NFL Week 6 Survivor Pool Picks, Strategy: Should We Burn the Buccaneers?

NFL Week 6 Survivor Pool Picks, Strategy: Should We Burn the Buccaneers? article feature image

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.

Things have settled down in survivor pools, with the most popular team to lose in Week 5 being the Jacksonville Jaguars, at 15% or so. Still, that's a significant bite from an already thin field.

If you've followed the "official" picks in this column, you're still alive (unless the Colts Week 1 tie counted as a loss) with the Colts, Rams, Bengals, Packers and Bills off the board.

We still have some very strong teams left to use, so we shouldn't be worried too much about end of season scenarios quite yet.

Still, we'll keep an eye on rest-of-season expectations using projected win probability for the whole season from our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner. These will update each week throughout the year, so every week we'll have up-to-date information.

We'll continue to utilize pick data to identify chalky teams to consider fading. While it's less important than it was at this time last week, maximizing EV in massive pools still requires going against the grain.

Let's dig into the Week 6 Picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs check in at third overall in implied win probability this week, with the top two options being the Rams and Packers. Still, as eight point favorites against the struggling Steelers, they're a strong pick.

While I prefer to use teams at home for survivor pools, we can't afford to be that picky this week. The only home teams favored by seven or more are Green Bay and the Rams. If you still have Los Angeles in your pocket, they would certainly be my first choice this week.

On the bright side, there's very little opportunity cost with burning Tampa Bay this week. They're only implied for 70% or better odds in two more weeks between now and Week 17, and both of those have much stronger options.

Week 17 is far enough in the future that something else is likely to present itself — and the way this season is going smaller pools could be done by then anyway.

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Baltimore Ravens

Not counting the teams we've already used, the only alternative to the Bucs that I would consider is the Ravens. At 68%, they're very close to Tampa in implied probability.

They're also slightly less valuable than Tampa down the stretch, coming in at the 77th percentile in future value to the Bucs 90%. However, the Ravens stick out like a sore thumb in Week 11, where they and the Bills are tied with an 85% implied win probability, and no other team is north of 70%.

If you've managed to save Buffalo so far, opting for the Ravens this week and keeping both Buffalo and Tampa Bay on reserve feels like a smart play. Otherwise, you'll want to have Baltimore in Week 11.

Since the Ravens "have to have them" week comes well before Tampa's, I'd rather lose the Bucs and hope for something to change by the end of the year. Still, Baltimore looks like a far less popular pick than Tampa, so they're also an interesting leverage play.

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The Data

Below is the full data for each week of the NFL season. The implied probability as of Week 6 is listed for each team, as well as their "future value" in survivor contests.

The future value is the percentile ranking of each team's combined win probability the rest of the way, and doesn't factor in which weeks are strong. It should be used as a rough guideline for which teams to save down the stretch.

For a downloadable sheet that covers the entire season, click here.

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