October 9, 2019 - by Jason Lisk
Lamar Jackson has helped the Ravens ascend atop the AFC North (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire)
In this post, we’ll analyze the five most popular survivor pool picks of Week 6 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 6 survivor outlook. If numbers have changed significantly by Friday, we may update it later in the week.
For the second week in a row, the second most popular survivor pick of the week lost, this time the Chiefs at home to Indianapolis. That result eliminated about 23% of entries that were alive entering the week. The Chicago Bears (4.3% popularity) and Los Angeles Chargers (3.0% popularity) also snuck into the top five in popularity numbers by the end of the week, and both lost as well.
The overall public survival rate for Week 5 was about 68.6%, with the Chiefs’ loss making up nearly three-quarters of those eliminations.
Last week also marked the second week in a row where our subscribers largely avoided the second most popular choice, as Kansas City made up only 0.4% of our final subscriber pick recommendations. On the down side, our subscriber picks did recommend the Bears at a rate significantly higher than the public (12.2% vs. 4.3%), but they were also lower on the Chargers than the public was.
With our recommendations mirroring the public in taking the Eagles at a high rate, plus being more heavy on the Patriots (higher win odds and lower popularity compared to the Chiefs) and Vikings, overall it was great survival week for TR recommendations compared to the public. Our recommendations advanced at a 84.6% rate (87.8% in standard rules pools), vs. 68.6% for the public.
With the higher survival rate last week, the yearly edge for TR recommendations over the public also increased. The expected public survival rate through Week 5 is now at about 26% in standard rules pools, while TR recommendations have survived at a 35% rate (proportionally, that’s about 35% better than the public).
Miami is playing Washington this week and is only a 3.5-point underdog, so you’ll likely be looking elsewhere for your survivor pick. With that context, let’s analyze the five most popular survivor picks for 2019 Week 6.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 34%
Point Spread: -12
The Baltimore Ravens are back as the most popular choice for Week 6 (they were the second-most popular choice back in Week 2 against Arizona). Week 6 has always looked like one of the most likely weeks to use Baltimore, and they are a relatively safe choice this week with 82% win odds against the 0-5 Bengals.
Baltimore occupies their own tier when it comes to safety in Week 6. They are well behind the Patriots, but have win odds nearly 10% higher than the next choices on the board, the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers. The Cowboys were the most popular choice at 55% in Week 3 and the Chargers were selected by 44% of the public in Week 4 (in a week with a very high elimination rate), so those two teams are not available to many entries.
It’s no surprise then that Baltimore is very popular this week, and the majority of entries that still have them available are using them. The schedule gets much tougher for Baltimore after this game, and the next time we project them to have win odds above 70% in a game is in Week 15, at home against the Jets.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 23%
Point Spread: -16.5
The case for New England, as it seems like has been true most weeks, is they are the safest play on the board. It’s just a matter of deciding when to use them. They get the Giants on a short week, and New York looks like they could be without their top tight end Evan Engram, in addition to missing wide receiver Sterling Shepard and running backs Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman. All those absences mean the line is well above two touchdowns, and our models give New England a 91% chance of winning.
As has been the case all year, the Patriots also have the most future value. They suddenly look like a better option in Week 8 when they play the Browns at home, and also look like a great closing option for the final three weeks, when they play the Bengals, Bills, and Dolphins — though resting starters may muddy that picture. But this is also an attractive spot to use them, where they have nearly 10% better win odds than Baltimore, and 20% better win odds than everyone else.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 13%
Point Spread: -7.5
Dallas travels to face the Jets, and New York quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to play for the first time since Week 1. That makes this one a little riskier than it would have been if he was out, as the Jets offense has been awful without him. As it stands, Dallas’ win odds are at 73%.
This might be the best spot to use Dallas, though, if you still have them available. The only other week where they have higher projected win odds is in Week 17 against Washington at home.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 9%
Point Spread: -4.5
Compared to other teams in the top five in popularity this week, Green Bay has been little used so far in survivor. The only other week when they’ve attracted any survivor support was Week 3, when 8% of the public went with the Packers over the Broncos. They are more likely available for a greater number of entries, as there is a good chance that many that are still alive have already used some combination of the Ravens, Patriots, or Cowboys.
The Packers’ win odds are at 69% over the Lions at home, which is a little riskier than other top options in recent weeks, but not a huge drop from the Cowboys in terms of safety. But with two double digit spreads on the board this week, it is a big drop from the safest options.
As far as future value, the Packers don’t look like they will be an option in most future weeks, but they do look like a popular choice next week when hosting Oakland, and could also be the safest choice in Week 14 when they host Washington.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 4%
Point Spread: -5
Kansas City Chiefs backers got burned last week at home against an AFC South opponent. The Chiefs get another chance just a week later at home against Houston. The risk profile in this one is similar to Green Bay and not too far behind Dallas. You will want to keep an eye on injury news with the Chiefs’ offense, though. Tyreek Hill could return this week from the shoulder injury that has kept him out since Week 1, and Sammy Watkins also played only two snaps a week ago.
The Chiefs’ future value took a hit this week with the adjustment to their predictive rating after the loss to Indianapolis (combined with San Francisco surging). But thy still look like a great choice in both Weeks 13 and 15 when they play Oakland and Denver at home, if you do not use them this week.
The relative positive here is that relative to the Cowboys and Packers, the Chiefs have lower pick popularity, and you have to weigh that against saving them for the future.
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. In fact, there are a few other Week 6 choices that look attractive depending on your pools’ tiebreaker rules, size, and who else you have already used after the first five weeks. But 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, and we invite you to check it out.
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