NFL Week 9 Survivor Pool Picks, Strategy: Use a Powerhouse If You Have One Left
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.
For what felt like the first time this season, Week 8 went according to plan in survivor pools. The five most popular selections all handled their business, so most of the field advances.
Of course, two of the three most popular selections (Philadelphia and Buffalo) are the two most valuable teams moving forward, so it will get more challenging from here.
There's a lot of season left considering how small most fields are, so for the next few weeks the focus should be on advancing. If we get to the final few weeks, then we can worry about weighing expected value versus advancement odds.
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 we'll always have up-to-date information.
We'll continue to utilize pick data to identify chalky teams. While it's less important than it was early in the season, maximizing EV in massive pools still requires going against the grain.
Let's dig into the Week 9 Picks.
I'm lumping the three double-digit favorites together this week. Based on pick data, most surviving teams have used at least two — if not all three — of these teams already this season.
If you haven't, this week is a solid time to burn one of them. All are favored by at least 11.5 points, and the next heaviest favorite is at 7.5 points. These three teams have stood out in general this season as the only teams we can confidently feel good about on a week-to-week basis.
In a perfect world, you'll have at least two of these options left. Week 10 is a similar situation, where these three teams stand out above the rest of the field. After that, there's additional viable options for the next few weeks.
If you're down to one of these teams, the decision comes down to how you feel about the fourth best option available for the week. This week, it's the Bengals (more on them shortly) while next week it's (probably) the Giants.
As mentioned above, the Bengals are the best choice outside of the three teams already mentioned. They're taking on the tanking Carolina Panthers as 7.5-point home favorites.
Of course, it's hard to feel good about the Bengals. They were blown out by the previously 2-5 Browns on Monday Night, are missing Ja'Marr Chase for the next few weeks, and have major issues on the offensive line.
As crazy as it would've sounded a few weeks ago, I slightly prefer using the Giants in Week 10 over the Bengals this week if that's an option for you. Cincinnati will be playing on a short week, and could be more valuable late in the season with Chase back in the lineup.
The Giants have a Week 9 bye, and are hosting the one-win Texans in Week 10. That's the best spot remaining this season for New York, so the opportunity cost is fairly low.
If you don't have any of the top teams left, you'll have to roll with Cincinnati this week though. It should be a fairly safe spot given the opponent, even if they are hard to trust.
Below is the full data for each week of the NFL season. The implied probability as of Week 9 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 sheet that covers the entire season, click here.