Week 8 Survivor Advice: Pros & Cons of Five Popular Picks

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In this post, we’ll analyze the pros and cons of NFL Week 8’s five most popular NFL survivor picks: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, and New England. We’ll also recap the impact of last week’s results on NFL survivor pools.

This Week 8 survivor pool analysis is brought to you by TeamRankings, the only site that provides customized survivor pool picks that maximize your edge. Since 2017, TeamRankings subscribers have reported nearly $1.5 million in survivor pool winnings.


Fantasy Footballers readers can get a free 3-day premium trial to TeamRankings, including all game predictions plus picks for NFL survivor pools and pick’em contests. Get Picks Now

Last Week’s Survivor Picks Recap

The five most popular survivor choices last week all won, and as a result, the public survived at a 98.5% rate for the week. That’s what happens when Buffalo and San Francisco make up nearly 90% of all public picks.

Our advice was spread across several teams, including some less popular choices, depending on the remaining pool size and rules variations. Our NFL Survivor Picks subscriber picks recommended the Packers and Bears to several entries, in addition to Buffalo and San Francisco. 

The goal was to preserve Buffalo and San Francisco for subscribers in multiple entry or larger pools. Both of those teams are valuable choices in Weeks 9 and 11. That worked with the Packers, but not the Bears. Primarily due to the Chicago loss, 70.2% of all our subscriber recommendations survived the week. Overall, our subscriber recommendations across all pool types are still ahead of the public this season. About 19% of all public entries have survived to this point, compared to around 22% for our recommendations. Surviving entries for our subscribers are better positioned in the near future. Most of the public will have a tougher choice in Week 9 or Week 11. (If you’re new to TeamRankings, you can get a free 3-day premium trial to check out our survivor picks product.)

Now let’s get to the NFL Week 8 survivor pick analysis.

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Survivor Pool Pick Analysis For Week 8

Below we analyze the pros and cons of the five most popular survivor picks for Week 8. To be clear, we’re not implying that any of these teams is necessarily the best pick for your pool — because there is no such thing as a universally “best” survivor pick.

For example, if you’re in a pool that requires making two weekly picks later in the season, your optimal pick strategy is likely to favor taking a bit more risk early on. If you’re in a tiny, standard-rules pool with 10 or 15 friends, being more conservative is usually a better call.

Whatever your pool situation, though, 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.

Minnesota Vikings (vs. Washington)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 50%
Point Spread: -16.5

Pro: Highest Win Odds. The Vikings have been a scoring machine for three weeks. Washington is struggling to score at all. As a result, the Vikings have the highest win odds of Week 8 (our models put them at 90% to win).

Con: High Popularity. The Vikings are the most popular choice this week, with their popularity pushing toward 50% early on. That is more than double Pittsburgh and nearly triple the pick popularity of the Rams, two teams that are favored by at least 13 points, nearly as much as the Vikings. 

Con: Future Value. One thing you do have to consider is that they also have the highest future value (besides New England) of any of the likely options this week, and are now tied for the 4th highest future value of any team (behind only the Patriots, 49ers, and Chiefs).

That’s especially important to consider if you already used Buffalo or San Francisco last week because Minnesota’s other highest win odds spot is in Week 11 against Denver at home (a week when the Bills and 49ers are among the other safest options).

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Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Miami)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 23%
Point Spread: -14.5

Pro: Win Odds similar to the top options. The Steelers have the second-highest win odds this week, not far behind the Vikings, and could reasonably be considered part of the same safety tier. (The betting market implied odds have them at 88% while our models give them an 85% chance of winning).

Pro: Low Future Value and Expected Total Wins. Pittsburgh has far lower future value than other options. If you don’t use them here, there’s no other obvious spot where they would be in consideration based on what we know now. For pools where season total wins are a tiebreaker, they are also an attractive option, given that they are likely to finish with eight or fewer wins. 

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Con: Moderately Popular. Pittsburgh’s popularity is not prohibitive but does hold down their EV as the second-best option this week.

Los Angeles Rams (vs. Cincinnati in London) 

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 17%
Point Spread: -13

Pro: Reasonably High Win Odds. The Rams are nearly as safe as Minnesota and Pittsburgh, with win odds of around 83%. 

Pro: Lower popularity than the other two top options. The Rams are much less popular than the Vikings and are a good way to diversify your entry. This could be partly because the Rams are playing on a neutral field in London, while the Vikings are at home, but that is accounted for already in the spread.

Con: Decent Future Value, especially in large pools. The Rams do have decent value, though that depends on your pool size. One of the most likely spots to use them in the future is in Week 17 (vs. Arizona) when most of the other higher win odds choices will likely be used up. If you are in the end game in a pool that is less likely to get to that point, the Rams are a consideration here as a pick that provides decent safety and potential diversification from other entries.

New Orleans Saints (vs. Arizona)

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 4%
Point Spread: -9.5

Pro: Low Pick Popularity. At 4%, the Saints have low pick popularity for a team that is nearly a double-digit favorite at home against Arizona. 

Con: Safety dropoff from top options. The difference between the Saints and the Rams, in terms of safety, is a bigger dropoff between the Rams and Vikings. Our projections have the Saints with 74% win odds and the Rams at 83%.

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Con: Do you need them in Week 10? New Orleans will likely have Drew Brees back after their bye in Week 9 and get Atlanta at home. 

New England Patriots (vs. Cleveland Browns) 

Survival Pool Pick Popularity: 1%
Point Spread: -13

Pro: High EV. The Patriots are often going to be a high EV play because so many entries have already used them, and they have such a soft schedule, and this week is no exception. They have a similar safety profile to Minnesota, the Rams, and Steelers but are far less popular (and unavailable for many).

Con: Future Value. If you have made it this far without using the Patriots (unlike most entries), you have to weigh whether this is the best week to use them. They have the highest future value and will be a great closing option in Weeks 15 to 17.

Which Week 8 Pick Is The Best For Your Survivor Pool?

The teams above are the most popular survivor picks in Week 8, 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 characteristics of your pool.

We built our NFL Survivor Picks product to do all of the number-crunching needed to identify the best picks for your pool. You answer a few questions about your pool’s size and rules, and it provides customized pick recommendations for all of your entries 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 with our free trial or to sign up for the season at the link below. 

Good luck in your survivor pools this week!

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