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Week 17 NFL Survivor Pool Picks, Analysis: How to Finish the Season Strong

Week 17 NFL Survivor Pool Picks, Analysis: How to Finish the Season Strong article feature image

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans with New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28).

  • With motivation a big factor in Week 17, staying up-to-date on playoff scenarios is key when making survivor pool picks.
  • Travis Reed uses his model to determine the smartest picks to finish the season strong.

It is the final week of the NFL regular season, which signals the end of survivor pools. The strategy of this week is usually pretty straightforward. The trick of this particular week is figuring out which teams have something to play for.

As of right now, there is only one team that we KNOW is resting Sunday and that is the Baltimore Ravens. Even with MVP Lamar Jackson sitting out, the model doesn’t like the Steelers’ chances of going into Baltimore and getting a win.

The Chiefs are very unlikely to rest as a loss could move them from the 3-seed to the 4-seed. They also have a longshot chance to move up if they get a miracle upset from the Dolphins.

The Saints could rest late if it appears that the Packers are clearly going to win. Their game means nothing once Green Bay wins as the Saints’ seed will be determined by the NFC West battle in Seattle.

With those factors out of the way, here are the projected win percentages for Week 17.

Week 17 NFL Survivor Pool Picks, Analysis

Going contrarian doesn’t mean as much in the final week because it is hard for everyone to have similar options left. For example, the Rams are the most popular option on Yahoo at 29%, which the simulations aren’t a fan of assuming Kyler Murray plays.

In a vacuum you should just pick the team with the highest percentage you have available. The only way to improve on that strategy is if you can determine with some certainty what your opponents will do and gain an edge by fading that pick.

For example, if you have five left in your pool and you can see that your opponents all have the Chiefs left, it would be +EV to take a team like the Bills and have a better shot of winning 100% of the pool versus splitting it five ways.

If you tailed along and took the Chiefs, your expected value is 20% of the pot. If you faded and took the Bills, your expected value is 29.2% of the pot.

  • Both teams winning (73.6% x 71% x 20% of the pot) equals 10.5% equity.
  • Bills win, Chiefs lose (71% x 26.4% x 100% of the pot) equals 18.7% equity.

Although you have increased your chance of winning zero, your overall equity improved. You should be doing these same calculations when making your decisions to maximize your possible winnings.

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