Like the previous week, week 5 in survivor pools unfolded uneventfully, with the heavy favorites securing straightforward victories. If you participated in a survivor pool, you probably witnessed approximately 10% of the entries being eliminated courtesy of unexpected losses by teams like Washington, Buffalo, and Baltimore. As we approach this week’s picks, there’s a wealth of choices at your disposal, and your strategy will largely hinge on the remaining teams in your arsenal and the size of your survivor 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 survivorgrid.com.
- # Unique teams: If you have multiple entries, you can decide how many teams to spread your risk across.
As we embark on our survivor pool journey for this week, let’s stick to our trusty spreadsheet strategy and initially set the future value to zero. This approach directs us to focus on the teams with the highest probability of winning, which, in this instance, are Miami, Buffalo, and Kansas City. All three of these powerhouse teams boast win probabilities exceeding 80% in their respective matchups. It’s essential to note that these selections are collectively earmarked for approximately 70% of survivor pool entries.
Last week, Detroit was a popular choice due to the anticipation that Miami would emerge as a massive favorite this week and again in Week 8. For participants in smaller pools, the goal is to opt for the most optimal picks, while those in larger pools may take calculated risks. Remember that if you find yourself in a pool with fewer competitors as the weeks progress, you’ll have opportunities to employ hedge strategies, which can significantly enhance your equity. While hedging might be a bit early, we’ll delve into these tactics in forthcoming articles.
Should you decide to hedge, one effective strategy is to bet against the team you’ve selected in your survivor pool using the point spread. This dual-pronged approach provides a chance to win both your bet and advance in the pool if your chosen team secures victory by a margin less than the point spread.
Now, considering the landscape of survivor pool selections, it’s worth noting that many participants may have already used Buffalo. If you haven’t, be aware that they are projected to be the most substantial favorites in the upcoming week, facing off against New England. Alternatives in Week 6 could include San Francisco against Minnesota, Seattle against Arizona, and Kansas City taking on the LA Chargers. However, none of these options match the strength and reliability of the choices we have available this week. If we assume Buffalo has already been taken, the most optimal plays over the next three weeks would be Miami then San Francisco or Seattle, and then LA Chargers against Chicago in Week 8.
Now, let’s slightly adjust our trusty spreadsheet by factoring in some future value. When we set the future value at 25%, the sheet remained largely similar to the 0% version. However, when we crank it up to 50%, we begin to observe some interesting changes. This is where Las Vegas and Minnesota enter the equation, offering you alternative choices for this week. It’s important to acknowledge that these picks will be contrarian in nature and come with a lower probability of winning compared to the top three teams. Nevertheless, the advantage lies in the fact that you can use a team you don’t plan to select in the future.
Suppose you’ve already used Minnesota in a previous week, which could limit your options. In such a scenario, Las Vegas or even the LA Rams might be the alternative picks to consider.
Las Vegas has an intriguing matchup in Week 9 when they face the Giants at home, which appears to be a more favorable play. Additionally, this presents an opportunity to make a contrarian move, as Cleveland will host Arizona, New Orleans will host Chicago, and Baltimore will host Seattle in that same week. Should you choose to utilize Las Vegas this week, you’ll certainly have multiple options in Week 9.
Looking further ahead to Week 10, the Raiders are slated to take on the Jets at home, where they are projected to be an even larger favorite than they are this week. While there are indeed numerous options available in Week 10, keep in mind that you may have already exhausted many of them by the time you reach that point in your survivor pool journey.
If you have not taken Minnesota I do not see much advantage in taking them this week. While they have little future value they do get Chicago at home in week 12 which should be a better spot to try and pick up on the field.
As we delve deeper into the season, adjusting our spreadsheet to 100% is a decision I typically approach with caution. With fewer weeks remaining and pools dwindling in size, the dynamics of survivor pools change. Therefore, at 75%, we don’t observe a substantial shift compared to the 50% setting, but it does provide us with a noteworthy opportunity to explore the LA Rams as an intriguing option.
The Rams present an alluring prospect in larger survivor pools, where taking a contrarian stance can be strategically advantageous. As it stands, approximately 13% of pool entries have set their sights on the Rams for this week, and there’s a good reason behind this choice. A closer look at the Rams’ future matchups reveals that you’re unlikely to consider them until Week 15 when they face Washington at home. While Week 15 remains distant on the horizon and challenging to predict, it’s clear that in the immediate future, the Rams are not a preferred selection.
Now, let’s assess the probabilities. The likelihood of one of the top three selections losing this week stands at approximately 36%. In such an event, we should anticipate around a 25% reduction in pool entries. If you opt for the Rams the probability of them winning while one of the top three choices falters is 24%. While we’ll probably discover more opportune moments to leverage against the field in the future, the Rams do remain a viable option, particularly if you have multiple picks at your disposal.
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!