October 2, 2019 - by Jason Lisk
Are you ready to hand off your survivor hopes to the Patriots? (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)
In this post, we’ll analyze the five most popular survivor pool picks of Week 5 2019 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 5 Survivor outlook. If numbers have changed by Friday, we may update it later in the week.
The Rams were the second most popular Week 4 survivor pick with 29% national pick popularity, and lost to Tampa Bay. That was the single biggest survivor elimination result so far in 2019. Indianapolis and Baltimore were also in the top five most popular choices last week and lost. The Chiefs, who were the fourth most popular choice, survived with a late touchdown after trailing with one minute remaining.
For our premium subscribers, we recommended taking the Chargers last week at a rate even higher than the public was selecting them (49% versus 44% for the public), and largely avoided the Rams (6% versus 29% for the public), who weren’t that much safer than some other options but were far more popular. That part of our strategy worked out beautifully.
The bad news was that fading the Rams (as well as the third most popular choice, Indianapolis) meant favoring less popular picks like the Ravens and Texans, and both of those teams were upset as well. Overall, both the public and TeamRankings subscriber pick recommendations via our NFL Survivor Picks product were eliminated nearly half the time in Week 4, with the public surviving at a 54.6% rate while TR recommendations survived 52.2% of the time.
If you combine all four weeks so far, you would expect that about 38% of all public entries are still alive heading into Week 5. In comparison, around 42% of all TR subscriber pick recommendations have survived, so we’re still ahead on the season.
The biggest news as far as survivor pools are concerned is that Miami is on a bye this week, so you will not have the Dolphins to pick against. With that context, let’s analyze the five most popular survivor picks for 2019 Week 5.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 45%
Point Spread: -13
There are three choices this week with similar safety profiles. The Eagles are the most popular choice, over the Chiefs and Patriots, because of their relatively low usage so far and their much lower future value. Week 5 has always been one of the more attractive spots to consider using the Eagles, and with Jets quarterback Sam Darnold still not cleared for contact and the team likely to still start Luke Falk, it’s a fairly safe matchup as well. Betting market odds give the Eagles about an 86% chance of survival, which is slightly down from where the Chargers were a week ago as the most popular option.
With that said, 45% pick popularity is quite high, especially when there are some similarly safe options this week. If you stay away from Philadelphia this week, the next likely survivor spot for them is in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 24%
Point Spread: -11
The Chiefs are third in terms of safety profile this week, with an 83% chance of winning based on betting market odds. Our models are slightly down on the Chiefs this week, having them at a 79% chance of winning. But either way, there is still a solid gap in terms of safety between the Chiefs (currently an 11-point favorite) and next safest team (the Chargers as a 6.5-point favorite).
This is also the first week this season where KC is a large double digit favorite, so while the Chiefs have been consistently in or around the top five most popular choices each week, they have never been used by more than 6% of entries until now.
One reason to consider holding on to the Chiefs and not playing them just yet? Future value. They have even higher projected win odds in Week 13 (Oakland) and Week 15 (Denver) and could be a good counter to entries that will be playing against the Miami Dolphins in both of those weeks.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 16%
Point Spread: -15
The Patriots are the safest team in terms of win odds this week, with an 88% chance of victory over Washington according to both the betting markets and our models. Add in that they are only the third most popular survivor pick, and are well behind Philadelphia in terms of pick popularity, and that’s a compelling combination.
The biggest issue is that New England still has the highest future value of any NFL team, though the gap between the Patriots and Chiefs has closed. If you don’t use New England this week, the next two potential options are next week at home against the Giants and Week 7 at the Jets. But with the Giants showing signs of life with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, and Sam Darnold likely to be back for the Jets in two weeks, those games may not be the cupcakes they looked like previously. (The Patriots do get Miami again, but that is in Week 17 when starters may be resting.)
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 3%
Point Spread: -6.5
Only about 15% of entries this week are going with a team other than the Eagles, Chiefs, or Patriots. Of those other options, the Chargers have the best odds of winning, at 73%.
The vast majority of entries that are still alive have already used the Chargers. That’s what happens coming off a week where only about 55% of the public survived, and most of those survivors picked the Chargers. In fact, their survivor availability is the lowest of any NFL team. If you still have them and want to diversify from more popular picks, this week may be your best spot. If you do not use the Chargers this week, the next week they look like a top option is in Week 16 at home against Oakland.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 3%
Point Spread: -5.5
Minnesota has about a 69% chance of beating the Giants on the road, a significant safety drop from the top three options this week. They do not have a lot of future value, but they do look like the second-safest option in Week 8 when they host Washington, and could be a solid counter move to all the entries using Pittsburgh against Miami that week.
The teams mentioned in this post are the most popular picks this week, but that doesn’t mean one of them is the best pick for you. Every possible survivor pick has an expected value and future value associated with it, and those values vary based on the characteristics of your pool. It takes a lot of data and math to figure out which pick (or combination of picks, if you’re playing multiple entries) gives the biggest boost to your expected survivor pool winnings.
We built our NFL Survivor Picks product to do all of this analytical work for you. You answer a few questions about your pool’s size and rules, and it provides customized pick recommendations for your pool using the latest matchup data, betting market odds, and public picking trends from national survivor pool sites. The product even recommends exactly how you should split a “portfolio” of multiple survivor pool entries across two or more teams.
Over the past two years our subscribers have reported nearly $1.5 million in survivor pool winnings, so we invite you to check it out.
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