Week 5 NFL Survivor Final Update: Have A Low Stress Friday

posted in NFL, NFL Survivor Pools

The past couple weeks have conditioned us to expect a ton of new developments to discuss in these Friday updates. But this week there’s not a lot on the docket. We’re happy to report that you can glide on through to the weekend without worrying much about your Survivor pool.

Of course, now that I’ve typed that sentence, I’m sure quarterbacks at practices across the country are suddenly feeling shoulder pain, and we’ll be bombarded with breaking news tomorrow morning.

While I keep my fingers crossed in hopes that doesn’t happen, you 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 Value: 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. Near Value: a modified version of Future Value that assesses near term value and is more relevant to players in very small pools)

Week 5 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.

TeamOpponentLineMoney LineTR OddsPick %Future ValNear Val
Tier 1: Top Options
San Franciscovs Buffalo-9.5-435 / +37378%24%1.51.1
Green Bayat Indianapolis-7.0-292 / +25874%12%1.51.4
Tier 2: Worth A Look
Houstonat NY Jets-8.0-360 / +31474%4%6.55.6
Minnesotavs Tennessee-5.5-230 / +20565%7%0.51.1
Chicagoat Jacksonville-5.0-224 / +20067%4%1.52.8
NY Giantsvs Cleveland-8.5-360 / +31474%38%1.52.5
Baltimoreat Kansas City-6.0-252 / +22462%3%3.04.1
New Englandvs Denver-6.5-285 / +25269%1%7.08.0
New Orleansvs San Diego-3.5-193 / +17363%1%1.00.3
Pittsburghvs Philadelphia-3.5-170 / +15365%1%2.02.3
Carolinavs Seattle-2.5-138 / +12561%1%0.00.0
Cincinnativs Miami-3.0-164 / +14856%4%1.00.8
Atlantaat Washington-3.0-154 / +13955%0%5.55.1

Teams We Already Picked: Houston Texans (WIN), Cincinnati Bengals (WIN), Dallas Cowboys (WIN), Green Bay Packers (WIN)

What Has Changed Since Wednesday?

Not much. While I was away, Tom had to put a lot of thought into his Friday post because there were big shifts in the Survivor landscape late in the week, with line moves and injury reports.

This week, however, the top lines and odds for the top choices have stayed fairly static, so there’s not much to discuss. Here are the most important changes from the last couple days:

Chicago Bears — The Bears look riskier today than they did a couple days ago. Their consensus spread has dropped from -6 to -5, their Pinnacle money line has fallen from -245 to -220, and our TR Odds projection has moved from 70% to 67%. Three percent may not sound like a lot, but when you’re talking about a team that was already a risky pick to begin with, it can make a significant difference. Because of Chicago’s increased risk profile, we no longer consider Chicago a top option.

San Francisco 49ers — Thursday night, the St. Louis Rams beat the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals by two touchdowns, and moved over 0.500 for the first time since 2006. That makes San Francisco’s Week 10 matchup against the Rams seem like a bit less of a gimme. Again, this isn’t a huge change, but it does make us a little less averse to using the 49ers this week, as there is now slightly less benefit to saving them. San Fran is still a very good pick.

That’s really about it. The money line for the New England Patriots is up a bit, and the spread and odds for the Cincinnati Bengals have both dropped some. But neither the Patriots nor Bengals were good picks to begin with, and they still aren’t.

So, this week’s update is an easy one.

Official Week 5 NFL Survivor Pick: San Francisco 49ers over Buffalo Bills

Nothing has changed that would give us any reason to move off of our original Wednesday pick, so we‘re sticking with the Niners. If anything, we’re a bit more comfortable with the pick, because the risky-yet-tempting Chicago alternative looks less attractive, and because San Francisco’s future value seems to have fallen ever so slightly.

Green Bay is the next best alternative to San Francisco, as the Packers are the only team close to the 49ers in win odds that doesn’t have either a ton of future value (like Houston) or a huge mass of people picking them (like New York).

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

  • R Dog

    Awesome, thanks for the update. I added another question to my comment on Wednesday’s post, so feel free to reply here or on Wednesday’s post (I won’t re-post my comment here because it’s key to look at my previous comments on Wednesday’s post to fully understand my situation). Thanks!

  • Eric Haase

    Can’t help but think the 49ers are still a risky pick, as Buffalo is a Jekyll-Hyde team and it’s not as if SF is an offensive juggernaut. Could be very low scoring and come down to a late score.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1420534964 Connor Ryan Adamson

    Hi there,

    It’s down to the nitty gritty in my group. Three people remain, including myself. I’d just thought I’d ask to see if there is any specific advice that you can give me. Here are their picks.

