February 11, 2016

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 13 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Boy, the Green Bay Packers just aren’t very good are they? They lose to Jay Cutler one week and then need a phantom facemask and a Hail Mary to beat the Lions this week. They will be hard to trust going forward.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 13 hold?

Bye week: None. Bye weeks are done for this year.

Survivor Pool – Week 13 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Saturday:

Week_13_SurvivorAt this late in the year, it’s all about analyzing your opponents and who they have left. These percentages are somewhat less useful than earlier in the year, but they still provide some directional help. Let’s get to it!

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 13 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots – Yes, the Pats are banged. Yes, you probably have a shot to play WR for the Pats at some point this year. But, they still have Tom Brady and the Eagles are just awful especially on the defensive end. I can’t the see the Patriots losing two in a row. I give the Patriots an 85% chance of winning.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals – Boy, Mike Pettine doesn’t seem to be too good at this coaching thing. And that’s bad news because he’s a coach. The Bengals will be without Tyler Eifert, but the Browns will be with Austin Davis. Sure, the Bengals are on the road, but who exactly scares you on the Browns team? I give the Bengals an 83% chance of winning.
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers – Matt Hasselbeck can’t go 5-0 this year, can he? The Steelers just have too many weapons on offense (even with Heath Miller likely to miss the game). The Steelers defense is soft, but the Steelers at home should be able to handle the Colts one-dimensional attack. I give the Steelers a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers are for real. They have enough on offense to keep up with most teams. And they have Josh Norman who can shut down half the field. I know New Orleans is at home, but who exactly is going to take over on offense and lead the Saints against Cam Newton? I don’t see it. I give the Panthers a 73% chance of winning.
  5. Chicago Bears – Well, I guess in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. The Niners have looked better with Blaine Gabbert at QB, but it’s all relative. The Bears will have a full complement of their offensive weapons this week and should be able to outgun the Niners at Soldier Field. I give the Bears a 71% chance of winning.
  6. Buffalo Bills – LeSean McCoy is healthy, Sammy Watkins is doing Sammy Watkins things and the Bills’ defense is stout. The Texans have Brian Hoyer and Alfred Blue at two of the three most important offensive positions.

Other teams I like this week: Maybe Washington. Maybe. It’s a “rivalry” game, but Dallas shouldn’t put up much of a fight with Matt Cassel back under center. Kirk Cousins is a much better QB at home than on the road. If you believe this isn’t the Washington teams of the last 20 years, then go with them. But, if you don’t this is where Washington crumbles every year.

As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Kansas City Chiefs on the road to the Oakland Raiders. It’s a divisional game and the Chiefs seems to playing over their heads. Their defense is legit, but will Alex Smith go a ninth straight game without a pick.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road to the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are vulnerable to the deep ball and the Jags have Allen Robinson who can exploit that weakness. The Titans can bring pressure, but they have to because of the weak defensive backfield. Blake Bortles is elusive enough to sneak away from that pressure.

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.

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

We had a mixed bag last week, but if you are still reading you must have made it through another week. Let’s get on with the picks for this week – it’s Thanksgiving Week so there’s no time to waste.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 12 hold?

Bye week: None. Bye weeks are done for this year.

Survivor Pool – Week 12 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:

Survivor_Week_12

This is an ugly lot – at first glance there doesn’t look to be a lot of safety.

