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

Not many of you would be reading my column anymore had Zane Gonzalez been able to kick an extra point or field goal to defeat the Saints. The other big favorites covered so it wasn't a survivor annihilation like it was last week.

There were seven outright upsets with only the Redskins and Texans causing minimal damage.

If you're still alive, it gets easier the next couple of weeks. If you're not, there's still plenty of good tidbits to help you with your daily fantasy squads. Plus, my best bets against the spread at the bottom of the column.

Editor's Note: All you early birds can get a full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our Draft Kit, In-Season tools and over 150 days of Premium DFS. Sign Up Now!


Nuggets from Week 2

  • Phillip Rivers was 23/27 with 9.5 yards per attempt
  • Thought Rivers was accurate? What about Carr going 29/32 with 9 yards per attempt. That's fantastic
  • Pat Mahomes has 10 touchdowns and no picks through two weeks. Before we anoint him MVP, just remember Alex Smith tore it up through the first month of last season before tailing off
  • Congrats to the Falcons for going a perfect 4-4 in the red zone
  • When's the last time you saw a team go for two up four to make it a six-point game, then the other team score a touchdown and then miss the extra point?
  • Still scratching my head how Blaine Gabbert was the quarterback of a winning team
  • Make it 70 consecutive games for the Lions with no rusher over 100 yards
  • The Broncos are 2-0 for the sixth consecutive season. They failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons


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.

I will also be giving out my three top plays against the spread. I will italicize those three teams. It will look like this: Patriots -7 vs. Jets. The team I like in any given game against the spread will be first.

I used to have rules for how to go about making your survivor picks each week, but rules are meant to be broken especially in a year like this. Here are my guidelines.

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 Bills

2) Try to avoid divisional rivalry games. Anything can happen with a rivalry game. Some weeks the best option will be a divisional bout

3) Avoid underdogs

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 where they are begging you to bet one side. When the spread looks like an easy cover, it rarely is. Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they're mostly always right. I will point those spreads out each week.

Teams favored by more than seven in Week 3 per sportsbook (home team in caps):

  • VIKINGS -17 vs. Cardinals
  • RAMS -7 vs. Chargers

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.


Top Survivor Picks for Week 3

In order of my favorite selections:


VIKINGS -17 vs. Bills

This is a tough week, but this is the no-brainer pick. The Bills are one of the worst teams, if not worst, in football. Buffalo has allowed 11 sacks through two weeks and that will not bode well against a Vikings defense that sacked Jimmy G three times and Aaron Rodgers four. You also do not want to face this defense in U.S. Bank Stadium as a rookie. It's going to be loud and Josh Allen will have no idea what hit him.

The Vikings offense is dynamic with Stefon Diggs, Adam, Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, and Dalvin Cook. After a tie that felt more like a loss to Minnesota after their kicker missed two easy field goals, the Vikings will come rejuvenated and really to roll. This is going to be a romp.

Vikings 40 - Bills 13


Patriots -6.5 @ LIONS (Sunday night)

If you've already picked the Vikings, then you need a pivot and the Patriots are the next-safest option. New England was embarrassed last week in Jacksonville. But they rarely lose back-to-back. Since 2003, they are 44-7 off a loss. Moreover, Bill Belichick gets to take on his former defensive coorindator Matt Patricia on national television. Belichick will own him.

The Lions rush defense stinks. They've given up a league worst 179.5 rushing yards through the first two games. Expect a heavy-dose of the ground attack early to open up the passing attack for Brady.

The Lions are 0-5 in prime-time games at home since 2015, while the Patriots are 5-2 in that same span.

For you gambling fellows, the Patriots are a league best 38-13 (75%) against the spread since 2003.

Patriots 34 - Lions 17


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

Giants +6.5 @ TEXANS

This line opened up at the standard -3, but the Texans have been bet all the way up to -6. That's probably because of the horrific performance of football the Giants displayed on national television.

On paper, the Texans defensive line should dominate the Giants. New York can't block anyone and now they're expected to block J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney? As for the Giants defense, it's been solid so far allowing 5.45 opponent yards per play, top half of the league.

