Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 3) - Targets and Avoids

The Patriots look unstoppable, the Steelers look like toast, and the Ravens look like they'll control the AFC North. I gave out the Pats and Ravens, got burned on Pitt, but wisely avoided the Panthers. 

Like I wrote last week, don't overreact just yet. It's only two games. I understand it's already an eighth of the way through the season, but much will be different come Week 9, maybe even Week 5. Many are counting the Steelers out without Ben Roethlisberger, but their brass is not. They just traded their first-round pick for Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. I'm not ecstatic about ripping up my futures on Steelers over 9 wins, division winners, Super Bowl winners, and most passing yards just yet, so let's pray Mason Rudolph can play. 

I've historically had very strong Week 3 performances. There are some teams that are so overvalued in the market at this point, and the public just looks blindly at records and scores without remembering their thoughts prior to Week 1. It's only two games so don't let that sway your opinion. There are also some massive point spreads this week.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


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 can't use that team ever again. There's no point spread involved.

  1. Try to save the top teams for the end of the season. You don't want to be alive in Week 10 choosing between the Dolphins and Cardinals. Try to pick teams you won't use later.
  2. Avoid divisional rivalries (generally), although in some weeks, it'll be pretty hard due to lack of options. Anything can happen in a divisional game.
  3. Point spreads are crucial in reading games. Vegas knows a lot more than you do, so respect their outlook.

Teams favored by seven or more in Week 3 per The Action Network: Patriots - 22.5 Jets, Cowboys -21 vs. Dolphins, Packers -8 vs. Broncos, Vikings -8 vs. Raiders, Eagles -7 vs. Lions.

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

With gambling now legal for some of you, I'm going to be giving out my three top plays against the spread. I will italicize the team I like. It will look like this: Patriots -7 vs. Jets.


Top Survivor Picks for Week 3

Cowboys -21 vs. Dolphins

Going against Miami is becoming the easy play now. Dallas is a top-five team with a really good defense and an offense that is clicking.

Cowboys 38 - Dolphins 13

Patriots -22.5 vs. Jets

In terms of who wins this game, nothing needs to be said. For the point spread, Bill Belichick historically owns young quarterbacks.

Patriots 34 - Jets 10

Vikings -8 vs. Raiders

Uh oh. I'm really going to go with the Vikings after they burned me last year as 18-point home favorites to the lousy Bills? This will feel like an 11 a.m. game on Oakland's body clocks. Kirk Cousins threw Sunday's game away, but Minnesota will run the ball, opening up the deep ball for Cousins. The Vikings also have an elite defense.

Vikings 27 - Raiders 13

Bucs -6.5 vs. Giants

Normally I'd be scared of taking the Bucs because Jameis Winston can literally hand the game away like he did in Week 1, but head coach Bruce Arians will have them ready for this one. The defense is coached by old Jets head coach Todd Bowles and has only allowed one offensive touchdown thus far. The Giants have had their first drive perfectly scripted in the two games and then their offense stalls. Daniel Jones is playing, but a rookie in his first game against a good defense isn't a formula for success.

Bucs 26 - Giants 16


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

49ers -7 vs. Steelers

This is the quintessential fool's gold game. The 2-0 Niners, who just scored 41, head home for their opener against the depleted 0-2 Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger. The public will be all over the Niners because an unknown quarterback Mason Rudolph will be starting behind center. There are several things of notes here, the first being the point spread. After the news of Big Ben being lost to the season, Jeff Davis, the director of trading at Caesars Palace, tweeted the line out.

Wait, what? These teams would be equal on a neutral field?

The line has since moved but I expect wiseguy buyback on Pittsburgh.

As for the Niners defense, know that Jameis Winston threw three pick-sixes in Week 1. The Bucs then stayed on the East Coast between Weeks 1 and 2, a genius idea, and routed the Bengals who were receiving so much unwarranted love. Cincy isn't a good team and San Fran simply exploited that.

Vegas is begging you to tease the Niners here because the line is seven and public bettors say to themselves, 'On a 6.5 point tease, all the Niners need to do is win and I win that leg.' Wrong. I've been burned plenty of times by thinking that and it just shows Vegas is suckering you in.

Pittsburgh has the nobody believes in us factor going for them. They fully believe in Mason Rudolph because they wouldn't have traded a first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick. Rudolph isn't a rookie. He sat behind Roethlisberger all of last season and will have a complete grasp of this offense. Let's take a shot.

Steelers 27 - 49ers 23

Packers -8 vs. Broncos

Green Bay looked like they were rolling Sunday after three touchdowns on three possessions and then this.

What happened? Green Bay is a paltry 30th in yards per play at 4.3. Even Denver who has looked horrific is 22nd, 5.4. Are we sure Aaron Rodgers is alright? In his first game, he averaged 6.8 yards per attempt and 6.1 Sunday. He may be spinning the ball but I don't think he's completely comfortable in the new offense yet. A big reason Green Bay has won has been their defense who've come up with five turnovers.

Denver's defense is really phenomenal. That last drive of Chicago was completely garbage. First this abhorrent roughing call,

and then the clock not running out and the refs letting Chicago kick the field goal. Many will count out Denver in this game because it's the 2-0 Packers in Lambeau against the 0-2 Broncos.

Broncos 23 - Packers 21

Bills -6 vs. Bengals

I'm not buying the Bills. They beat the Jets and Giants who are both in the bottom ten of the league. The Bengals hung with Seattle and then got blown out to the Niners. There are too many question marks with these teams and six points is based off records and a blowout of the Giants.

