Looking at Week 8

Oct 27, 2023 | Featured, John Alesia, Weekly Analysis

By John Alesia

Week 7 in the 2023 NFL season brought a whirlwind of upsets, setting the stage for Week 8 in survivor pools. Among the shockers, both Buffalo and San Francisco stumbled. However, the most popular choice of the previous week, the Seattle Seahawks, held on to a victory against the Cardinals.

Last week, approximately 55% of entries put their faith in Seattle. However, a wise strategy for those participating in larger pools, and even in some smaller ones, was to go against the grain and fade the Seahawks. When the selection summary for your pool was unveiled, and you found yourself not aligned with Seattle, you should have felt a twinge of satisfaction.

In one of my larger pools, I had seven entries remaining out of a total of 1,299. A whopping 747 of those entries were backing Seattle. Even though I had two of my entries riding the Seahawks, I was cheering for a Seattle loss while hoping that my other selections would emerge victorious. This is precisely where you want to position yourself in these survivor pools.

Unfortunately, my preferred strategy of fading Seattle in larger pools led me to put my trust in Tampa Bay, a gamble that didn’t quite pay off. The Buccaneers had their opportunities but fell short. To compound matters, losses by the Rams and Raiders further left me with just my two Seattle entries and 879 others still in contention.

While my chosen strategy didn’t yield the desired results, it’s essential to understand that survivor pools demand a willingness to take calculated risks. As I emphasized last week, the key to victory in these pools is embracing contrarian plays and seizing the right opportunities. This doesn’t guarantee success, but it positions you favorably, increasing the likelihood of long-term profitability. So, as we look ahead to Week 8, remember that taking smart risks and going against the crowd when the timing is right can be your ticket to success in the unpredictable world of NFL survivor pools.

Key:

  • Win Projection: I calculate win probability based on each game’s mid-point of the money line.
  • FV (Future Value): This value comes from look-ahead lines. Lower numbers indicate more future value for a team.
  • Pick%: This shows how frequently a team is selected across major websites, according to survivorgrid.com.
  • # Unique teams: If you have multiple entries, you can decide how many teams to spread your risk across.

As we do each week let’s take a look at my spreadsheet with 0 weight for future value.

In Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season, we’re greeted by a plethora of strong favorites. The cream of the crop, when we do not factor in Future Value (FV), comprises Miami and the LA Chargers. The reason behind Miami’s relatively low pick percentage on Survivor Grid is that many of you have already taken them in previous weeks. On the flip side, the Chargers are currently being favored in 34% of pools, as they’ve remained an underutilized option thus far. The allure of Buffalo as a survivor pick has also whittled down its availability, leading many to consider Baltimore and Detroit as the next go-to selections.

As we progress deeper into the NFL season, writing these articles becomes more complex. The variety of selections at your disposal creates a unique challenge, making it crucial to tailor your strategy to your specific pool’s circumstances. For instance, if you find yourself in a dwindling pool with fewer than 50 entries left, it’s imperative to go with your best available team. If the Chargers emerge as your prime option, you might need to lean in that direction. However, it’s highly likely that you’ll have a range of other teams to choose from.

In such a situation, it’s prudent to scrutinize the remaining options and evaluate their potential value in the upcoming weeks. When Miami is in your arsenal, this week practically compels you to select them. This is precisely why you reserve a team like Miami—to leverage them when most others can’t and when they happen to be the largest favorite of the week. The same principle applies if Buffalo is at your disposal. Now is the ideal moment to make that choice and hope for some chaos to shake up the rest of your pool.

Now, when we factor in future value at 25%, the situation appears quite similar to when it’s set at 0%. Let’s take a closer look.

As we navigate further into the season, the significance of Future Value begins to wane. When we consider only 25% of Future Value, Buffalo emerges as the second-best choice.  Surprisingly the Bills show as less FV than the Chargers.  In the short term, the Bills have a couple of games they should be a large favorite in.  In Week 10, the Bills are set to host Denver, and Week 11 sees them at home for the Jets. It’s worth noting that Week 10 will feature Dallas as the most largest favorite against the Giants, along with Cincinnati hosting Houston and Baltimore defending their home turf against Cleveland. Additionally, for those who got by without taking Seattle, they’ll be hosting Washington in Week 10, presenting a viable alternative. Clearly, there will be a smorgasbord of options in Week 10.

Looking further ahead to Week 11, you’ll encounter matchups like San Francisco at home against Tampa, Detroit hosting Chicago, and Dallas traveling to face Carolina—these are prime choices, with Buffalo not being the sole focus. Consequently, opting for the Bills this week should not hinder your ability to secure excellent selections in the weeks to come.

Given the circumstances, there’s a strong case to steer clear of the Chargers this week. Any of the other standout favorites present enticing opportunities for leverage against the broader field, making it an appealing prospect for savvy survivor pool participants.

We do not see a dramatic change in the spreadsheet when we move to 75% future value.  In the realm of larger pools, my strategic advice would essentially stay the same: aim to navigate this week without relying on the Chargers. There’s a particular exception worth mentioning—the Kansas City Chiefs. In larger pools, a prudent move is to look further down the road. By Week 13, the Chiefs could be a valuable asset, especially when they face Green Bay. The remaining games in that week don’t present attractive options. Given the limited number of entries capable of choosing Kansas City, this week could evolve into an excellent opportunity to gain a considerable edge over the competition.

As for this week, it’s wise to exercise caution with favorites like the New York Jets and other small favorites.  The only scenario where I would contemplate such a choice is in very large pools, where you find yourself without any other viable alternatives to fading the Chargers.  Even then I may just back the Chargers and look for a better leverage spot in the future.

Ultimately, you have to decide how you will play your pool.  Hopefully, you will be around for many weeks with me as we try and survive!

 

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