Week 5 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2022)

Week 5 of the 2022 NFL season in survivor pools is one where the Buffalo Bills will be popular. But should you save them?

Welcome to the 2022 Survivor Season, Josh Allen and the Bills (Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

Week 5 is here in NFL survivor pools. After a starting schedule that included the Rams, Titans, Dolphins, and Ravens, the Buffalo Bills have finally made their first appearance as a true survivor option, something that will become a regular occurrence over the rest of the season.

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

We plan to periodically update this post until Sunday of Week 5 arrives, and we will also be posting video updates throughout the week as well, so check our articles section for those. Here’s what’s available now:

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Five Most Popular Week 5 Survivor Picks

Here are the most popular teams early on for Week 5 of the 2022 NFL season:

  • Buffalo Bills (33%) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (18%) vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (13%) vs. Houston Texans
  • Minnesota Vikings (10%) vs. Chicago Bears
  • Green Bay Packers (7%) vs. New York Giants (in London)

Let’s briefly go through the five most popular options.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are a 14-point favorite against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5, which makes them the largest favorite of the year so far. Their high win odds (87%) are going to make them an attractive option this week.

Those win odds put the Bills more than 10% higher than any other option this week, representing a pretty significant safety edge. With the exception of Tampa Bay, every other option this week is at least twice as likely to lose, based on our model odds.

Of course, the trade-off with Buffalo is future value. We currently project the Bills as the biggest favorite in five future weeks, starting in Week 9. If at least a third of pool entries are using them this week, that means they could be less popular and higher-value plays in some of those upcoming weeks.

The trade-off of using the Bills now versus saving them falls may depend on how large your pool is and how deep into the season you need to go (and if you have multiple pick weeks later in the year).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay is the second-biggest favorite, at -8.5 against Atlanta. The Bucs do have reasonably high popularity (18%) for a second choice. Given Buffalo’s relative win odds and reduced chances of losing, Tampa Bay only has a solid-but-not-great EV this week.

The Bucs also have decent future value, although this does look like one of the best spots to use them from a safety perspective.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville has relatively low future value and is favored by a touchdown this week against Houston. Those factors have pushed the Jaguars up in popularity. (They are coming in around 13% right now.)

That popularity reduces their EV, as they are more popular than several other teams with similar (or better) win odds. That makes the Jags a relative lower-value play now.

However, they could help you save lots of value if they get through in a week where the best team to save, Buffalo, will be heavily used.

Minnesota Vikings

Like Jacksonville, the Vikings are favored by a touchdown this week when they face the Bears at home.

So far, there have been only five cases where a team played the week after a London game, and those teams are 2-2-1 against the spread. There isn’t a noticeable trend in that admittedly small sample size.

The Vikings are currently below Jacksonville in popularity, so they have a little better EV than the Jaguars. They do have a little more future value, but that is marginal.

The drop-off from the top eight teams in future value to everyone else is fairly large right now, and the Vikings are not among those highest-value options going forward.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers, as we noted last week, are third in our future value rankings, after they were extremely popular. Only the Bills and Eagles are more valuable to have going forward.

The Packers do have lower popularity and slightly higher win odds than some other options this week, as they are favored by eight points against the Giants in the London game. This is one to keep an eye on, because we currently don’t know the status of Giants QB Daniel Jones after he suffered an ankle injury last week. The odds could shift if he is ruled out.

Short of that shift, the Packers’ EV is solid but not spectacular, particularly when they project as a bigger favorite next week at home against the Jets. No team next week is likely to be favored by as much as the Bills are now.

As always, you can get the most up-to-date popularity data in our Data Grid. Check your specific pool rankings and recommendations to see what makes sense for you.


Tuesday 10/4

Week 4 Survivor Recap

Week 4 featured a really popular team in Green Bay and lots of alternative options that carried a little more risk. In the end, the Packers held on, but it wasn’t easy against a New England team that was down to third-string rookie QB Bailey Zappe by the end of the game.

Here is a summary of the most popular picks for Week 4, and the results:

TeamOpponentPopularityResult
Green BayNew England46%W, 27-24 (OT)
LA ChargersHouston12%W, 34-24
PhiladelphiaJacksonville11%W, 29-21
DetroitSeattle6%L, 48-45
DallasWashington5%W, 25-10
PittsburghNY Jets5%L, 24-20
MinnesotaNew Orleans3%W, 28-25
CincinnatiMiami3%W, 27-15
NY GiantsChicago2%W, 20-12
IndianapolisTennessee1%L, 24-17

Based on our public pick data, about 85% of the public survived Week 4, while 15% got eliminated, with Detroit and Pittsburgh being the two biggest losses.

Meanwhile, our picks almost entirely avoided the Packers. We focused on the Chargers, Bengals, Colts, plus some Vikings (on Sunday morning) and Eagles. With the Colts loss (plus a few entries on Pittsburgh) about 74% of our recommendations got through the week, and 26% were eliminated or took a loss.

Overall Season Summary

After four weeks, about 12% of all public entries are still alive (assuming no strikes and standard rules).

Meanwhile, about 32% of PoolGenius subscriber entries are still alive. That now puts our subscriber base as a whole at a little less than three times the public survival rate.

In addition, our subscribers should have more future value available on their entries on average compared to the public, especially after a week where over half of the advancing public entries used Green Bay.


FYI

Survivor Strategy Articles

If you’re serious about winning more survivor pools, it pays to learn the strategies that give you a long-term 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:


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 can’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 survivor 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 fixed number of weeks to send hundreds (or even thousands, in really big pools) of opponents to slaughter while you survive unscathed. As a result, your best strategy for bigger pools generally demands more of a focus on avoiding the most popular picks.
  • Non-standard rules change optimal pick strategy.
    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 exact same pick strategy that you’d use in a standard-rules survivor pool. Those rule variations significantly influence decision factors, such as whether you should be more inclined to save a good team for later vs. use it now.

And then there’s all this stuff:

  • What if you’ve already picked the team (or teams) that some article says is the best pick this week?
  • 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

As far as we know, we’re the only site that has built algorithms that evaluate all of the strategy factors that matter in survivor pools and provide you with customized survivor pick recommendations based on the data updated multiple times a day.

The result? Since 2017, our subscribers have reported over $3.7 million in survivor pool winnings using our data-driven picks and tools.

If you want to see all the picks we recommend for your pool, use our NFL Survivor Picks product.

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.

This column can also 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.

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


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