February 22, 2020

Fantasy Football: Wild Card Weekend NFL Survivor Pool Picks


Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Wild Card Weekend. I don’t usually publish columns after the regular season finishes, but I’ve seen a lot of pools that I’m in that still have a number of participants competing into the playoffs.

So, if you are still around, good luck (though you don’t need it from me)!

Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete

Survivor Pool – Wild Card Weekend selections

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


There aren’t any data from Yahoo! as they are closed at the end of Week 17.

There are two ways I’ve seen pools handle going into the playoffs:

  1. You get all teams back again – and you can pick them just once for the playoffs.
  2. You continue on with the teams you have available from the regular season and if you don’t have any teams left then you are out of luck.

The most common solution to extending into the playoffs is #1 and I’m going to assume that you have all teams available to you this week.

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 Wild Card Weekend in order of preference:

  1. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys may be the hottest team in the NFL right now (outside of the Carolina Panthers oddly enough). They are the biggest favorite on the board as a result. The Cowboys have a balanced offense led by DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Their offensive line has given Murray holes all year long and Romo time to throw the ball. The Lions’ defensive front has the tools to keep Murray in check so more of the responsibility to move the offense may be on Romo than normal. However, the Lions offense is not nearly as consistent on the road as at home. Matthew Staffford has completed 54.1% of his passes, averaging just over 250 yards with a 9/6 TD/INT ratio on the road this year. I give the Cowboys a 73% chance of winning.
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers – The absence of Le’Veon Bell hurts the Steelers, but he hasn’t flourished in either of the two matchups with the Ravens so the loss may be felt much greater on paper than on the field of play. The Steelers will likely have to throw the ball early and often and the Ravens defensive backfield should be more than accommodating. I look for Big Ben to lean on Antonio Brown and Heath Miller all day long.  The Ravens are a dangerous playoff team generally, but I’m not sure they have the horses to stay with the Steelers. The teams know each other well, but I still see the Steelers pulling this one out at home. It will be close, but I give the Steelers a 65% of winning.
  3. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have found a forumula for winning – running the ball and relying on their defense. They are 4-0 with Jonathan Stewart getting the bulk of the work in the backfield. Cam Newton looks to be healthy and provides another threat out of the backfield against a Cardinals defense that looks good statistically but has struggled recently with the run. They’ve given up 90 or more yards to an RB in four of their last five games (only the Rams’ Tre Mason missing out on the feast). Moreover, they’ve given up 60 or more yards rushing to QBs in three of the last six games (twice to Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick). Finally, the Cards defense really struggles against the TE. So, I think the Panthers should be able to score enough on offense to overcome a Cardinals’ team with Ryan Lindley at the helm. I give the Panthers a 63% chance of winning.
  4. Indianapolis Colts – I do not like the Colts this week. Yes, they are fantastic at home, but they are banged up (T.Y. Hilton should play, but may be less than 100%, Dwayne Allen also will return from an injury as will Reggie Wayne). They cannot (or choose not) to run the ball. Their defense is susceptible to the run, but with Vontae Davis at CB the Colts can defend at least opposing WR. They face a Bengals team that hasn’t succeeded in the postseason with Andy Dalton at QB. However, much like the Panthers, they seem to have found a formula for winning – hand the ball off to Jeremy Hill and defend well. The Bengals will be in a tough spot if A.J. Green doesn’t play, but even without Green I wouldn’t put them ahead of the Panthers this week. I give the Colts a 55% chance of winning.

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

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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