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The favorites in Week 5 gave many people left in survivor pools a real scare. The Bengals scored 27 unanswered to beat the Dolphins after being down 17-0. The Rams escaped in Seattle to remain undefeated. The Panthers won on a 63-yard field goal.

Others weren't so lucky. The Titans lost to the Bills, the Ravens to the Browns. Both scored zero touchdowns.

With nearly all participants in survivor pools eliminated, you may not find a need to read this column. However, 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 this column.

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Nuggets from Week 5

  • The Giants scored 30 points for the first time in 38 games. They lost two games the past two years on field goals of 60+ yards.
  • Atlanta has turned it over a league-low three times, are 1-4. They've also turned it over once the last three weeks and lost all three of those games.
  • The Titans have not scored a touchdown in two games this year, are 3-2.
  • Blake Bortles had the most unimpressive 430-yard game. He also threw a pick-six.

 

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.

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 3 per The Action Network app (home team in caps):

  • VIKINGS -10.5 vs. Cardinals
  • PACKERS -9.5 vs. 49ers
  • Rams -7 @ BRONCOS

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.

Teams on bye: Lions, Saints

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 6

In order of my favorite selections:

VIKINGS -10.5 vs. Cardinals

Minnesota is back. They recovered from their losses against the Bills and Rams to defeat the defending Super Bowl champs in their home stadium pretty decisively (the score was misleading). Their offense is dynamic with Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph. It's going to be very difficult for the Cardinals to cover them.

Arizona is off their first win of the season. They're happy they just won. Now, they have to travel for an early start (10 a.m. West Coast time). Don't let their dominating win against the Niners fool you. The Cardinals are 31st in yards per play and third-down conversion percentage. That won't bode well against a confident Vikings defense who is third in opponent third-down conversion percentage.

The Vikings will not take any team lightly after their shocking loss to the Bills three weeks ago. I'd also buy this to 10. Hate losing by a half-point.

Vikings 31 - Cardinals 10

TEXANS -10 vs. Bills

Should the 2-3 Texans be favored by double-digits over anyone? No way. But the Bills are really really bad. They average a league-low 12.6 points per game (Houston averages 23, 18th in the league). This game will come down to one determining factor; the Texans pass-rush against the Bills offensive line. It was no secret going into this season the Bills had a bad offensive line and it's showed. They've allowed a league-high 22 sacks and rank 10th in quarterback hits allowed. Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt will tee-off on Josh Allen. Good luck, rookie.

Texans 30 - Bills 17

PACKERS -9.5 vs. 49ers

You can't make this line high enough! I'm not really sure what kind of stats I need to back this up besides having Aaron Rodgers at home in prime-time off a loss against C.J. Beathard and the 49ers.

Packers 34 - 49ers 17

Bears -3.5 @ DOLPHINS 

There's a stat out there where a road favorite off of a bye covers about 70% of the time. RJ Bell was on the Against All Odds podcast with Cousin Sal last year and explained this trend at the 47:35 mark.

"The team that's traveling is clearly better. Because you can't be favored on the road unless you're clearly better. But because you're clearly better, you have the distractions on the road. You might be looking ahead. You might be a little beat up from last week. Whatever it is, it's going to cause you not to play your best game, you're more susceptible to a team you think you should easily beat, even more susceptible on the road. That's why road favorites are so dangerous. Well, when you have a bye, all that stuff goes out the window. If you haven't played for two weeks, you're not going to look ahead. You're going to be focused on that team. You're not going to be tired. All the things that make traveling tough, you have that total focus."

Vegas wants you to bet the Dolphins here. This Bears defense is going to destroy Ryan Tannehill. The offense should be able to do just enough to win this one.

Buy this line to three just to be safe.

Bears 20 - Dolphins 14

FALCONS -3.5 vs. Bucs 

How much worse can it get for the Falcons? One turnover the last three weeks averaging 30 points per game and not one win to show for. The issue lies with their defense and that's because of all the injuries they suffered. They're dead last in opponent third-down conversion percentage, 24th in opponent yards per play, and 26th in sacks. The Bucs defense isn't good either allowing the most opponent yards per play. There's a reason the over/under is 57.5.

The Falcons are a different team at home and I don't trust Jameis Winston in his first start of the season.

Falcons 34 - Bucs 21

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

Colts +2.5 @ JETS

The Jets are flying high after a big win against the Broncos. The Colts have lost three in a row, but now have 10 days to prepare for this one. These teams are pretty even from the roster to the stats. They're a point apart in points scored, but the big difference maker is going to be Andrew Luck. He's back. The Colts offense is first in third-down conversion percentage with a whopping 50% conversion rate. The Jets rank 25th.

The Colts defense is underrated. They have the third-most sacks with 17. Don't be surprised to see the Colts be 4-4 in three weeks after wins of the Jets, Bills, and Raiders.

If you're going with the Colts, buy the line to three just to be safe.

Colts 27 - Jets 20

 

The Rest 

GIANTS +3 vs. Eagles (Thursday night) - You want no part of this game. Both teams are in disarray; the Eagles look lost and Odell Beckham Jr. thinks he's bigger than the team. I'd like to say the loser of this game is out of playoff contention, but that can't be the case when the Redskins lead the NFC East with a record of 2-2. I lean toward the home dog in this Thursday night tilt.

Chargers -1.5 @ BROWNS - Cleveland should be 5-0. San Diego's losses have been to the Rams and Chiefs. While the Browns have a great defensive front, the Chargers rank eighth in quarterback hits allowed and fifth in sacks allowed. While I'm usually against taking a West Coast team playing early on the East Coast, the Chargers are too explosive as they rank third in yards per play.

REDSKINS pick'em vs. Panthers - Washington is a seesaw team. They won the first game in Arizona, they were soundly beaten at home by the Colts, then they bounce back to beat the Packers, go on their bye, and then get crushed by the Saints. The Panthers are off an emotional win. The public is going to be on the Panthers and when the public likes one side, you fade!

BENGALS -2.5 vs. Steelers - HIDE THE CHILDREN! The most-heated rivalry is back. Cincy was clearly looking ahead to this one last week and won a game they should not have won. They are a different team than years past. The Steelers defense is horrendous while the Bengals have a good defense. That's the deciding factor.

Seahawks -3 vs. Raiders (in London) I can't imagine the excitement of the Raiders having to travel to London for this one. They are not a good team. Seattle is underrated and should win this one.

Jaguars -3 @ COWBOYS - This is the exact kind of game the Jaguars like; a low-scoring defensive battle where Blake Bortles doesn't need to make too many plays. The Cowboys are poorly coached. They are 30th in scoring. This offense will be held to 13 points and the Jags will score just enough, 17, to win.

Rams - 7 @ BRONCOS - Denver simply won't be able to keep pace with the Rams. LA had their scare last week in Seattle and will cruise here.

TITANS +3 vs. Ravens - Both teams were off to such promising starts with 3-1 records. But after losses last week to the Bills and Browns, the loser of this all of a sudden falls to .500 This will be like the Ravens-Titans games of the early 2000's when Ray Lewis and Eddie George were in their primes. The Titans like these kinds of low-scoring hard-hitting games.

PATRIOTS -3.5 vs. Chiefs (Sunday night) - This is the game of the year. It doesn't really make sense, the Chiefs are getting 3.5 to the Pats. It feels like Vegas wants you to bet the Chiefs. I can't go against Tom Brady at home on Sunday night.

My Running Season Total

  • Best bet ATS record: 7-8
  • This week: Vikings -10, Bears -3, Colts +3
  • Last week: 2-1

 

Good luck RotoBallers, and I'll be back next week previewing Week 6.

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