This is a must-win game for both teams but the Giants need it more. The Texans schedule lightens-up while it only gets more difficult for the Giants.

This game will come down to Eli Manning and when one too many people doubt him, he messes up and screws up all your moneyline parlays and teasers. You've been warned.

Giants 23 - Texans 21


49ers +6 @ CHIEFS

All the talk is about Pat Mahomes and this high-flying Chiefs offense and rightly so, but has anyone noticed their defense? It's been downright bad. They gave up 424 passing yards to Phillip Rivers in Week 1 and 452 passing yards to Ben Roethlisberger last week. They did have a big lead in both games, so they did lighten up the defense, but that's still a ton of yards.

The Niners have a good offense behind Jimmy Garoppolo. He can light the Chiefs defense up. The Niners defense has been very good through the first two games allowing 6.2 pass yards per attempt, 10th in the league. It may not be this week a defense figures out Mahomes, but it will be soon. Niners keep this one close.

Chiefs 27 - 49ers 24


Bears -4.5 @ CARDINALS

If you're taking the Bears, you're relying on the their superb defense to take control of this game. Khalil Mack may very well knock Sam Bradford out of this game.

The Cardinals offense has scored six total grand points this year, fewest in the league. I'm not sure they even know what their offensive formula is. This is a game the Bears need to win if they want to have an outside chance in the playoffs. The reason they are in the avoid section is because why take them when the Vikings are the lock?

Bears 19 - Cardinals 9


The Rest 

Jets+3 @ BROWNS (Thursday night) - The last time the Browns were a favorite was against the Jets last year in Week 8. The Browns are doing a disservice to everyone not starting Baker Mayfield because Tyrod Taylor has been atrocious with a dreadful 6.3 YPA. Who wouldn't want to see the two rookie quarterbacks drafted one and three face-off in prime-time?

I think the Jets bounce back and continue the Browns misery.

Bengals +3 @ PANTHERS - 10 days for the Bengals to prepare for this one. Their defensive line has been fantastic and now they face a banged-up Panthers offensive line. Unless Cam Newton can be Superman for this one, he's in for a long rough day. Bengals move to 3-0.

FALCONS -3 vs. Saints - This is going to a tight matchup. I'll lean toward the Falcons because they've won three of their last four at home against New Orleans. This game will be enormous in determining the division crown.

RAVENS -4.5 vs. Broncos - Last year Denver was 0-4 playing early games on the East Coast. What am I missing with this game though? The Broncos are 2-0 and now face a Ravens team that looked sooo bad against the Bengals last Thursday night and opened as 5-point underdogs. I'm confused. The Ravens did have extra time to prepare for this one, and the Broncos pretty much pulled their two wins out of thin air. Baltimore rebounds and covers.

DOLPHINS -3 vs. Raiders - Raiders will have too much firepower for the Dolphins defense.

Packers -3 @ REDSKINS - It's really incredible what Aaron Rodgers is doing with a lack of talent around him in Green Bay. The only reason I like the Packers is because of Rodgers.

EAGLES -6.5 vs. Colts - Carson Wentz is back and maybe that will reinvigorate the Eagles offense. Philly is 10-1 in their last 11 at home. The Colts offensive line, who've given up 16 quarterback hits through two games, will really struggle to keep Luck protected against the best bunch of defensive linemen.

RAMS -6.5 vs Chargers - The Rams looked dominant, but now face their first real test. This team is a juggernaut though and will win the battle for Los Angeles.

SEAHAWKS -3 vs. Cowboys - Must-win game for Seattle. This is their home-opener so the crowd will be raucous. Dallas isn't a good football team. Besides for a long touchdown to Tavon Austin on the first drive of the game, their offense has been non-existent.

Steelers -2.5 @ BUCS (Monday night) - Despite all of the problems in Pittsburgh with Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, they know this is a must-win game. The Steelers travel well How good are the Bucs really?

No line on Titans Jaguars because of Marcua Mariota's injury.


My Running Season Total

  • Best bet ATS record: 1-5
  • This week: Patriots -6.5, Giants +6.5, Seahawks -3


Good luck RotoBallers, and I'll be back next week previewing Week 4.

More Weekly Lineup Prep