December 18, 2019 - by Jason Lisk
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are a popular choice in Week 16 (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire)
In this post, we’ll analyze the five most popular Week 16 NFL survivor picks, using the “Holy Trinity” of pick data we introduced in our first survivor post of the season: win odds, pick popularity, and future value.
This deeper level of analysis is big reason why our subscribers have reported nearly $1.5 million in survivor pool winnings over the past two seasons.
This is an early assessment of the Week 16 survivor outlook. If numbers have changed significantly by Friday, we may update it later in the week.
We thought our subscribers were in great shape last week, with San Francisco available at a much higher rate than the public, so that our entries would not have to take as many risks. Well, it did not work out that way as San Francisco lost after having a two-score lead in the fourth quarter. The go-ahead touchdown came in the last two seconds, on a pass to Julio Jones right at the goal line. With it, around 40% of our recommendations were eliminated.
Add in that we also recommended the Oakland Raiders at a rate higher than the public as well, our recommendations had a rare week where they took the losses while the public survived at a greater rate. Our subscriber recommendations survived at a 34% rate, while the public survived at an estimated 79% rate.
For the full year, our survival rate is still up on the public, 0.3% to 1.2% still alive based on survival rates across all 15 weeks.
For Week 16, there is no huge favorite well above the crowd, but there are a lot of games that are plausible survivor choices. Eight games feature betting market-implied win odds between 71% and 81%, making for a fairly large top couple of tiers in terms of safety. Let’s take a look at this week’s most popular choices.
Note: in the analysis below, we refer to the expected value (EV) of picking various teams this week. The values we’re using are based on a standard-rules pool with 100 opponents alive, and assuming the same pick rates as those reported nationally. EV values differ by pool size, so these values may not match those we report for your pool.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 24%
Point Spread: -10
Seattle returns to survivor prominence this week hosting Arizona, ahead of their Week 17 showdown with San Francisco. Seattle is tied for the largest point spread this week, has the second-highest market win odds (behind Baltimore) and are also moderately popular at 24%.
As a result, they are a solid value in survivor pools this week, with an above average EV. There are six choices with a higher EV (thanks to much lower pick rates) but many of those teams have been used heavily in survivor pools in recent weeks.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 21%
Point Spread: -7.5
Atlanta is the next most popular choice this week hosting Jacksonville. They are a slight step down from Seattle in terms of safety. Because of their popularity, the EV is lower than nine other options. They are likely available for most entries, which is driving their current popularity. However, early returns show that they are more likely a team our recommendations will moderately fade compared to the public pick rate. They will be in consideration in some pool formats, though.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 13%
Point Spread: -6.5
Denver is another team that has been little used so far in survivor and is thus look like they will be a semi-popular option. Our win odds projection on this game of 64% is well below the market odds of 73%, and that is driving the chances downward that Denver is recommended at a rate similar to the public.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 5%
Point Spread: -5.5
Kansas City is another solid play on the road at Chicago, with an EV near 1.06. They do have some potential future value next week hosting the Chargers, with the possibility of still having a first round bye to play for, so that will more likely result in the Chiefs being saved. We’re not currently recommending the Chiefs to many entries so far this week, not because they are a poor play, but because there are some safer options with similar pick rates that may be available to many entries.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 5%
Point Spread: -3
Pittsburgh is a riskier option than the choices above on this list, and are a likely fade in our recommendations. Their win odds are only 58% as of Wednesday in our projections.
The two most frequent recommendations we are making this week do not appear in the five most popular choices. The Chargers are one of them, and that’s being driven by “late start” pools that likely began after the Chargers were a popular choice back in Week 4. The Ravens are the other. Our recommendations largely saved Baltimore last week, and now it appears they will be a top recommendation this week when the public is using them less than 5% of the time.
If you are a survivor pool picks subscriber, you have access to the customized survivor picks for your specific pools.
Also remember that this article is written earlier in the week. It is a more general summary of the week that may not be applicable to your pool rules. Some information could be outdated by Sunday. It also doesn’t include more analysis beyond the most popular picks, and value can often come from unpopular choices. Pick popularity can change over the course of a week, and injury news and line movements can alter which picks are the best for your pool. So don’t forget to visit our NFL Survivor Picks before your deadline to submit picks, and also visit the Football Pick’em Picks and NFL Betting Picks.
You can also read our daily notes in the article section of Survivor for continued updates on issues and news that comes up affecting survivor decisions.
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