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NFL Survivor League Picks: Top Targets & Avoids for Survivor Pools (Week 1)

The NFL season is ready to begin and in turn so is all the contests that comes with it. Fantasy leagues of all kind and my favorite, survivor pools, are also starting up. Week 1 brings new hope to each and every team, similarly to each person starting his or her survivor pool. I will be giving you my top survivor picks and top survivor avoids for each week.

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.

Editor's Note: Our friends at FantasyFeud are hosting Survivor and Seasonal Leagues perfect for the non-DFS fantasy manager, and you can enter for as little as $1. If you sign up and deposit now, you'll receive a 100% bonus AND a get free full season of RotoBaller's NFL Premium Tools & DFS Lineups Picks ($39.99 value).


Survivor League Strategy

I will be following the same strategy I implore every year when entering a survivor contest.

  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 Jaguars and Browns. Picking teams that you would not use later on in the season should be looked at early on. For example, last season the Jets played the Raiders in Week 1. I chose the Jets due to the fact that I knew this would be my best opportunity to use up the Jets and save other top teams like the Patriots and Seahawks later on.
  2. When in doubt pick the home team. Rarely will I be picking a team on the road in survivor. It is hard to win on the road, and teams tend to play better with their home crowd behind them. The one time I picked a road team last season, the 49ers lost at the Raiders and I was eliminated.
  3. Try to avoid divisional rivalry games also. Anything can happen with a rivalry game. Last season Washington was a 9.5-point underdog to the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday night football. Washington ended up winning, knocking many people out of their survivor pool.
  4. Never pick an underdog, unless you have no choice.


Before making any picks, look at each point spread. 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.

The biggest favorites in Week 1; @Patriots -7 vs. Steelers, Packers -7 @Chicago, @Dallas -6 vs. Giants, and @Denver -5 vs. Ravens.

Also note that Week 1 features one big upset that no one expects. Last year saw the Bears fell to the Bills as 7 point favorites.


Top Survivor Picks for Week 1

@Jets -3 vs. Browns

Like last season, the Jets get another easy game to open up the year. There will be no better time than to use the Jets this week and save better options for later. The Browns are a mess of a franchise and although their defense can play, the Josh McCown led offense will prove fatal. The Jets much improved defense will strangle the Browns inept offense. The Browns do have a top offensive line, but with the lack of a passing game, the Jets will stuff the box daring McCown to beat Revis and Cromartie.

@Cardinals -3 vs. Saints

I cannot understand why New Orleans gets so much respect from Vegas. I didn’t know that a team who won the Super Bowl six years ago gets so much gleaming admiration from people still. Last year the Saints were horrendous, grossly underachieving in the worst division finishing 7-9. They were also third worst against the spread in the league at 6-10. In the offseason the Saints gave away their best weapon, Jimmy Graham, to help bolster their offensive line and run game. It may help them in the long run but not this week. The Cardinals can stop the run.

Drew Brees looked old last year and is now a year older in an offense that is trying to marginalize him. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were a playoff team last season and Vegas is basically saying on a neutral field that the point spread would be even! (due to the home team always getting 3 points to their advantage) This is a team that might have beaten Carolina if not for all their quarterbacks getting injured. Arizona was 7-1 at home last season behind a lively crowd. Arizona will destroy the Saints this week; the only question is do you think Arizona will be good enough to pick them later in the season instead?

@Buccaneers -3 vs. Titans

This is the best time to take the Bucs. This game will be headlined as the top two picks in the draft playing each other in their NFL debuts. Besides for the quarterbacks the Bucs have more talent surrounding Winston. The Bucs boast two good receivers, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, and 2013 All-Pro Lavonte David. The Titans don’t seem to have much of anything around Mariota. I never like picking rookie quarterbacks in their debut, but facing a rookie at home is much nicer.


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid for Week 1

Save the Patriots and Packers for later weeks. No need to waste them in Week 1.

@Dallas -6 vs. Giants

This line is too high for a rebounding Giants team. The Giants looked like a different team in the second half of the season with the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. The Cowboys have won the past four meetings with the Giants, but prior to that lost four in a row at home. That included a Giants 33-31 upset win in 2009 to open the new Cowboys stadium. Dallas will have a hard time masking Orlando Scandrick’s injury with Beckham Jr. coming to Big D in Week 1. On top of all that, it's a divisional rivalry on primetime. I will go out on a limb and pick the Giants to win. You should want to save Dallas for later in the season.

@Colts -3 vs. Bills

I really like the Bills to upset the Colts in this one. The Bills play well at home and Rex Ryan will have his team jacked up in his Buffalo debut. The Bills defense will cause many problems for this Cols offense, but the Bills offense will have to string together some long time consuming drives to win. I bet that they do. The Bills winning would knock many people out of survivor pools, don’t be one of them. You’re better off using the Colts in Week 14 against the Jaguars if you are still alive.

@Broncos -5 vs. Ravens

I know I know, never go against Peyton Manning at home, but the Ravens are not getting enough respect this season for a team coming off of a playoff win. Baltimore must successfully run the ball and control the clock in order to win and they're built for it, with a defense looking to rebound and a strong run game set up. Joe Flacco will make some big throws and the defense will do enough to make this a toss up game. Please save the Broncos for the later weeks. Whenever choosing Peyton Manning I feel comfortable, but not in Week 1.


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