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 8 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5) vs Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins’ latest opponent is another team that hangs its hat on defense with a below-average offense. That combination didn’t lead to a convincing win for Buffalo in Week 7, but the Steelers should be a different animal in primetime this Monday night.
Pittsburgh is 23-7 at home since the start of the 2015 season and has racked up a whopping 17 sacks through three home games this year, including a 27-3 beatdown of the Bengals in primetime. Expect T.J. Watt and company to tee off on a Dolphins offensive line with nothing to play for.
On the other side of the ball, Miami ranks dead last in DVOA pass defense and yields the second-most rushing YPG (160.8) this season, so a conservative game plan with either Devlin Hodges or Mason Rudolph under center should get the Steelers enough production to pull away for a low-scoring victory.
Schedule Notes: The Steelers could be worth using in Week 12 when they face the Bengals in Cincy on 10 days of rest. They also get the Jets in the Meadowlands in Week 16, but Pittsburgh is far easier to trust at home.
Week 8 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Minnesota Vikings (-14.5) vs Washington Redskins
If you can get your pick in before Thursday night, Minnesota is a great option. Even playing on the road on a short week, the Vikings should have no trouble shutting down a Washington team that was just held scoreless at home by the similarly talented 49ers defense. Home teams have often dominated on Thursday nights.
Kirk Cousins will be out for revenge against a franchise that routinely devalued him and slapped him with the franchise tag before showing him the door. He shouldn’t have much trouble shredding a Washington defense that’s allowing a 97.6 passer rating and could be without top CB Josh Norman (thigh) on a short week. While Adam Thielen (hamstring) could also miss this game, Stefon Diggs poses a serious matchup problem for Washington and the Skins are allowing 134.4 rushing YPG, so Dalvin Cook should eat.
Since Washington ranks 30th in DVOA rush offense and dead last in power run blocking with stud LT Trent Williams holding out, the Skins will be forced to throw. Minnesota has racked up 19 sacks and 7 interceptions this year and can use shutdown CB Xavier Rhodes to contain Washington’s sole dangerous receiver in Terry McLaurin.
Schedule Notes: The Niners have a tough two-week stretch coming up from a scheduling standpoint since they host streaking Carolina before playing at Arizona on Thursday night in Week 9. They host the Cardinals in Week 11, but Arizona is getting better each week.
Week 8 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Los Angeles Rams (-12.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals
This pick could give you more anxiety than you bargained for, since the Rams are far from being “back” atop the ranks of the NFL’s elite after dismantling the weak Falcons defense. The Bengals are in fact the most vulnerable defense against the rush, but Todd Gurley is struggling to gain yards behind an offensive line that ranks 18th in power run blocking after leading the league for most of last year.
Still, Sean McVay should know all the tricks that former protege Zac Taylor will try to pull with a depleted Bengals roster. Cincy should still be without top WRs A.J. Green (ankle) and John Ross (shoulder), while new Rams CB Jalen Ramsey can shut down default top receiver Auden Tate on the outside. The Rams simply can’t afford to drop this game at home with physical battles against the Steelers, Bears, and Ravens on tap over the next few weeks.
Schedule Notes: The Rams are at the Cardinals in Week 13 and host Arizona in Week 17, but the Cards are playing better and better each week. Those could be the only other chances to take an inconsistent Rams team this year.