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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 11) - Targets and Avoids

Doomsday finally arrived. The Falcons' domination of the Saints eliminated the majority of remaining entrants in survivor pools. If you avoided the Saints, odds are you took the Colts in the late game. Of course, the Dolphins beat them as well. More upsets were found as the Titans beat the Chiefs, the Steelers manhandled the Rams offense, and the Seahawks outlasted the 49ers. The Packers did survive as a home dog against the Panthers and the Ravens buried the Bengals, which might have kept some people alive last week.

If you are somehow are still alive in a survivor pool or loser survivor pool (where you have to pick a loser of each game), job well done to just make it this far. In most pools now, you'll need to pick two teams to either win or lose. This week we have three big favorites; 49ers -11.5 vs. Cardinals, Vikings -10.5 vs. Broncos, and Raiders -10.5 vs. Bengals.

If you are reading this article on Thursday or later, the lines below are correct as of Wednesday. The teams I like against the spread will be italicized, with my three best bets against the spread able to be found on the bottom of the column. Teams on bye this week are the Giants, Packers, Seahawks, and Titans.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Top Survivor Picks for Week 11

49ers -11.5 vs. Cardinals

No two teams should play each other in a three-week span. It's just too close apart. That's why I like the Cardinals with the points because of familiarity, but I do think the Niners should win. They're a much better all-around team.

49ers 24 - Cardinals 20


Raiders -10.5 vs. Bengals

Oakland has three extra days to prepare for this one against the lowly 0-9 Bengals. Oakland will not lose this one. They will pound the ball with Josh Jacobs against the 32nd ranked rushing defense.

Raiders 31 - Bengals 13


Vikings -10.5 vs. Broncos

We all know Denver has a very good defense (top-10 in the yards per play, third-down conversion percentage, and red-zone defense). The problem lies with their offense which averages 16.6 points per game, 28th in the league. The Vikings also have one of the better defenses so the Broncos will have trouble scoring. However, Denver is off a bye which makes me nervous because Brandon Allen has more time to prepare.

The other big question that makes me nervous is how will Minnesota play coming off a massive road win on national television. They rank fourth in yards per play, ninth on third-down, and seventh in the red-zone. Kirk Cousins has also been protected; the Vikings offensive line allowing the sixth-fewest sacks and seventh-fewest quarterback hits. For comparison, Denver's offensive line has allowed the eighth-most sacks. That will be an issue against the Vikings whose pass rush has the seventh-most sacks.

Again, the letdown factor is real, but I don't think Denver can score enough.

Vikings 24 - Broncos 13


Cowboys -3 @ Lions 

This game is hugely dependent on the status of Matthew Stafford. So we'll just focus on the Cowboys offense and Lions Defense for now. The Cowboys are a surprising first in yards per play, first in third-down conversion percentage, and 17th in the red zone. The Lions defense is 26th in opponent yards per play, 27th in getting off the field on third down, and 28th in red-zone defense. The Lions also allow 129.7 yards on the ground, which could signal a big game for Ezekiel Elliott.

Even if the Lions have Stafford, I do like the Cowboys pass-rush. Detroit is a one-dimensional team and Dallas will know they'll be throwing all game. I think Dallas controls the pace of the game and dominates behind their offensive line.

Cowboys 31 - Lions 17


Panthers -5.5 vs. Falcons

I really like Carolina and their offense. Christian McCaffrey is a game-changer and Kyle Allen can sling it. They are off a brutal loss to Green Bay, in which they outplayed them but were robbed by the refs just before halftime.

Whereas the Falcons are off their biggest win of the season at New Orleans, essentially their Super Bowl, meaning this is a prime let down spot. Their defense has been improving over their last three but it's still not good.

Panthers 30 - Falcons 20


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid

Rams -6.5 vs. Bears

All signs are telling me to take the Rams here. They average 25.1 points per game (10th in the league) while the Bears average 18 points, 27th in the league. Chicago's offense has been so bad but this game is right in the public teaser range. Vegas is just begging the public to tease the Rams, meaning all they need to do is win. This game is also the Sunday night game meaning the Rams will be the second or third leg of countless teasers.

The way the Bears win this game is their pass-rush against the Rams anemic offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, the Rams have the third-worst pass-blocking grade and are now without their center or tackle. Chicago's pass-rush will harass Jared Goff all night and I'm calling for the upset.

Bears 16 - Rams 14


Bills -6 @ Dolphins

How can you lay 5.5 points on the road with an offense that averages 19.3 points per game? Just read that sentence again. That point amount ranks 25th in the league. Through their last three, Buffalo has averaged 17.7 points while the Dolphins have averaged 18.7 points. Ryan Fitzpatrick gives the Dolphins a very good chance to win and he's always fighting.

Dolphins 20 - Bills 19


Saints -5.5 @ Bucs

This game seems like a layup, but the stats from both teams are very even. The one key difference is turnover differential, the Saints are +4 while Bucs are -6. That's all because of Jameis Winston chucking the ball around non-stop. The reason I like Tampa is not only because I'm getting 5.5 points with a home dog, these two teams played several weeks ago when Teddy Bridgewater was the quarterback and the Saints won 31-24. These two teams are now familiar with each other and this many points just seems too many.

Saints 30 - Bucs 28


The Rest

Steelers +3 @ Browns - This is the Thursday night game. The Steelers have won four in a row while the Browns ended their four-game losing streak Sunday against the Bills. I said last week that the Bills would struggle to score and that was the case Sunday. It may seem Pittsburgh has struggled to score, but their offense has been better recently. They've been averaging 23.3 points their last three (Cleveland's averaging 17 over that span). The Steelers Defense is also looking really good, and they didn't allow an offensive touchdown against the Rams on Sunday. What this game will come down to is the Cleveland offensive line against the Steelers pass rush. The Steelers have the third-most sacks in the league with 33.

Colts -3 vs. Jaguars -  The two big question marks for this game are the quarterbacks on each team. Will Jacoby Brissett play and how will Nick Foles fair in his first time back since his injury in Week 1? On the other side of the ball, both defenses are very equal in the stats. Therefore, I think this comes down to who makes the fewer mistakes (both are -2 in turnover differential).

Texans +4 @ Ravens - I want no gambling part for this game. You should just want to sit back and watch Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson. The Texans are off a bye and Bill O'Brien has a 4-1 record in those situations. I'll lean them against a vastly overrated Ravens Defense that is 22nd in opponent yards per play.

Jets +1 @ Redskins - Dwayne Haskins has not been any good in the brief time we've seen him play. The Jets have an offense with Sam Darnold fully healthy. That will be the difference.

Eagles +3.5 vs. Patriots - New England hasn't played much of anyone yet and their first real test, they got clobbered by the Ravens. Both teams are off a bye and I get the home team with 3.5 points. Plus, the way to beat Philly is chuck the ball around and Tom Brady is really only throwing short routes right now.

Chargers +4 vs. Chiefs (played in Mexico City) - The way to beat KC is to run the ball and the Chargers have not one but two running backs that can do that in Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.


Best Bets for Week 11

  • Cowboys -3
  • Bears +6.5
  • Dolphins +6

Last week: 0-2-1

Season total: 15-14-1

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