Injuries and MIA tanking have turned the NFL into a circus, and Survivor Pools into minefields. Consider @FriedEggPaulie your mine detector…
Well we are 2 weeks into the NFL season and a lot has happened. We have key injuries all over the place and some teams that are downright awful (I’m talking to you Miami). As such, we need to reassess our future strategy for our Survival Pools for this year.
The Miami Issue
I’m sure you have heard a bunch of people mention how they are just going to pick against Miami every week in their survivor pool. Welllllllll……not so fast. That’s not a perfect strategy, as there are a bunch of roadblocks along the way. Miami has a bye in week 5, a soft schedule, and 3 sets of divisional games against NE, BUF, and NYJ. Let’s take a look at the rest of Miami’s schedule:
- Week 3: @DAL
- Week 4: LAC
- Week 5: BYE
- Week 6: WAS
- Week 7: @BUF
- Week 8: @PITT
- Week 9: NYJ
- Week 10: @IND
- Week 11: BUF
- Week 12: @CLE
- Week 13: PHI
- Week 14: @NYJ
- Week 15: @NYG
- Week 16: CIN
- Week 17: @NE
My Ideal Strategy
We need to look ahead to each week and figure out what the most prudent team to use is. Sure Miami is bad but if there is any doubt in the game that week, I would suggest looking elsewhere as that very well could win you the whole thing. So how do you suggest doing this? Let’s work backwards. Let’s find the weeks where we are not using Miami’s opponent and make sure that we have a solid pick lined up in advance for that week. THIS TYPE OF PREPARATION IS WHAT HAS WON ME MULTIPLE LARGE SURVIVOR POOLS. Let’s take a quick look at each week:
Week 3: DAL or MIN
Yes I think Dallas will curbstomp Miami this week. The only issue I have in using Dallas this week is the fact that we might actually need to use them in weeks 6 and 9 vs the Jets and Giants. The Vikings are playing at home vs the Raiders. I’m not saying the Vikings are 100% guaranteed to win this game but they should win at home and this gives us options to use Dallas later in the year when the choices get really tough. If you have 2 entries like I do, take Dallas and Minnesota each once (slight chance we might want to use MIN in Week 11 so that’s why I split the entries). This gives us flexibility and diversity. If single entry, take Minnesota.
Week 4: LAC
The Chargers should be able to take down Miami so I’m gonna roll with them here as there aren’t many other viable options this week.
Week 5: NE or PHI
Miami is on bye which will be a pivotal week in your pool. There are two clear choices for this week: Patriots on the road vs the Redskins and Eagles at home vs the Jets. If you have already used the Eagles (like I did in one of my 2 entries, you will want to save the Patriots for this week). Note: Eagles play Miami in Week 13 as well so my lean is towards burning the Patriots here and using the Eagles later in the year.
Week 6: NE or GB or DAL
I’m not comfortable taking the Redskins on the road vs Miami. I think there are better spots elsewhere and let’s make our pool opponents be exposed to Miami’s first chance at a win this year. Teams to potentially use: NE (home vs NYG), GB (home vs DET), DAL (road vs NYJ). Note: DAL pick assumes Darnold is not back but either way we should reconsider come week 6 as we may need Dallas to be used later in the year in week 9.
Weeks 7 & 8: BUF & PIT
We will have to monitor how the Bills and Steelers are playing coming into these games, but for now I’m comfortable rolling with both these teams playing at home.
Week 9: DAL or SEA
Miami plays the Jets at home this week. Darnold might be back by then, but either way this game still feels a bit too risky for me. This is an extremely tough week for survivor pools and I’m calling this the make or break week. You will have 90% of your pool already have taken Dallas earlier in the year when they played MIA or NYJ. This week they play at the Giants but this is a spot I love to have leverage because if Dallas wins (which they should), you can just sit back and hope for chaos in the other games. If you don’t want to use Dallas. Your other choice is Seattle (home vs TB).
Week 10: IND
I’m fine with using the Colts at home vs the Dolphins.
Week 11: SF or MIN
This is another tough week. Buffalo travels to Miami but we (along with everyone else) already used Buffalo when they played Miami at home in Week 7. So we are left with our best options being: MIN (home vs DEN) or SF (home vs AZ).
Week 12: CLE
I’m ok with taking Cleveland at home vs the Dolphins.
Week 13: PHI or KC
The Eagles play in Miami in a game in which I expect them to win. By Week 13, you may have already used the Eagles in Week 1 (I did in 1 of my 2 entries) or in Week 5 against the Jets. If you did, don’t worry. KC plays at home vs Oakland and you can use them this week in a game where they will be heavily favored (Note: you may want to use KC in Week 15 vs DEN)
Week 14: NYJ or PHI or GB or MIN or HOU
This is a very tough week as the Dolphins play at the Jets. Other viable options are PHI (home vs NYG), GB (home vs WAS), MIN (home vs DET), HOU (home vs DEN)
Week 15: NYG or KC or NE
The Giants play the Dolphins at home in a game that they should win with Daniel Jones fully acclimated to the NFL by now and the Dolphins still most likely a complete mess. Other options include: KC (home vs DEN) or NE (at CIN).
Week 16: CIN or ATL
If you have made it this far, there most likely are very few people left in your pool. The Bengals play at Miami this week and should win but I wouldn’t argue going against the grain here as I’m sure Cincy will be the popular pick this week and a loss could win you the whole pool. Other options include: ATL (home vs JAX), NE (home vs BUF), LAC (home vs OAK)
This week you really can’t plan ahead for because teams may rest starters. If you made it this far, we will reassess when the time comes.
My Current Plan
SEA, BAL, MIN, LAC, NE, GB, BUF, PIT, DAL, IND, SF, CLE, PHI, NYJ, KC, CIN, ?
PHI, BAL, DAL, LAC, NE, GB, BUF, PIT, SEA, IND, MIN, CLE, KC, HOU, NYG, ATL, ?