December 26, 2019 - by Jason Lisk
Aaron Donald and the Rams look to salvage a win to end 2019 (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
In this post, we’ll analyze the five most popular Week 17 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 17 survivor outlook. If numbers have changed significantly by Friday, we may update it later in the week.
Seattle, the most popular choice for the public, lost to Arizona, taking out 22% of remaining entries. That was the biggest public loss, as 36% of the public was eliminated.
For our recommendations, Indianapolis led the way in pools that had been going since Week 1, and the Colts won comfortably. The Chargers, though, were our most frequent recommendation in late-start pools, and they lost to the Raiders. Our recommendations were not as high on Seattle, though we still recommended them to 9% of entries. Overall, our recommendations were eliminated at a 42% rate. The elimination rate was lower in pools that had started in Week 1 (26%) but much higher in late-start pools.
For the full season (using weekly survival rates), the public would be expected to survive to this point 0.2% of the time, versus 0.7% for our recommendations.
The Los Angeles Rams pop up as the only choice in Week 17 drawing more than 10% of selections, as the public is quite diverse in what they still have available to choose. Where does the value lie? Let’s take a deeper look.
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: 26%
Point Spread: -7
The Los Angeles Rams are the most popular survivor choice this week, because they are more likely available compared to other options. The Rams were a popular choice back in Week 4, but lost. They drew 18% of the public picks in Week 8, beating Cincinnati. Other than those two weeks, though, they have not been used as frequently.
The Rams are a 7-point favorite, making them the sixth-largest favorite of the week. But with higher popularity, their EV in a 100-person sample pool only comes in as the 11th-highest. That means that while they are a solid choice, there are plenty of options that could provide more value.
This one is a little riskier than it may have looked several weeks ago. Arizona is coming off a win at Seattle last week and looks to be playing better at the end of head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s first season. They have now won three straight games. There is some concern that Kyler Murray was limited in practice, but current expectation is that he will play. If that changes, the value proposition on the Rams could go up a bit.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 9%
Point Spread: -16
New England gets the Dolphins at home in Week 17, and they have to play to win in order to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. It didn’t look like that would always be the case, but those entries that have saved New England have an excellent option this week.
New England is the top team by win odds, and has relatively low popularity for a team with 88% win odds. If you have them available, they are the top EV play this week. Our early recommendations are on the Patriots about twice as often as their public pick popularity.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 8%
Point Spread: -11
The Dallas Cowboys are part of the next tier of safety options behind New England, getting Washington at home. Dallas has to play to win (and hope that Philadelphia loses) in order to reach the playoffs.
We project them with 83% win odds, and with 8% pick popularity they come in as the third-best EV for the week.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 7%
Point Spread: -9
The Kansas City Chiefs have an outside shot at a bye and are expected to play the starters in this one. Their win odds (76%) put them at fifth-highest for the week. Kansas City also has the fifth-highest EV of the week.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 6%
Point Spread: -13
The Saints need to win, and have either San Francisco or Green Bay lose, in order to get a bye in the playoffs. Their win odds (82%) put them in the same tier with Green Bay and Dallas, just behind New England.
They are tied for the second-best EV this week in a 100-entry pool and make for another solid choice if available.
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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