    Foe 1: HOU, CIN, CHI, DEN

    Foe 2: DET, CIN, CHI, BAL

    I’ve been following your official picks exactly thus far.

    Thanks in advance

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

    Hmm, tough. Not sure what the patterns are there, other than Foe 2 doesn’t care about how popular a team is. My best guesses for both of them are NYG/SF. In that case, the best pick would be GB. However, if one of them is on GB, the GB becomes a bad pick, so it might be safer to just go with the biggest fave (SF) this week.

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

    Every pick in the NFL is risky. A 78% chance to win is by no means a lock. If you think that Vegas and our odds are way off, that’s a different story, and you should pick accordingly.

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

    Haha, I’m not the one coming up with the win% estimates. That’d Vegas and our computer models. I just make it a point to not second guess, as I’m usually wrong when I try to do that. :)

  • MC

    Welcome back

    In several pools (remaining/starting) – my picks
    number of picks by remaining players

    21/113: Bears – Bengals – Cowboys – Texans –
    Bears (14) – SF (4) – NYG (4) – GB (4)

    67/361: Bears – Steelers – Cowboys – Packers
    Eagles – Bengals – Bears – Texans
    Bears (48) – SF (16) – NYG (23) – GB (4)

    There is a big regional bias. I was going to SF/GB to spread risk. Question is this – it seems unlikely that NYG will be 40% in either pool. Does this make NYG a better pick than GB? I admit to not liking away teams.

    Thanks alot


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

    It looks like NYG has been picked at about the same rate in your pools as they have in Yahoo. What makes you think they won’t be picked much this week?

    At any rate, the NYG/GB magical pick ratio this week is about 3/2. If 3 people pick NYG for every 2 that pick GB, I think If it’s less than that (closer to even, or even more people picking GB than NYG), then NYG seems like the better pick.

    Also, if you feel really strongly that you want to avoid some team, you may want to do that, simply because making your own picks is more fun than following my picks that you don’t agree with, and that is worth something (though it’s hard to assign a dollar value to it).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1420534964 Connor Ryan Adamson

    I already picked GB last week. So SF it is. Thanks!

  • Vulgar Display of Power

    There are 40 people left in my pool. I have 2 of those picks remaining. I am considering taking 2 of the following: Packers, Giants, Bears, Vikings, 49ers, Bengals.
    10 of the people left have chosen the Bengals, 2 of the people alive have chosen the Packers, 11 of the people alive have chosen the Giants, 28 of the people alive have chosen the Bears, 0 of the people alive have chosen the Vkings, and 7 of the people alive have chosen the 49ers.
    Considering the info above whom do you think I should take this week with my 2 picks? I am definitely going to take the 49ers since you guys picked them here in the blog. You say Packers are the next best pick but if only 2 people in my pool have picked them thus far VS 11 people in my pool have picked the Giants thus far, does that still mean Packers are preferable even though more people can theoretically pick them? The team that the least amount of people in my pool can pick is the Bears since 28 have already picked them out of the 40 left.
    Interested to get your opinion prior to having to send my picks in Saturday afternoon. Thanks!

  • Bob Sanders

    This week reminds me of last year’s week 5, when everyone was on NYG, because there was NO WAY they’d lose to Seattle, which was travelling across the country.
    I’m happy you’re not recommending them!

  • geddy1001

    ahhhhh man! I had to have my picks on by the Thursday night game as I went with Chicago. Are you saying Chicago is a bad pick now or just not as good as it was?

  • Chris

    I lost week 5 last year with NYG. Not again!

  • Bob Sanders

    Same here. I’m weary of picking anyone in the NFC East. Every team in there is so unreliable

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

    Hey, sorry this is probably too late, but … your already-picked numbers seem pretty similar to Yahoo. Far more people on Yahoo have already taken the Giants than the Packers, but the Giants are still more popular this week.

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

    Yeah, if you already know several people are taking SF, and you don’t know of any taking NYG, I think that skews things enough that the Giants become a better pick.

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

    I don’t know, CHI is still pretty risky. I went through a whole bunch of scenarios, and what I found is basically that if both #3 & #4 take NYG, then SF is the best pick. If only 1 or 0 of them take NYG then NYG are the best pick.

    One quirk, though — CHI is a second best option in most of these scenarios, and they are the only pick that can’t completely blow up in your face. In other words, if you think 2 people will pick NYG, so you take SF, but then you find that actually 3 others took SF, then you’re in a bad spot. Something like that can’t happen with Chicago.

    By the way, all this is looking only at immediate expected value, and ignoring future value. But with only 5 people left, I think that’s fine.

    So, I guess the question is — which of those guys is the one who is a big SF fan? If it’s #3 or #4, that means at most 1 person will be picking NYG, and I think they’d be my choice. If it’s #1 or #2, things get tricky. CHI might be an OK choice if you can’t figure out what your opponents will do. Otherwise, try to go by my rule in the first paragraph.

