Week 11 Survivor Pool Picks from Captain and the Big Man
If you listened to the week 10 episode of Survivor Pool Podcast last week, you know that Captain and the Big man had another great week, highlighted by our picks of Indy and New Orleans as top choices; both were Survivor winners. Below you will find our analysis of four games on the slate for Week 11. Get involved and subscribe to the podcast for the full breakdown of all 13 games (and some laughs). This week on Survivor Pool Podcast, we have our pal AB, helping us chop up the NFL slate. AB is a Fantasy Football guru and Survivor aficionado, and we welcome his expertise and perspective.
OAKLAND RAIDERS at ARIZONA CARDINALS
Over the past 9 quarters, the Raiders have been outscored 75-9. To be clear, that means that they are averaging 1 point per quarter over the last 9 quarters. Yikes. The team has quit, and in most cases that would make me furious because as a fan I feel that players should show guts and heart because they love the game and because they recognize that they are offering entertainment for paying customers who deserve their best. However, in this case I don't blame them. They are led by a group of coaches and admin with long term job security whose every move is geared to winning 3-4 years from now. Every player on their roster will be gone by then, as they have limited or no job security. That is a leadership equation that will never work, and because the Raiders hierarchy can smell the #1 overall draft pick, they are happy to let this unhealthy situation continue.
On most Sundays, the Arizona Cardinals have the best player on the field and his name is David Johnson. His last outing was his best game of the season, by far. Johnson led the Cardinals in rushing (21/98/1) and receiving (7/85/1) and he was also the best running back performance of the week. You could also argue that on most Sundays the Cardinals have the second best player on the field in Chandler Jones. He has more sacks than any player in football since opening day 2016 (36.5, to Von Millers 32.5) and last week he sacked Mahomes twice in the first half at Kansas City. Fitzgerald has also been grinding, and he is due for a breakout game.
The Cardinals have hung around against good teams for the most part this year, losing to the Bears by 2 points, to the Seahawks by 3 points, and playing better than anticipated at Minnesota and at Kansas City. This week they are at home, coming off a moral victory against the Chiefs last week, and hungry for another win.
The Cardinals have zero future value in your survivor pool, you cannot play them again. At first glance you may instinctually pass on playing a 2-7 team in Survivor, but I would look again. If you want to stay away from the larger spread games and get cute, this game deserves a very close look. The Cardinals are coming together as a team, and the Raiders are officially playing like a AAA minor league squad.
CINCINATTI BENGALS at BALTIMORE RAVENS
This game has a lot of questions marks. Will AJ Green play? It looks unlikely he plays for at least a few more weeks, but this would be something to keep track of this week; if you are considering this game pay attention to the reports out of Cincinnati. Is John Harbaugh a sitting duck coach? It looks like the writing is on the wall for John. Will Joe Flacco play? That is up in the air, but I think that's a good thing for the Ravens, as the future seems to be Lamar Jackson and what better time than now to see what you really have in the first round pick/playmaker.
Baltimore is off the bye, and they have an easy schedule going forward. They still have a chance to make the playoffs, and they MUST win in this spot to stay in the hunt.
Cincy beat the Ravens week 2 in Cincy, so this is also a revenge game for Baltimore. They are playing a Bengals team that has been outscored over the past 2 games by a margin of 96-24. Granted, it was the Chiefs and Saints, but still, this is a defense allowing an average of 12 points per quarter for the past two games, and over 500 total yards for the past 3 games. Those are ugly stats. The Ravens don't have to do much on offense here to get job done against a malfunctioning Bengals defense.
I like the Ravens in this spot. However, there is a ton of future value going forward with Baltimore. They get the AAA Raiders next week at home, a spot I like better than this, and then they get Tampa Bay at home in week 15 as well. If you don't need to take Baltimore this week you might consider saving them, but if you need to use them then this is a nice spot for them.
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
The saints destroyed the Bengals last week. They are a football army on the march. I am enjoying comparing this Saints team to the 2009 Saints team, who won the super bowl. Brees is a better QB than he was 9 years ago. he's 7 percent more accurate, has a passer rating 14 points higher; he is tossing an 80% completion rate, and this past Sunday he was 15-15 targeting his wide receivers and tight ends. This Saints offense put up 45 on the Rams two weeks ago, and then 51 points on the Bengals this past Sunday. I think Kamara a better back then New Orleans had in 2009, and Mike Thomas is a better and more explosive receiver than the Saints had in 2009. The defense this year is almost a yard better than in 2009 (3.7 yards defending the rush vs. 4.5 yards in 2009). Also, QB Brees and HC Payton clearly have the Vulcan mind meld happening. The plays are perfect, and perfectly executed.
It could be argued that in this small moment in time, in a very competitive season where 5-6 teams have a real chance to win the whole thing, that the Saints are the best in the league.
