Week 17 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2021)

Week 17 NFL Survivor picks with just two weeks to go include the Patriots, 49ers, Seahawks, Saints and the Bears.

Week 17 Survivor Picks

The Patriots will face the lowly Jaguars in Week 17 (Fred Kfoury III/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 17 Survivor Updates

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


Tuesday 12/28

Week 17 Early Most Popular Teams Summary

This is an early summary of the most popular picks so far in Week 17.

  • Seattle Seahawks (22%) vs. Detroit Lions
  • New England Patriots (19%) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
  • San Francisco 49ers (18%) vs. Houston Texans
  • New Orleans Saints (5%) vs. Carolina Panthers
  • Chicago Bears (5%) vs. New York Giants
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5%) at New York Jets

We include a bonus sixth team since there is a three-way tie for the fourth-most popular spot.

Here is some quick analysis for this week:

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are far more available than the teams with higher win odds above them (NE, BUF, SF, TB), and that is driving their higher popularity. However, there are plenty of other options with only slightly lower win odds, so Seattle does not have a great EV (0.93).

The Seahawks are a decent choice, but it might be worth taking a slight risk to avoid the popular team this week.

New England Patriots

If you have held the Patriots until now, it’s probably time to use them.

They have the highest win odds of the week going against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and a really good EV.

San Francisco 49ers

Just as with the Patriots, now is the time to use San Francisco with only two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Although QB Jimmy Garoppolo is questionable after suffering a torn UCL and thumb fracture in Thursday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans, the 49ers are still a big favorite over the Houston Texans. However, they do have No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance available to start.

San Francisco has win odds of 87 percent even after a line adjustment downward following the news about Garoppolo’s injury.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints won’t have Ian Book at QB this week, and they’ll be playing a Carolina team that is in disarray, can’t settle on a QB, and has lost 10 of 12 games. Add in that the Saints looked terrible against the Dolphins on Monday Night Football (albeit without many of their starters) and lost to the Panthers back in Week 2, and they’re far less popular than Seattle.

But the Saints and Seahawks are very close by win odds, so New Orleans has the slightly better EV as a result. The Saints should rank near the top of potential contrarian options if you don’t have one of the biggest favorites this week.

Chicago Bears

Chicago gets a New York Giants team that also has major QB issues with Daniel Jones out. The Giants are averaging only 11.5 points over their last six games and have topped 13 points only once.

The Bears have win odds similar to Seattle and New Orleans, which makes them another potential survivor option this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If you still have the Bucs, they are a great option.

Unless you also have the Pats or 49ers, you may want to go ahead and use them rather than save them for next week against Carolina.


Tuesday 12/28

Week 16 Survivor Recap

Here is a summary of the most popular picks for Week 16, and the results:

TeamOpponentPopularityResult
LA ChargersHouston37%L, 41-29
PhiladelphiaNY Giants19%W, 34-10
AtlantaDetroit9%W, 20-16
New OrleansMiami7%TBD
SeattleChicago6%L, 25-24
DallasWashington3%W, 56-14
Kansas CityPittsburgh3%W, 36-10
Green BayCleveland3%W, 24-22
Las VegasDenver2%W, 17-13
BaltimoreCincinnati2%L, 41-21
CincinnatiBaltimore1%W, 41-21
Tampa BayCarolina1%W, 32-6
NY JetsJacksonville1%W, 26-21
JacksonvilleNY Jets1%L, 26-21

For the seventh time this year, the most popular public pick lost. That’s incredible considering that the most popular picks started off 7-0.

The Chargers’ loss, along with the Seattle loss, took out the biggest chunk of entries, with over half (55%) getting eliminated.

About 33 percent of TR subscribers were eliminated, almost all due to the Chargers and Seahawks. Our most frequent recommendation was Philadelphia, who made up nearly half of all TR subscriber picks last week.


FYI

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.


FYI

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 12/29

How the Week 17 Survivor Picks are Shaping Up

As we head into Week 17, here’s how our pick recommendations are lining up.

Get access to all NFL survivor pool content, picks and tools

Free subscription offers now available!

Subscribe now