NFL Week 4 Survivor Pool Analysis, Percentages and Pick: Best Pivots Off the Popular Rams

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Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady

  • The Los Angeles Rams enter Week 4 as one of the most popular picks in survivor pools.
  • Travis Reed explains why players should look elsewhere for a pick on Sunday.

Editor’s note: With Cam Newton testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning, the Patriots-Chiefs game that was originally scheduled for Sunday is being postponed


Football is a game of inches.

Last week, I picked the Chargers to advance and they were a lateral away from beating the Panthers. If the backwards pass is an inch to the left or right, maybe they win.

But they didn’t win and I am out of my survivor pools. Some of you are likely in the same situation. I know a lot of you are using this data and advice to try to win real money and I don’t take that lightly. The thing that should be noted is that I would make that same pick again.

The Colts were an obvious pick that blew out the Jets, the Chargers are starting a rookie quarterback, there were a few other teams with good value that won that I wanted to save for later. But I would still take the Chargers again.

My own numbers had them losing roughly a third of the time. This is not a shocking loss or an unexpected loss, it is just a loss. It happens. On to the next one.

For many of you reading, you are still alive. Either you went with another team or perhaps you have a second chance or a rebuy option. Here are the projected win percentages for the remainder of the season.

As of writing, I know that the Steelers-Titans has been postponed but I don’t know how the NFL will plan on rescheduling the game. I did make an educated guess.

So that is what I changed in the sheet above. Once the actual rescheduling plan is announced, I will make any adjustments necessary. This seems like a reasonable solution with the only downside being that the Steelers would have to play three straight road games.

With two teams off the table, here are the top plays for Week 4.

Team Pick % Model EV
Rams 47.7% 77.1% 0.97
Ravens 21.3% 76.2% 1.14
49ers 1.3% 73.4% 1.33
Buccaneers 3.2% 69.2% 1.23
Cowboys 3.5% 69.2% 1.22
Packers 2.3% 69.2% 1.24
Chiefs 0.5% 66.5% 1.21
Jets 0.2% 63.5% 1.19
Bengals 0.5% 61.1% 1.12

We have nearly the same situation as last week with roughly half of the entries going against a bad New York team. Instead of the taking the Colts against the Jets in Week 3, this week the masses like the Rams at home against the Giants.

My model has the Rams as the most likely team to win this week, but they are a bad play this week. Stop me if you have heard this one before, but playing along with the masses is not the best strategy to win your pool.

The Ravens are a decent play this week but given how much future value they have, I think it is easy to pass on them. I would pass on the Chiefs for the same reason.

That leaves four teams bunched together: the 49ers, Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Packers. San Francisco is the best play this week but they have future value. In fact, three of the four teams have much more future value than the other.

My Pick: Bucs over Chargers

This projects to be the easiest game remaining on the Buccaneers schedule. If you are in a large pool and need to save some of these top teams for the rest of the season, Tampa Bay is the best pick this week and the one I am taking in my two-strike pool.

If you are in a smaller pool with 10-20 friends, then you don’t need to worry as much about saving teams and you can take the 49ers with the most expected value.

Lastly, if you are in a pool where you have to start taking two teams in the later weeks and the options become really thin, you may want to take some longshots early in the season. The Jets at home against the Broncos isn’t pretty, but if you want to throw a hail mary, you aren’t going to get a better opportunity than Week 4.

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