The 2020-21 NFL season kicked off on schedule and was as exciting as ever despite most stadiums being empty of fans. There are still many ways to cash in on your knowledge of the most popular professional sports league in the country, including survivor pools.
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.” 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 sportsbooks. Also, be aware that the point spread could be considerable with these teams favored to win by over a touchdown in some cases.
Week 2 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
After a crazy Week 1 that saw thousands of survivor pool entires eliminated, you might just want a sure thing in Week 2 regardless of how it effects the season-long schedule. The Niners are a great team to save for the second half of the season and they have a good matchup at home against Miami in Week 5, but they’re definitely a lock in Week 2.
The Jets appear to be the worst team in football now that they’ve lost their best defensive player (safety Jamal Adams) and did little else to upgrade their roster. They may have also lost lead back Le’Veon Bell (hamstring) in their Week 1 loss at Buffalo, and his receiving prowess would be missed badly in Week 2 if the Jets can’t run Frank Gore between the tackles.
While some West Coast teams can struggle in the eastern time zone, the Niners went 4-1 on the road against eastern teams last year, with their lone loss a 20-17 defeat at mighty Baltimore. They’ll be in New Jersey for two weeks with the Giants on tap next week, and won’t miss out on an opportunity to get back to .500 by pounding the talent-deficient Jets.
Week 2 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Arizona Cardinals vs Washington Football Team
Washington came back from a 17-0 deficit to stun the Eagles in Ron Rivera’s debut. The Football Team received a stellar effort from it’s defensive line and shut down a weak Eagles rushing attack, allowing Dwayne Haskins and the offense to eventually convert on opportunities.
While that defensive line represents a challenge for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, they just beat a Niners team that arguably has the best defensive front in football. Murray was sacked a league-high 48 times last year and took two sacks last week, yet he showcased incredibly escapability and burned the Niners for 91 yards and a TD on the ground. Murray also found new top weapon DeAndre Hopkins 14 times for 151 yards and Washington’s new top corner Kendall Fuller (knee) missed Week 1.
The public might not be willing to trust Arizona, but this is an opportunity to survive Week 2 without using a true top tier team. The NFC West may be the best division in league history this year, so the Cardinals probably won’t get an easier home game all season.
Week 2 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Tampa Bay Bucs vs Carolina Panthers
All eyes were on Tom Brady in Week 1 and he disappointed along with the rest of a star-studded Bucs offense. Yet that lackluster performance came against a top five Saints defense that has stifled the run for years and now the Bucs can bounce back against a Panthers team that ranked dead last in DVOA rush defense last season and coughed up 4.3 YPC with 3 rushing TDs allowed in Week 1.
Tampa can establish better balance in Week 2 and set up deep shots from Brady to Mike Evans, who will no longer have to deal with his nemesis James Bradberry (now on the Giants). Even with Bradberry on the Panthers last year, Evans caught 13 balls for 157 yards in his two matchups with Carolina. Now he will get opportunities against rookie CB Troy Pride Jr.
But the key to this game is on the other side of the ball, where Tampa’s stout defense should make the Panthers offense look much worse than it did in Week 1 against Las Vegas. The Bucs led the NFL in rush defense last year and held the Saints to just 2.4 YPC last Sunday. Christian McCaffrey posted much worse stats against division foes last season and managed just 1.8 YPC with 68 rushing yards and 1 TD in his two meetings with Tampa. The Bucs defense could control this game and allow Brady’s offense to play from ahead.