The 2019-20 NFL season is rolling, and there are many ways to cash in on your knowledge of the most popular professional sports league in the country.
At PlayPicks, we’re breaking down the NFL Survivor Pool landscape to bring you weekly options that will help you stay alive and ahead of the field in your pool.
For those new to Survivor Pools, the format is simple: Pick an NFL team to win each week, advance if they win, and you can’t pick the same team twice. The last member of the pool standing takes home the cash.
In this article, we will identify tiers of survivor picks, ranging from “lock” to “thrifty” to “contrarian.”
The lock is our safest and most obvious pick for the week. The thrifty pick is a good team to consider at this point in the season schedule. And our contrarian pick goes against the grain to potentially keep your pool alive when the defecation hits the oscillation in the NFL and thousands of survivors lose a supposed lock to an upset.
You can also use advice from this article to place bets on FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. Many of the recommended bets can be applied to those New Jersey books. Also, be aware that the point spread could be considerable with these teams favored to win by over a touchdown in some cases.
Week 6 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Dallas Cowboys (-8.5) at New York Jets
First of all, this is a difficult week for Survivor picks since the Dolphins and Redskins — two of the easiest teams to pick on — are playing each other. There is only one double-digit favorite (Baltimore) on Sunday’s slate and few “easy” games to call.
However, this is an easy call. The Cowboys are in a prime bounce-back spot after losses to two of the best teams (Saints and Packers) in the NFC. Now they’ll face a Jets team that will get back starting QB Sam Darnold (illness), but should still be without DE Henry Anderson (shoulder), and high-priced ILB C.J. Mosley (groin).
The Jets rank dead last in total YPG (179.5) and the Cowboys rank first (452.8) this season. Dak Prescott struggled in the red zone against two excellent defenses, but the Jets rank 31st in points allowed (5.71) per red zone trip. Dallas should use the Jets as a get-right matchup to prepare for a Week 7 divisional showdown with Philadelphia.
Schedule Notes: The Cowboys host the Giants in Week 9 after a bye, so they could be deployed in that matchup. But after that the next realistic opportunity to use Dallas in a survivor pool is Week 17 against the Redskins.
Week 6 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Baltimore Ravens (-11) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
While the Ravens looked vulnerable in a Week 5 win at the Steelers, the Bengals looked even worse against Pittsburgh in Week 4 and just handed the young Cardinals their first win of the season. New HC Zac Taylor is not distinguishing himself and he has limited weaponry at his disposal with John Ross (shoulder) and A.J. Green (ankle) unavailable.
Baltimore can shadow the Bengals top remaining WR, Tyler Boyd, with stud CB Marlon Humphrey. This matchup should allow the Ravens to sort out some secondary issues with safety Tony Jefferson (ACL) out for the season.
Offensively, Lamar Jackson and company should have a field day against a Bengals defense that’s allowing the second-most rushing YPG (167.6) this year. Cincy has also allowed the second-most rushing yards (152) to QBs this season.
Since 2010, the Ravens have the fourth-best winning percentage with a 53-15 record win listed as a home favorite. The Bengals have dropped six of their last seven games against AFC North foes and are just 7-20 on the road since 2016.
Schedule Notes: The Ravens make a trip to Cincy in Week 10, but A.J. Green might be active by then. They have a Week 15 home game against the Jets on Thursday night, but Thursday games always have an element of unpredictability.
Week 6 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Chargers laid an egg in a home game against Denver last week. Now they have a week to rest at home and await the banged-up Steelers.
Pittsburgh will likely start Devlin Hodges after Mason Rudolph suffered a scary head injury last Sunday. Hodges is a 23-year-old rookie out of Samford and reportedly played well enough in training camp to make the practice squad. Yet he could be hard pressed to crack a Chargers secondary that’s allowing the seventh-fewest passing YPG (215) this season.
While the Steelers defense has stepped up since Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) was announced out for the year, that unit has been far less efficient on the road. Pittsburgh 15 passing TDs with just 3 picks (105 rating) to QBs on the road last season.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are 5-1 following a loss since the start of last season. They can exploit mismatches all over the field with Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, plus they can now deploy Melvin Gordon as a power option in the run game.
Schedule Notes: The AFC West suddenly looks very tough with the Raiders playing well. You could gamble on the Chargers in Tennessee next Sunday, or in a Week 13 trip to Denver, but this is realistically the last time to take the Bolts in Survivor pools.