Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 11. Hopefully you stayed away from Pittsburgh as I cautioned you to do last week. Other than that, not a lot of other fallout from Week 10 should have been felt in your pool.
I’m a bit later than I’d hoped with my column this week so we’ll try to get back on schedule for next week as long as work and real life stay at bay. Let’s jump into the pool this week and see what we have to choose from.
Bye Week: Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New York Jets.
Survivor Pool – Week 11 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of mid-Saturday afternoon:
A team with a 3-6 record is the top choice? Yuck. This looks like it’s going to be a tough week. Congrats to those of you who chose Miami and can sit back and relax.
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 11 in order of preference:
- San Diego Chargers – The Chargers are getting healthier on offense with Ryan Mathews finally back in the fold. Mathews’ return should help to balance the offense and help all of the skill players. They face a Raiders team that can’t defend well enough and continues to trot Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones in the backfield. I give the Chargers an 83% chance of winning.
- Denver Broncos – Not much to say here. Denver is great and St. Louis is less than great. The Rams’ defensive line is getting better and the elevation of Shaun Hill back to the starting QB role give the Rams a better shot. However, the Broncos have too many weapons for the Rams to compete. I give the Broncos a 79% chance of winning.
- New Orleans Saints – Saints at home? Check. So, we’ll take the Mark Ingram/Drew Brees show over the Jeremy Hill/Andy Dalton show. Saints are better at home by a significant margin than when they are on the road. The Bengals are exactly the same type of team – and they are on the road. The Bengals won’t be nearly as bad as they showed against the Browns last week. I give the Saints a 69% chance of winning.
- Washington – Yuck. Double yuck. I can’t believe I have them this high, but Washington is a more dynamic offense with Robert Griffin III under center. He makes Alfred Morris more dangerous and can extend plays with his legs to help make up for an average offensive line. The Bucs have a dangerous passing offense, but lack the balance of a solid run game. I give Washington a 67% chance of winning.
I really don’t like much after these four (and I don’t like Washington very much). However, we’ll look at a few more options.
- Cleveland Browns – The Browns looked great against the Bengals and are coming off a 10 day break. The backfield rotation while infuriating to fantasy players looks to be working so far for Cleveland. Their defensive line continues to take injury hits, but Tashaun Gipson looks like he’ll be healthy and play this week against rookie Ryan Mallett making his first start (and without Arian Foster). I think the Browns’ defense terrorizes Mallet and the Browns roll. I give the Browns a 65% chance of winning.
- Green Bay Packers – The Packers D looks like a different animal with Clay Matthews at middle linebacker. The Eagles offense looked great in the first week of Mark Sanchez’ reign. However, the Packers are a different squad and could give Sanchez some issues. I’m not a huge fan of taking the Pack against a dynamic offense that can keep up with Aaron Rodgers and company. They are a reasonable choice this week. I give the Packers a 65% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: None
As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the San Francisco 49ers on the road against the New York Giants. The Niners are a solid team, but heading east to face a Giants team that gets Rashad Jennings back this week make San Francisco a much less attractive choice. Jennings will make everyone on offense better with his presence and I imagine Tom Coughlin will ride Jennings as he did early in the year.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Minnesota Vikings against the Chicago Bears. Yes, the Bears are at home, but they certainly seem to be a team in complete disarray. And the Vikings look like they may just air it out this week which plays into their receivers’ strength.
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