The Saints will be rooting hard for KC to beat the Rams this week, so they get some breathing room in the NFC home-field hunt. Home field is incredibly meaningful because Brees is exceptional at home in the dome, and the NO crowd is straight nasty with their volume. All this adds up to the Saints not sleeping on the last gasp Eagles this week.
Last Sunday, Philly had no urgency, bad play calling, and no playmaking. That loss dropped their odds of making the playoffs from 70% to 35%, and it did not seem like they cared. They have only scored more than 21 points in 3 out of 9 games this season, and they have multiple injuries in the secondary (capped off by recently losing Darby for the year). Wentz and Ertz had a great game statistically against the Cowboys, but who cares if they lose? The bad play calling assessment comes from the fact that they only ran the ball 7 times. What kind of silly play calling is that. Even if you are struggling to run the rock, you need to establish the run in this league or your odds of winning are miniscule.
Let's talk about the Eagles fans for a hot minute. They booed their team off the field on Sunday night. Yes, they looked horrible. Yes, they were losing to the average Cowboys a pathetic 13-3 at the half. But this team just gave you a super bowl victory less than a year ago!! Aggressively booing them off the field, in my book, makes you either the fans with the highest definition of success in the league, or just the drunkest and meanest fans in the league. I will let you decide which it is.
It is always dicey to pick a team with their back against the wall, and that is certainly the Eagles this week. However, you could argue that their backs were against the wall last week too, and they did not show up against the Cowboys. I just don't see how they can man up against the Saints and do what they could not do versus the Cowboys unless the Saints phone this one in; and with home field advantage almost in their grasp, the Saints are going to bring their A game in this spot. If you have them to play, New Orleans deserves strong consideration at home hosting a hapless Eagles team.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Steelers have had 10 days of rest and prep following their spanking of Carolina. The offense is clicking (Le'Veon Bell who?) with Roethlisberger throwing touchdown passes this past Sunday to five different receivers, and achieving the first five-touchdown, no-interception, perfect-passer-rating game of his illustrious career. Hear that again…Big Ben was perfect last weekend; the man had a passer rating of 158.3. The one knock on the offense is a banged-up Conner and I would like to see him on the field Sunday if my survivor life rests on this play, so pay attention to the IR reports out of Pittsburgh later in the week.
The Steelers defense is also standing tall, highlighted by Vince Williams who returned a Cam Newton interception for a 17-yard touchdown, and on the next series nailed Newton for an eight-yard sack.
A word on Mike Tomlin, who always seems to be on the chopping block at various times in the season due mainly to locker room press. Tomlin hasn't had a losing season in his 11 full seasons, and Pittsburgh needs only two wins in the last seven games to ensure making that 12-for-12. He has the best winning percentage of any Steelers Head Coach over the past 49 years (better than Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher) and in regular-season games since 2016, only Bill Belichick has a better record than Tomlin. Belichick is 35-7 since opening day 2016. Tomlin is 30-10-1. All other coaches come after that. He is a great coach, and his team loves to win for him. Tomlin is not going anywhere anytime soon.
On the show last week, I talked about the Jaguar player arrests in a London pub the weekend of their London game, and how that was an indication of a team with no focus and no discipline. It may be more than that; Jacksonville is approaching what we describe on the podcast this week as a "dumpster fire."
Jalen Ramsey has alluded to leaving Jax soon as he can (he's a free agent after next season). The Jacksonville star center (Lindner) is out this week, and then there is Blake Bortles. He had a good game last week (320 yards and 2 TD's) but he has not been able to string 2 games together all year, which means he lays an egg on Sunday. The only hope for the Jaga offense is Fournette who had fresh legs this past Sunday and looked strong against Indy totaling 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. But that was Indy; I do not see him cracking 100 yards running against the Steelers D.
Jacksonville's defense hasn't been as good as it was in 2017, but they still entered the game on Sunday with the number 1 defensive unit against the pass. That was before Luck smoked them and threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns. Luck was finding players wide open…I mean wide open.
The Steelers should beat Jax. They owe them a beating after losing at home to them last season in the playoffs, so this is a revenge game. And they are so much better at home in the playoffs, they are going to try and roll here for the next few weeks and see if they can play at home as much as possible in January. You could convince me that holding them vs. the Raiders Week 14 is the smart play, but I suggest you look closely at using them this week.
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Captain and the Big Man offer Survivor Pool information and guidance every week on their show Survivor Pool Podcast. Bringing their decades of experience and success in Survivor Pools, they break down every NFL game on the card, examining matchups and using game theory strategy to offer suggestions on how Survivor Pool players can live to fight another Sunday. Subscribe to the Survivor Pool Podcast and get the information you need to put your best pick forward.
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