Week 15 NFL Survivor Pool Picks, Analysis: The Overvalued Favorite to Avoid
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) meets San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
- With NFL survivor pool options dwindling, there's one favorite to avoid picking this week.
- Travis Reed uses his model to determine the smartest picks to keep you alive through Week 15.
Last week was another that knocked out a lot of users as the most popular pick went down yet again. In Week 14, nearly one-third of all users on Yahoo picked the Houston Texans, who allowed 38 points to Drew Lock and the Denver Broncos in a stunning home loss.
Even in the late portion of the season, it pays to go contrarian if you can. Of course, it’s not that easy if you don’t have that many options remaining. As ugly as it was, the Jets were a better play last week than the Texans because of the ground you could make up if both games broke your way.
We are down to the final three weeks, meaning 14 teams are marked off your list as options, and some of you even have to make multiple picks or continue through to the playoffs which adds another wrinkle.
I’ll also mention some Week 17 scenarios that could result in teams resting.
Here are the projected win percentages for the final three weeks of the season.
And here are the top options this week with their pick percentages and remaining games left.
Week 15 NFL Survivor Pool Picks, Analysis
If you have gotten this far without using Baltimore, kudos to you. Assuming Lamar Jackson is cleared to play, you probably just want to plug the Ravens in unless you are playing into the playoffs.
New England is in a similar situation, although its easiest game is the final week of the season at home against Miami. Given where the Patriots are in the standings and Belichick’s history, I would not bank on them resting in Week 17, so you could save them if you have another option this week.
If you have San Francisco left, use it now. The 49ers’ next two games are against divisional opponents in the Rams and Seahawks and neither game is going to be as easy as hosting the Falcons.
My model likes the Broncos’ chances of another upset more than the betting market does right now. The Chiefs aren’t overly popular this week, but consider dropping down to the Saints or Eagles if you think most of your opponents will go with Kansas City.
If you are really in a bind, then might I recommend the New York Giants? Once you are done vomiting, just realize they are at home against the Dolphins. Just like the Jets last week, it may be ugly but a win is a win. I’d prefer the Giants over teams like the Titans, Packers or Buccaneers this week.
What about Seattle? The model is low on the Seahawks this week. Their 10-3 record is somewhat of a mirage when you look at Pythagorean wins and some other statistical rates. They are a complete fade for me.
If you are looking ahead (which you 100% should be) and the options are slim going forward, here are some teams that I can see opening up, specifically in Week 17:
- Pittsburgh: Baltimore could have the 1-seed locked up and decide to rest players in the final game, even against a divisional foe.
- Seattle: Same story in the NFC if the 49ers wrap up home-field advantage in the next two weeks.
- Carolina: If Green Bay loses a game, New Orleans could be locked into the 2-seed and rest Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and some other players, although Teddy Bridgewater filled in admirably in Brees’ absence this season.
- Washington: The Cowboys, with a couple of wins or an Eagles loss this week, could have the NFC East locked down with no chance to move up in the seeding.
- NY Giants: The same is true for the Eagles if they were to win the next two weeks and the Cowboys lose at home to the Rams on Sunday.