Steelers blowout in the making (which makes me even more concerned about the Steelers, ha!), but as far as our Survivor analysis approach goes, PIT doesn’t even come close to this week’s top considerations for being a smart Survivor pick.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Fun situation. Copying this from the preliminary post comment responses:

    My initial response is, there’s a math problem lurking in there to figure out the “right” answer given the dynamics of your pool, but it’s complicated and to get the optimal answer, would require knowing what teams everyone else in your pool had picked so far.

    Absent of that, it really depends on your risk tolerance, as you allude to in your comment. Pick 2 different teams, you’ve got (roughly):

    – 6% chance of losing all three entries this week
    – 19% chance of losing two entries
    – 19% chance of losing one entry
    – 56% chance of all three entries surviving

    Pick CHI, DAL, and NO each once, you’ve got:

    – 2% chance of losing all three entries
    – 14% chance of losing two entries
    – 42% chance of losing one entry
    – 42% chance of all three entries surviving

    In the 2 teams case, your most likely outcome is that all your entries survive, but you’ve got 3 times the odds of getting wiped out entirely (still only 6%, but that’s not too small to ignore).

    In the 3 teams case, your odds of all three entries surviving aren’t that much worse (42% vs. 56%), but on the downside, you should expect to lose at least one team this week.

    Since the win odds of CHI/NO/DAL are pretty much the same (~75%), your expected outcome is the same in either case: 2.25 winners. Just depends on whether you want to maximize your odds of getting all three picks into next week, or minimize the odds of a worst case scenario.

    I kind of like going with 2 teams, personally. Especially since your pool has 2 strikes and you’ve got a bit of an edge there, I’d go DAL/DAL/CHI I think. The case for picking NO has weakened recently so they’re out for me, but if you have a strong feeling I guess you could sub them for CHI.

  • Tony

    I’m in a 115 person, double elimination league (two losses and you’re out). Only 96 are left, of whom 34 already have one loss (I have no losses). This league continues through the playoffs, so holding on to potential playoff teams is a high priority for me. My current pick is the Bears, and I’m inclined to keep it that way, simply because I think Dallas has more future value and a higher likelihood of making the playoffs than the Bears do. My question is: does the structure of my league strongly impact the decision as to whether to pick Dallas or Chicago?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Just FYI, we are counting Week 11 as a potential Dallas pick in our future value calculations — so they are already getting credit for that, and as of Saturday morning, our calculations still see them as the best pick to use this week. I’m actually doubting NE will be the best Week 5 pick, but we’ll see. Things can change quickly!

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Sorry, your comment got flagged as spam for some reason. Yeah, I’d go Dallas. The huge pool thing is a plus and minus. Lots of people picking NO (which means stay off them) but future value also means a lot (which means DAL is more valuable, based on current projections). On balance, though, the numbers are putting Dallas on top right now.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    With the double elimination part and greater emphases on future value…yup, I’m with you. I’d go Chicago in your case, especially given your feelings on relative playoff odds for DAL vs. CHI.

  • Zandercage

    Great column Tom!

    In a sizable Survivor league that includes Playoffs, and you can actually lose twice. I am between NO, CHI and DAL this week. How would you rank considering the structure of the league? Basically, who has the least amount of future value? Looks like NO based on your table.

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

  • Bill

    I have 315 left in my pool…Should I pick Chicago or Dallas?

  • R Dog

    Thanks for the update Tom . . . Yeah, I ended up going with Chicago (1) because I personally didn’t feel that comfortable with the Cowboys over the Bucs, even if it is at home and (2) the difference in future value, even if it is small and obviously discounted as I’m in a small pool. Everyone’s picks just got sent out, and yeah, the same number of people (not including my pick) picked Dallas and Chicago. So it really was a toss up. Had I seen the updated info before I sent my pick in, I probably would’ve changed to Dallas, but next time I’ll wait a bit longer to submit my pick. Anyways, like you said, the difference is really small. Go Bears! And thanks again for the replies!

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Lines and predictions have been holding steady today, so by our numbers, Dallas is the play right now, assuming you’ve got one entry in your pool, typical rules, etc. As I’ve been telling people, if picking Dallas makes you puke, probably not worth pulling teeth over, Chicago’s still not a bad pick.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    You’re welcome, appreciated. See my response to Tony below. Our numbers say Dallas has a bit more future value than Chicago right now, so it does get a lot closer between those two. The tipping point in our model is around 50% — if I discount future value by half and keep everything else constant (picking percentages, win odds, etc.), Chicago becomes the pick over Dallas. If I only discount future value by 25%, the pick is still barely Dallas.

