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Of course last week I write, "It has been one top-heavy year." In Week 13, most of the favorites got it handed to them. Seven underdogs won outright and double-digit favorites like the Titans and Chiefs failed to cover.

Some teams just continue to cover like the Patriots. They are a machine. Good teams win, great teams cover.

With nearly all participants in survivor pools eliminated, you may not find a need to read this column. However, some survivor pools have restarted. There's still plenty of good tidbits to help you with your daily fantasy squads. Plus, my best bets against the spread are at the bottom of this column.

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Nuggets from Week 13

 

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. Teams italicized are my best bets.

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.

Teams favored by more than seven in Week 14 per The Action Network app (home team in caps):

  • CHARGERS -14 vs. Bengals
  • Steelers -10.5 @ RAIDERS
  • Saints -8  @ BUCS
  • Patriots -8 @ DOLPHINS

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

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 14

In order of my favorite selections:

SAINTS -8 vs Bucs

This game has revenge written all over it. The Bucs shocked the Saints in Week 1. Now, the Saints are off a loss to the Cowboys and have an extra three days to prepare for this one. Drew Brees will pick apart the 31st ranked defense in terms of opponent yards per play. The Bucs give the ball away more than any other team. You can't make mistakes against the Saints because the Saints offense will take advantage. This Tampa team is grossly overrated and it will show on Sunday.

Saints 38 - Bucs 21

 

PACKERS -5.5 vs. Falcons

Now that Mike McCarthy is gone, does Aaron Rodgers unleash an offensive masterpiece? If there's a team to do it against, it's the Falcons. Atlanta struggles to get off the field ranking 31st in opponent third-down conversion percentage. They don't get pressure on the quarterback, 28th in sacks. Most importantly, the Falcons have quit. They couldn't overcome their rash of injuries. They've lost four in a row and their once dynamic offense has only averaged 17 points per game in those four.

The Falcons are a dome warm-weathered team and this game will be a high of 24 degrees. Matt Ryan is from Pennsylvania and went to Boston College so he's dealt with the cold but Atlanta has made him soft. This will only be his third game in less than 32 degree weather. The last one was in 2013 in Lambeau in a loss to the Matt Flynn-led Packers. The Falcons are done and they'll have no interest in playing in this game.

Packers 35 - Falcons 17

 

CHARGERS -14 vs. Bengals

This line is juiced up after San Diego's comeback win in Pittsburgh Sunday night. But I'll still take them to cover against the putrid Bengals. Cincy's defense is so bad. They are last in opponent points per game and third-down conversion percentage. They are also 29th in opponent yards per play. It's not like their offense can do anything either as they are led by Jeff Driskel. The Chargers may be looking ahead to the Chiefs next Thursday night and may start out slow, but should have no problem dominating this one.

Chargers 35 - Bengals 13

 

Steelers -10.5 @ RAIDERS

After being in the conversation to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Steelers have now lost two in a row to the Broncos and Chargers. They should have won both those games, but they choked them both away. If there's a team to play after those losses it's the Raiders. Ben Roethlisberger may be the worst quarterback as a double-digit favorite, but I think their defense buckles down. They lead the league in sacks while the Raiders allow the fifth-most sacks. Oakland's defense is last in opponent yards per play and Roethlisberger will have a field day.

Steelers 38 - Raiders 20 

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid

49ERS +5.5 vs. Broncos

Are we sure the Broncos are so good? Since their bye, the Chargers and Steelers choked away games and then they beat a Jeff Driskel-led Bengals team 24-10. They are average in terms of stats and are seventh in turnover differential. The Niners have gotten blown out in back-to-back weeks so a rebound is due.

Broncos 23 - 49ers 21

 

Patriots -8 @ DOLPHINS

New England has lost four of their last five in Miami. As successful as the Pats have been against nearly every team in every stadium, it's odd Miami is a constant place of struggle. However, the Pats are rolling and that'll continue Sunday.

Patriots 27 - Dolphins 16

 

The Rest 

TITANS -4 vs. Jaguars (Thursday night) - The 28th and 30th ranked scoring offense do battle on a Thursday night. How exciting! The Jags finally got their win after a seven-game losing streak while the Titans are still in the playoff hunt. Marcus Mariota is a much better quarterback than Cody Kessler.

Panthers -1.5 @ BROWNS - Carolina was in the race to win their division and after four consecutive losses, now find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture. The Browns finally came back down to Earth against a solid Texans team. I think Cam Newton rebounds in this must-win game.

Colts +5 @ TEXANS - I still don't buy the Texans. They finally face a real quarterback in Andrew Luck. This is too many points.

REDSKINS +3.5 vs. Giants - The only reason I like Washington is because the line is 3.5. I love the extra half-point here.

CHIEFS -7 vs. Ravens - In terms of yards per play, Kansas City is the number one defense and Baltimore is the number one defense. KC's defense is awful and I think Lamar Jackson can make some plays. But the Chiefs offense will be too much for the Ravens defense to handle.

Jets +3.5 @ BILLS - Last time these two teams played the Bills embarrassed the Jets. That won't be the case Sunday. If Sam Darnold plays, I like the Jets. If not, stay away.

Lions -2.5 @ CARDINALS - Arizona is riding high after their shocking defeat of the Packers Sunday. Detroit has lost five of their last six, but face an overconfident Cardinals squad. Josh Rosen will truly look like a rookie Sunday.

COWBOYS -4 vs. Eagles - Something is clearly wrong with the Eagles this season. Dallas had an extra three days to prepare for this one after their enormous win last Thursday night against New Orleans.

Rams -3.5 @ BEARS (Sunday night) -My only concern here is the cold weather will slow the Rams down, but the Bears will need to hold them below 20 points to have a chance.

SEAHAWKS -3 vs. Vikings (Monday night) - Why is this line only three? Haven't we already seen everything we need to out of Kirk Cousins in prime-time? Seattle has been rolling of late and the 12th Man will be extremely loud for this Sunday night game.

 

My Running Season Total

  • This week: Saints -8, Packers -5.5, Colts +5
  • Last week: 1-2
  • Best bet ATS record: 17-21-1

 

Good luck RotoBallers, and I'll be back next week previewing Week 15.

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