Bengals 19 - Bills 18

Eagles -7 vs. Lions

Philly should win this game but they have too many injuries. Detroit is average at best. The Eagles injuries are the one thing not allowing me to take them in survivor.

Eagles 24 - Lions 19


The Rest

Jaguars +1.5 vs. Titans - This is the Thursday night doozy. A lot of Vegas sharps use the stat yards per play to handicap the games. It's only two games but the Jags are 5th and Titans 24th. Despite scoring 12 points Sunday, Jacksonville had 4.8 yards per play to Tennessee's 4.1. The Jags defense will stifle Marcus Mariota and that mediocre offense.

Colts -2.5 vs. Falcons - This is a ridiculous line. The Colts are a really underrated team and this will be their season opener. Atlanta narrowly got by Philly and the Eagles were without Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, Dallas Goedert, and Corey Clement. Carson Wentz was also banged up. And Atlanta needed a fourth-down conversion to win. Matt Ryan is a surprisingly 9-12 on the road in domes.

Chiefs -6.5 vs. Ravens - This is the game of the week. These are two hottest teams with the two hottest quarterbacks. The Ravens are second in yards per play and Chiefs are three. Now we really find out if the Ravens are for real because they crushed Miami and just got by the Cardinals.

Cardinals +2.5 vs. Panthers - The Panthers would really be a nine-point favorite if this were in Carolina? I find this line really troubling. My best friend who doesn't watch football anymore because it's too violent happened to catch a glimpse of last Thursday's game and even said, something is really wrong with Cam Newton. I'd much rather bet the young, athletic, electric Kyler Murray at home.

I wrote the above before the news of Cam Newton (he may not play Sunday).  I liked Arizona before and like them more now.

Chargers -3 vs. Texans - Bill O'Brien is such a bad coach. I've been saying that for years and maybe people are starting to realize that. The Texans have such a bad offensive line and Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will feast.

Saints +4.5 @ Seahawks - So the 2-0 Seahawks only get 1.5 points extra at home against Teddy Bridgewater. Many will discount the Saints because of how Bridgewater looked Sunday, but there's a reason they paid him around $7 million because he's a reliable backup.  Vegas wants you to take Seattle so that means you take the Saints.

Rams -3 @ Browns - Cleveland's offensive line is so bad. Baker Mayfield is continually pressured and sacked eight times already. Now they have to find a way to block Aaron Donald? The Browns are also the most undisciplined team. They have 27 penalties, seven more than the next team. Freddie Kitchens has no control of this team.

Redskins +4 vs. Bears - I think the Bears will win but how can you trust Mitch Trubisky especially on the road in a Monday night game?


Best Bets for Week 3

  • Steelers +7
  • Broncos +8
  • Colts -2.5

Last week: 1-2

Season total: 1-5

More Week 3 Lineup Prep

More Recent Articles


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 NFL season was an interesting year for the running back position. Christian McCaffrey was the overall RB1, but some of the other top players fell below expectations. That led to some interesting final results when the final season standings came around. And while some of those -- Dalvin Cook as the RB3, Leonard... Read More

Quarterback VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More

2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The @Fleaflicker Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 343 teams - across two divisions - competing to be crowned champ... Read More

Introducing the 2020 Rookie Tight End Class

Out of all the skill positions, tight end is the one where rookies have the most issue making an immediate impact. But there's still always some value at every position in every NFL Draft, and the 2020 one is no exception, even if people are very down on this year's crop of tight ends. Let's... Read More

Can a New Coach Fix Baker Mayfield in 2020?

Another season has passed and another disappointment by Browns fans has been realized. Baker Mayfield got the head coach he wanted in Freddie Kitchens in 2019. In 2020, hopefully he's got the one he needs in Kevin Stefanski. Last season, under Kitchens, Mayfield had a coach he could control and manipulate. He did just that... Read More

Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy... Read More

The King's Keeper Corner: NFL Postseason Impacts on Player Outlooks

With a break in the postseason NFL action, it is time to reflect on what we have seen in the playoffs so far and how certain performances will affect fantasy football outlooks in keeper and dynasty formats. How players respond and what they deliver at the most intense and critical times of the season can... Read More

Introducing Value Over Starter Football Metrics

When it comes to fantasy sports, we're always looking for the highest possible Return On Investment or ROI. This concept is easy to understand: in both Daily Fantasy and re-draft/fantasy leagues, ROI would come down to how many points a player returns relative to his salary, or the price you paid (given his ADP on... Read More

Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More

Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More

Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More

Biggest Busts of 2019: Tight End

2019 was not the record-breaking season for tight ends 2018 was. San Francisco’s George Kittle (most receiving yards for a TE in a season) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (most receptions for a TE in a season) did not break the records they set last season, although both were fine for fantasy players. Kansas City’s Travis... Read More

Rushing Quarterbacks Are Becoming Necessary

The 2019 fantasy season is over. We are all thinking about what to do come 2020 draft day. So let me ask you something. What if I offer you the chance of drafting a quarterback who is a lock to finish the season with 270 fantasy points? Would you take him and make him your... Read More

Biggest Breakouts Of 2019: Wide Receivers

As we enter the initial phase of offseason activities you have recently completed a painstaking process of creating and managing rosters, with the goal of winning fantasy championships in 2019. Now, many of you have already shifted your focus toward planning your drafts in Best Ball and redraft leagues, while others are contemplating how you... Read More

Tight End ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More