Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool Picks: The Best Path to Start the Season
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) greets Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11)
- Six NFL teams are favorites of more than six points in Week 1.
- Travis Reed breaks down the best NFL survivor pool picks to start the 2019 season.
The 2019 NFL season is finally here and with it comes another year of survivor pool analysis and picks from yours truly.
Week 1 provides the full slate of teams to choose from, including six teams that are favorites of more than six points: Eagles, Ravens, Seahawks, Chargers, Cowboys and Saints.
Remember, it’s important to not only consider this week’s picks, but to also take a full-season approach to put yourself in the best position to win your NFL survivor pool.
Let’s get right to this week’s projected win percentages for the rest of the season.
Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool Picks
First of all, let’s look at some potential “choke points” for the season. Keep in mind the word potential is important here. Everything can be flipped on its head in just a few weeks in this league.
The Patriots in Week 6, Packers in Week 7 and Chiefs in Week 9 are the largest favorites in those given weeks, with other options not looking nearly as palatable. This isn’t going to affect our strategy this week, but something to keep in mind as we move along this season.
Here are the top options for Week 1 according to the model.
For those new to the article this season, the Games Left column shows how many games the team has remaining with a projected win percentage of 70% or higher. This is an arbitrary cutoff I use to get a feel for how many weeks a team is usable.
The Seahawks are the biggest favorites according to the model, and are also the most popular pick among players in Week 1. I don’t think Seattle is so popular that you have to avoid it, especially if you have multiple entries. You want to be underweight compared to the field, so something like 20% of your entries on Seattle would be fine.
The Browns and Saints are both contrarian plays but are a drop in win percentage and should have plenty of options later in the season.
Two teams that the model is low on compared to the market are the Cowboys and Chargers. The simulations believe the market overreacted to the Andrew Luck retirement for season-long wins, and it’s reflected in this week’s projected win percentage as well.
If you have been following the sim results, you know the Giants win total is one of our favorites of the season as well.
For single-entry contests, I think the decision comes down to the Eagles and Ravens. Given that Philadelphia is a slightly larger favorite in the model and a bigger favorite in the betting market, that is the play for me this week.
The Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
This also gets us “off schedule” in a couple of ways. We are fading the most popular team in Seattle, giving us the Seahawks as an option later. We are also off the “fade the worst team in the league” strategy.
Many in survivor pools will simply pick against the worst team each and every week until they get burned or have to switch off. This year, that is going to be the Dolphins, and you’ll see many entries employ this strategy so it’s good to differentiate from them as well.
Best of luck and let’s survive into Week 2.