    When you add in the two strikes part, it makes me feel better about saving the team with more future value, though, which is why my inclination is toward Chicago in this situation.

    NO does have the least future value, but with so many people picking them, even with future value of zero, our numbers still see DAL and CHI as better options.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Cool. Good luck!

  • Sunnie

    well, 2 of my pool members have chosen Chicago, 5 have chosen Dallas (me included, but we have up to first kick off to change.) This means I should flip to Chicago, correct?? :)

  • Sunnie

    8 NO, and about 9 a cast of others, and 5 unaccounted for yet… :)

  • Sunnie

    well, Vegas odds switched Dallas to 7.5, Chicago 7.0, and Cutler scares me, so I’m staying Dallas unless you say otherwise. Even one of only 5 ain’t bad for week 3…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Not counting your Cutler feelings, by the numbers, with your picking percentages Chicago is the best pick. However, out of CHI, DAL, and NO, they are also the riskiest pick, and when you discount future value since your pool is very small now, it gets even closer.

    Judgment call on your part. If Cutler freaks you out, don’t sweat it and just go Dallas.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    UPDATE as of Sunday morning 11:40am Eastern — point spreads for CHI and DAL have held steady but the Chicago money line has dropped even further on Pinnacle. (It’s now DAL -390, NO -390, CHI -290, which is a big dropoff for Chicago.)

    That does not mean Chicago is still not the best play in some cases…in the comments, for example, one person has a pool where 2.5x as many people are picking Dallas than Chicago. In a situation like that, Chicago still grades out as #1.

    Outside of an extreme scenario like that, however, Dallas is the clear pick.

  • Chris

    Are Bears still 2nd best? I’m in 2 pools and taking Dallas in one, but a) i like diversifying, and b) 12 of 30 remaining in the other one have taken Chicago so it seems like a good pick there.

  • Chris

    Have already* taken
    I won’t know what their picks for this week are for another 20 minutes

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Bears are a probably a good pick in the pool where 12 of 30 have taken them, as long as you don’t think everyone will go NO and SF and still not pick Dallas.

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

    What a bloodbath. Nearly 70% of my pool knocked out so far, with still a number of games to go!

  • geddy1001

    Wow, thanks to you guys its down to 2 of us in one of my pools and four of us in another pool. Picked DAL in one and CHI in another. Very nice! Thanks again!

  • R Dog

    Wow, down to 5 in my pool . . . thanks so much for the awesome analysis guys

  • NickNolte

    80 people knocked out this week. I switched from NO to CHI because of you guys. Thanks a lot! 60 ppl left

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

    With Pittsburgh’s loss, make that almost 70%. I don’t remember a week like this before.

  • rcc22

    Are you kidding me…wow..what a Sunday…thanks for the CHI/DAL suggestions…

    Never in all my years ive seen this many big teams knocked out…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    I am still in shock. If you scripted a Survivor Fantasy for this week, this was it. Oakland was the icing on the cake…the more I heard people talk about that game as the “obvious” win and cover for PIT, the more I felt better about OAK’s chances…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Woo hoo! That’s what we like to hear!

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Sweet, you’re welcome!

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Obviously we got lucky today, but it was still the right move. Out of CHI, DAL, SF, and NO, you’d expect around one of them to lose today. The fact that it was not one, but two, and those two were SF and NO, was obviously good fortune at work. But we’ll take it!

    Honestly, I was suspicious about ALL FOUR of those teams, and all of them scared me to some extent. If all four lost, I can’t say I would have been completely shocked.

    In the meantime, rock on, and pumped to have a bona fide action star following our Survivor analysis.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    This week was epic, and coming off last week…I just don’t know what to say. I mean, there could be a bunch of Survivor pools over by Week 5 out there!

  • Lasso Man

    My pool is down to 10 people – how much does my strategy change from trying to pick an unpopular team with a decent chance of winning to picking the week’s best “sure thing” and hoping that the other competitors eliminate themselves by getting too cute?

