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NFL Survivor Pool Strategy and Picks for Week 1: Seahawks, Eagles, or Cowboys?

Ben Rasa

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Zach Brunner finds the best NFL fantasy football PrizePicks prop predictions & expert picks for the 2021 NFL season | Russell Wilson

NFL Survivor Week 1 Picks: We are officially set to kickoff the 2019 NFL season on September 5th with an opening game between the Packers and Bears. After that we are a full go in Week 1 with a full slate of games and some big matchups right out of the gate. We have plenty of ways to get involved with NFL from DFS to season-long to traditional Sports Betting, but another popular format this time of year is a Survivor Pool.

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Looking for FREE NFL DFS Content? Check out our Week 1 Matchups Article, where we break down each player’s DFS prospect on the Week 1 slate. And of course, don’t forget to check out our latest NFL Strategy Show below!


What is a Survivor Pool?

There are several variations of the “Survivor Pool” format, but the most basic and common one is each week everyone in the pool has to select one team to win a game straight up not against the spread. If the team gets a win you survive the week and move on while if the team you pick ties or loses the game you are eliminated from the pool and it’s game over. The twist is that you can only use any team once so anyone you pick is no longer available for weeks in the future making it increasingly difficult as the season goes on. The pool ends when there is one player left who survives the longest and usually will take home a big pay day depending on the pool and the structure.

Week 1 Schedule

Thursday

Packers at Bears -3, O/U 46.5               

Sunday

Falcons at Vikings -3.5, O/U 47.5        Redskins at Eagles -9, O/U 45.5         Bills at Jets -3, O/U 40

Ravens -6.5 at Dolphins, O/U 37.5      Niners at Buccaneers PK, O/U 50      Chiefs -3.5 at Jaguars, O/U 52

Titans at Browns  -5.5, O/U 45.5         Rams -3 at Panthers, O/U 50.5           Lions -2.5 at Cards, O/U 47.5

Bengals at Seahawks -9.5, O/U 44.5   Colts at Chargers -6.5, O/U 44.5        NYG at Cowboys -7, O/U 45.5

Steelers at Patriots -5.5, O/U 51

Monday

Texans at Saints -7, O/U 53                  Broncos at Raiders (PK), O/U 43

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Basic Survivor Strategy

Since Survivor pools focus on picking a team straight up the first thing to do is take a look at the schedule and see the favorites. Before you even get to an individual week you want to make sure you understand the rules of your specific pool as there could be some variations and depending on how many people are in it you may want to alter your approach.

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Game Theory

Game theory plays a major part in Survivor Pools as everyone is thinking the same thing so when you have one team that’s a monster favorite there is a risk reward going elsewhere. You may be taking a tougher path to surviving that week if you pass on the obvious choice, but you also are giving yourself a chance to take out a massive % of the pool if that big favorite happens to be upset. There are situations where the majority of an entire pool wipes out immediately, and if you are a little creative you can avoid getting caught up in those landmines. That’s not to say you want to be different each and every week as that’s a recipe for elimination, being too aggressive and trying to be too fancy each week.

You also have to consider when you use an individual team as that’s it for the entire year so sometimes saving a particular team can pay dividends if you can survive without them. Another route is to potentially short a team by just taking whoever they play if you really think they are destined for the basement. I wouldn’t be shocked to see teams like the Dolphins and Bengals be picked on throughout the year. Like DFS, betting, or anything else it’s a balance and you want to always be flexible rather than have a formula with hard regimented rules. Let’s take a look at some of the possible choices for trying to survive NFL week 1.

Week 1 Survivor

Seahawks

I would expect the Seahawks to be the most popular choice in most pools for Week 1. Them and the Eagles are both -9.5 point favorites which is the highest on the week and the Hawks get the Bengals at home in Seattle where they are always tough to beat. I’m not going to get into the specifics of why the Seahawks should breeze past the Bengals in this one, but clearly they are the better team and at home make for probably the safest choice if you are just looking to get to Week 2.

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Eagles

The two teams tied for the biggest favorites are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. Both are sitting at -9.5  as they draw a home matchup against the Redskins who already have a lot of questions going into the season. This is a divisional game which I think is a little riskier, but it’s still a home game and a nearly double digit spread making the Eagles another logical choice. Add in that just on gut feel I think the Seahawks will be the more popular choice you could use them as a pivot if you think there is even a sliver of hope the Bengals take down the Hawks and a ton of people in the process.

Cowboys

Zeke or no Zeke this is a game the Cowboys need to win as they are home against the Giants and sit at a touchdown favorite. If Zeke is out, Dak has to do some heavy lifting with Rookie Tony Pollard ready to try and step up and fill the missing void in the backfield. On the other side the Giants aren’t expected to do much and Eli should struggle against this defense making it an uphill climb regardless of who the primary ball carrier is for the Cowboys. As we just talked about the Eagles and Seahawks are both bigger favorites so this would be a little off the wall even though it’s a choice that should have you surviving till Week 2.

My Pick : Seahawks

Nothing fancy or exciting here for me as I will be going chalky right out of the gate. There are a few reasons why I think going the Seahawks makes sense even though they may be the most popular team of Week 1. First the other likely choices are either divisional games (Cowboys, Eagles) or a road team (Ravens) and those are small things I’d want to avoid if possible. The other big thing for me is I am not high on the Seahawks this year so I have zero issue burning them as soon as possible and this is as good of spot as they will see all season.

** Make sure to head over and check out our AwesemoOdds weekly show Friday mornings 11:30 EST that breaks down the upcoming weeks NFL and College schedules from a betting perspective **

If you have any questions find me in the Awesemo Premium slack chat or on Twitter @JazzrazDFS

Good Luck everyone!

Here’s the daily NFL Strategy Show schedule for the duration of the season, always at 11 ET/8 PST on the Awesemo YouTube Channel:

  • Mondays: Manny Lora and Dave Loughran recap all of Sunday’s action and look ahead to the next week.
  • Tuesdays: Sal Vetri and Dave Loughran give their first impressions of player salaries on each site for the week ahead.
  • Wednesdays: Chris Spags joins Dave Loughran to discuss key all the big questions that have been shaping up during the week.
  • Thursdays: Sal Vetri is back, with host Dave Loughran to preview each game on the slate from an NFL DFS perspective.
  • Fridays: Fantasy Cruncher’s Manny Lora is back go through some lineup building techniques on FC, along with co-host Chrs Randone.
  • Saturdays: Sal Vetri is back along with the Bachelor’s Chris Randone, to discuss any late breaking news for the slate ahead.** Make sure to head over and check out our AwesemoOdds weekly show Friday mornings 11:30 EST that breaks down the upcoming weeks NFL and College schedules from a betting perspective ** If you have any questions find me in the Awesemo Premium slack chat or on Twitter @JazzrazDFS

    Good Luck everyone!

*Ben Rasa (aka Jazzraz)* has been involved with sports and numbers for quite some time dabbling in the poker world , sports wagering and of course finding a home in the DFS world. While he enjoys playing NFL, NCAAF and NBA he has found his best advantage on the links with PGA and the Euro Tour. Jazzraz focuses on GPPs and uses a analytical approach to try and find pricing inefficiencies as well as trying to go against the grain to find those under owned lesser know players that can make the difference in giant field tournaments. You can contact Ben by emailing [email protected].

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