NFL Week 9 Survivor Pool Analysis, Percentages and Pick: Best Pivots Off the Popular Steelers

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Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images. Pictured: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots.

In Week 8, the three most popular teams all made it through, but it was still sneakily a high week for eliminations because the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers both lost and made up roughly 20% of picks.

Once again, there are three options at the top this week, all with a projected win percentage of 80% or more. Whether or not to pick one of these three will largely depend on which teams you have left so I will discuss multiple options towards the end of the article.

But first, we need data. Here are the projected win percentages for the remainder of the season.

Here are the top options for this week along with their projected pick percentage and expected value.

Team Pick % Model EV
Chiefs 6.7% 83.4% 1.26
Patriots 25.5% 81.5% 1.10
Steelers 43.8% 80.4% 0.98
Titans 2.0% 66.7% 1.02
Falcons 1.0% 65.3% 1.00
Packers 5.0% 65.0% 0.95
Chargers 0% 64.4% 1.01
Buccaneers 0.2% 62.0% 0.96
Cardinals 3.1% 61.3% 0.92

I suggested taking the Chiefs last week. If you still have them, they are the top value this week, but still have a ton of future games to choose from as well.

The Patriots have looked awful since Cam Newton came back from his positive COVID-19 test. The best thing to turn New England around is the Jets who they will face on Monday night.

If you have saved the Patriots until now, I think you have to use them here. Even if you have the Chiefs and/or Steelers, those teams have more options left in the season whereas the only other option remaining for New England is their other matchup against the Jets when they play in Week 17.

The most popular pick is the undefeated Steelers this week as they travel to Dallas and take on a quarterback making his first career start. My model is lower than the market but still has Pittsburgh over 80% to win.

Game theory would say to avoid the Steelers this week and hope a big chunk of your pool gets eliminated with an improbable upset by the Cowboys.

If you need to jump down to one of the lesser options, the Falcons (Yes, the Falcons) and Titans make good contrarian plays. Taking the team that manages to turn wins into losses better than any other in a survivor pool feels disgusting. Yet the Falcons are playing closer to a 5-3 team than the actual 2-6 record they have. Getting a Broncos team decimated by injuries at home is a good spot.

My favored option of the two though is the Titans. Coming off two straight losses, they are projected to get just 2% of picks this week. For larger pools where you may need the elite teams to get through the rest of the season, Tennessee is a good pivot option.

Since everyone at this point in the season is in different situations, I’ll give my ranked choices for those in large pools. If you are in smaller pools, you want to take less risk (i.e. don’t feel wrong for taking Pittsburgh).

  1. Patriots
  2. Chiefs
  3. Titans
  4. Falcons
  5. Steelers
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