Last week, I came to a fork in the road. And, I took it.
Then, I hit a tree. Or, I ran off a cliff. Or, I got hit by a bus.
Pick your metaphor. I’m out.
To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. Yet, I’m strangely satisfied, as well.
Even within this short time — just five weeks of NFL action — I’ve learned many things about survivor contests, strategy, and perhaps most important — the huge advantages of having multiple entries. Investing in CircaSurvivor with several entries really is the right way to go, if that’s possible. In fact, these advantages become apparent once it’s understood that taking chances and diversifying is the optimal strategy when controlling a portfolio of entries – which can all be used to work in concert.
By contrast, it’s very difficult to take just one ticket and run it successfully through 15-16–17-18-19-20 weeks without a surprise upset happening.
I lost on the Washington Commanders, which got court-martialed by the Chicago Bears in a surprise upset on Thursday night football. The Bears won convincingly 40-20. There were no bad breaks or unlucky moments for those of us with our tickets punched with Washington as our team. For those of us who picked the Commanders, we had the wrong side. It’s that simple.
Even though I’m out of this year’s CircaSurvivor (unless I decide to buy another ticket on the marketplace – which is possible), I will continue to share my thoughts and ideas. Even though I’m out (and many of you reading this are also eliminated) I think we can learn more going forward. It would be a mistake to not try to check in each week and pick up some pointers. Who knows? Perhaps something we see this season might help us next year, and beyond.
NFL Week #5 in Review
Judging by the number of contestants who passed on the “easy” choices this week, it appears many of us were of the same mindset. We were thinking ahead.
Miami and Detroit were the obvious easy picks based purely on survival instinct. Both were the biggest favorites this week. However, it can’t be stressed strongly enough that the trouble with picking either the Dolphins or Lions is/was — that’s spending precious capital way too early, and unnecessarily so. It’s a waste. Those good teams are likely to be far more valuable later in the season.
Remember, in CircaSurvivor’s winner-take-all contest, finishing 9,000th, or 199th, or 78th, or 24th, or 9th all pays the same — which is to say zippo. It doesn’t make much sense to play it safe each week just to advance if you’re likely to crash and burn later on because all that’s left later in the season are lousy team choices. Many of us who picked Washington (and other marginal teams in the first five weeks of the contest) hoped to use up those “iffy” but inevitable picks now when in favorable situations, and preserve the best teams for later.
So, here we are. Stuck on the outside looking in.
Three of the six most popular picks in Week #5 lost. Hence, the field was trimmed by another 20 percent as 526 more entries were torched as of Sunday night.
Washington accounted for 412 losing tickets. The Commanders were the third most popular choice this week.
Baltimore attracted far less interest, but still got 58 picks in the pool. The Ravens should have won the game versus Pittsburgh – and most certainly would have – were it not for a bonehead play call and decision-making by notoriously inconsistent QB Lamar Jackson.
New England was picked on 28 tickets. Don’t ask me what those contestants were thinking taking the Patriots. They were either Bill Belichick’s final loyalists, or maybe they simply checked the wrong box when logging in to Circa online. The Patriots were hammered by the New Orleans Saints 34-0. The game wasn’t even that close.
A few other teams got a sprinkle of support, accounting for another 20 or so eliminations. Then, there were 2 entries that failed to make any pick. Thanks for the contribution. Thanks for playing!
Finally, one entrant picked the New York Giants to win, who were 12-point underdogs at Miami. Methinks the 2 tickets that didn’t bother to make a pick had a better shot to advance than picking the woeful Giants.
From the Outside….Looking In
A few weeks ago, I created my strategic season-long plan. This was based on scheduling, conservation of good teams, and perhaps most important – close examination of later weeks when there were few standout choices.
I’m not sure how this would have played out. That said, I’m posting it here for consideration. Perhaps later, I’ll revisit this and see if there’s something to be learned which might apply to future survivor contests and survivor strategy.
Here are those notes (with upcoming picks):
LIKELY CIRCA PICKS (LOOKING AHEAD):
Week 4 — SFO vs. ARZ
Week 5 — DET vs. CAR or WASH vs. CHI
Week 6 — MIA vs. CAR or PHI (road team) at NYJ
Week 7 — SEA vs. ARZ
Week 8 — LAC vs. CHI
Week 9 — NOR vs. CHI or CLE vs. ARZ
Week 10 — CIN vs. HOU
Week 11 — DET vs. CHI or JAX vs. TEN
Week 12A — DAL vs. WASH or MIA (road team) at NYJ
Week 12B — MIN vs. CHI or CLE (road team) at DEN
Week 13 — PIT vs. ARZ
Week 14 — NOR vs. CAR or MIA vs. TEN
Week 15 — CLE vs. CHI
Week 16A — 3 toss up games….going to be problematic
Week 16B — GB (road team) at CAR
Week 17 — PHI vs. ARZ
Week 18 — NWE vs. NYJ (but could be someone unusual because of “meaningless” final games)
The 2023 Circa Survivor contest cost $1,000 per entry. There were 9,267 initial entries. After just 5 weeks, there are only 1,859 live entries (about 20 percent of the field). Hence, 80 percent of the starting field has been eliminated.
It also appears the bust out rate is somewhat higher than normal, but not as high as last season (when about 85 percent was gone by Week #5).