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 12 in order of preference:

  1. Green Bay Packers – Sure, the Packers haven’t exactly been THE Packers this year. But, when Jay Cutler plays Green Bay, there isn’t a better bet. He’s won one time in 12 games against the Pack and has a 15:22 TD:INT ratio with a 56.44% completion rate (his lowest against any team he’s played more than once). I give the Packers an 84% chance of winning.
  2. Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals go on the road which usually gives me pause especially in a divisional game. But, it’s against the 49ers and Blaine Gabbert. And the Niners don’t seem to have a running game. I don’t see how the 49ers offense can keep up with the Cards. I give the Cardinals an 82% chance of winning.
  3. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are not on prime time this week so they should have an excellent chance of winning. They head home to face Rams team that hopes Case Keenum isn’t concussed so they don’t have to start Nick Foles. That doesn’t seem great. I give the Bengals an 80% chance of winning.
  4. Kansas City Chiefs – Part of the reason I like the Chiefs this week is the concern at QB for the Bills. Tyrod Taylor isn’t 100% and he may not even start. Even if he does, the Chiefs defense has been playing out its mind the last few weeks and should be able to handle Taylor or E.J. Manuel. The Chiefs offense isn’t much, but it looks like Spencer Ware can do a reasonable impression of an NFL RB. I give the Chiefs a 74% chance of winning.

And now it gets a bit dicey. You may have to hold your nose a bit down here.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Chargers come in off a beating at the hands of the Chiefs. The Jags don’t have the defense that the Chiefs do, but they have an impressive offense and rookie T.J. Yeldon should be able to run roughshod over an awful Chargers’ run defense. If the Jags hold to that plan, Blake Bortles will have fewer chances to make mistakes. I give the Jags a 65% chance of winning.
  2. New York Jets – Maybe Revis Island doesn’t exist anymore, but the Dolphins don’t have a true number one WR that scares anyone. And the Dolphins’ defense gives the Jets a chance to get back to running the ball as they have been steamrolled the last 110 yards or more to one RB in two of the last three weeks. I give the Jets a 64% chance of winning.
  3. Houston Texans – The last time we saw the Saints on the road they were getting blown out by Kirk Cousins. Really. And now, the Texans get New Orleans off a bye and without Rob Ryan coaching defense. The change in coaches doesn’t change the talent the Saints have on defense. I think Hoyer and DeAndre Hopkins could play pitch and catch all day long. I give the Texans a 63% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: Maybe the Cleveland Browns? Maybe…The Ravens are in disarray having to replace their QB and RB this week. But, the Browns are, well, the Browns and replaced Johnny Manziel with Josh McCown. The Browns are at home, so that should offer a slight advantage and if you are desperate, you can go this route.

As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the New York Giants on the road. Washington is a much better team at home and the Giants aren’t exactly the 72 Dolphins.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Carolina Panthers on the road the Dallas Cowboys. I’m not sure why the Cowboys are favored – I’m as a big a fan of Tony Romo as anyone, but this seems a bit much. The Cowboys are a tough team to blow out as they control the clock as well as any team. But, the Panthers don’t need to blow a team out to win. I’d also consider the Minnesota Vikings as it just doesn’t seem like the Falcons are very good.

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.

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 11 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

If you are still alive in your pool, congratulations. Last week was one of the worst weeks in NFL history for favorites. It’s not even worth going back over it. It was historically awful.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 11 hold?

Bye week: Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers

Survivor Pool – Week 11 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:

Survivor_Week_11

A big favorite at the top and then a few other options. Where can you go if you’re still around?

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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:

