Week 6 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2021)

The Week 6 survivor picks landscape continues to evolve with injury news. Plus, the Week 6 Loser Pool recommendations.

The Colts will try to run past the Texans in Week 6 (Jeffrey Brown/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 6 Survivor Updates

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

Tuesday 10/12

Week 6 Early Most Popular Teams Summary

Here are the most popular teams early on for Week 6. The top three on this list should typically be the most popular picks in many pools. The bottom of this list could change throughout the week.

  • Los Angeles Rams (37%) at New York Giants
  • Indianapolis Colts (27%) vs. Houston Texans
  • Kansas City Chiefs (14%) at Washington Football Team
  • Green Bay Packers (4%) at Chicago Bears
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4%) at Philadelphia Eagles

Only three teams have greater than 5% pick popularity right now. With about 14% of the early picks on teams outside of these five and none of those other teams being favored by six points or more, the popularity data may continue to shift toward the top three teams throughout the week.

Let’s go through some of the factors to consider with each.

Los Angeles Rams

  • The Rams (-10.5) are the largest favorite of the week, as they get the Giants in a week where QB Daniel Jones is currently in the concussion protocol. This one could still shift throughout the week depending on Jones’ availability, as well as where the pick popularity ends up based on that news.
  • The Rams currently have an EV of 1.04, which is good but not great.
  • If they had no or little future value, the Rams would be a great pick. But they have great near-term future value, so you don’t have to wait long to realize it.
  • The Rams were already a moderately popular choice back in Week 1, and over half of all entries in a typical pool will have used them after this week. If you can save them, they will have lower popularity in upcoming great matchups against the Lions (Week 7), at the Texans (Week 8) and vs. the Jaguars (Week 13). They’ll likely have a higher EV in all three of those weeks than they do this week.

Indianapolis Colts

  • The Colts are the second-biggest favorite this week (-9.5), as the Houston Texans will likely still be without QB Tyrod Taylor. Their pick popularity and EV (1.00) make them a potential choice.
  • They do have a little more future value than many might think for a 1-4 team, given that they play in the AFC South and still get three more games against the Jaguars and Texans after this matchup. However, their EV is lower than three other options on this list and even with Green Bay.
  • The Colts’ future value is also mostly in the next month, with home games against both the Jets and Jaguars in Weeks 9 and 10. So you don’t necessarily need to use the Colts now, as they could have a high EV in those weeks if their popularity is lower.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • The Chiefs have struggled and are off to a 2-3 start. They’re 32nd in points allowed, so it’s hard to trust their defense. But their Week 6 opponent, the Washington Football Team, is 31st in points allowed.
  • The Chiefs are favored by nearly a touchdown since they have the much better offense. At moderate popularity, their EV is at 1.01, just below the Rams and Bucs.
  • The results so far have impacted their future value. You shouldn’t necessarily be looking to save the Chiefs if you have a good matchup now.
  • The Chiefs do still have some future value (they get the Giants at home in Week 8), but they’re in consideration as a play to diversify off the two most popular picks. They are down to seventh in our future-value rankings in a 100-entry pool.

Green Bay Packers

  • The Packers get the Bears on the road, where they have traditionally had plenty of success. Green Bay has won nine of its last 10 games at Soldier Field.
  • The Packers are a riskier pick at about 67% win odds as a 4.5-point favorite, but they make up for it with low popularity when the public will be concentrated on a few other picks. With that said, their EV (0.94) is a little lower than the other popular options this week.
  • The Packers have moderate future value, but most of that is later in the year. How valuable they are to save versus to use this week as a contrarian pick may depend on your pool size and expected contest length.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Bucs have the highest EV of the week (1.05) given their relatively low popularity, but it isn’t a particularly high EV.
  • Tampa also has plenty of future value and will likely have even more value in other upcoming weeks.
  • Thus, saving Tampa for a better week than this one is likely the best play.

Tuesday 10/12

Week 5 Survivor Recap

Week 5 was a wild week that ended up with almost every entry getting through. But it sure didn’t look that way for a while. Several top survivor options narrowly survived the week.

  • Minnesota blew a 10-point late lead despite having the ball with just over three minutes remaining. The Vikings were trailing with 37 seconds left, but they won with a last-second field goal.
  • New England trailed Houston in the fourth quarter but kicked a late field goal to win.
  • Baltimore was down by 16 to Indianapolis in the fourth quarter before winning in overtime.

About 97% of an average pool advanced.

We normally list the biggest eliminations in a table, but after the smoke cleared, the Raiders losing to the Bears was the only survivor-relevant loss. So, no need for a table this week.

We had recommended the Raiders as a diversity pick to 10% of entries. That part hurt. On the other hand, the picks that did get through saved future value relative to others.

Tampa Bay and Dallas were impressive in their respective wins. You know what that means? They have higher future value now, and both teams were already well off in that category.

We might look back in Week 12 (when the Bucs and Cowboys are the two largest projected favorites in a difficult week) and see the way this week shook out as vital.


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 10/13

Saving Future Value and Going Contrarian

Before we get into the discussion of some deeper strategy this week, there are a few outstanding news items that we will be monitoring.

The primary one that has potential to shift pick recommendations is Giants QB Daniel Jones’ health status. Jones is currently in concussion protocol.

According to ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan, head coach Joe Judge said Jones is “on track with everything.” But he still hasn’t been cleared or practiced, so this is still an evolving situation.

Most sportsbooks have released a line on this game, with the Rams favored by 10.5 points. However, the potential for line movement exists here.

Given that the Rams are the largest favorite and the most popular pick at the moment, that matters a lot. In the hour since the news about Jones broke, the line has dropped a point against the Rams, and their market win odds shifted from 84 percent to 82 percent.

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