NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Packers Emerge As Expert’s Top Recommendation For Week 17, Patriots Also An Option

NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Packers Emerge As Expert’s Top Recommendation For Week 17, Patriots Also An Option article feature image
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Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Packers RB Aaron Jones

Updated NFL Survivor Pool Picks

With Kirk Cousins out for the Vikings, the Packers become a top option this week. Most remaining NFL survivor pool players used the Packers earlier this season, so they project to be less than 5% picked.

While they also have a very winnable game in Week 18 against the Lions, there is a chance the Packers have clinched the top seed in the NFC and have no incentive to win their regular-season finale, which makes them risky to wait on.



Editor’s note: The rest of this story was written on Wednesday.

Another week in the NFL, another week when the most popular team in survivor pools goes down — the Chargers’ loss to the Texans eliminated nearly one-third of remaining entries (and maybe Los Angeles’ playoff hopes).

In pools with a lot of entries left, there’s still a lot of equity to be gained when the popular team of a week gets knocked off. I did not predict the Chargers would lose, but their expected value was lower than other teams we did recommend.

Especially in pools where the prize is split at the end of the season, you should be willing to take on more risk to get a bigger piece of the pie when all is said and done.


NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Easy enough, then — just don’t pick the most popular team.

Well, about that.

This week the most popular team is also a team with one of the highest win probabilities of the season. How will the value calculation play out for the penultimate week of the NFL season? Let’s find out.

Here are the projected win percentages for the final two weeks. (For now I am not projecting any teams to rest Week 18.)

Here are the best options this week along with some key stats. I included their projected Week 18 win percentage in the far right column this week.

Look at this bait and switch I just pulled. After discussing the merits of fading the popular team, the Patriots look like a good value this week. Even at 34% ownership, they offer value because they lose so infrequently.

In last week’s article, my model had the Chargers winning 78.5% of the time. It has the Patriots winning at a 90.5% rate this week, and that difference is why they are a top play this week.

The decision making for most of us is pretty elementary at this point in the season: Take the team with the highest win probability.

If two teams are close, then I would use next week’s projection as a tiebreaker. For example if you have the Colts and 49ers available, I’d take San Francisco this week and save Indy’s 86.0% projected win percentage for Week 18.

If you don’t have any teams available on this list, just go with the team with the highest-projected win percentage this week and see what develops next week.

We are sure to get some surprise options next week with teams resting combined with scratches due to COVID.

My Pick: Patriots (vs. Jaguars)

The Patriots have the highest expected value and not much future value in Week 18 against a Dolphins team that should still be fighting for the last playoff spot in the AFC.

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