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

    Just not as good as it was. They are still not terrible, and in some cases (depending on what your opponents do) could still be the best choice.

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

    According to the math SF is still slightly better than GB in that situation, but it’s really close. I should note I’m looking at them as having similar future value. If you think one or the other has less future value, then I’d go with that one. Otherwise, either works pretty well in your spot.

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

    Any reason you think 40-60% will pick SF this week? Has your pool varied that much from public trends in past weeks?

    At any rate, if SF really is that popular, then NYG or GB seems like the right pick. In that case, if NYG is less than about 1.5 times as popular as GB, then they are the better pick according to the numbers.

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

    Given so many of your opponents have 2 strikes, your pool is beginning to look pretty much like a normal one. I guess the major difference is that you can take on a bit more risk without getting knocked out of your pool. As such, I would probably go with GB or CHI as my second team. GB because the number show them as generally the 2nd best pick without taking into account any of the specifics of your situation. CHI (with a no strike entry) because their increased risk is less important in your situation, and they allow you to take an unpopular team without a ton of future value.

  • Anonymous

    Still in 2 pools, both pared down a lot (several left in one and teens in the other)… likely going SF on both…

    Question though is that I joined a small pool (25 or so) starting with this week’s games. In this pool, we continue into the playoffs if need be but with that few players I think it’d be unlikely to get that far. If I side with don’t worry about playoffs, then SF/GB is the pick… but if I think playoff picks would be a decent possibility, then maybe MIN? With your experience in pool sizing, how likely/unlikely would it be to have multiple players get into the playoffs from this point?

  • Chris

    Green Bay’s odds and spread seemed to have dropped a little bit. Still a great pick?

  • Chris

    Why Chi instead of GB? If you think opponents will be taking either SF or NYG, why would Chi be an option? Can you just go with the better win odds and take GB ‘knowing’ that your opponents won’t be on them either.

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

    I’m assuming the opponents will take GB in some scenarios, but rarely take CHI. Given that constraint, sometimes picking GB ends up being really bad, but CHI rarely blows up like that.

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

    I don’t know from experience, but the math would imply you’d have an average of 0 to 2 people left after week 17.

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

    I know this is late, but GB still ended up looking like the second-best choice.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks David. I agree with your assessment that it’ll be unlikely to get multiple players into the playoffs, so went with SF.

  • TheTinDoor

    Took the 49ers and cruised to an easy win. Packers were the only commonly picked team to go down. Anyone have insight as to the history of heavy favorites (say 7+ pts) losing on the road vs. at home? It certainly seems (anecdotally) that a road team is more likely to suffer a “surprise” upset – a loss that Vegas/experts did not predict. Think “Black Swan” here – we know that there will be games that contradict all previous expectations, but we just don’t know which games those will be.
    I know I’m not breaking any new ground (even mildly engaged Survivor participants know to pick primarily home teams), but I think it’s easy to get lost in the probability stats above. A little sanity check at the end of the process would have confirmed San Fran as the clear choice. We expected both Green Bay and San Fran to win on Sunday, but it seems the likelihood of an outlier is greater for the road team, certainly more than the 4% difference in the TR odds.

  • Chris

    Should’ve gone with my gut and changed off them. Oh well, still alive in one pool. Thanks San Fran!

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

    Tough heartbreak for GB. Close game. Thankfully, the Niners dominated.

    I’m guessing the Week 6 recommendation will not be Atlanta, huh? They’re the only touchdown+ favorites, but over half of people are picking them.

    Trying to mentally psych myself up for picking something a bit riskier. I know the math, and that taking risks can improve your overall odds, but it’s still tough.

    Looks like the next best teams according to the spread are Pittsburgh @ Tennessee (used them already) and Philadelphia v Detroit – neither of which sound very appealing. I’m curious to see how the line changes, and looking forward to your analysis as always.

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

    Interesting point. I am not generally inclined to agree with you, but I figured I’d check the data anyway, using our Odds History page: http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/odds-history/win/

    The attached image shows what I found. Generally, the away/home designation does not seem to affect win% once you have accounted for spread. This makes sense, given that where the game is pretty obvious info that basically everyone is trying to account for in their analysis.

    The one bin where the away team does worse, is the -7 to -9.5 bin. Most of this underperformance comes from the -7.5, -9, and -9.5 road teams. The -6.5 bin (which is where Green Bay ended up) shows basically identical performance for away and home teams.

  • TheTinDoor

    If I wanted to apply narrative to your stats, I could read this as: 1) Heavy favorites have such an advantage that going on the road does not greatly reduce their chances of winning (10+ pt favorite). 2) Moderate favorites (7-9.5) are significantly more likely to lose on the road than at home.

