Enjoy those NFL Survivor Pools this year because a few big NFL events are likely on the horizon that will change them.
Of course the first is the presumed labor stoppage that seems imminent for next year – I don’t think there will be scab players in 2011 so you’ll have to live with a college football survivor pool of some sort (can’t say I’ve been in one of those yet). Although the NFL certainly should get going at some point next year, but I wouldn’t count on Week 1.
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The other change that seems a lock for the NFL is an 18-week regular season in 2012. I suppose that doesn’t really change Survivor Pools, but it would seem to mean more upsets because key players are that much more likely to get injured with two more games. And can you imagine finding a good team to choose in, say, Weeks 18 or 19? It’s hard enough now as it is in 16 and 17 if you get that far. Plus you may have to wait a few extra weeks for your cash if you happened to win – unless the NFL just starts earlier, which is likely.
Anyways, this story is just to let you know Doc’s will again be bringing you a weekly Survivor Pool advice column. Last year should have been pretty successful for most of you as if you followed my advice you made it to Week 15. At that point, all the good teams were gone and I recommended (with a huge disclaimer that I didn’t want to but had little choice) a sinking Denver team against the Raiders. And, of course, JaMarcus Russell led a game-winning touchdown drive – have those words ever been written: “JaMarcus Russell led a game-winning touchdown drive”? -- in leading the Oakland upset.
I’ve yet to determine a format or any tweaks for this year, but I certainly will give you a top recommendation with a few lesser ones and at least three teams to stay away from. You can probably expect these stories on Thursdays because at least that allows us to consult the first injury report.
For my Survivor Pool advice, tips and strategy report I state that obviously there are a few rules to live by. The first is never pick a road team if you can help it. Yes, even if they are playing the Rams. St. Louis hasn’t won a home game since Week 7 of the 2007 season against the Dallas Cowboys. But I assure you the Rams win at least one at home this year and it will burn more than a few people. Remember that last year the Rams almost pulled off a huge upset of New Orleans at home and then also nearly beat a charging Houston team in Week 16 in St. Louis. Always try and steer clear of those supposed “lock” results so you aren’t part of a large group that likely busts.
Also try and steer clear of games where the weather will play a huge factor because a sloppy field or windy night generally brings the underdog closer to the favorite. And also stay away from true rivalry games because it is hard to sweep an archrival. Frankly, if I can avoid picking any game involving two NFC East teams this year, for example, I will. It’s also usually harder to target teams that might make a huge jump forward in a season and could hurt your early as an underdog – say the Chiefs in their New Arrowhead Stadium -- than one that will take a big drop and could burn you as a favorite – say the Cardinals and their quarterback problems.
We’ll see you in a few weeks.