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NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Bengals Are Top Pick For Week 12 While Patriots Are A Second Option, But Avoid Eagles

NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Bengals Are Top Pick For Week 12 While Patriots Are A Second Option, But Avoid Eagles article feature image
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Chris Unger/Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals RB Joe Mixon, Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase

  • Locking in your NFL survivor pool picks before Sunday's games kickoff? Our expert makes his recommendation below.
  • By comparing his model's projected win probabilities to the latest pick rates, he identifies an edge on the Bengals for Week 12.

Latest NFL Survivor Pool Picks

The Cowboys didn’t end up as popular of a pick in NFL survivor pools as originally projected, but avoiding them still paid off. I still prefer the Bengals of all the teams remaining, but the Patriots increased their odds with the Titans dealing with a lot of key injuries.

The Eagles have gained some steam and may end up as the most popular pick of the week. Because of that, their expected value has fallen and I would try to pivot if possible.



Editor’s note: The rest of this story was written before the trio of Thanksgiving NFL games.

Another week in the NFL complete, another huge favorite goes down.

This time it was the Titans at home against the Texans — around 45% of all entries remaining placed their chips on Tennessee last week, and the dice came up snake eyes.

This result continues the trend of big upsets in recent weeks, namely those that are most popular in survivor pools. Entry numbers have been decimated recently with upsets by the Texans, Dolphins and Jaguars, plus a tie by the Lions.

These upsets reinforce the value of being contrarian in NFL survivor pools.

There is a lot of luck involved, but if you can avoid the popular picks and then still be in the running after a large chunk of your opponents are eliminated, your chances of winning the money at the end has increased exponentially.

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NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Thanksgiving week means three Thursday games, which means you have to make your decision earlier than usual.

The biggest favorite and most popular pick is the Cowboys.

I just mentioned the merits to being contrarian in the introduction, but do you have to eat the chalk this week? Let’s find out.

Here are the projected win percentages for the rest of the season. Week 18 assumes everyone at full strength, which will not be the case obviously.

And here are the bevy of options this week along with their key statistics:

Okay, there are a lot of options, but none of them are very good.

The Cowboys come in at negative expected value with high ownership for a team projected to win only 74% of the time.

Another way to put it: One out of four times, you would expect 37% of the field to be eliminated with a Cowboys loss. There’s a lot to be gained if Dallas falters and continues the trend of recent weeks.

Picks are pretty evenly distributed after that, which makes sense this late in the season. Many different paths have been navigated to get to this point, and everyone is going to have different options available.

Let’s start with the pick I hate the most, and that’s the Chargers. They are projected to get 10% ownership, but my model doesn’t even think they should be favored in Denver.

Another poor pick is the Bears in the early game on Thanksgiving. I get the argument that this is the only time you can use Chicago, but do you actually want to? Maybe you absolutely have to because your options are limited, but I’m avoiding the Bears on the road on a short week against just about anybody.

The Patriots are fine, but if you still have them, I’d rather hold onto them for one of their final two games against Jacksonville or Miami.

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Pick: Bengals (vs. Steelers)

It ain’t pretty, but here it is.

Cincinnati is going to be one of the largest favorites of the week and only come in at 1% taken in most pools.

You increase your risk of losing this week, but you also position yourself to make large gains if things break right.

Take a team playing on Sunday and root for chaos on Thursday. Lions and Raiders wins would knock out half the field before the weekend even gets started.

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