Week 2 Survivor Advice: Pros and Cons of Five Popular Picks

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Last week featured lots of close calls, but in the end, only a couple upsets that significantly impacted survivor pools. The five most popular survivor picks of the week all won, though three of the five were in big danger at some point: the Chargers needed overtime, the Seahawks won by a point, and the Eagles came back from a 17-0 deficit.

In the end, the Browns’ loss to the Titans had the biggest impact on survivor pools, knocking out about 5% survivor entries nationwide. The Jets losing to Buffalo eliminated a further 3% of entries.

The most frequent recommendation we made to our premium subscribers last week was to take Dallas, because of a great combination of high win odds, low popularity, and only moderate future value. It would have been nice if some other upsets happened, but that pick still means that teams like Baltimore remain in the quiver for future use.

Overall, around 90% of survivor entries nationwide made it to Week 2, an unusually high percentage. In comparison, 91.4% of our subscriber recommended picks survived.


Fantasy Footballers readers can get free premium access to TeamRankings for NFL Week 2, including all game predictions plus picks for your NFL survivor pools and pick’em contests: Get Free Week 2 Picks

Week 2 Survivor Strategy Review

Unlike other survivor advice articles, we don’t just focus on which team is most likely to win. In addition to that, we analyze NFL survivor picks using a value lens, comparing the survival odds, pick popularity, and future value of every team.

After all, you aren’t going to win you survivor pool simply by surviving Week 2. To maximize your edge, you need to evaluate whether it’s the right week to fade the crowd with a contrarian pick. You also need to plan for the future, since your survivor pool is probably going to last longer than you think

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Survivor Pool Pick Analysis For Week 2

Below we identify the pros and cons of the five most popular survivor picks of Week 2. To be clear, we’re not implying that any of these teams are necessarily the best pick for your pool — because there is no such thing as a universally “best” survivor pick.

The best Week 2 pick for your survivor pool will almost certainly change based on factors like your pool’s size and rules (e.g. whether you are allowed strikes, or have to make double picks in a later week). Our NFL Survivor Picks product, which you can try for free for Week 2, will give you our customized pick recommendations.

But if you’d rather make picks on your own, the analysis below will help you weigh the pros and cons of the picks you’re most likely considering.

Note: Data referenced below was current as of Thursday morning, and could change between posting time and kickoff time. Our product updates multiple times per day with the latest information.

New England Patriots (at Miami Dolphins)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 30%
Point Spread: -18.5

Pro: Extremely high odds to win. New England is a massive favorite this week against Miami. The argument for using the Patriots this week is that you are almost certain to advance, and that’s not a phrase we throw around lightly. Our models have New England’s win odds at 91%; the betting markets are slightly more optimistic at 92%.

Con: The best team to save for the future. New England is currently one of the top three teams in projected win odds in 9 of 15 future weeks, and the projected the most likely winner in three future weeks. If you can get through Week 2 without using New England, you will have those lethal bullets still in your survivor clip.

Pro: Not insanely popular given the relative safety. While New England is the most popular Week 2 team at 30% picked, according to historical data from SurvivorGrid.com, the 20 biggest favorites (by win odds) over the first month of the season have averaged 39% pick popularity since 2010. And New England is tied for the second-highest win odds compared to that group.

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Baltimore Ravens (vs. Arizona Cardinals)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 26%
Point Spread: -13

Pro: Very high win probability. Baltimore’s win odds are lower than New England’s, but are still over 85%, which is significantly higher than most survivor picks you need to make. In most other weeks, Baltimore would be the safest pick by a solid margin.

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Con: Solid (though not huge) future value. Entering Week 2, our numbers show Baltimore with less future value than New England, especially since after this week, the Ravens will be past two of their highest win odds games of the season. But they are also one of the top two most likely winners in Week 6 (again along with New England) when they play Cincinnati at home, and if you use Baltimore now, the Week 6 alternatives could get worse between now and then.

