Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott
- Week 3 was a disaster for many playing in NFL survivor pools as the Vikings, Jaguars and Texans all lost as considerable favorites.
- Using Bet Labs' NFL simulations, we analyzed Week 4 to determine the best survivor pool picks.
So Week 3 in the NFL was … interesting. The Texans lost as 6.5-point favorites. The Jaguars lost as 10-point favorites. And the coup de grace for many was the Vikings being ousted as 16.5-point favorites by the Buffalo Bills.
I gave my reasoning for not taking the Vikings in last week’s analysis. Now I would love to boast about how I called this game, but I can’t. I don’t have a screenshot of a Bills moneyline bet. I simply followed the math.
Last week was a perfect illustration of how advancing to the next week and winning your pool are two mutually exclusive goals. Taking the Vikings was your best chance to survive, fading the Vikings was your best chance to win.
The above tweet is a good example. The equity gained when you get the massive upsets is so much greater than riding along with the masses. While some said that fading the Vikings last week was overthinking it, the exact opposite actually occurred.
All right, enough about Week 3. Let’s look at the games for Week 4 and beyond.
The percentages will change week to week as we get new information about each team, as well as with key injuries such as 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo being out for the season.
Here are the key stats for this week’s games. A reminder that Games Left is the number of games remaining with a projected win percentage of 70% or higher.
Also, I weighted Yahoo’s percentages more than ESPN’s because I believe Yahoo has a more indicative sample because players who have been eliminated are not allowed to continue making picks.
The Packers are the model’s most likely team to advance this week against the same Buffalo Bills who wrecked so many last week. Their only game projected to be easier is in Week 13 when they host the Cardinals.
I mentioned Garoppolo’s injury earlier and that has caused a majority of survivors to take the Chargers against the 49ers and C.J. Beathard. The model thinks the line has swung too far in the Chargers’ favor.
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The Jaguars are an interesting case because they couldn’t have looked better in Week 2 and couldn’t have looked worse in Week 3. Their defense should be a brutal test for Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold this week.
This is a strange week. There isn’t a glaring and obvious favorite to fade like last week. There are three teams at the top so I’m going to go with the model on this one.
The Pick: Green Bay Packers
I considered both the Packers and Jaguars and if you have entries in multiple pools remaining, I could easily see splitting your entries between the two teams. Ultimately, we’re getting one of the biggest favorites on the board without being in the large majority.
We’re also getting a chance to take the Packers with Rodgers still healthy (not a given down the road) while fading the Buffalo Bills who still aren’t a good team despite last week’s result.