    Not saying I DO read it that way, but it’s a possibility.

    FWIW, weighted MOV tells the same story. With home field advantage priced into the spread, if you read the line as a predictor of MOV, home favorites outperform road favorites by 3.3 points in the 7-9.5 bucket and 1.2 in the 10-13.5 range.

  • Bob Sanders

    I think ARZ wil be the pick. Too many people on ATL

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

    Could be. Arizona is a 4.5 or 5 point favorite. Personally, I don’t think Arizona is as good as their record indicates.

  • Bob Sanders

    Neither do I. But, from what I interpret, they don’t advocate taking the overwhelming consensus pick (which Atlanta undoubtedly will be). So, with that said, the only two “big” favourites are Philly, Pitt and Arizona. Pitt is on the road. So, I’d guess it’s a toss-up of Philly and Arizona. We’ll see what David says later this week

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.santinello.3 Tony Santinello

    I find it interesting (at least my league) that a majority of people are staying away from the public majority team. For example; most people stayed away from NYG (Public Majority) and went with SF. Does it get to a point; where the publc majority pick is the way to go; because everyone is staying away from the most popular team?

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

    Thanks for the MOV tidbit. Interesting.

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

    Just taking 30 seconds to glance at the Yahoo pick% and the latest TR Game Winner odds, my best guess at this point is Pittsburgh. This is looking like another ugly week; we’ll see what the data says when I take a closer look tomorrow. … Not looking forward to making the pick this week!

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

    I don’t know, the KC defense seems fine. The Chiefs were a blown call away from beating the Ravens last week…

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

    The point is too avoid taking a team that is super popular in *your pool* because you want your opponents to be able to be knocked out with a single upset. If the most popular team in your pool is different than the most popular team on Yahoo/OFP, then your best pick could very well be different. We’re not avoiding the popular pick just to try to seem smart or edgy. :)

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

    Have you happened to look at the efficiency rankings over at advancednflstats (ANS)? Do you buy into it? If you take their analysis into account, there doesn’t seem to be any obviously good picks.

    1) ATL v OAK – The overwhelming favorite.

    2) PIT @ TEN – ANS has them both as equally bad teams, and it’s an away game. Plus I’ve used them.

    3) PHI v DET – Detroit is coming off a bye. Both teams similarly above average as per ANS. Your site has them at a somewhat healthy 67%.

    4) MIN @ WAS – Favorable match-up according to ANS, but it’s an away game and Vegas has Minnesota as the underdog! If RG3 is out with a concussion, maybe the spread changes and this is the pick.

    5) ARI v BUF – Arizona is only a couple plays away from being 2-3. Worse than their record shows. Both bad teams.

    6) DEN @ SD – Divisional away game. ANS has them just as favorable as ATL v OAK, but Vegas has SD as the favorite. Your site only has Denver at 54% win odds.

    7) NE @ SEA – Small favorite, but it’s an away game and NE has good future value.

    8) TB v KC – ANS actually has KC rated higher than TB. Both bad teams.

    None of the remaining matches really stand out.

    I really don’t want to pick the overwhelming favorite, but this week may be one of the rare exceptions where there’s no other good choice.

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

    I know of them, but have not paid close attention to them. Given that he doesn’t (that I know of) post historical accuracy data, I don’t really have an opinion on how accurate they are.

    That said, I do subjectively seem to see a lot of “weird” ratings over there, and they often differ a lot from the Vegas line.

  • Bob Sanders

    If Cassell was playing, I’d say TB would be a great pick. But I don’t know how Quinn will perform. He may be decent.
    I think this week is just to sack-up, and pick ATL. Chalk it up to being a week where no one gets knocked out of your pool. Sometimes those weeks happen. The extra security in a scary week is well worth it.
    ALthough, I do think PITT wins. Just harder to take an old team, on the road, on a short week.

  • Bob Sanders

    If Cassell was playing, I’d say TB would be a great pick. But I don’t know how Quinn will perform. He may be decent.
    I think this week is just to sack-up, and pick ATL. Chalk it up to being a week where no one gets knocked out of your pool. Sometimes those weeks happen. The extra security in a scary week is well worth it.
    ALthough, I do think PITT wins. Just harder to take an old team, on the road, on a short week.

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

    I think you are overestimating the safety of Atlanta. Think Week 2 this year or Week 5 last season. Upsets do happen, which is why laying off the popular teams is a viable strategy. But yeah, tricky week.

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

    I think you are overestimating the safety of Atlanta. Think Week 2 this year or Week 5 last season. Upsets do happen, which is why laying off the popular teams is a viable strategy. But yeah, tricky week.