  1. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks certainly aren’t the team they’ve been the last few years. Luckily for the, the 49ers aren’t either. They are starting Blaine Gabbert at QB. And even though the Niners come in off a bye, they still don’t have an RB and they don’t really have a QB. The Seahawks should be able to handle the Niners in Seattle. I give the Packers an 83% chance of winning.
  2. Carolina Panthers – Washington and Kirk Cousins are flying high after their huge win against the Saints last week. However, Rob Ryan will not be coaching the Panthers’ defense. I imagine Newton will give the Washington defense fits and the Panthers will be able to control the passing game that Kirk Cousins led so well last week. I give the Panthers a 76% chance of winning.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles – I waffled between the Pats and Eagles for the third spot, but I’m a bit worried about the number of injuries the Pats have on offense. The Eagles’ defense is really why I like them as I think they’ll give Jameis Winston some issues. Moreover, the Bucs still have only one receiving threat in Mike Evans. Sure, Mark Sanchez will be at QB, but he’s won NFL games in the past. He can do it again. I give the Eagles a 72% of winning.
  4. New England Patriots – I don’t think we’ll see the Pats put up a million points like they did in Week 2, but the Bills just don’t have enough to keep up with even the banged up Pats. I wouldn’t go crazy with the Pats as I want to see what their offense looks like without Julian Edelman. Bill Belichick is a master coach, but he’s going to be challenged this week. I give the Pats a 71% chance of winning.
  5. Atlanta Falcons – This may be the dumbest sentence I’ve written in a while, but if the Falcons get Leonard Hankerson back, I might push them above the Pats. The Falcons are a better team at home than on the road (but they aren’t a great team by any stretch). That said, this has the looks of a shootout and I’m not sure Matt Hasselbeck can win that type of game. I give the Falcons a 69% chance of winning.
  6. Arizona Cardinals – The Bengals looked awful last week on prime time which is what they do. They now travel west and attempt to recover from losing to a team with T.J. Yates at QB. Arizona is not the place to do it. I give the Cardinals a 68% chance of winning.
  7. Kansas City Chiefs – I’m not sure who Phillip Rivers will be throwing to. He may not know. I think the Chiefs defense can do enough to keep the Chargers at bay and let the Chiefs “offense” do enough damage. I give the Chiefs a 60% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: The Dallas Cowboys get Tony Romo back and I think that’s enough to push them past the Dolphins. The Cowboys have played a number of close games where one or two plays could make the difference. There was late news on Thursday that Darren McFadden missed some practice time on Thursday. If he’s out, I’m off Dallas completely.

As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Oakland Raiders on the road. The Lions can’t lose all the time, can they? The Lions have nothing to lose at this point and the Raiders are actually playing for something. I’ll back the team with nothing to lose in a situation like this.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Denver Broncos at home to the Chicago Bears. Clearly, the Bears have been playing better lately and they’ve seen no drop off after losing Matt Forte. However, I think Brock Osweiler gives the Broncos a much better chance to win and opens up their offense (especially for Demaryius Thomas).

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.

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 10 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

It was not a good week last week after the top two choices. We saw New Orleans, Atlanta and Indianapolis fell. It was not good. You would have been better served going with my other team I liked (the Jets) or the underdog choice (the Panthers). But, we carry on.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 10 hold?

Bye week: Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers

Survivor Pool – Week 10 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Friday:

Survivor_Week_10
It is certainly bunched at the top – let’s pick through the options to see what we can see.

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 10 in order of preference:

  1. Green Bay Packers – Yes, the Lions in off a bye, but I’m not sure that makes much of a difference. The Packers have figured out that Eddie Lacy isn’t the answer. And they get Davante Adams back. The Lions offense is a disaster…just a mess. I give the Packers an 84% chance of winning.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals – It’s unlikely you have them left, but I’d use them this week if you do. The Bengals also face a team off a bye, but the Texans are a one-dimensional aerial show. They just don’t have any running game. The Bengals have too many offensive weapons to be stopped by the Texans. I give the Bengals an 82% chance of winning.
  3. Baltimore Ravens – I’m doing it. Sure, the Ravens are bad, but hey the Jags might just be worse. And the Ravens are coming off their bye which should have helped them integrate Chris Givens and Kamar Aiken fully into the offense. The Jags have enough on offense to keep up (as long as Allen Hurns is healthy), but I don’t think they can do enough on defense to stop Joe Flacco and the rest of the offense. I give the Ravens a 74% chance of winning.
  4. New England Patriots – If you want to be safer, feel free to punch the Pats up to number three. It’s not clear the Pats will lose a game all year long and this doesn’t really look like much of a challenge. The Giants have no running game, so they can’t control the clock. The Pats have lost Dion Lewis and their offensive line is struggling, but they still have Gronk and Edelman and Tom Brady. I give the Pats a 73% chance of winning.
  5. Louis Rams – The Bears are banged up at RB, but Jeremy Langford showed well last week. But, Alshon Jeffrey is dinged up. Again. The Bears don’t have much of a defense and the Rams have Todd Gurley. I give the Rams enough of a shot to slow the Bears on offense. I give the Rams a 72% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: The Denver Broncos will be without suspended Aqib Talib and may not have Emanuel Sanders at 100%. Their backfield is a bit banged up. But, they are at home and get a Chiefs team that seems to lack creativity on offense.

