NFL Week 17 Survivor Pool Analysis, Percentages & Pick: Ravens, Colts Highlight Best Options

NFL Week 17 Survivor Pool Analysis, Percentages & Pick: Ravens, Colts Highlight Best Options article feature image
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Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The final week of the regular season is here. You have navigated your way through a treacherous 2020 season unscathed and now hope for an uneventful Week 17 to win the money.

Unfortunately, the last week of the regular season is anything but predictable.

Teams resting, teams maybe resting, and of course, it wouldn’t be 2020 without COVID-19 issues hitting a game, with the Cleveland Browns shutting down their facility ahead of their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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I will readily admit there is a lot of guesswork in these projections, and I am writing this on New Year’s Eve. It is very likely that by Sunday, things could shift or drastically change.

That said, it is vitally important to stay up to date on the latest news before locking in your pick.

Since there is no need to plan for future weeks, we do not need a grid to look ahead. Instead, here are the best options for the final week of the 2020 regular season.

Team Pick % Model EV
Ravens 9.7% 88.0% 1.34
Colts 14.8% 82.6% 1.23
Seahawks 1.2% 72.5% 1.12
Buccaneers 6.6% 69.5% 1.05
Saints 10.5% 69.1% 1.01
Browns 8.4% 68.0% 1.02
Chargers 0.4% 65.0% 1.02
Patriots 12.5% 65.0% 0.92
Titans 7.1% 63.4% 0.95
Packers 1.0% 60.4% 0.93

I am including the pick percentages and expected values in the table this week, but they can mostly be ignored in smaller pools. You mostly want to focus on your best chance to win.

The only exception would be if you knew all of your opponents would gravitate toward one option and you had a good pivot. For example, if there are five of you left and you suspect the other four will take the Bucs, a pivot to the Saints with a similar win probability would give you an opportunity to scoop the whole pot instead of splitting it and getting 20%.

In larger pools, you still want to look at expected value but more as a tiebreaker. You’ll notice that the Colts are the most popular pick, but at only 14.8%, they still provide surplus value relative to the field.

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As I mentioned above, the biggest question mark currently is Cleveland. Tej Browns are playing a Pittsburgh team which already announced it’s playing a backup quarterback and will likely rest more starters.

This opens up the Browns as a good pick, but with the facility shut down and more questions than answers, there is some risk. What if they move the game to Monday, but then Baker Mayfield is unable to play?

Hopefully we’ll have a definitive answer by Sunday, but have some backup options if you are penciling in Cleveland.

If you play in a pool that continues into the playoffs, the Chargers are an intriguing option. Mahomes is already out. Andy Reid’s history of resting suggests that it will mostly be backups on both sides of the ball for the Chiefs.

If you are still undecided and just want to know who to take, keep it simple. Take the team with the highest percentage that you have left.

Bottom line, there is no reason to get crazy in the final week.

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