The 2020-21 NFL season is off to a roaring start despite most stadiums being empty of fans. There are 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 our strongest survivor pick for this week, called a “lock“, and a “thrifty” pick that can help you save better teams for later in the season.
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 land mine identifies a team that might be a popular pick but could come up short 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 4 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Football Team
Even before battling the Chiefs on MNF yet, the Ravens (-13.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook) have been installed as huge favorites in their Week 4 matchup at Washington. The Browns just hung 158 rushing yards and forced 5 turnovers in a 34-20 win over Ron Rivera’s club, and the Ravens are clearly in another class, as evidenced by their 38-6 thrashing of Cleveland in Week 1, and now they’ll be angry after losing to KC in primetime.
Washington’s biggest strength is a ferocious pass rush, yet that could be diminished if No. 2 overall pick Chase Young (groin) isn’t active. Regardless, Lamar Jackson is nearly impossible to corral and his offensive line ranked eighth in adjusted sack rate last season. Washington is yielding 4.4 YPC and the Ravens are posting the highest run-play percentage in the NFL for a second straight season.
Of course, the biggest reason for confidence in Baltimore is how they’ll match up against Washington’s limited offense. The Ravens secondary has absolutely dominated against far more dangerous receiving corps and Marlon Humphrey can erase Terry McLaurin, leaving Dwayne Haskins without his favorite target. Haskins has been ridiculously turnover-prone with 10 interceptions and 10 fumbles through 12 career starts. The Ravens produced 11 picks over their first 11 games last year and have only improved at the back end.
Week 4 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Los Angeles Rams vs New York Giants
The Rams offensive line ranked 26th in the power running game last season according to Football Outsiders’ key metrics. Through three games this year, they’re in the top five in those metrics and are pounding the rock whether it’s Darrell Henderson Jr. or Malcolm Brown handling carries. That threat has allowed Jared Goff to post a 109.6 passer rating after he struggled with an 86.5 passer rating during the 2019-2020 season.
The Giants are allowing a respectable 3.8 YPC, but were gashed in the short and intermediate passing game during a blowout loss to the shorthanded 49ers last week. Sean McVay will analyze that film and should be able to carve up the Giants defense in similar fashion with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and his stable of running backs creating mismatches with pre-snap motion and deceptive routes.
Saquon Barkley is good enough to cover up some shortcomings, but with their superstar back done for the year and with LT Nate Solder opting out, the Giants offensive line looks like one of the worst in football. They draw a nightmare matchup against Aaron Donald and company and we’ve seen Daniel Jones take 9 sacks with 6 turnovers this season after committing 24 turnovers during his rookie campaign.
The Rams have a tougher matchup at Washington next week and host the pathetic Jets in Week 15, but are an economical choice for Week 4 survivor pools if you want to save the Ravens and other top teams.
Week 4 Survivor Pool Land Mine
Tampa Bay Bucs vs Los Angeles Chargers
The Bucs have faced some injury-diminished teams the past two weeks and capitalized with wins, but are far from invulnerable. Tampa is averaging the sixth-lowest YPC (3.8) and their offensive line has the seventh-worst adjusted sack rate through three games.
With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram wreaking havoc, the Chargers have been able to generate pressure while rushing four players, and that’s long been the recipe for beating Tom Brady led teams. The Chargers have two talented cornerbacks, Casey Heyward and Chris Harris Jr., who can contain Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and they allowed the fourth-fewest receptions (63) to TEs last season.
Now, the Bucs (-7 at DK Sportsbook) are comfortable favorites at home against rookie QB Justin Herbert after he looked shaky in his second career start. Herbert committed two key turnovers, but eventually found his rhythm and sparked a huge day (13-152-TD) from Keenan Allen in a comeback. While the Bucs play a funnel style of defense to stop the run, the Chargers are capable of replacing handoffs with their short passing game. So don’t be shocked if Herbert and his shifty receivers give the Bucs a scare.
If you haven’t used the Bucs yet in survivor, we suggest holding them until their Week 8 matchup at the Giants.