September 21, 2019

Fantasy Football: 2015 Week 2 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

Well, Week 1 was in the books and if you followed my advice you are easily into Week 2. The Cowboys gave us a heart attack, but all six of the teams I liked won in Week 1. Also, my “underdog” selection the Bills won outright. The only miss was my suggestion to avoid the Panthers.

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.

If Week 1 is the hardest, Week 2 may be the second toughest week as now we have data to analyze. But, how much data do we really have? Don’t overreact to what occurred in Week 1. It’s just one week so treat it as such.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 2 selections

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

 

2015_Week_2_NFL_Survivor_Picks

We have a HUGE favorite this week with nearly 50% of pools on the New Orleans Saints. Should we fade them this week? And if so, what direction do we go? This week will be our introduction into pool equity. I won’t get into the gory math behind it, but the basics are:

  1. A week where there is one team where a majority of your pool (or pools in general) is on them. This week that team is the New Orleans Saints and their near 50% ownership
  2. There is another team (or teams) who are at lower ownership percentages, but you (or whomever you trust) believes the chances of these lower-owned teams is similar to the higher-owned option in point number one. This week we have both the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens who fit that mold
  3. By choosing a team from point number two (the Ravens or Colts this week), you take on additional risk that is worthwhile based on the potential equity you would gain in your pool if the massive favorite in point number 1 loses.

So, in this week’s example, if the Saints lose nearly half of your pool is out and your equity increases and along with it your chances to win the pool if you choose the Colts or Ravens (and they win of course).

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 2 in order of preference:

  1. Indianapolis Colts – As you can see from my first two choices, I’m suggesting you go the “pool equity” route. The Colts were manhandled by the Bills and Rex Ryan’s defense last week. And the matchup doesn’t get much better with a tough Jets defense rolling into Indy. But, the key for me is that the Colts are back home and Andrew Luck should be much more comfortable with the home cooking. Yes, T.Y. Hilton may be out, but so will Antonio Cromartie. I give the Colts a 73% chance of winning.
  2. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens stifled the Broncos last week, but lost Terrell Suggs for the season. The Raiders got railroaded by the Bengals and QB Derek Carr injured his thumb. Even without Suggs, the Ravens’ defense should be good enough to stymie a Raiders offense still trying to form its identity. I give the Ravens a 71% chance of winning.
  3. New Orleans Saints – If you just want to see Week 3, the Saints are the safest play on the board and should escort you to next Week 3. Sure, the Bucs have a number of offensive weapons (especially if Mike Evans is back) and the Saints defense (especially in the secondary is banged up). But, the Bucs still have error-prone Jameis Winston leading the charge and the Saints generally play better at home (last year notwithstanding). I give the Saints a 76% chance of winning.
  4. Kansas City Chiefs – I usually take the Thursday game off, but I really like the Chiefs this week as they face a wounded Broncos squad (C.J. Anderson’s toe, Peyton Manning’s ego) at home. Kansas City is a difficult place to play and Peyton has looked quite pedestrian since late last year. It’s a short week for the Broncos and I like the Chiefs to take advantage. I give the Chiefs a 70% chance of winning.
  5. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins won last week, but didn’t look great in Washington. However, I think people are underestimating how good Washington’s defense is. Their front seven is actually quite good and gave Miami fits at times. The weak link for the Jags is the offense right now as Blake Bortles’ preseason progress seems to be a mirage. I think the Dolphins defense can control the Jags well enough to give the offense enough room to win. I give the Dolphins a 68% chance of winning.
  6. Louis Rams – The Rams travelled to D.C. last year and shut out Washington 24-0. I see another defensive struggle and that the Rams have a bit of an advantage there. De’Sean Jackson is out for a while so Kirk Cousins won’t have anyone who can really stretch the defense. I’d certainly bet the under if I were in to such things. I give the Rams a 63% chance of winning.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals – I’m playing two angles here this week. First, the Chargers coming east for an early game. Second, Phillip Rivers record against the Bengals (in only two games, but still…).

Other teams I like this week: I’d think about the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 49ers coming east for a 1pm start. Will the Niners be able to control the Steelers offense? Will they be able to score enough to outpace the Steelers offense?

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, the Cowboys are now without Dez Bryant. But, the Eagles secondary is atrocious. I mean awful. They give up big weeks to WRs seemingly every week. And Tony Romo should be able to shred that defensive backfield even if Devin Street is the starting WR for Dez. I’m not sure the Cowboys defense can keep the Eagles off the field enough to make it matter, but I’m going to stay away from this division battle.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Chicago Bears against the Cardinals. The Cards have to travel east (which is always tough) and will be without Andre Ellington. Yes, Chris Johnson will replace him, but I’m not sure he can carry the load. It’s a tough week to pick underdogs, but I think the Bears have the best shot of pulling the upset.

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

Comments

  1. Wow your predictions were god awful. Good thing I picked the patriots for my survival pool and didn’t listen to any of your nonsense !

    • Chris Garosi says:

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for reading. It was certainly a tough week all around and my undefeated week 1 is long in the rearview mirror.

      We’re always accepting applications to write so feel free to put in a resume at Comments@DistrictSportsPage.com. or you can find me on Twitter and I’d be happy to pass it along.

      -Chris

  2. My pool was 650 members we lost about 40 week one then lost 500plus yesterday you and almost everyone picked wrong. Is Alex a genius maybe.Will he post how long he lasts. I’ve been playing this for quite a few years and I must say the NFL schedule makes the first 2 weeks very tough. In past years we always had multiple winners now we hardly even go the 17 weeks.

    • Chris Garosi says:

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for reading. It was certainly a tough week. Perhaps the toughest I’ve seen in the decade or so I’ve been in these pools. We started with 580 entries in my largest one and we are down to just 60 with another 63 on the Colts tonight.

      I do hope to hear from Alex in the future as I do like to hear from winners of these pools. It’s always exciting to come away with a victory after everyone falls by the wayside.

      -Chris

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