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 upsets the past few weeks, 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 14 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Cleveland Browns (-8.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals
Inspired by the return of Andy Dalton, the Bengals got their first win of the season against a disinterested Jets squad. They’re a much more dangerous opponent with Dalton under center, but can still be exploited on many levels by a divisional rival.
Cleveland won three straight at home before losing in Pittsburgh this past Sunday. The Browns average 4.9 YPC this season and have 7 rushing TDs over six home games. Cincy allows a league-high 157.6 rushing YPG and the most run plays (20) of 20-plus yards this season. Baker Mayfield shredded the Bengals for 7 TDs with zero picks in two wins last season and now he has Odell Beckham Jr. to target against a team that ranks 31st in DVOA pass defense. The Browns are simply too diverse offensively with Kareem Hunt joining Nick Chubb in the backfield, and they still have plenty of talent on defense despite losing Myles Garrett (suspension) for the season.
Week 14 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Tennessee Titans (-3) at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have proven very capable of running the football, but completely inept in the passing game in recent weeks. After scoring 12 points and zero touchdowns against the Jets and Chiefs, they return home to face a surging Titans defense that’s allowed just one passing touchdown over two wins since coming out of their bye week. Tennessee holds opposing QBs to an 81.2 passer rating and a 6:7 TD:INT ratio on the road this season, while Derek Carr has posted a 2:4 TD:INT ratio over his last three starts.
Will Josh Jacobs and the Raiders offensive line find any success against a Titans team that ranks fifth in DVOA rush defense? That should be the key in determining this matchup. But even if Tennessee gives up some production on the ground, can the Raiders struggling pass defense stop Ryan Tannehill and company?
Tannehill is sporting a 113.9 passer rating since taking over for Marcus Mariota and has a 6:0 TD:INT ratio over his last three starts. After getting shredded by Sam Darnold and Pat Mahomes, the Raiders are now 30th in DVOA pass defense. They’ve also been gashed on the ground and are 23rd in DVOA run defense, so Derrick Henry should force more attention in the box to open things up for Tannehill and his receivers.
Week 14 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Tampa Bay Bucs (-2.5) vs Indianapolis Colts
This is certainly a risky pick that will differentiate you from the pack late in the season. The Bucs have on two in a row on the road, but few are willing to trust Jameis Winston and company against a disciplined Colts squad. Indy has been above average in pass defense and rarely gives up big plays down the field. The Bucs struggle to run the ball, but have 207 rushing yards over their last two outings.
More important to note is Tampa’s improvement in pass defense. The Bucs were towards the top of the NFL in run defense with new DC Todd Bowles trying to funnel opposing offenses into the air. But they were getting carved up on the back end until recently. Against the Saints, Falcons, and Jaguars, Tampa allowed just 234 passing YPG.
The Colts rank 22nd in DVOA pass offense and Jacoby Brissett is posting a rough 73.4 passer rating over three starts since returning from an MCL sprain. If T.Y. Hilton (quad) remains inactive, the Colts may have little means of generating offense. Even if Marlon Mack (hand) returns, they likely won’t be able to run against Tampa.