NFL Survivor Pool Pick: Colts Offer the Best Value For Week 6

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Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.

  • Still alive in your NFL survivor pools and looking for a Week 6 recommendation?
  • Travis Reed, Action's Data Mangers, breaks down his favorite plays before making his pick.
  • He explains why you should give heavy consideration to the Indianapolis Colts against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Last week’s NFL slate was the first of the season featuring true chaos, with two of the best values in survivor pools going down.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers both lost at home as big favorites to the Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins, respectively.

I was knocked out of my remaining pools with the 49ers pick, but am OK with the thought process I took to get to that decision. There is generally a lot of luck and randomness in survivor pools, but continually making +EV decisions should pay off in the long run.

However, just because I am no longer in the mix doesn’t mean I am done helping you out if you’re still alive in your contests.

The schedule has changed quite a bit in recent weeks, so strategies of when to use teams has been altered. I expect that to continue, so you want to be careful not to put yourself in a corner and only have one good option in a given week only to see that team’s game get postponed due to COVID-19 situation..

The only game as of Thursday that is dealing with postponement concerns is the Atlanta Falcons’ game against the Minnesota Vikings, which isn’t a good pick for survivor pools anyway.

Here are the projected win percentages for every remaining game in the 2020 season:

Here are the teams with the highest projected win percentages this week and their expected value in survivor pools:

Team Pick % Model EV
Dolphins 51.1% 76.1% 0.93
Patriots 14.6% 72.1% 1.12
Colts 7.4% 71.5% 1.21
Titans 5.2% 70.4% 1.20
Ravens 7.6% 68.8% 1.15
Steelers 2.6% 68.0% 1.19

In a shocking turn of events, the team playing the New York Jets is the most popular pick of the week. Sarcasm aside, this is likely to be a theme throughout the season. Teams will be looking to fade both of the New York teams as much as possible.

Given the low likelihood that either of these teams go 0-16, this strategy will eventually catch up to a bunch of players. I can’t say with any certainty what week it will happen, but much like going all in: it works every time until it doesn’t.

For this week, I am not taking the Dolphins. Take note that since this is a AFC East division game, these two will meet again in Week 12 and much of your pool won’t have them as an option.

I would be looking to save the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for later games, as they project to be Top 10 teams going forward.

That leaves the choice between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans.

My Pick: Colts over Bengals

If you have a personal preference for the Titans, I’m not going to argue against you, but the future value of these teams is what separates the two plays.

The Titans have five remaining games, with a projected win percentage of 65% or higher, while the Colts have just two such games.

Looking ahead, I see two chokepoints when looking at the grid above. Week 8 shows the Chiefs with an 88% win probability and the second highest that week is the Ravens at 70%.

Similarly, Week 12 has the Andy Dalton led Cowboys with a 77% chance to win on Thanksgiving against Washington, with the next highest being that noted Dolphins’ rematch against the Jets.

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