  • rcc22

    i think i was one of them…lol…BUT..i did say the Jets would win…oh..and the bears and cowboys get upset?lol
    thank god i dont ever take my own advice on these matter…
    Thanks ..for the 2 pick suggestions…

  • Sunnie

    Went Dallas…omg only those of us picking Chicago or Dallas are left!!! Awesome & thx!

  • Shane

    WOOOOOO crazy back-to-back sundays!!!!

  • Dan

    I went with Chicago, which was my gut pick, even after you switched to Dallas. Turned out to be the lock of the week! I think my pool had a lot of people picking the Saints this week. Helluva game and I was cheering for Cassel & co the whole way!

  • Steve

    I am wondering the same thing as the field of 66 has been knocked down to 9 already!

  • Devastation

    My pool started with 61 and now we are down to 2. Thanks guys you rock!

  • Greg W

    You guys are the best! Still alive in 3 pools, 4 entries total! Can’t wait for week 4!

  • http://twitter.com/swamiluv Russ Aragon

    Good job pool started with 4200 down to 396…whoo who $420,000 prize pool…game on…thanks for your help!!!! I have used Houston, Bengals, & Da bears…keep up the great job!!!!!!!!

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

    For Week 4, the Survivor Predictor has Seattle as the best bet with 83% win odds. Is this a typo, or is the model just finding the Seahawks extremely underrated? I’m seeing them as 0.5 point underdogs in an away game at the Rams.

    Assuming it’s a typo, week #4 will be tough. I’m guessing that since > 50% of picks will be for Baltimore that they will NOT be the official pick here – even with a 15-point spread. Although it is tempting.

    Tough call between Arizona, Atlanta, Denver, & Green Bay, with Houston already off-the-board.

    I’m surprised that the Predictor shows little future value for Green Bay. In week 8, I see them as 16.5-point favorites hosting JAX, and also good bets in weeks 5, 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, & 17. Am I missing something?

  • rcc22

    thats a great prize there…would love to know how to get in this one next year…???

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

    Then again, if the spread difference is big enough, maybe Ravens really are the pick this time…

  • Muse

    Got 10 people left , thinking about Baltimore even though they have a high future value. What do you guys think?

  • offshore rocks

    Thanks 4 the Bears advice. I liked PIT,SF & DET, but didn’t like them being on the road. Pool of 280 will now be down to around 40. ATL, SD, & CHI used already.

  • Gary

    Looking ahead, Week 7 looks like the toughest week of the year. Any strategies we should start using now to prepare for week 7’s lack of a decent pick? Should we just go ahead and take the team we need in week 7 out of consideration for any other week? I was planning on using NE in week 10 and NYG in week 5, but those look like the best picks in week 7.

  • JoeP

    Pool of 330 is down to 29, with me being one of them, thanks for the advice so far.

    I know you post your articles on Wednesday and Friday, but I am thinking about taking the Ravens this week against Cleveland which means I have to submit by noon on Wednesday to get it in.

    I see no point in saving them at this point as I used only: Detroit, Cincy and Chicago… and I do not foresee this pool getting past week 9 in the season (maybe).


  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com


  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Honestly, haven’t even given it one second of thought yet. Lots going on, Wednesday is In the Survivor Zone day…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    At 10 people or less, it’s more about your best guess on how the other 9 people will pick. That’s usually a main decision driver assuming you’ve got a few decent teams to pick from.

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    You’re welcome. I’ll see what I can do to respond again early tomorrow morning re: the Ravens thing. Only curveball is if literally everyone and their momma is on the Ravens too.

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    Yeah, looks like things are about to getting really interesting. Took a very quick glance and NYG may be worth saving. Will try to explore next few week’s potential picks in tomorrow’s post.

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    You’re welcome. Every single team last week scared me to some extent. :-)

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Not the case for SEA anymore…we update the site for the new week on Tuesday morning, and what you saw before was mainly the result of our early-season ratings (which can be at little wonky) liking Seattle a lot after Week 2, after Arizona beat NE. SEA may end up being a better team than expected by most, though.

    Early season ratings are part of the reason why we fudge future a value a bit when looking at the Survivor tool. Green Bay’s values are up now too, a lot of 70%+ games.

    Re: Ravens, yup, that will be the key comparison, plus Packers future value since they look like the most likely alternative.