As for the Philadelphia Eagles, I’ll toss a coin. They may have finally figured out how to spread the ball around well enough in Philly to execute Chip Kelly’s lineup. And Miami isn’t exactly the juggernaut that everyone thought there were after the first week of Dan Campbell’s coaching career. I don’t mind taking them, but I find them hard to trust.

As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Carolina Panthers on the road the Tennessee Titans. The Panthers seem to continue to find ways to win. Said another way, somehow they keep winning even though they make enough mistakes to lose. The Titans are at home and Marcus Mariota has shown well. And the Titans seem to have a passable running game with Antonio Andrews. The Panthers luck will run out at some point.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about your hometown Dallas Cowboys on the road in Tampa. Yes, the Cowboys seem to be imploding and Matt Cassel is still the QB. But, the Bucs have a young QB and have a bit of confidence that probably isn’t completely earned. The Bucs will only have Mike Evans again at receiver and ASJ will be on the bench yet again.

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.

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 9 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Falcons loss certainly hurt a number of teams last week. Hopefully you moved the Rams up on the news that Carlos Hyde wasn’t going to play. And if you’re reading this, you probably did. Or sweated out the Panthers on Monday night. We are back again this week to pick for Week 9.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 9 hold?

Bye week: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks

It’s a tough week as we lose six teams to the bye.

Survivor Pool – Week 9 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:

Hmmm…..50% on one team? That generally screams fade, but let’s see what we see.

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.

Survivor_Week_9

Here are my choices for Week 9 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots – They may be the top pick every single week from here on out. They come in off a long break from the Thursday game last week. They face Washington which has the talent of mid-level SEC team. I guess there is a way to see the Pats lose, but I’m not that creative. I give the Patriots a 92% chance of winning.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals – I’m not going to even do the math. We are short six teams this week and the pickings get pretty slim after this. I usually stay away from Thursday games, but this one is too choice for me. Johnny Manziel is starting and he may be without two of his WRs and the Browns seem to not want to play their best RB. The Bengals have more than enough firepower to outscore the Browns and a defense that can do enough. I give the Bengals an 86% chance of winning.
  3. New Orleans Saints – I’m not sure the coaching switch in Tennessee will have the same effect as the one in Miami did. There isn’t really much they can change – they are young and have had some key injuries on the offensive line and defensive backfield. Drew Brees won’t throw 100 TDs like he did last week, but the Saints have an offense that should be able to outscore a Titans team that is looking to next year. I give the Saints a 79% chance of winning.
  4. Atlanta Falcons – I’m going to hop back on the Falcons even after their collapse last week. If you want some medicine, play the 49ers. They cure whatever ails you. The Niners have put Blaine Gabbert in at QB. They don’t have Carlos Hyde or Reggie Bush at RB. They dealt Vernon Davis and his backup Garrett Celek is in the concussion protocol. It likely doesn’t matter how soft the Falcons defense is, the 49ers won’t be able to take advantage. I give the Falcons a 75% chance of winning.
  5. Denver Broncos – This is a tough matchup for the Colts as the Broncos will be able to shut the passing game down. And if the Colts have to rely on Frank Gore and Ahmad Bradshaw, well…that’s not good. The new OC in Indy will likely try to fire up the passing game and this is just a bad week to do it. I give the Broncos a 70% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: If the New York Jets get Ryan Fitzpatrick back and Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker both play, then I can back them against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yes, the Jags come off the bye, but they are still the Jags and the Jets defense is still hellacious. I give the Jets a 65% chance of winning.

