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NFL Survivor Pool Analysis: Avoid the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3

Sep 20, 2018 3:48 PM EDT
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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins

  • The Minnesota Vikings are 16.5-point favorites over the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, making them a very popular survivor pool pick.
  • However, with so many people picking the Vikings, it's smart contest strategy to avoid them this week.
  • Using our NFL simulations, we offer the week's best survivor pool pick.

Welcome to Week 3 of your NFL survivor pool. If you are reading this, you have likely dodged, dipped, ducked, dived and dodged all the NFL upsets so far.

Last week, I took the Rams and had no problems breezing past the Cardinals. While my personal picks might not be available to me, I’ll continue to include all viable teams in the analysis in case you went in another direction.

Here are the projected winning percentages for all games for the remainder of the season:

There are five teams with a projected 70% chance to win this week. This is an arbitrary cutoff that I look for each week, but you can certainly dip a little lower, especially in later weeks.

The “Games Left” column refers to the number of games that each team has left with a projected win percentage of 70% or higher.

That’s a massive number selecting the Vikings this week. Or more likely, it’s a massive number fading the Bills. This will be a recurring theme this season just as it was with the Browns last season.

If the Bills go 0-16, we probably aren’t going to win our pools using a contrarian strategy, but I’m going to stick with it.

So the Vikings are an automatic pass for me. If the Bills miraculously win this game on Sunday, nearly two-thirds of your pool is out. While it is unlikely, that’s what we are rooting for.


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The next biggest favorite according to the simulation is Philadelphia. This is higher than the current betting market and it’s mainly due to the return of Carson Wentz. Nick Foles may be a folk hero in Philly, but Wentz is the better quarterback by a fair margin.

The Jaguars have an asterisk next to their name because we don’t know which quarterback they will be facing. The percentage above presumes we’ll see Blaine Gabbert under center. If Mariota returns to the starting lineup, you can dismiss the Jaguars and save them for later.

The Rams are once again an option, even against a good team such as the Chargers. Deshaun Watson hasn’t looked good so far, but the Texans are worth consideration against a really bad Giants team.

The Pick: Philadelphia Eagles

Taking Wentz in his first game back is a little worrisome, I get it. But the numbers show this is likely to be the Eagles’ easiest game all season, so I like to strike while the iron is hot.

This also gets us “off-schedule” as I like to call it. Not only does going contrarian help this week, but it also gives us contrarian options in upcoming weeks.

Scroll back up to the grid for the rest of the season and take a gander at Week 6. There aren’t many options that week, and the best of the bunch looks like the Vikings at home against the Cardinals.

Let’s use some foresight and save the Vikings for later and go with the defending champs in their easiest game of the year.

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