NFL Survivor Pool Rules
by Matt Severance
Yesterday here at Doc's, I wrote a very basic article for those beginners wondering how to run an NFL survivor pool this year. I suppose I am the unofficial expert on this subject currently on the site, as I was the survivor pool columnist in 2008 and will be back again this year giving my weekly advice.
Today I will break down, in the simplest terms, the basic rules of a survivor pool. And it's pretty simple: You pick one team per week to win (the game doesn't matter), and once you use that team it's gone for the season as an option for you. Now, if you really want to make your particular pool challenging, you can make it so competitors pick against the spread. But I'm guessing that if you are reading this basic Survivor Pool rules story that you probably aren't ready for that advanced of a survivor pool yet - and to be honest, vary rarely is the spread used in these. You stay in the pool as long as the teams you pick continue to win.
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However, should there be a tie (and there was in the NFL last year), that knocks you out. Ties are not wins. If a game is postponed, the player must make another pick prior to the deadline. In the unlikely event of a late postponement (a game also was postponed last year), a player should be given the opportunity to pick another game, as long as the pick is received prior to that game's kickoff.
Some survivor pools offer a bye week. This is pretty much what it sounds like - sort of like passing on a game show. If there is one week where you just don't feel comfortable making a selection, then use the bye. However, if you get knocked out before using it, you are still out. And most pools eliminate the bye around Week 11 so a player can't use it to potentially win the pool. If a player doesn't get his or her pick in before the weekly deadline - which is generally an hour before the first kickoff (watch out for those Thursday games, including the Titans-Steelers opener this year), then that player automatically uses his or her bye. Once that deadline passes, players are not allowed to change their picks, even if Tom Brady is hurt during warm-ups or something like that.
If by some miracle all the players are eliminated on the same week, the results are usually ignored and you keep going. But those players are then not allowed to use the team they chose in that losing week. If there is more than one player still active at the end of the regular season, most survivor pools extend into the playoffs - but then players are usually allowed to again pick a team they already had chosen since there is such a small field. You can certainly set up your own tiebreakers.
As for buying back in after a player is knocked out, that's pretty much on a league-by-league basis. I don't like it, but I have, under league pressure, accepted some buy-backs in the first few weeks but at double the original entry fee. I recommend you not take buy-backs after Week 6.
That's about it. Good luck this year with your survivor pools, and look for my first advice column soon here at Doc's.
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