As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Pittsburgh Steelers at home to the Oakland Raiders. I don’t have any real concern with the Steelers’ offense, but the defense….The Raiders offense is certainly clicking on all (or at least many) of the cylinders they have.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Carolina Panther at home to the Green Bay Packers. Yes, the Pack faced a tough Broncos defense that makes every QB look like Matt Cassel. But going from the Broncos to the Panthers isn’t exactly a cakewalk .Josh Norman will be able to shut down one WR by himself and the Pack running game is in shambles.

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.

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 8 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Colts hurt some folks last week, but hopefully you sidestepped them with the Cardinals. They didn’t make it easy, but did end up winning. And hopefully you avoided the Chargers like I advised. We are back again this week to pick for Week 8.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 8 hold?

Bye week: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington

Survivor Pool – Week 8 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:

Survivor_Week_8

One team who could be leaving St. Louis and one team that already left St. Louis. Is there anything else to look at? Any teams to avoid?

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 8 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots – It’s a short week, but we’ll still put the Pats up top again this week. Yes, the Dolphins are new men. Yes, they’ve pounded the ball on the ground the last couple of weeks. But, this is the Dolphins at New England. Tom Brady has never (really) lost to the Dolphins at home. His only loss was a week 17 game where he didn’t play a half. The Pats added Brandon LaFell to their stable of offensive weapons. I give the Pats an 80% chance of winning.
  2. Atlanta Falcons – It will be interesting to see how the Bucs respond to the heartbreaking loss last week to an awful Washington team. I don’t think it will be great as the Bucs were down to two healthy WRs at the end of the game. And the Falcons will likely be aggressive and attempt to rattle Jameis Winston. I give the Falcons a 76% chance of winning.
  3. Louis Rams – If you want to be aggressive, feel free to move the Rams ahead of the Falcons. The Rams can control the game on the ground with Todd Gurley and have a defensive line that will likely give Colin Kaepernick fits. Sure, the 49ers could try to run the ball, but Carlos Hyde isn’t 100% and they don’t have much else to work with. I give the Rams a 75% of winning.
  4. Carolina Panthers – Perhaps I was wrong about the Colts. Perhaps they aren’t really that good. Perhaps Andrew Luck is hurt still. Now, the Panthers are a pretty simple offense, but their defense keeps them in games. The Colts head out on the road in disarray and likely won’t get well against the Panthers D. I give the Panthers a 71% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: If the Arizona Cardinals face a Johnny Manziel-led Cleveland Browns, then bump the Cards up into the main list in a virtual dead heat with the Panthers. I’d still favor Carolina slightly, but it’s a coin flip. I give the Cards a 67% chance of winning.

And that’s probably it – beyond these five you’re getting into some murky situations.

As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Minnesota Vikings on the road to the Chicago Bears. The Bears certainly aren’t great, but they’re back from a bye and have a healthy Alshon Jeffrey. Teddy Bridgewater is not ready to lead the Vikes to victory consistently on the road.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Detroit Lions again this week on the “road” in London. The offense seems to be clicking a bit and they’ve canned much of their offensive coaching staff. I’m not sure the Chiefs have enough offensive firepower to hang with the Lions.

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.

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 7 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Seahawks hurt a good number of players last week, but hopefully you were on the Jets. Or the Bengals or Vikings who I had misgivings about last week. I think the concerns over the Vikes were valid as they didn’t show much. But, I was wrong about the Bengals – they are legit. But, we’re back again this week to pick again for Week 7.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 7 hold?

Bye week: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Green Bay Packers

Survivor Pool – Week 7 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of mid-day Wednesday:

Survivor_Week_7Wow! One big favorite and then a lot of different options. Are any of the second tier options a viable choice?

