NFL Week 1 Survivor Pool Picks & Analysis: Use Ravens, Colts or Titans to Start Your Season?
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans
Welcome to 2022 Survivor Pool season! It is always exciting at the start of the year because everybody believes they can win their pool. My goal is to help improve those chance each and every week.
If you are looking for a good primer on my overall strategy for survivor pools, check out my appearance on a recent episode of the Action Network Podcast.
If you don't want to listen to the entire episode, the cliff notes come down to one simple philosophy: maximize expected value.
Each week, you want to win with the worst possible team, while hoping the largest amount of your opponents get eliminated. That is the best possible way to end the season as the winner.
This season, I'll have some help as Action Network is teaming up with Team Rankings and using their Pool Genius tool to help with my analysis.
With that long introduction out of the way, let's dive into Week 1.
Here are the projected win percentages for every game of the 2022 NFL season, based on my model:
Now, I can plug my win probabilities into the EV Calculator at Team Rankings and it combines them with ownership values to show my expected value for Week 1:
My model is higher on the Titans' chances than the market and thus their 1.16 EV is the highest of any team this week.
The Bengals are another good play this week. Many recreational players will want to save Cincinnati since they see the Bengals as a Super Bowl contender, but a tough, first place schedule doesn't give them a ton of future value.
Baltimore and Indianapolis project to be the two most popular plays, but neither more than 20%. This still makes both +EV plays, though I prefer the Colts because the Ravens should have more usable weeks moving forward.
NFL Survivor Pool Pick: Titans (vs. Giants)
I'm going with the Titans. They offer the most immediate expected value with very little future opportunities. This is especially true if Tennessee decides to move on to rookie Malik Willis, which would drastically increase the Titans' week-to-week variance.
The projected ownership is pretty evenly distributed, which is common in Week 1. This is the week when everyone knows the least about every team. If you have multiple entries (which is recommended), I would definitely split them up.
For example, if I had 10 entries, I'd do something like four entries on the Titans, three entries on the Bengals, two on the Colts and one on the Ravens.
This lets you take advantage of the variance of the football season. If you are lucky enough to have all of your entries survive, then you can keep taking advantage of that variance in subsequent weeks.