September 15, 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

Fantasy Football: Wild Card Weekend NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Survivor

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:

Survivor_Week_WildCardWeekend

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

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