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 7 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots – We’ll put the Pats back up on top this week mostly because of the equity you can claim if the big favorite (the Cardinals) go out. The Pats are back home and could be in letdown mode after Deflate Bowl last week. But, I believe Bill Belichick will keep them motivated in this divisional game against a tough Jets team. The Jets have a passable (perhaps even better) offense and a defense that is revitalized with the return of Sheldon Richardson. I give the Patriots a 79% of wining.
  2. Arizona Cardinals – The Cards are my favorite team this week (and it seems a lot of others). The Cards are off a loss and head home to face a Ravens team that is listless. The Ravens defense is horrific and Carson Palmer should be able to carve it up. Chris Johnson is starting to turn back into a pumpkin, but I don’t think the Ravens can hold off the passing offense even if the Cards are only one-dimensional on offense. I think you take the Cards and live another week. I give the Cardinals an 84% chance of winning.
  3. Buffalo Bills – I’m making the assumption that Tyrod Taylor is back this week and at least a functional QB. If he’s not, move the Bills down to the “others I like list” behind the Dolphins. This game is in London and not in Jacksonville so there isn’t really a home field advantage. The Jags just make too many mistakes and don’t have enough stars to give the Bills a run for their money. I give the Bills a 73% chance of winning.
  4. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts are starting to get healthy on offense and that’s bad news for a Saints defense that isn’t really very good. Andrew Luck is another week healthier and the addition of Ahmad Bradshaw gives him another toy to play with. The Saints would have to be perfect on offense to overcome the Colts this week (and their own defense). I give the Colts a 72% chance of winning.
  5. Atlanta Falcons – The Titans have lost eight straight home games and have lost 14 of their last 15 games overall. The Falcons are in off a long break and should be fully healthy to face a Titans team that just lost its starting QB and starting Center. I give the Falcons a 71% chance of winning.
  6. Carolina Panthers – The Eagles just aren’t very good. They won by 20 points last week because the Giants were even worse. The Eagles have one of the most mistake-prone QBs in the league in Sam Bradford. And the Panthers defense can take away at least one WR with Josh Norman at corner. I give the Panthers a 69% chance of winning.
  7. Louis Rams – In off a bye and facing a one-dimensional Browns team, the Rams should be able to pressure Josh McCown into oblivion. Unless the Browns can run the ball (and they haven’t shown an ability to do so consistently), I can’t see the Browns picking up the road victory. I give the Rams a 67% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: I want to believe in the Miami Dolphins and I probably should as they looked dominant on both sides of the ball last week. I can’t recommend them, but I do think they win again against a Texans team that can be rattled.

As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the San Diego Chargers at home against the Oakland Raiders. The Chargers should be able to handle the Raiders, but Oakland comes in off a bye and the Chargers are a bit beat up on the offensive line. And Keenan Allen may not be 100%. And they have a mess in their backfield. Phillip Rivers can’t throw 60+ times for 500 yards every week, can he?

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Detroit Lions at home to the Minnesota Vikings. I’m not sure that Teddy Bridgewater can keep up with the Lions on offense. Not that the Lions have a fearsome defense, but Minnesota shouldn’t be favored on the road against anyone.

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. His work can be seen at TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 6 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

We were spot on for everyone we recommended last week except the Chiefs. And the Jamaal Charles injury certainly wasn’t expected. But, we’re back again this week to pick again for Week 6.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 6 hold?

Bye week: Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Survivor Pool – Week 6 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Thursday:

Week_6_2015_NFL_Survivor

There are two big favorites who if you have them, you should take them. But, you most likely don’t have them. So, how do we navigate the potential land mines?

