Week 4 in the NFL ushered in a sense of stability in survivor pools, with minimal eliminations. The heavy favorites, as well as some of the less popular teams with lower future value, all secured victories.
As we shift our focus to Week 5, it’s evident that there are two prominent choices that will likely capture the majority’s attention. However, for participants in larger pools, there may be additional alternatives worth considering.
- 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 our customary practice, let’s delve into my Week 5 spreadsheet, beginning with the settings at zero future value. This setting highlights the most significant favorites as the optimal choices. In this particular week, the Miami and Detroit teams stand out prominently at the pinnacle of the list, both boasting approximately an 80% chance of victory. While either of these teams would make for solid selections in most survivor pool formats, it is particularly prudent, especially in smaller pools, to refrain from straying too far from these two options.
To help you make your decision as to which team to take let’s look into the future with the help of survivorgrid.com.
Immediately, it becomes apparent that Miami enjoys another advantageous matchup at home against Carolina in Week 6. While Week 6 also highlights Buffalo and Kansas City as strong favorites, there’s a chance you’ve already selected one or both of them in earlier rounds. If that’s the case, pivoting to Miami this week seems to be the wisest course of action.
Looking ahead, the next viable opportunity to consider Detroit would be in Week 8. This week presents a wealth of potential choices, although many may have been utilized by that point. Their subsequent favorable week falls in Week 11 when they host Chicago, which also seems full of good options on paper. However, if your pool is relatively small, Week 11 might not be a major concern, as it may never come to fruition.
The pivotal week that could significantly influence your decisions for both Week 5 and Week 6 is Week 7. Presently, the top contenders for that week include Seattle at home against Arizona, San Francisco facing Minnesota, Kansas City hosting the Chargers, and Buffalo taking on New England. Admittedly, none of these options inspire unwavering confidence. Depending on the teams you still have at your disposal, it might be prudent to ensure you can select one of these options come Week 7.
For those looking to weigh future value a little heavier, here is a look at the spreadsheet with a 50% weight to future value.
By placing more emphasis on future value considerations, we open up a compelling opportunity to consider selecting Washington. Currently, Washington boasts a 70% chance of victory in their upcoming matchup against the Bears. What sets them apart is their unlikely candidacy for future picks. In fact, they are projected to be the favored choice only once more throughout the entire season.
In the context of moderate to large-sized survivor pools, Washington merits serious consideration. It’s crucial to keep our primary objective in mind, which is winning the pool rather than simply surviving week by week. Winning a sizable pool may require navigating through 17 or 18 weeks, and the ideal path often becomes clear only in retrospect. What we do know is that selecting a 6-point favorite in the later weeks can prove challenging, as we’ve often exhausted the best teams by then, and these top teams typically have the highest point spreads. Hence, when we encounter a seemingly weaker team that enjoys decent favoritism, it’s prudent to contemplate utilizing them in that specific slot. We’ve applied this strategy successfully in recent weeks with teams like New England in Week 3 and Denver and Minnesota in the prior week. These choices were astute not solely because they secured victories but because they positioned you for a more advantageous path ahead.
Another advantage of adopting this approach is that it differentiates your pick from the majority of pool participants who tend to favor the same two teams. As we’ve witnessed, unexpected events can unfold, and if one of the top two teams were to falter, it could lead to a significant loss of participants—approximately 35-40%. The likelihood of this occurrence stands at around 64%. When you opt for Washington and one of the top two teams experiences a setback, your chances of gaining a substantial advantage in the pool, approximately 45%, are slightly less than a coin flip. While the probability of both top teams losing and you prevailing with Washington is a mere 3%, it remains a better chance than what you likely had at the outset of the season, particularly in a larger pool.
A potential predicament some of you might encounter is having already chosen Washington in Week 1. In such a scenario, it’s challenging to identify any other teams lacking future value that truly merit consideration for this week’s play. For those who are unable to select Washington due to this prior choice, alternative options may include teams like Buffalo or Kansas City, as they won’t be selected extensively. However, if you still have these teams at your disposal, it’s likely more advantageous to reserve them for more opportune moments down the road.
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!