NFL Survivor and Confidence Pool Picks and Advice: Week 11
We don't talk much fantasy football here at Doc's because this is a betting site. Sure, many fantasy leagues have cash prizes for the winners, etc., but it's not betting. That's why sites like FanDuel and DraftKings originally were legal and betting on NFL games was not (outside of Nevada).
That said, the reason that gambling is now legal around the USA (or is being made so on a state-by-state basis and should be everywhere by probably 2021) is partly because of fantasy football, which led to offshore gambling and how that made the NFL by far the most popular league in America. Why do you think the NFL puts out an injury report? For the other teams? No, for the gamblers.
I mention fantasy football because let's talk about Le'Veon Bell for a minute and then not mention him again until next winter when he signs some monster free-agent deal with the Jets or 49ers or the like. It is now official that the Pittsburgh All-Pro running back will not play at all in 2018 as he didn't report by the CBA-mandated Tuesday 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Presumably, he and his agent know a lot more than you and I, because Bell has given up around $14.5 million in salary this year by not playing a down. Just crazy. He did so to preserve his body for the big free-agent money. Bell got me thinking about fantasy football and how many people around the country are struggling in their leagues because they took Bell with the first or second overall pick in their 2018 draft. I'm half-surprised someone hasn't sued Bell yet for emotional distress! Think of the millions of dollars in potential fantasy winnings that Bell has altered. And, no, I didn't take Bell in any league. I do have James Conner in my two primary ones, so I'm thrilled now.
Back to Survivor/Confidence Pools, there were a few surprises in Week 10. New England was perhaps caught in a trap game and was dominated at Tennessee. I know more than a few people who went with the Jets in their Survivor Pools because the sad-sack Bills were in town, but Buffalo rolled to a 41-10 stunner. How is Todd Bowles still employed!?! Tampa Bay was a popular home pick and dominated Washington statistically but lost 16-3. Philadelphia also was stunned at home, 27-20, by Dallas. An interesting week, to be sure. My top three picks, the Chiefs, Packers and Rams all won.
Here are my Week 11 Survivor Picks in order of how I would also do my Confidence Pool selections (with occasional exceptions noted when necessary). The team listed first is my choice. Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami, New England, NY Jets and San Francisco on the bye so we start at 13. Incidentally, is that the worst group of Survivor/Confidence Pool teams on a bye - outside of New England - in like modern history? Makes it tough to find a lock win this week.
13. LA Chargers vs. Denver: This is such a clear-cut choice, you almost have to consider playing a little defense. It's hard to see the Bolts losing as they are on their longest winning streak since 2009, but Denver is off its bye week. Nah.
12. Atlanta vs. Dallas: This is essentially a playoff elimination game with both teams at 4-5. Cowboys did win in Philly on Sunday night but have otherwise been lousy on the road.
11. Baltimore vs. Cincinnati: This comes with the caveat that Joe Flacco will play. He's dealing with a hip injury and apparently was on crutches during last week's bye. Lamar Jackson or even possibly RGIII would start if not, and then I'd move this down but still take Baltimore because the Bengals are sorry on defense and without AJ Green.
10. New Orleans vs. Philadelphia: The Eagles are getting way too many points here and will put up a fight, but the Saints make it nine straight victories.
9. LA Rams vs. Kansas City (Monday): This is moved up higher than it was earlier Tuesday following the news it will be a Rams home game and not played in Mexico City. The field at Azteca Stadium was torn up by a Hanson concert or something.
8. Pittsburgh at Jacksonville: The Jaguars were 2-0 last year vs. the Steelers, but the 2018 Jaguars are not the 2017 version in any way, shape or form. That said, if Conner does miss this with a concussion (not likely), drop well down the list.
7. Carolina at Detroit: The Panthers have struggled on the road this year and were just eviscerated in Pittsburgh, but they are on extra rest. Meanwhile, the Lions have mailed it in since the front office traded Golden Tate.
6. Seattle vs. Green Bay (Thursday): First Packers trip to Seattle since the NFC title game following the 2014 season. I have more than a few friends who love the Packers. I shall be texting GIFs of Brandon Bostick to them all week.
5. Indianapolis vs. Tennessee: Feels like a letdown game for Titans off the big Cowboys and Patriots victories. With Andrew Luck finally healthy, the Colts are surging.
4. Houston at Washington: I still don't understand how Washington won in Tampa last week. The Texans are off their bye and on a six-game winning streak. Deshaun Watson > Alex Smith.
3. Arizona vs. Oakland: Who cares?! The Cardinals at least are playing hard for their first-year coach, something few Raiders can say for Chucky.
2. Chicago vs. Minnesota: Flexed into the Sunday night window. I start making playoff plans if the Bears pull this out.
1. Tampa Bay at NY Giants: Giants on a short week and had to travel across country. Only the sorry Bucs could ring up 501 yards and manage three points in a loss.
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