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 6 in order of preference:

  1. New England Patriots – This is the narrative game of the week. The Pats go into Indy to demolish the reason they Tom Brady and Robert Kraft had to spend a lot of time in court this summer. Beyond that, the Colts have a QB who isn’t healthy (or may be Matt Hasselbeck) and a running game that relies on 89-year old Frank Gore. I give the Pats an 82% chance of winning.
  2. Green Bay Packers – The Chargers enter Lambeau Field feeling pretty bad off a last second loss to the Steelers. The Packers come in believing that their offense isn’t clicking on all cylinders. I trust that the Pack will renew their focus on execution and should win handily at home. I give the Packers a 78% chance of winning.

Now, I know you probably don’t have those two teams left so let’s dig a little deeper.

  1. New York Jets – The Jets are facing a Washington team that will struggle to run on the Jets and have a chance at completing more passes to the Jets than to their WRs. Washington will be without their starting center and starting left tackle. And the Jets get Sheldon Richardson back from suspension to add even more problems for Washington. I give the Jets a 75% chance of winning.
  2. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks head home without a clear direction on offense, but a renewed vigor on defense. The Panthers are in off their bye, but are really a one dimensional offense. Well, maybe half a dimension – they can throw the ball to the TE. They can’t run it (well, outside of Cam Newton) and I challenge you to name their starting WRs. With Marshawn Lynch back for Seattle, we think the offense gets back on track. I give the Seahawks a 74% chance of winning.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles – I think the Eagles have found their way – throw the ball down the field. And the Giants have a banged up offense and go on the road to a hostile environment on Monday night. I give the Eagles a 70% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I noted on Twitter last night that you should stay away from the Atlanta Falcons so hopefully you did. In general, I pass on the Thursday night games in Survivor – just too much volatility in the short week. But, we need another one to avoid – so I’d move off of the Denver Broncos on the road to Cleveland. Peyton Manning is a shell of himself and the Browns have flung the ball around the yard a lot the last couple of weeks. They are the type of high volatility team I want to avoid.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the San Francisco 49ers at home to the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens will be without Steve Smith, Sr again. They may be without Justin Forsett. Their defense is a sieve. They travel west. No thanks.

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. His work can be seen at TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 5 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

So, we did alright last week as we pulled the Colts out on Sunday with Andrew Luck missing the game. We missed on the Cardinals who ended up being our fourth choice overall. But, we’re back again this week to pick again for Week 5.

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 5 hold?

Bye week: Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets

Survivor Pool – Week 5 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Thursday:

2015_Survivor_Week_5
A couple of clear favorites and then three other options make up the top five. So, which way to go?

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 5 in order of preference:

  1. Green Bay Packers – Yep, the Rams looked pretty good last week in defeating the Cardinals on the road. And this is the classic letdown scenario – a young team feeling pretty good about itself sauntering into Lambeau Field. Sure, the Rams have Todd Gurley, but the Pack’s offense should be able to outgun the Rams. I give the Packers an 80% chance of winning.
  2. New England Patriots – As if the Pats needed more ammunition, they have Greg Hardy talking about Tom Brady’s wife. The Cowboys seem to lose at least one valuable contributor every week. I cannot see a way that the Cowboys offense with Brandon Weeden at the helm keeps up with Brady and Gronk. And even though this game is in Dallas, it’s not like the Cowboys seem to get much of an advantage from their cavernous new stadium. I give the Pats a 79% chance of winning.
  3. Kansas City Chiefs – Yes, the Bears have Jay Cutler back and Matt Forte. So, their offense has enough weapons. And maybe we’ll even see Alshon Jeffrey (nah!). But, the Bears defense is horrific. And the Chiefs have finally determined that one can throw footballs to the WRs as well as TEs. And Jeremy Maclin has benefited. Arrowhead is a tough place to play and the Chiefs should handle the Bears…handily? I give the Chiefs a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Atlanta Falcons – Washington is nearly as bad as they seem especially on defenses where they’ve been fairly effective over the first four weeks. That said, I believe the Falcons have a bit too much in the way of offensive firepower to be shut down. And Washington will likely be without their most important receiver in Jordan Reed. I give the Falcons a 72% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – this is a bit off the beaten path, but something has to give. The Jags were 0-8 on the road last year. The Bucs were 0-8 at home last year. The Jags are 0-2 on the road this year. The Bucs are 0-2 at home this year. Someone has to win, right? The Jags couldn’t take advantage of the Colts lsat week and I like the Bucs defense a bit more than the Colts. The Bucs have enough weapons on offense to be dangerous every single week. I give the Bucs a 65% chance of winning.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Baltimore Ravens at home to the Cleveland Browns. Yes, the Browns aren’t very good, but the Ravens certainly haven’t looked good either. I usually don’t pick against the Ravens when they are at home. But, have you seen the current WR depth chart for the Ravens? Yea, I don’t know who those guys are. Let’s stay away this week and see what happens in this division matchup.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tennessee Titans at home to the Buffalo Bills. The Bills backfield may be led by Anthony “Boobie” Dixon and Dan “Boom” Herron. Now Boobie and Boom sounds like a great sports talk duo, but I’m not sure it’s who you want running the ball in an NFL game.

