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. And if you managed to escape the buzzsaw of Week 10 upsets (Saints, Colts, 49ers), this article should help you win the whole thing.
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.” Since it is so late in the season, we’re skipping the best teams since most participants have likely already used those squads.
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 11 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Oakland Raiders (-10.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals
The only winless team and arguably the worst team in the NFL, the Bengals are symbolically throwing in the towel by benching Andy Dalton. That may have led to A.J. Green (ankle) erring on the side of caution by sitting out a Week 10 loss to Baltimore, which sends another message to active Bengals players that this season isn’t worth the fight.
Oakland has shown great fight all year and now sits only 0.5 games behind Kansas City for first place in the AFC West. The Raiders are third in DVOA pass offense and sixth in DVOA rush offense with Josh Jacobs churning out 4.8 YPC. The Bengals yield the most rushing YPG (173) in the NFL by far this season at a rate of 5.2 YPC. Back home and idle since last Thursday, the Raiders should dominate the battle in the trenches and coast against an overmatched opponent.
Schedule Notes: The Raiders could be worth using next week at the Jets. They also host the Titans in Week 15 and Jaguars in Week 16, but we’ll have to see how those teams are playing at that point with Ryan Tannehill and Nick Foles potentially changing their respective outlooks.
Week 11 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Buffalo Bills (-6) at Miami Dolphins
If you didn’t use the Bills in their Week 7 matchup with the Dolphins, it was likely to save them for this rematch. Buffalo was 3-0 on the road this year prior to dropping a 19-16 decision to Cleveland last Sunday. While not a great road team historically, the Bills are 2-1 over their last three games when listed as a favorite on the road.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have won two straight and Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well under center. But the passing game isn’t how you defeat the Bills fifth-rated (DVOA) pass defense. Buffalo has struggled badly in run defense, but Miami is DFL in rushing offense this season at 64.4 YPG and dumped RB Kenyan Drake before backup RB Mark Walton (knee) suffered an injury. Even though the Dolphins produced 117 rushing yards in a 31-21 loss in Buffalo, we can expect the Bills to shut down his lackluster attack and force former Buffalo QB Fitzpatrick into some mistakes.
Schedule Notes: The Bills have two more home games and are generally unreliable on the road. Buffalo hosts Denver in Week 12 in a decent matchup, but the Broncos are trending up. The Bills final home game comes in Week 15 against MVP candidate Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Week 11 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Carolina Panthers (-5.5) vs Atlanta Falcons
Because the Falcons pulled off a shocker in New Orleans last Sunday, people are likely wary of taking the Panthers to get past Atlanta at home this week. But Atlanta’s weaknesses are Carolina’s strengths. Namely, Christian McCaffrey, who should go nuts against a Falcons team that is yielding the most receptions (117) to opposing RBs for a third straight season. McCaffrey has a whopping 26 catches for 179 yards over his last two meetings with the Falcons, who rank 31st overall in DVOA pass defense.
The Panthers rank third in DVOA pass defense, but have been gashed on the ground. Devonta Freeman (foot) is likely to miss this contest and backup RB Brian Hill is a downgrade despite his solid performance last Sunday. Falcons TE Austin Hooper (MCL) is also likely to sit this week and that should allow the Panthers to shade more double teams toward Julio Jones. Carolina is an impressive 23-7 when listed as a home favorite since 2015 and needs this win to have any shot at a Wild Card spot.
Schedule Notes: The Panthers host the Redskins in a juicy Week 13 matchup. If you can roll with either of the teams listed above, save Carolina for that home game against the worst team in the NFL.