October 23, 2019 - by Jason Lisk
Kirk Cousins is looking for revenge against Washington this week, and the Vikings are the most popular survivor choice (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
In this post, we’ll analyze the five most popular survivor pool picks of Week 8 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 8 survivor outlook. If numbers have changed significantly by Friday, we may update it later in the week.
The five most popular choices last week all won, and as a result the public survived at a 98.5% rate for the week. That’s what happens when Buffalo and San Francisco make up nearly 90% of all public picks.
Depending on pool type and remaining size, our advice was spread across several teams, including some less popular choices. The Bills were still highly recommended in small pools that were nearing the end game, and in standard rules pools. We also, though, recommended the Packers and Bears to several entries, especially those with multiple entries and non-standard rules such as late season multi-pick weeks and season wins tiebreakers.
The goal there was to preserve Buffalo and San Francisco for entries, because both are likely to be among the safest options in Weeks 9 and 11, but will be less popular by then and thus provide higher value. That worked with the Packers picks but not the Bears. Primarily due to the Chicago loss, 70.2% of all our subscriber recommendations survived the week. Even with this result, in terms of overall survival, our subscriber recommendations across all pool types are still up on the public this season. About 19% of all public entries have survived to this point, compared to around 22% for our recommendations.
The further silver lining is that the surviving entries for our subscribers are better positioned in the near future when it comes to having safer options in upcoming weeks. Those that used the Bills will have a tougher choice in Week 9, when the Jets will be a popular choice against the Dolphins.
Week 8 has several teams that are favored by double digits, providing multiple options this week that provide a reasonable amount of safety. With that context, let’s analyze the five most popular survivor picks for 2019 Week 8.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 49%
Point Spread: -16
Minnesota has scored 108 points over the last three games. Washington has scored 24 total points during the same time frame. That’s a good illustration of where these two teams are, and why the Vikings have the highest win odds of Week 8 (our models put them at 90% to win).
The Vikings are the most popular choice this week, with their popularity pushing toward 50% early on. One thing you do have to consider is that they also have the highest future value (besides New England) of any of the likely options this week, and are now tied for the 4th highest future value of any team (behind only the Patriots, 49ers, and Chiefs).
That’s especially important to consider if you already used Buffalo or San Francisco last week, because Minnesota’s other highest win odds spot is in Week 11 against Denver at home, when the 49ers and Bills are the other safest options.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 23%
Point Spread: -14.5
The Steelers have the second-highest win odds this week, and are not far behind the Vikings, and could reasonably be considered part of the same safety tier. (The betting market implied odds have them at 88% while our models give them an 85% chance of winning).
Pittsburgh also has far lower future value than other options. If you don’t use them here, there’s no other obvious spot where they would be in consideration based on what we know now. For pools where season total wins are a tiebreaker, they are also an attractive option, given that they are likely to finish with eight or fewer wins. You would have to place your faith in a team quarterbacked by Mason Rudolph in survivor, but then again, the opponent is the Dolphins, and the Steelers are coming in at half the popularity of Minnesota.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 17%
Point Spread: -13
The Rams are also nearly as safe as Minnesota and Pittsburgh, with win odds of around 83%. They are also much less popular than the Vikings, and are a good way to diversify your entry. It is a game on a neutral field in London, but that is accounted for in the spread.
The Rams do have decent value, though that depends on your pool size. One of the most likely spots to use them in the future is in Week 17 (vs. Arizona) when most of the other higher win odds choices will likely be used up. If you are in the end game in a pool that is less likely to get to that point, the Rams are a consideration here as a pick that provides decent safety and potential diversification from other entries.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 4%
Point Spread: -9.5
The Saints line is off the board at the moment, based on the possibility that Drew Brees could return. [Wednesday afternoon update: the line has now been set at 9.5 points.] More likely, the Saints go with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback for another week and then get the bye week before a Brees return. Either way, the Saints are going to be a favorite of over a touchdown, and our current projected win odds put this one at 74%.
That is a bit lower than the safety of the top options. Considering that you would need multiple upsets (or a big one with Minnesota) to impact a large chunk of your pool, the Saints are a little less attractive as a contrarian play. The Saints also look like an even better option in Week 10 after their bye, as they get the Falcons at home.
Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 1%
Point Spread: -13
The Patriots are usually going to be a high EV play, and this week is no exception. They have a similar safety profile to Minnesota, the Rams, and Steelers but are far less popular as most entries have used them.
If they are still available, though, you have to weigh whether this is the best week to use them, as they have the highest future value (yes, we sound like a broken record) and will be a great closing option in Weeks 15 to 17.
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 8 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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