Week 10 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2021)

Big Ben being ruled out is big news in Week 10 survivor pools, as they were the most popular pick in survivor pools heading to Sunday.

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have survived some key games, can they do it again? (Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

In this column, we explore strategies to maximize your edge in NFL survivor pools, also known as knockout or eliminator pools. We also provide some of the rationale behind picks potentially recommended by our NFL Survivor Picks product.

Week 10 Survivor Updates

We’ll add to this post every day until the Sunday kickoffs, so check back for updates.

Tuesday 11/9

Week 10 Early Most Popular Teams Summary

This is an early summary of the most popular picks so far in Week 10.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (32%) vs. Detroit Lions
  • Baltimore Ravens (18%) at Miami Dolphins
  • Dallas Cowboys (14%) vs. Denver Broncos
  • Indianapolis Colts (11%) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Arizona Cardinals (7%) vs. Carolina Panthers

The Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming in just below Arizona in early popularity numbers, and then there’s a drop-off.

Let’s go through the pros and cons of the top five in popularity.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are an attractive choice this week because they have basically no future value. Their schedule gets substantially harder after Detroit, and we have them projected as an underdog every week moving forward.

That doesn’t mean you have to use them, especially if you’ve made some picks in past weeks that saved future value. Because of their popularity and the win odds of less popular options, the Steelers have the lowest Expected Value of any of the top five picks this week.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have similar win odds to Pittsburgh, but they’re coming at almost half of the popularity right now. They do have some moderate future value, but this is the last week in which we currently project them with over 70 percent win odds.

So relative to Pittsburgh, they have a better EV.

The Ravens do have lower win odds than some less popular options with higher future value, which is why they have a modest 1.00 EV right now. Still, they may be a good option if you think more of your pool will be on Pittsburgh and you need to save teams like Buffalo and Arizona.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have a pretty solid EV this week and are a reasonable consideration. Their win odds are just above Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and they have slightly lower popularity.

This is offset some by their future value, though. They are the projected largest favorite of Thanksgiving week despite having win odds of only 70 percent against Las Vegas. That projects to be a fairly difficult survivor week coming up soon.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts likely come down to availability. They had high popularity in Week 6, and they were the most popular pick last week that advanced, in a week that took out half of all other entries. (Nearly 50 percent of all entries that advanced last week used the Colts.)

The Colts have a good EV again, with slightly higher win odds and lower popularity than the top three options. This would be a good week to use them if you still have them available.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona has similar EV to Indianapolis this week, but has more future value. Thus, preserving the Cardinals would behoove you unless you’ve used most of the other options.

The Cardinals rank third in our future value measure for a standard 100-entry pool. They’re likely to have higher or similar value in the following weeks:

  • at Chicago, Week 13
  • at Detroit, Week 15
  • vs. Indianapolis, Week 16

Week 13 and 15 in particular get pretty thin, especially with a majority of entries having already used most of the top options.

Tuesday 11/9

Week 9 Survivor Recap

Week 9 was another chaos week in survivor, with several big upsets.

The Colts were the second-most popular pick and started the week with a Thursday night victory, but Sunday’s games were treacherous across survivor pools. The Dallas Cowboys were the most popular public pick and laid an egg against Denver, while Buffalo lost to Jacksonville in the biggest upset of the season so far by win odds.

Here is a summary of the most popular picks for Week 9, and the results:

DallasDenver32%L, 30-16
IndianapolisNY Jets20%W, 45-30
BuffaloJacksonville12%L, 9-6
PittsburghChicago8%W, 29-27
MiamiHouston6%W, 17-9
BaltimoreMinnesota5%W, 34-31 (OT)
New OrleansAtlanta5%L, 27-25
Kansas CityGreen Bay2%W, 13-7
Las VegasNY Giants2%L, 23-16
LA ChargersPhiladelphia1%W, 27-24
LA RamsTennessee1%L, 28-16

Over half (52%) of all remaining entries were eliminated in survivor pools on average. Even if your pool pick distribution was different, it likely had a lot of eliminations considering five of the 11 teams with a pick popularity of 1 percent or more lost in Week 9.

Our recommendations largely avoided Dallas, but that was offset by New Orleans losing, as our recommendations were heavy on the Saints. 50 percent of all TR recommendations also lost last week.

For the season, about 11 percent of original entries are alive for the public, while about 16 percent of TR entries that started the season are still alive.


Survivor Strategy Articles and E-Book

If you’re serious about winning more survivor pools, you need to learn the key strategies that create edge. You can start with our free survivor strategy articles, which explain a number of the concepts we apply to our customized survivor pick recommendations.

We’ve also published a strategy e-book, “Survivor Pool Strategy: What It Takes To Win,” available for free download.


About Our Survivor Pool Advice

We break down the pros and cons of various survivor pick options in this column, but none of our advice is ever absolute.

Why don’t we just tell you the “best” survivor pick of the week? Because there is no universal “best pick” for all NFL survivor pools.

The best weekly pick for your pool depends on a variety of factors, including the number of entries still alive and your pool’s rules. For example:

  • Bigger pools reward more risk-taking.
    The more entries in your pool, the lower the chance you have to win it. In addition, you have a limited number of weeks to send hundreds or thousands of opponents to slaughter while you survive unscathed. As a result, bigger pools demand more focus on avoiding the most popular picks.
  • Non-standard rules change pick calculus.
    If your pool requires double picks late in the season, or if it’s a strike pool (i.e. your first incorrect pick doesn’t eliminate you), you don’t want to use the same pick strategy you’d use in a standard-rules pool. Those rule variations significantly influence decision factors, such as the value of saving good teams for later use.

Plus, what if you’ve already picked the team (or teams) that some article says is the best? What if the point spread for that “best pick” has gotten several points worse since the article was published? How should you spread your picks across multiple teams if you’re playing more than one entry?

Technology to the rescue

Other sites don’t understand this stuff, or they just ignore it because it’s complicated and hard. We’re the only site that has built algorithms to evaluate all the strategy factors that matter and provide you with customized survivor pick recommendations every week.

The result? Over the past four years, our subscribers have reported nearly $3 million in survivor pool winnings using our data-driven picks and tools.

So if you want to see all the Week 1 picks we recommend for your football pool, you need to use our NFL Survivor Picks product.

As another bonus, the product updates multiple times per day with the latest win odds and pick popularity data, so you’re never forced to make pick decisions based on stale data.

Why we write this column

At the same time, we know our subscribers like to understand the rationale behind picks the product may recommend, especially when those picks go against the grain. So over the years, we’ve started to write more about the “whys” behind our approach.

We also utilize this column to help educate our readers about survivor pool strategy. We highlight tactics proven to result in more survivor pool wins over the long term and point out common pitfalls to avoid.

Our goal with these articles is to dig deeper into the world of survivor pools than anyone else does, using an objective and data-driven lens. We’ll recap key results from the previous week, identify the most compelling picks of the current week, and evaluate the implications of breaking news on survivor strategy.

We hope you enjoy reading, and we encourage you to check out more of our survivor pool strategy articles.

Wednesday 11/10

Baltimore on Thursday Should Be Another Early Play

This Thursday’s game again should have survivor relevance again. Baltimore is playing at Miami as a 7.5-point favorite and is the second-most popular survivor pick for the week.

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