NFL Survivor League Picks (Week 3): Survivor Pool Targets and Avoids

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What a differnce a week makes. Week 2 featured a much better slate of games with tighter results. Let's get right to my observations with some facts.

  • The Chargers went down to the wire again and lost in heartbreaking fashion. Well, what else is new?
  • The Patriots were all of a sudden back after the classic Week 1 overreaction.
  • The Broncos look dominant like they usually do in the beginning of the season. The Broncos have started at least 2-0 for the past five years. Last year they started 4-0 and missed the playoffs.
  • The Jags came back to Earth and now go to London for their yearly game.
  • The Saints has no defense yet again.
  • Seattle is once again off to a slow start. They scored a touchdown through two games last year as well as this year. Wait for them to flip the switch in the second half of the season.
  • Carolina's defense looks great. They've allowed SIX total points all season. Granted, they played the Niners and Bills, but to allow 393 total yards through two games is something else.
  • Speaking of touchdowns or lack thereof, the 49ers and Bengals are the only teams without a touchdown. Even the stinking Jets have three touchdowns.
  • We are very close to our first coach getting fired and it's going to be Chuck Pagano who's a -300 favorite.  If the Colts lose to the Browns this week, say goodbye to Pagano. It's long overdue anyway.

 
It's only been two games so far, so no need to overreact fully just yet.

Below are my survivor league picks for Week 3 of the NFL season.

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Rant of the Week

If I'm a Cowboys fan, I'd be furious with Jason Garrett. I tweeted this out Sunday after Garrett's horrific play call,

Let's put this in perspective. The Cowboys were down 35-17 with fourth-and-three at the Broncos seven with 3:51 left. Denver did have a 98.8% chance to win but you never know (28-3). Garrett decided to go for it and they failed miserably. How in the world would Garrett not take a field goal and make it a two touchdown game? What was he thinking! And then Garrett has the AUDACITY to blame Dak Prescott for losing the game?

Here are his exact words, “When they play that style of defense, you have to be able to consistently attack with the passing game. At different times today, I thought we were able to do that, and at other times we weren’t. We didn’t make the plays, for whatever reason. We really needed to have [consistent] success throwing the ball. We were not able to do that.”

Garrett should have adjusted and taken the blame that he wasn't properly prepared. When you're going into play an elite defense like the Broncos, you better have several backup plans. Fix it. And if you can't, it's your fault. You're the head coach. It's your business and you're in control.

Ezekiel Elliot also should be embarrassed at what he did yesterday. He completely quit on his team.

LaDanian Tomlinson said, "He absolutely quit on his team today."

There's never an issue when things are going well, like they did all of last year. But when things go wrong, then you find out someone's true character. You're taught to never ever quit on a play. Just look at what this Tennessee Volunteer defensive back did to a Florida Gator this past Saturday?

He chased him 74 yards just for a chance to make a play. And he did.

Coming from a Hall of Famer like Tomlinson, Zeke has a lot to learn in the NFL.

 

Survivor League Strategy

For those of you unfamiliar with survivor pools it’s very simple; pick a team to win each week, if they win you move on to the next week. But you cannot use that team ever again. There is no point spread involved.

These rules only apply for several weeks.

  1. Try to save the top teams for the end of the season. You do not want to be alive in Week 10 choosing between the Browns and the Jets. Try and pick teams you won't use later. For example, the Rams got the Luckless Colts  in Week 1.
  2. Try to avoid divisional rivalry games also. Anything can happen with a rivalry game. Some weeks it will be really hard to not pick a divisional game, because there is no better option.
  3. Never pick an underdog.
  4. Rarely, if ever, pick a Thursday night game. Anyone can beat anyone off four days rest. You're better off trying to figure out Johnny Drama's next move.

 
Before making any picks, look at the point spreads. Vegas has the best minds, smarter than any of us, use them to get a glimpse at how each team is projected to fare that week. There will be a game or two a week where the line makes NO SENSE, but that means Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they're mostly always right.

The biggest favorites in Week 2 per sportsbook (home team in caps);

  • PATRIOTS -13 vs. Texans
  • PACKERS -9 vs. Bengals
  • Steelers -7.5 @ BEARS
  • Dolphins -6.5 @ JETS
  • PANTHERS -5.5 vs. Saints

 
If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines were from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 3

This is a very very tough week. A lot of three-point spreads combined with several divisional games (Rams @ 49ers, Dolphins @ Jets, Saints @ Panthers, Giants @ Eagles, Chiefs @ Chargers). You also have the Lysol Toilet Bowl featuring the Browns and Colts. Plus, the Ravens and Jaguars in London. Haven't those poor Londoners seen enough of bad football? And why do they keep sending Jacksonville overseas? Do they hope one of these days they won't come back?

I did well last week giving out an easy Raiders play and my two avoids, the Bengals and Cardinals were solid. The Bengals lost and the Cardinals should have lost.

I'm going to wait another two weeks before I begin using DVOA and in-depth stats. I need a larger sample size than two games.

 

Ravens -4.5 vs. Jaguars of London 

The Ravens defense is really good and something tells me they'll have no problem stopping Blake Pick-Six Bortles. Joe Flacco has to do juuuuust enough to win this game. That means put up between 20 and 26 points like they've done the past two weeks and they'll win. The Jaguars defense isn't so good. It shouldn't be too hard to do that.

Who scares me on the Jags offense? Bortles? Haha. Fournette's a rookie. Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee against Lardarius Webb and the fierce ball hawking Ravens secondary? No way. I was scared of this game when I first looked at the lines, but after delving into this game, I think Baltimore's a top play.

This may be a week where you need to use the Patriots (-13) vs. the Texans or Packers (-9) vs. the Bengals. Or you can take a chance on the teams below. But I warned you.

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

Steelers -7.5 @ BEARS

This is the game of the week where you look at the line and say, 'Hmmm, this doesn't make any sense. What is Vegas trying to tell me?' While 7.5 points can be a lot, it doesn't make sense in regards to the past two weeks. The Steelers were 10-point favorites at Cleveland in Week 1 and before Bradford was ruled out, 6.5-point favorites, and after, 8.5-point favorites. And they were at home against the Vikings, a far superior team than the Bears are. Chicago just got walloped in Tampa. It was over in the first half. So how could Pittsburgh not be at least double-digit point favorites. Roethlisberger is a completely different player at home than he is on the road. But, that still doesn't justify the 2-0 Steelers being a touchdown favorite over the sorry 0-2 Bears. I think the Bears keep this game very very close. When Vegas gives a hint like this, you pay close attention. This game also has trap game and sucker bet written all over it.

I will not touch any divisional games this week so goodbye to these favorites: Rams, Dolphins, Eagles, Panthers, and Chief. I can't pick the the Broncos in Bills Mafia territory. Buffalo has a good home field advantage. Bucs at Vikings will be a very close game. Same with the Falcons and Lions and Seahawks at Titans. The Browns and Colts is a toss up. I can't risk my survivor pool on the Browns or LuckLess Colts. I won't take the Raiders in D.C. on Sunday Night Football. Even though the Skins aren't the best in big games, you're taking a road team in primetime. Same goes for the Cowboys in Arizona Monday night in their home opener. I would also like to save the Boys for later on.

 

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