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 15 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Oakland Raiders (-6) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
At this point in the season, you should be looking to target teams with an apparent lack of motivation. The Jaguars appear to have quit while giving up 148 points in four losses since coming out of their bye week.
They’ve been absolutely gashed for rushing yard totals of 216, 264, 219, and 195 during their five-game losing streak (Pass-heavy Tampa only ran for 74 yards) and now rank 31st in DVOA rush defense. Oakland maintained its productive ground attack even with Josh Jacobs (shoulder) out in a much tougher matchup against Tennessee last week. The Raiders hulking line has been stuffed at the fifth-lowest frequency in the NFL and ranks third in adjusted line YPC (4.71), so they should be able to run the ball just fine if Jacobs is out.
Jacksonville only has one road win this year and it came at 1-13 Cincinnati. Oakland had won three straight home games before challenging the red-hot Titans and eventually giving up 21 unanswered in a 42-21 loss last Sunday. Simply put, the Raiders can stop the run, and the can pound the rock. Those are unavoidable truths in football and there’s almost no chance the Jags overcoming those odds without a few lucky turnovers.
Week 15 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Philadelphia Eagles (-6) at Washington Redskins
The Eagles have victimized players in survivor pools over the past few weeks, so if you’re still alive they’re probably available for you to deploy. Philly might have struggled against a galvanized Giants team and fell in Miami the week before, but the Eagles are now riding some momentum into a game they must survive to face the Cowboys in Week 16 with a shot at a division title and playoff berth.
Philadelphia gives up the third-fewest rushing YPG (91) and ranks eighth in DVOA rush defense this season. Since Jay Gruden was fired, interim coach Bill Callahan has stubbornly stuck to the run with decent results for Washington. But in division games, the Skins have averaged 3.2 YPC, 2.8 YPC, and a season-low 2.2 YPC with 28 rushing yards in a Week 1 loss at Philly. The Eagles have won five straight over Washington and should make it a clean sweep in front of a crowd that might be bipartisan.
Week 15 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Tampa Bay Bucs (-4) at Detroit Lions
Jameis Winston certainly gave backers a scare in a narrow 38-35 win over Indy this past Sunday, so they’re unlikely to be a popular pick on the road in Week 15. Yet Tampa’s defense has performed even better on the road while allowing just 3.6 YPC and an 89.9 passer rating with 22 sacks over five games. The Bucs have won three of five road tests with their only losses coming at New Orleans and at Seattle in overtime.
The Lions are hardly a team to fear with David Blough at quarterback and their inability to run the ball has been a weakness for several seasons. Detroit ranks 28th in DVOA rush offense and 20th in adjusted line YPC (4.18), while the Bucs are still leading the league in DVOA rush defense.
When playing under a dome, Winston owns a career 97.7 passer rating with a 21:11 TD:INT ratio. He’s surely made mistakes over his last three starts, but still managed to steer the Bucs to three straight wins. The Lions have just been awful defensively of late and now rank 26th in DVOA pass defense. Detroit is 2-4 at home this year and 3-7 as a home underdog under Matt Patricia.