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    Seriously!!! Me three!!! (Thanks for the congrats)

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    Thanks, appreciated. It’s gonna get interesting real quick now, I think…

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Nice. We all know picking from the gut is the way to go, never mind all those “numbers” guys…. :-)

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Craziest two in a row I can remember, for sure.

  • JoeP

    Awesome, thanks in advance.

  • northcoast

    In a pool of 1,000 down to 90. We have to pick 2 teams each week starting week 15, and both teams must win to avoid elimination. With only 89 entrants left does it make sense to be still be stingy with future value? It’s going to be difficult to hold the teams that have the most value in weeks 15-17 (as of right now anyway). I’m guessing this will be discussed this week since your picks have resulted in most pools whittled away to ~10% for most pools.

  • Mark

    A strategy question for you: a couple of weeks ago, you said that under 50 is considered a “small pool” and picking safe was a better way to go. I am in several pools starting/remaining 137/22, 305/51 and 361/65. Is it time to get more conservative as the numbers dwindle or since the pool was not “small” to begin with, stay the course?

    Thanks for helping me survive.

  • Dave

    Week 2 and 3 in the NFL was unbelievable! Only way it could have been better is if NYJ had lost – and it seemed like they were going to. My pool is decimated, only a little over 10% of the pool remains now (I’m alive)! I’m curious, I’m in a pool where it’s like a survivor pool only that your weekly ranking in the pool depends on the team winning point differential each week. So this week the Bears differential of 17 would be great. Each week someone goes home who has the lowest point differential (usually their team lost, so a negative differential). I was just going to pick the same team that I pick each week in my regular survivor pool in this other point differential pool. Does this seem like a good strategy or should I vary the teams that I pick in both pools? So far I’ve picked the same teams in both pools.

  • http://twitter.com/swamiluv Russ Aragon

    Hmmm Ravens short week Thursday Night, are they the Pick? Cleveland +$552 For Fantacy players look for Green Bay to bust out this week.

  • http://twitter.com/swamiluv Russ Aragon

    Houston & Ravens +$552 ML looks like the pick maybe Ravens since I used Houston. Comments

  • Steve

    I’m not an expert but will chime in. Unless something drastic changes, I would go Houston. BAL has a 57% pick rate vs HOU at 8.8%,and HOU has a higher win %. Stay away from Thurs night games IMO…

  • devastator

    most of the people who follow this site have already used Houston

  • Paul

    I know that the other five people left in my pool have all used Houston already. Does that make them the obvious pick for me this week?

  • NFLinCO

    My pick is due soon! Have already used HOU, PHL & DAL. Thinking of using NE or DEN and saving BALT. Any advice?

  • Mike

    Are you going to post Week 4 NFL Surviver Stategy soon?

  • Dan

    I saved Houston (Lions in week 1, ikr)… and am debating between Houston and Baltimore. I have 2 hours to make my pick… can’t wait to read the column this week!

  • Dan

    I’d lean toward picking Balt for their higher win odds… we’ll see what the boss says soon I hope!

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    Interesting. Doesn’t sound like a true “eliminator” contest though, if you’re saying maximum one person goes home each week. What happens if multiple players pick the team with the lowest differential?

    In short, that’s a different enough contest from a pick-the-winner, lose-and-your-out Survivor contest, so I would doubt our weekly Survivor pick would consistently be an optimal pick for that contest.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    Week 4 post has some tips for how to approach very small pools…mainly just about estimating how people will pick: http://www.teamrankings.com/blog/nfl/week-4-nfl-survivor-strategy-more-than-meets-the-eye-as-usual

  • http://www.teamrankings.com TeamRankings.com

    My general feeling is Week 17 is typically a crapshoot, and Week 15 right now seems to have a bunch of teams in a clump in terms of might-have-decent-win-odds, so I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

  • Dave

    The tiebreaker for which person who should be tossed if multiple people pick the same team is how that persons pick did last week. So it pays to try to do as well as possible each week in case it comes down to a tiebreaker. Yea, I guess you could call it a true “survivor” pool since only 1 person goes home each week. I’m tempted to just pick the same team each week in both contests, since it seems hard enough to pick 1 team that you think will survive, much less 2 teams.

  • http://twitter.com/swamiluv Russ Aragon

    go to http://www.scottscottscott.com he is starting a week 5 pool $100