Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 3. I’m a day later than scheduled, but as you’ll see this is a pretty straightforward week. At least we hope so – both of my largest polls have been cut in half over the first two weeks as there have been big favorites taken down each week. San Francisco disappointed last week as many players switched to them late with the news that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey were very questionable to play.
The pick looked solid until Jay Cutler began throwing TDs everywhere. I also lost out on Tampa Bay and some of my deeper picks as well. Also, my suggestion to avoid Washington looked pretty silly.
I’m back to redeem myself in Week 3!
Survivor Pool – Week 3 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday afternoon:
It is a two-horse race this week, but should we be looking elsewhere for value? Is there any other team out there that gives us a leg up in our pool?
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 3 in order of preference:
- New England Patriots – Perhaps the reports of the Patriots’ demise were a wee bit premature. The Patriots host the Oakland Raiders and rookie QB Derek Carr. Bill Belichick’s defense is a house of horrors for rookie QBs especially on the road. The Raiders shouldn’t offer much resistance. I give the Pats a 92% chance of winning.
- New Orleans Saints – Like the Patriots, many are writing about the Saints’ demise as they head home for the first time this season sitting at 0-2. There haven’t been any issues with the offense so far, but the Rob Ryan defense has been generous to a fault. However, much like the Seahawks, the Saints are a different (read: much better) team at home than on the road. They get a Vikings squad that is without Adrian Peterson and a QB in Matt Cassel who doesn’t seem to want to throw the ball downfield. I see a shootout and the Saints coming out on top. I give New Orleans an 84% chance of winning.
And that’s it. Really. I wouldn’t consider anybody else in most standard pools no matter how big they are. However, if you want to hunt for other plays, here are a couple of other options.
- Philadelphia Eagles – See, there is a big drop off from the top two favorites. The Eagles get Washington at home. They have a new shiny toy in Kirk Cousins under center. He looked good last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars though there is a good chance I might look passable throwing the ball against the Jags. Nah, probably not. Cousins is probably a serviceable QB and Washington has enough weapons on offense to look good at times. However, the Jags made Jim Haslett’s defense look like Buddy Ryan’s old 46 in Chicago. It’s not and the Eagles should be able to outscore Cousins. I give the Eagles a 71% chance to win.
- Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals look like a complete team right now. Tons of different weapons on offense and a swarming defense. They face a Titans team that still has Jake Locker at the helm. Locker has looked great and awful in the first two weeks. I think the Bengals defense can rattle him enough to put the Bengals to 3-0. I’m assuming A.J. Green plays on Sunday. If he doesn’t, I’d take the Bengals off the board. I give the Bengals a 69% chance to win.
- Indianapolis Colts – I don’t like taking dome teams on the road, but if you want to you can risk it with the Colts. The Jags looked horrendous last week and will likely continue to look awful so long as Chad Henne is at QB and they have the revolving door offensive line in front of him. The Colts have distributed the ball on offense (much to the dismay of fantasy players everywhere) so they should be able to take care of the Jags even on the road. I give the Colts a 66% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: None
As for the avoid list, I would stay away from everyone else. A lot of tight lines this week and a lot of seemingly toss up games. This is not the week to get cute and take a chance. Survive and advance is the mantra this week.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Buffalo Bills against the Chargers. The Chargers travel cross country without Ryan Mathews in the backfield. Donald Brown should be a decent fill-in, but it’s one less weapon on offense and the Bills’ defense has looked nasty early on this year.
Just a reminder, if you ever wanted 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.
Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi