October 20, 2019

Fantasy Football: Week 15 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

The Week 15 Survivor pool picks (or suicide pool picks if you prefer) are here. Week 14 saw some wild finishes that saved more than a few people. Are there any safe Survivor picks in Week 15 in the NFL?

Week 14 recap

The Baltimore Ravens improbable comeback paired with the Patriots similar comeback saved lots of entrants last week. The Pittsburgh Steelers are really the only team to take any sizable portion of remaining pool entrants out as the Steel Curtain was quite forgiving.

Bye week: None. We are done for the year with byes.

Survivor Pool – Week 15 selections

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

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Picks

1

Carolina Panthers

29.90%

1

Philadelphia Eagles

31.60%

2

Philadelphia Eagles

17.40%

2

Carolina Panthers

28.55%

3

Denver Broncos

9.70%

3

Kansas City Chiefs

8.02%

4

Kansas City Chiefs

9.40%

4

Indianapolis Colts

7.14%

5

Atlanta Falcons

8.40%

5

Denver Broncos

5.41%

6

Indianapolis Colts

4.80%

6

San Francisco 49ers

4.20%

7

New Orleans Saints

4.60%

7

New Orleans Saints

3.67%

8

San Francisco 49ers

3.80%

8

Atlanta Falcons

3.28%

9

Seattle Seahawks

2.80%

9

Seattle Seahawks

2.31%

10

Detroit Lions

2.50%

10

Detroit Lions

1.58%

 

Again, a reminder that you should be doing the math on your own pool as this late in the game the rankings above are less representative of what is happening in your pool than earlier in the season. Let’s see what we have for Week 15.

  1. Denver Broncos – If you have the Broncos (and if you do I’m impressed) take them now. There continues to be no reason to save teams at this point. The Broncos offense is clicking on all cylinders and even without Wes Welker; they should be fine as Jacob Tamme will slide into the slot role for the Broncos. The Chargers offense has become more balanced through the season, but the Chargers pass defense won’t be able to keep the Broncos off the board to allow the Chargers offense to pile up enough points to win. This should be a track meet won by Denver. I give the Broncos an 84% chance of winning.
  2. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers swarming defense faces Geno Smith in Carolina. I’m not sure there is much more to say. The Panthers’ offense is a little banged up now so they may struggle to score, but Smith will likely gift wrap a few turnovers to help the Panthers’ cause. I give the Panthers an 83% chance of winning.
  3. Detroit Lions – The Ravens are bad on the road (1-5 record this year). The Lions are pretty good at home. The Lions were embarrassed in the snow last week, but back indoors they should be able to run around the Ravens. The Lions run defense is stout (last week was an anomaly in the sown) so the Ravens will need to rely on Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and whoever else is catching passes this week.  I give the Lions a 75% chance of winning.
  4. Dallas Cowboys – This is only valid if Matt Flynn starts at QB for the Packers. If Aaron Rodgers is back, take this game off the board. The Cowboys head back home after a crushing defeat by the Chicago Bears. However, it is December and the Cowboys have struggled in December for many years and their run defense can be gashed. Eddie Lacy won’t likely be at 100%, but the Cowboys should be able to bounce back with Flynn at QB. I give the Cowboys a 74% chance of winning.
  5. Indianapolis Colts – The Texans cannot wait for the season to end. They fired Gary Kubiak this week, but I don’t imagine that will fire up the troops enough. The Colts have started to give some younger WRs playing time and the results have been solid. The Colts are back at home and Andrew Luck is a bit more comfortable at home so the Colts should be able to push the Texans closer to the number one pick in 2014 when they may get the chance to draft David Carr’s brother. I give the Colts a 71% chance of winning.
  6. Atlanta Falcons – Two teams with identical 3-10 records, but seemingly one is much worse than the other. Washington has become drama central as they have benched Robert Griffin III for Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season. Mike Shanahan continues to leak news to Adam Schefter regularly so that his side of the debacle can be told. The Falcons have two of their three wins at home this year and are starting to get healthier on offense. Their defense is still a sieve, but Washington’s pig-headed coaching staff likely can’t take advantage of that weakness. I give the Falcons a 69% chance of winning.
  7. New Orleans Saints – The Saints head on the road to take on the St. Louis Rams. In the Saints last road game, they were blown out of the Pacific Northwest by the Seahawks. They regrouped last week to manhandle the Panthers at home. I assume that the dome will feel like home to Drew Brees and company. The Rams have gotten good play from both sides of the ball and are beginning to incorporate more playmakers (like Stedman Bailey) into the offense so they are dangerous. They don’t have enough tools to keep up with Brees & Co. I give the Saints a 68% chance of winning.
  8. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks may be the best team in the NFL. They do head east into the cold, but they face an underachieving Giants team that shows very few vital signs.  I give the Seahawks a 64% chance of winning.

Just a reminder, there is no sense in saving teams at this point. You are down to the last couple of weeks in the season and most pools will come to a close in Week 17 or early in the playoffs.

Other teams I like early this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in Oakland. Yes, I told you to avoid them last week as well and I was completely wrong about how incompetent Washington was and is. This week, they go on the road for a division matchup against a Raiders team that hasn’t been as bad as all would have thought they would be. I’d probably also stay away from the San Francisco 49ers heading east to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Tennessee Titans at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards are now without Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary and the Titans could take advantage of that with Justin Hunter on the outside and Delanie Walker abusing the Cardinals soft middle.

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.

Redskins Wrap Postgame Show: Game 7 vs. Denver Broncos

Dave Nichols and Andy Holmes of District Sports Page discuss and analyze the Washington Redskins 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos. And we had a caller this week!

Washington Redskins Game 7 Review: Broncos bust out in second half to beat Skins 45-21

There were a lot of different ways the Washington Redskins could have lost to the Denver Broncos Sunday. The way that it actually worked out might have been the unkindest of all. The huge underdog Redskins built a 21-7 third quarter lead before completely imploding, left to watch Denver score 38 unanswered second half points en route to a 45-21 defeat as demoralizing as they come.

The loss drops the Redskins to 2-5.

To complicate matters, Robert Griffin III left the game with over four minutes to play after being clobbered by Denver’s Terrance Knighton as he delivered the ball — which was intercepted by Rahim Moore. Griffin’s left knee — the one he did not recently have surgery on — buckled underneath him and though he tried to re-enter the game later, the coaching staff held him out.

According to reports, Mike Shanahan said after the game Griffin could have played but was held out due to the score at that point.

Denver took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, using nine plays to go 77 yards, culminating in Wes Welker’s 6-yard touchdown. The Skins defense didn’t seem to provide much resistance at all. But as it turned out, that was the offensive highlight of the half for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, who were held to under 10 points int he first half for the first time this season.

They more than made up for that in the second half.

The Skins evened thing up right before halftime, going on a 16-play, 95 yard drive that took 7:03 to complete. The Redskins used a balanced mix of passes and runs to walk up the field, but the drive stalled at the 12 yards line, where the Skins lined up for a field goal attempt. But the Broncos had too many men on the field, giving the Skins a first down.

On the next play, Griffin found Leonard Hankerson settled in a soft spot in the zone for a 7-yard touchdown.

On Denver’s first possession of the third quarter, Ryan Kerrigan stripped Manning of the ball and Brian Orakpo fell on the loose ball, giving Washington the ball at the Denver 19. Three Alfred Morris runs netted the Skins second TD of the day, as Morris bounced in from one yard out.

With Denver’s very next play, Manning tried to his Demaryius Thomas on a slant, but Thomas fell and DeAngelo Hall picked off the pass and went 26 yards the other way to put the Redskins up 21-7.

That was the end of the highlights for the Skins.

Denver came roaring back, going 75 yards on 11 plays with Montee Ball carrying the last four into the end zone to make it a one-score game. On the Broncos next possession, they went 83 yards on 16 plays and finished with Manning’s 1-yard strike to backup tight end Joel Dreessen.

The Redskins went three-and-out and Sav Rocca shanked his punt, netting just 15 yards, giving Denver the ball on the Skins 35-yard line. Manning hit Knowshon Moreno with a middle screen, and the running back took it to the house, breaking several tackles along the way, to make it 28-21.

Washington picked up a first down on the next possession, but the following play Griffin was sacked and fumbled, turning the ball over on their own 34. Five plays later, Matt Prater booted a 19-yard field goal that made it 31-21.

The teams traded punts, but the Skins weren’t done turning the ball over. After Morris lost four yards on a pitch-sweep, Griffin dropped back in the shotgun, was hit as he threw, and was picked off by Chris Harris at the Redskins 26-yard line. It took Manning just two plays to score as he found Thomas on the left flank and he took it 35 yards to make it 38-21.

It was on the Skins’ next possession that Griffin was hit and hurt, and Shanahan turned to backup Kurt Cousins. Unfortunately, both of Cousins’ possessions ended in interceptions, the first of which was returned by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 25 yards for Denver’s final touchdown.

 

Washington Redskins Game 7 Preview: Denver Broncos

The Washington Redskins head into their seventh game of the season with some momentum, having outlasted the Chicago Bears for a 45-41 win last week, to raise their record to 2-4. As has been the case much of the season, the Skins’ fate hinged on the performance of their offense, since the defense returned from a one-week bout of competency against the Cowboys to its usual ineptness against the Bears, especially since Chicago was forced for much of the game to play Josh McCown at quarterback in place of the injured Jay Cutler.

On paper, the Redskins this week face a monumental task in their upcoming opponent: How to slow down the Denver Broncos (6-1) offense, led by perennial MVP candidate Peyton Manning. It’s an arduous task, to be sure, as Manning in on pace to destroy the NFL’s single-season passing yardage and touchdown marks. Manning has a stable of weapons at his disposal, and no quarterback in the league sees the field and reads defenses better, maybe in history.

Manning, certainly, is a step (or ten) above McCown, or any other quarterback the Skins have faced this season.

“He knows where to go with the football as the ball is being snapped,” Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday at media day. “He looks at defenses very quickly and it doesn’t matter if you are coming with a five-man, six-man, seven-man blitz. He knows where to go with the football. He understands protections. He redirects the line to pick up a lot of different blitzes as well, but he gets rid of the ball so quick that he doesn’t get sacked very many times, doesn’t make very many mistakes.”

To make matters worse, the Broncos fell on the road in Indianapolis in an emotional reunion game for Manning. You know they’ll want to get that bad taste out of their mouths and wouldn’t mind taking it out on their former coach back in Denver this week, where they’ve won 11 straight regular season games.

As for Shanahan, he’s looking forward to being back in Denver, but notes it’s not like he just left.

“You know it’s been four and a half years, so it’s not like it was yesterday or the year before,” Shanahan said. “So, I think it’s a little bit different than what normally happens when you’re gone for six months or nine months. I’ve done it before when I was with the 49ers and with the Raiders you go back to the place you’re at – a lot of emotion. I think this is a little bit different than most.”

So, how might the Skins stay in this one and give themselves a puncher’s chance to steal one on the road?

1) Control the clock with a strong running game.

This might not be as easy as you’d think. Though the Skins have a strong running game with Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Jr. and Robert Griffin III, the Broncos are the best in the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed at a measly 77.1 per game. Still, the best way to reduce Manning’s effectiveness is to keep him off the field. Washington has bettered 200 yards rushing in each of its last two games and keeping the chains moving would go a long way in dictating what the Broncos can do once they get the ball.

2) Disregard the running game and take to the skies.

The Redskins can certainly try to engage Denver in a free-for-all, as the Broncos are last in the league in pass defense (319.9 yards per game), worse even than the Redskins (262.8). As evidenced in the Chicago game, Griffin looks more and more comfortable running this offense every week. If the Skins can use the read-option to get the Broncos to think run-first, they can they try to hit it big downfield. Look again for Jordan Reed to exploit the center of the field with his athleticism, as Denver’s pass defense is averaging over six catches and 74-plus yards to opposing tight ends.

Another advantage for the Skins: former Redskins CB Champ Bailey is questionable with a foot injury.

3) Follow the Colts’ game plan for harassing Manning on defense.

The Skins have had their troubles on defense this season. They’ll be without Brandon Meriweather this week due to his suspension for multiple personal fouls against the Bears. Reed Doughty suffered a concussion in that game as well and has been limited at practice this week. Manning is going to be licking his chops with the idea of throwing at three rookies in the defensive backfield. But the Colts were able to take advantage of some matchups on the offensive line to keep Manning guessing a bit when the dropped back to pass.

The Broncos have also had some injuries to their offensive line which has impacted their ability to protect Manning. Expect defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to mix up the blitz packages, having defenders come at Manning from different places and angles. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan have to be at the top of their games.

Also, Indy was very physical with the Broncos wideouts at the line of scrimmage, so expect DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson to get in the faces of the Broncos undersized receivers. Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas are all skilled route runners, but can be physically intimidated off the ball.

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