Each Thursday throughout the NFL season, we’ll be giving you our fantasy rankings at each position as well as a hot/cold column previewing the week ahead. On Fridays, you’ll get our game-by-game predictions. But before any of that “advice” is dispensed, we offer up a token Wednesday post on who you should take in your survivor pool.
(Very quickly, for those who don’t know, a basic survivor pool works like this: You must pick one team to win each week, but can’t pick the same team twice. Once you’ve used the Colts, they’re no longer available to you for the rest of the season. The last one standing wins.)
If you followed along with us last year, we got you seven weeks deep in your survivor pool, which might have gotten you real close to victory. This year, we’ll use our same strategy in an attempt to go deeper into the season. Who knows — maybe we’ll run the table.
Of course, there’s also a decent chance we get booted in Week 1, because the NFL is freakin’ unpredictable, especially at the very start of the season.
As we mentioned last year, there are two ways to strategize in a survivor pool. The first is just to pick the biggest favorite each week until you get burned. The second is to not necessarily pick great teams, but to pick against awful teams.
Under the first approach, here’s who we’re looking at:
- Texans over Colts: Houston is a 9-point favorite at home with Peyton Manning out.
- Chargers over Vikings: San Diego is an 8.5-point favorite at home.
And under the second approach, here’s what we have based on who’s playing the lowest-ranked teams in my latest power rankings (to be published tomorrow):
- No. 28 Cardinals over No. 32 Panthers: Arizona is a 7-point fave at home but is pretty bad as well.
- No. 30 Browns over No. 31 Bengals: Another rule: stay away from divisional games, especially when both teams suck.
- No. 27 Seahawks over No. 29 49ers: The Niners are a favorite at home, so this is unplayable.
- Raiders over No. 26 Broncos: Denver is also a fave at home.
So a lot of bad teams play bad teams, which is disconcerting.
Further, the Colts are still a good team and are hard to predict with Kerry Collins at the helm, so that’s scary. And do you really want to use the Chargers so quickly, especially considering that the team is known for poor starts?
So for the second straight year, there are no obvious choices in the world of survivor pools. Rather reluctantly, I’m going to go with the Cards, who are a big favorite over the league’s worst team. Cam Newton is a bit of a wild card, but I’m thinking Kevin Kolb and the more talented Cardinals will take care of business in their home opener. It’s a risky pick, but if we succeed we’ll still be alive while having used one of the league’s crappiest teams.
This week’s (somewhat crazy) pick: Arizona over Carolina.