Week 8 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2021)
The Cincinnati Bengals are leading the way as the most popular pick of Week 8 survivor pools, but there are other options.
Ja'Marr Chase has been the breakout star of the 2021 season (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 8 Survivor Updates
- Sunday: Week 8 Sunday Pick Rates and Recommendations
- Saturday: Loser Pool Picks for Week 8
- Friday: Line Moves Drive Alternative Options Down, Biggest Favorites Up
- Thursday: Using the EV Calculator to Adapt Picks to Pool Popularity
- Wednesday: Early Breakdown of Week 8 Recommendations
- Tuesday: Week 8 Most Popular Teams
- Tuesday: Week 7 Survivor Recap
- FYI: Survivor Strategy Articles and E-Book
- FYI: About Our Survivor Pool Advice
We’ll add to this post every day until the Sunday kickoffs, so check back for updates.
Week 8 Early Most Popular Teams Summary
This is an early quick summary of the most popular picks so far in Week 8.
- Cincinnati Bengals (40%) at New York Jets
- Kansas City Chiefs (21%) vs. New York Giants
- Buffalo Bills (15%) vs. Miami Dolphins
- Los Angeles Rams (11%) at Houston Texans
- Seattle Seahawks (5%) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Currently, no other teams have more than 3% pick popularity.
Let’s quickly go through each of these teams.
The Bengals are a 10-point favorite against the Jets based on both teams’ performances last week combined with Jets QB Zach Wilson’s injury. The Jets just traded for veteran Joe Flacco, though Mike White, who threw his first career regular-season pass last week, will likely get his first start in Week 8.
The Bengals do have high popularity at 41 percent right now. That is bringing their EV down (0.96) in a week where the Bills and Rams are even bigger favorites.
With that said, they do have the lowest future value, which is why they are more popular. Cincinnati’s schedule gets tougher after this week.
Our recommendations were also heavier on Cincinnati back in Week 4 against Jacksonville. Prior usage may play a role here depending on the pool type.
Kansas City Chiefs
With yet another poor effort, the Chiefs’ power rating has dropped, and their future value continues to plummet. They are now outside our top 10 in future value for the rest of the season.
The Chiefs’ highest projected win-odds game is this week against the Giants, where they’re favored by 10 points. We do not project them with greater than 70 percent win odds for the rest of the year.
Since the Chiefs have higher EV than Cincinnati and half the popularity, you can make a case for using them while saving future value with the Bills and Rams.
The Bills have a strong EV (1.12) given their high win odds and lower popularity compared to the Bengals and Chiefs. That makes them a reasonable choice this week.
With that said, the Bills also have the highest future value of any team. If you have other reasonable alternatives, using one of them could allow you to save Buffalo for an even higher-value week.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are the biggest favorite of the week and are less popular than the other three choices. That gives them an EV of 1.16, which is the highest EV of any team (using average public pick popularity data) so far this season.
Based on that, the Rams are a strong pick this week. However, you do still have to account for future value, where the Rams rank third, behind only Buffalo and Tampa Bay.
Most of the Rams’ future value is tied up in Week 13, where they host the Jaguars in a week where there are otherwise limited options right now. So the Rams’ value is better in smaller pools that are more likely to be done by Week 13 or have only a few entries left.
The Seahawks are a poor value pick this week in Survivor pools, with an EV of 0.75. They are favored by only three points against the Jaguars.
They would have been in contention as a survivor pick this week with Russell Wilson at QB. But he’s still hurt, so Geno Smith remains under center.
This popularity number may go down a bit. But even if it does, the Seahawks are too risky this week. They also have some good future value late in the season when Wilson could return.
Week 7 Survivor Recap
Another week, more big favorites advancing through. For the third week in a row, well over 95 percent of the survivor pool entries have advanced.
In Week 7, the five most popular picks advanced. Three of them were heavy double-digit favorites with win odds of 85 percent or more. The Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots also ended up winning comfortably to carry almost everyone through.
Here is a summary of the most popular picks for Week 7, and the results:
|Green Bay||Washington||19%||W, 24-10|
|New England||NY Jets||14%||W, 54-13|
|LA Rams||Detroit||12%||W, 28-19|
|Tampa Bay||Chicago||4%||W, 38-3|
|Carolina||NY Giants||1%||L, 25-3|
Unlike some recent high-survival weeks, there wasn’t much last-second drama.
The Rams played the closest game, as Detroit was aggressive with a surprise onside kick and fake punt early. The Lions had a 10-0 lead before the Rams offense even touched the ball. But the Rams went on a game-sealing drive to kick a field goal to go up by nine points late in the game.
Green Bay also survived, though it wasn’t tight late. Washington failed on two 4th-and-shorts at the goal line and had a red-zone turnover in the second half, or it could have been a tight game. Those fails included this Taylor Heinicke dive for the goal line being reversed because he “gave himself up” short of the end zone.
Baltimore and Carolina were the two biggest losses, knocking out just over 1 percent of the public each. Neither was close late.
In the end, about 97 percent of all entries advanced to Week 8.
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.
- Want to win your pool? Don’t just try to survive
- The “Holy Trinity” of survivor pick strategy data
- Expected Value: What it is & why it matters
- Future value: What it is & why it matters
- Why pool size should influence your picks
- How survivor pool rules affect pick strategy
- Playing multiple entries in NFL survivor pools
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.
Early Breakdown of Week 8 Recommendations
Here’s an overview of how are recommendations are looking as we head into Week 8.