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. His work can be seen at TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 4 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Phew. Much better. Our two big names got by with ease last week. And so did number three and number four. And my upset special also won for the second time in the first three weeks. It’s on to Week 4 and we’ve got a game in London (9:30 Eastern start time on Sunday) and a possible hurricane which could cancel the Washington/Philadelphia game. Oh, and byes start this week!

Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.

So, what does Week 4 hold?

Bye week: New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans

Survivor Pool – Week 4 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Thursday:

2015_Survivor_Week_4
So, we’ve got one relatively large favorite and then a pack of six teams who all look viable.

If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 4 in order of preference:

  1. Seattle Seahawks – If you went with the Pats last week, then take the Seahawks this week. The Seahawks are nearly a guarantee at home. They face a Lions team that isn’t particularly good. Also, it seems Seattle found out that Jimmy Graham is pretty good. I give the Seahawks an 85% chance of winning.
  2. Indianapolis Colts – Yes, the Jags are bad. Yes, the Colts are at home. But….Andrew Luck is hurt? Maybe. Andrew Luck has been the worst QB so far this year? The Colts offensive line is bad, but the Jags don’t have enough to take advantage of the issues. The Colts offense is still going to be able to outscore the Jags. I give the Colts a 75% chance of winning.No Andrew Luck es no bueno. Not worth the risk this week.
  3. San Diego Chargers – If the Browns continue to run Josh McCown out at QB, they will continue to be a laughingstock. No, Johnny Manziel isn’t the franchise savior, but he gives the Browns a chance to win. McCown does not. The Chargers have more firepower on offense and a defense that should be able to maintain the impotent Browns’ offense. Take the Chargers at home. I give the Chargers a 73% chance of winning.
  4. Denver Broncos – The Broncos defense will be the key to holding the Vikes off the scoreboard. Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t shown the ability to lead a team to victory and Denver can let Adrian Peterson run wild and still win. Sure, Peyton is old, but he’s not dead. I give the Broncos a 71% chance of winning.
  5. Arizona Cardinals – The only thing giving me pause in recommending the Cardinals higher, is that the Rams might give Todd Gurley more shots and they could have Brian Quick back this week. That said, the Cards defense is going to be a nightmare for Nick Foles who has consistently shown he can’t win games. I give the Cardinals a 71% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Green Bay Packers on the road against the San Francisco 49ers. The Pack looked fantastic early against the Chiefs on Monday night. And everyone saw it. And then, the Chiefs came back. And back. And almost all the way back. And there is this fun stat about home underdogs and the Pack specifically in these sceanrios. It’ s a short week for the Pack and they have to travel west.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Pittsburgh Steelers at home to the Baltimore Ravens. Sure, it’s Michael Vick at QB – the human turnover machine. And yes, the Ravens run defense is stout. But, the Steelers still have Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown and the Ravens have, well, Steve Smith Sr….and?

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. His work can be seen at TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

%d bloggers like this: