September 21, 2019

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for 2014. Did you miss me? Or perhaps you call it an Eliminator Pool. I’ve been gone from the site for a while, but hopefully not forgotten.

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.

Week 1 is probably the hardest week to predict as we have no (real) on field data to use to figure out where we should go. Without further introduction, let’s get to the data and picks.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 1 selections

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

Week_1_2015_NFL_Survivor

Remember, it was just two years ago when the Steelers come out took a lot of teams down with them in Week 1. They weren’t the biggest favorite on the board, but they did close at -270 (implying the Steelers had a nearly 73% chance to win. So, you never know.

I generally like to be cautious in Week 1 as there is just not enough information to make intelligent decisions.

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 1 in order of preference:

  1. Green Bay Packers – The Bears defense is horrible. Will be horrible. All year long. The Pack is without Jordy Nelson, but they have more than enough weapons to outscore a Bears team led by turnover machine Jay Cutler. I give the Packers an 83% chance to win.
  2. New England Patriots – If both teams were at full strength, the Pats would still be the favorites. The Steelers are missing Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and Mike Pouncey. The Pats should be fired up for their home opener and should be able to run roughshod over a Steelers defense that looks to be quite poor. I give the Pats an 80% chance to win.

And I suggest you stop here. One of these two should be who you choose this week so you can live to see Week 2.

  1. Denver Broncos – The Broncos went undefeated at home last year and look to continue the trend to open 2015 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens look to I give the Broncos a 71% chance to win this week.
  2. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins get to visit the tire fire that is your Washington Professional Football Franchise. I just don’t see how Washington can sustain drives and score enough points against a Dolphins defense that should be stout than it has been since the Killer Bs era. I give the Dolphins a 67% chance of winning.
  3. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys should be able to handle the Giants, but the Cowboys have a lot of questions on offense (who runs the ball?) and defense (who’s suspended and/or injured)? That said, I still think Dallas take the home opener though I’m not as high on them as most. I give the Cowboys a 61% chance of winning.

Other teams I like this week: San Diego Chargers – the Lions traveling west and playing outdoors without starting linebacker DeAndre Levy gives some hope to a Chargers team that should try to run the ball early and see if Levy’s absences opens up lanes for them.

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Carolina Panthers on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I know it seems weird to pick against the Jags, but hear me out. The Jags look like they may have improved a bit with Blake Bortles a year older, Allen Robinson back from injury and T.J. Yeldon in the backfield. And who on the Panthers scares you? Have you seen their WR corps? It’s games like this with lower totals that I fade as if one funny bounce leads to a score for the Jags, the Panthers may not have the firepower to make up the difference.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Buffalo Bills against the Colts. The Bills defense should be nasty this year and with Rex Ryan at the helm they will always have some tricks. I know you took Andrew Luck in the first round of your fantasy draft. But that’s not what we are concerned with here. The Bills offense could give the Colts fits as well with Tyrod Taylor running all over the place.

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

About Chris Garosi

Chris Garosi is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He has played fantasy sports since paper, pencil and fax machines were key components in every league. He’s written about fantasy sports since 2012 for District Sports Page, TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. He has his MBA from The Smith School at the University of Maryland. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

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