NFL Survivor Pool Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 1
It's time for another season of NFL survivor pools. Or eliminators. Or suicide pools. Or whatever you call them. Call them what you want, but the basic rules are the same - you pick a single team that is going to win each week, and if you are right you keep going and pick again the next week, but if your team loses you are done. And you can pick each team only once per season. For the entire season, or at least for as long as it makes sense, we'll break down the week's action, look at the games that could be a sound pick, and which ones to avoid.
I could get all fancy and throw out some fancy philosophy behind these picks, but that would be overstating these things. When it comes to survivor pools I have only two rules. First, and most important, never, ever save a team for another spot. There is no surer way to feel stupid than to save a 'sure thing' for later on and then to lose before you even get a chance to pick them. You have to approach survivor pools like there is no tomorrow. And second, you can't over think things. Fantasy football is where you go if you want to analyze everything to death and get tied up in minutiae. Survivor pools are more about feelings, reactions, and what stands out early on. You do not get rewarded in survivor pools for extra work - at least beyond a certain point.
New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay: This is going to be the most popular pick on the board, and it absolutely should be. New Orleans is a talented team coming off a strong year. They have had a good offseason and preseason, and the move to acquire Teddy Bridgewater just showed how well run they are and how smart they are in building this team. They are going to be tough and are among the top contenders in a ridiculously deep NFC. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is a bit of a mess. They have big questions with their starting QB, and they don't even have him for the first month. It has been a long time since this team felt like it had any real direction, and they are not in a good place. They are very outmatched in this game, and the location only adds to the issues. New Orleans is a very comfortable pick.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland: This would be a more comfortable pick if it was in Pittsburgh, or if we knew Le'Veon Bell's status - as I write this he still hasn't reported to camp. Those are both factors that make this a less-attractive pick than it could be, but it is still playable if you didn't want to play New Orleans for some reason. Cleveland is improving, but they still haven't won in a very long time, and they still have a lot of work to do. Pittsburgh is a talented team, and they are not going to want to be the one that ends the streak. They will be ready and determined, and that should be enough here.
Baltimore vs. Buffalo: Nathan Peterman is starting at quarterback for Buffalo. Let me repeat that - Nathan Peterman is starting at quarterback for Buffalo. They have lots of other issues, too, but Peterman is tops. If you are starting him then you aren't even trying to win. Baltimore is a pretty average team, but that's okay - and enough here. Baltimore isn't nearly as comfortable as New Orleans, but still playable.
Green Bay vs. Chicago: I personally wouldn't consider taking Green Bay this week, but a lot of people would, and that's okay. Aaron Rodgers is back and at the helm of a team that faces high expectations. The Packers will be good as long as he stays healthy. Chicago is building a strong defense - as the Khalil Mack deal shows. But Mack is new to the team and isn't going to be at full steam right now - he didn't have a training camp with anyone and hasn't been with the team for long. And the Bears don't have a quarterback who is ready for primetime just yet. Green Bay is at home and should win this one. I just like other spots better.
Detroit vs. New York Jets: There is no reason in Week 1 to go this far down the list, but Detroit is playable here as well. Sam Darnold is making his debut, and he is going to have some rough times in the short term. Detroit isn't a great team, but they are sound on both sides of the ball, and they should win this one. But the confidence in their victory isn't nearly enough to play here.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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