Pro: Splitting pick popularity with Patriots also keeps the Ravens from being insanely popular. The Ravens’ popularity is held down at least somewhat because they were also a top-five most popular pick last week, and just under 15% of still-alive survivor entries already have used them.

Houston Texans (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 16%
Point Spread: -9.5

Pro: Third-best win odds of the week at just under 80%. This line appears to reflect a shift of several points compared to what it likely would have been if Jaguars QB Nick Foles had not gotten injured. In most weeks Houston would be a safer-than-usual survivor pick.

Con: This isn’t most weeks. New England especially has a huge safety premium over Houston. And with two highly safe picks this week once you add in Baltimore, the majority of your pool will have an 85% chance or better to survive, and it will take not one but two gigantic upsets for all those opponents to get knocked out, which is highly improbable. It’s a different situation than Week 3 of 2018 when a single huge favorite (Minnesota) was sucking up nearly 60% of the public’s picks, so avoiding Minnesota and hoping for an upset typically made sense.

Pro: Future value not great. Houston’s future value is fairly low for a team seen as a playoff contender, and this game projects as their best shot to win for the rest of the season, along with Week 8 when the Texans host Oakland. They have a projected win probability of between 50% and 70% in eight other future games, but win odds under 70% is getting a bit risky for survivor.

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Con: Popularity is rising, reducing value. Houston is up to 16% pick popularity, which means they are not exactly an unpopular team or far less popular than Baltimore.

Carolina Panthers (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 13%
Point Spread: -7

Pro: Low Future Value. If you don’t use Carolina in Week 2, you may not need to use them at all this year, depending on how long your survivor pool is expected to last.  At the very least, you may have plenty of other options that don’t make Carolina a clear “best pick” in any future week.

Cons: Similar to Houston. Carolina is a somewhat more risky, slightly less popular version of the Texans this week. So just as the Ravens and Patriots are splitting picks from survivor players willing to burn a great team in Week 2, the Panthers and Texans appear to be splitting the vote for players zig-zagging the other way.

Kansas City Chiefs (at Oakland Raiders)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 4%
Point Spread: -7.5

Pro: Higher current week expected value than the Panthers or Texans. The Chiefs are the fifth most popular survivor choice of Week 2, but much less popular than Houston or Carolina. The Chiefs are also safer than Carolina and almost as safe as Houston. As a result, Kansas City’s combination of win odds and pick popularity is overall the most compelling of the three.

Getty Images / Jamie Squire

Con: High future value, especially in large pools. The Chiefs have far more future value than Carolina or Houston, and more future value than Baltimore as well. If you are in a pool that projects to go deeper into the season, Kansas City is a valuable asset you’d ideally want to keep in your future survivor toolbox.

Consider that Kansas City is also more likely to have WR and return specialist Tyreek Hill back with the offense later in the year, and the Chiefs primarily appear to be a potential contrarian Week 2 consideration in smaller pools. With roughly a 15% higher elimination risk than the Patriots, though, KC is no small gamble.

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Which Week 2 Pick Is The Best For Your Survivor Pool?

The teams above are the most popular survivor picks in Week 2, but that doesn’t mean one of them is the best pick for you. Every possible pick has an expected value and future value associated with it, and those values vary based on the specific characteristics of your pool.

We built our NFL Survivor Picks product to do all of the necessary number crunching for you. You answer a few questions about your pool’s size and rules, and it provides customized pick recommendations for your pool using the latest matchup data, betting market odds and public picking trends from national survivor pool sites.

The proof that it works? Over the last two NFL seasons, our subscribers have reported winning over $1.5 million in survivor pool prizes. We invite you to give it a try — it’s free for NFL Week 2. 

Good luck in your survivor pools this week!


Fantasy Footballers readers can get free premium access to TeamRankings for NFL Week 2, including all game predictions plus picks for your NFL survivor pools and pick’em contests: Get Free Week 2 Picks

Picks & Tools From TeamRankings: Football Pick’em Picks | NFL Survivor Picks | Betting Picks

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