Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 9. Well, it happened. Washington beat Dallas last week and probably took half of your remaining pool with it. Hopefully you played the equity game and went with one of my top three choices from last week.
And you likely aren’t reading this column if you aren’t still alive in your pool. Let’s see if I we can avoid the pitfalls that are inevitable in the Week 9 slate. We have a number of teams on bye this week and the following two weeks so there will be more weeding out until the final sprint.
Bye Week: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans
Survivor Pool – Week 9 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday afternoon:
So, two big favorites this week, which means the opportunity to fade isn’t quite as attractive. The Yahoo! game makes fading look more attractive. That said, should you ride with the favorites or sneak lower down the list to pick up more pool equity?
As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.
Here are my choices for Week 9 in order of preference:
- Seattle Seahawks – No, the Seahawks aren’t the Super Bowl team they were last year, but they are back at home were they are nearly unstoppable. They have discord in the locker room, but they face a Raiders’ team that has discord from top to bottom in the organization. I give the Seahawks an 89% chance of winning.
- Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals have one of the biggest home field advantages in the league. They finished 8-0 there last year and have only a tie to blemish a perfect record this week. The Jags are young and inconsistent and should be handled easily by a Bengals team that needs wins to stay in the playoff race. I give the Bengals an 82% chance of winning.
I will pause here to say I did look ahead at the schedule a bit. If all things hold with respect to injuries, etc. Seattle and Cincinnati will likely be heavily used this week and next week. However, the next three teams won’t likely come around again as options for the next few weeks.
So, if you want to plan ahead, then choose from between teams 3 and 4. Both make solid choices this week even if you aren’t’ looking ahead especially if you want to fade the top two favorites. The fifth option is only for the strong of stomach (or foolish of mind).
- San Francisco 49ers – The Niners are coming off a bye and should be fully rested to face a Rams team that lost its best offensive weapon in Brian Quick as well as tackle Jake Long. They don’t have enough horses to keep up with San Francisco even if the 49ers don’t have the imposing defense they’ve had in past seasons. I give the 49ers an 82% chance of winning.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Meet the Jets, beat the Jets. Michael Vick is under center for this week and hasn’t shown much at all this year though he may not be as awful as Geno Smith has been. The Chiefs showed last week they can crush poor teams. It doesn’t get much poorer than the Jets. I give the Chiefs an 81% chance of winning.
- Cleveland Browns – Ugh. I don’t really like taking the Browns who seem to have regressed over the last few weeks. And with the Bucs coming off the bye, they should be rested and could have Charles Sims in the lineup and finally get something from their running game. They are a HUGE risk this week – one you probably don’t need to take with one of the four above likely available to you. I give the Browns a 64% chance of winning.
I’d take one of the top four teams and move on to live another week. The Browns are here because I like to give enough choices for folks to have at least one available. However, I don’t see a reason to take them unless you really want to risk the week.
Other teams I like this week: None. You might see some folks on the Minnesota Vikings against Washington. However, the Snyder-led football team looks to be back to RGIII at QB so the variability of the squad goes up and thus becomes riskier to pick against.
As for the avoid list, I would stay away from just about everyone else. The rest of the slate is basically pick ‘ems all around. Survive and advance this week.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Arizona Cardinals against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are on a short week off an emotional loss and may have Brandon Weeden at QB. That’s enough for me to consider them for my underdog pick this week.
If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.
If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi