In the thrilling world of NFL survivor pools, the first week was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Roughly 25% to 30% of participants saw their hopes dashed after just one week of picks, thanks in part to the upsets of the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks.
For those who read the article last week and followed my advice, you’re likely in a good position as we head into Week 2. Our recommended pick for larger pools, the Washington Commanders, panned out nicely. The rationale behind this choice was simple yet strategic: We anticipated that the Baltimore Ravens would be the most popular choice among players, with Washington having the least future value. In the sharper pools like Circa, we noticed a higher-than-expected rate of Washington picks, indicating that more astute players recognized the value in the Commanders. However, for those of you engaged in survivor pools among friends and family, you might have observed a selection breakdown more aligned with what survivorgrid.com had predicted.
Now, as we set our sights on Week 2, things are heating up in the survivor pools once again. Several teams are favored while offering little future value—similar to what we saw with Washington in the previous week. The key difference this time around is that these favorites aren’t as big as the Commanders were in Week 1.
To navigate this dynamic landscape, let’s turn our attention to a valuable tool in your survivor pool arsenal: my spreadsheet. Designed to assist you in making the right selections based on your pool’s size and specific rules, this tool will be a game-changer. For the sake of illustration, we’ll use 100 entries as the baseline. From there, you can tailor the suggested number of picks per team as a percentage to match the entries remaining in your own pool.
- 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 com.
- # Unique teams: If you have multiple entries, you can decide how many teams to spread your risk across.
As we take our first look at the Survivor Pool Strategy Spreadsheet for Week 2 in the NFL, it’s important to note that we’re initially disregarding future considerations. Instead, our approach here leans towards selecting the most substantial favorites currently on the board, which, for this week, are the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills.
It’s crucial to bear in mind that these betting lines are subject to change, so it’s imperative to stay up-to-date with the latest odds and developments.
As of Tuesday night, Buffalo is emerging as the most popular choice among participants. Notably, Buffalo boasts an expected win percentage that’s close to Dallas. Both teams offer similar future value, making them prime candidates for consideration in the coming weeks. However, when it comes to long-term planning, I’m cautious about looking too far ahead, rarely extending my vision beyond three weeks. As we’ve seen in the past, unexpected twists and turns can befall any team. Just ask the Jets.
For those of you competing in smaller pools, typically with fewer than 50 entries, the strategy largely revolves around selecting teams from this range of favorites until further notice. Following this approach in the previous week would have had you leaning toward Baltimore or Washington. If you heeded this advice, your entry is likely now worth somewhere between 1.33x to 1.42x its initial value. If you opted for Washington, your ticket holds even greater worth due to their limited remaining value. This underscores the advantage of choosing a team with a lower probability of winning but significantly less future value.
Now let’s change the setting to one more suitable for slightly larger pools, around 50% future value. What’s intriguing here is that if you’re sticking with just two teams, Dallas and Buffalo emerge as the top recommendations at an equal rate to before. However, if you’re looking to diversify with three teams, consider introducing the New York Giants into the mix. The Giants are a team with minimal future value, facing the opponent Washington defeated for us last week.
A common strategy this season will be to fade Arizona, increasing the percentage taken on the Giants this week. Granted, the Giants present a riskier choice, particularly in pools of this size, but for those with multiple selections at their disposal, taking a chance on them could prove rewarding. The key question then becomes which teams to pair with the Giants.
As mentioned earlier, if you picked Washington last week, your ticket holds more value than if you had chosen Baltimore. Opting for the riskier route by pairing the Giants with the same ticket you used for Washington offers the potential for a ticket worth significantly more than one that took Baltimore and Dallas. However, keep in mind that greater rewards often entail higher risks. In larger pools with over 100 participants, the odds of winning are relatively slim, making calculated risks an inevitability. While the prospect of an early exit is never appealing, remember that our ultimate goal is to win, not just survive for as many weeks as possible.
When we adjust the spreadsheet to a future value rating of 100%, the New York Giants emerge as a standout selection. If you find yourself in a larger pool with just one entry, the Giants should be your top pick for the abovementioned reasons. However, for those fortunate enough to possess multiple picks, consider pairing the Giants with some Washington lines. This strategic move can potentially yield the highest equity in your pool if they secure a win.
If you’re inclined to diversify your risk, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the mix as a potential contender despite not being an overwhelming favorite. The reason lies in their status as a favorite combined with a relatively low projection of future value. This makes them an intriguing choice that can provide a valuable edge in the pool, as they’re not anticipated to be a popular selection.
Furthermore, a couple of other teams are worth considering due to their limited future value: Denver and Indianapolis. While picking a team like Indianapolis might seem daring, especially in smaller pools, it’s a move that can pay off handsomely when you have multiple entries at your disposal. Remember that their status as favorites might change by kickoff, so staying vigilant regarding line movements is essential to making informed decisions.
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!