Selecting teams without seeing anyone play is always scary, but Week 1 did not produce any major upsets. A few favorites went down, but the chalkiest selections survived. Now it is on to Week 2, and there is one fewer team to work with. Let’s take a look at some of the big teams from last week and dive into who makes sense for NFL survivor pool picks for Week 2. Be sure to check out Awesemo’s new NFL Survivor Optimizer Tool when making your picks as well.
What is an NFL Survivor Pool?
There are several variations of the survivor pool format, but the most basic and common one is each week everyone in the pool must select one team to win a game straight up, not against the spread. If the team wins, that player survives the week; if that team loses, the player is eliminated. The twist is that teams can only be used once, making it increasingly difficult as the season goes on. The pool ends when there is one player left.
Week 2 NFL Schedule
|Giants at Washington (-3)|
|Saints (-3.5) at Panthers||Texans at Browns (-12.5)||Bengals at Bears (-3)|
|Bills (-3) at Dolphins||Rams (-4) at Colts||49ers (-3.5) at Eagles|
|Broncos (-6) at Jaguars||Patriots (-6) at Jets||Vikings at Cardinals (-4.5)|
|Falcons at Buccaneers (-12.5)||Titans at Seahawks (-6)||Cowboys at Chargers (-3)|
|Raiders at Steelers (OTB)||Chiefs (-4) at Ravens|
|Lions at Packers (-10.5)|
Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool Picks Recap
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were the choice for 32% of people in their survivor pools, according to Yahoo. This spread continued to rise before kickoff, and the 49ers closed as 9-point favorites against the Lions. The final score may look like the game was somewhat close, but the Lions trailed throughout before a late rally. It was a relatively smooth selection for Week 1, and fading the Lions will be a popular strategy all year.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were the second-most popular choice, garnering just over 20% of the selections last week. The addition of Matthew Stafford seemed to instantly pay dividends, and the Rams offense looks extremely dangerous. The Bears are a work in progress, and most people are just waiting to see how long Andy Dalton will last. The Bears are not a team to actively target like the Lions are, but the Rams made quick work of Chicago last week.
Only 4% of teams went with the Jaguars, but those who did saw a quick end to their survivor season. The Jaguars showed why they had the No. 1 overall pick last year, as they quickly fell behind the Texans and never got in the game. This pick was mostly a fade of Houston, who, despite the win, are most likely going to struggle all season. Jacksonville has a long way to go and burned a handful of people in Week 1.
Week 2 NFL Survivor Pool Picks
The Browns opened their season with a hard-fought game against the AFC Champion Chiefs in Arrowhead, but Week 2 provides a much easier test. They return home to face the 1-0 Texans, who still are assumed to be among the worst teams in the league. Cleveland is a 12.5-point favorite, and according to Awesemo’s NFL Survivor Optimizer, this will most likely be the largest spread the Browns will have all season. It is hard to imagine the Browns starting 0-2, and coming home after that tough loss is exactly what they need. This will not be a close game, and the Browns will be the most popular choice this week.
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay was a straight no-show against the Saints, and it was as bad as Aaron Rodgers has ever looked. They now go home for a Monday Night Football matchup against the Lions, which has to be a get-right spot. Anything other than a comfortable win at home as a 10.5-point favorite will be cause for concern, and Green Bay has to be considered in survivor pools this week.
The goal in survivor pools is to advance at all costs, but those in large pools also have to plan for the future. There is simply no way to get all the way through by picking only popular selections and staying with the crowd. This week the Browns, Buccaneers and Packers are all massive favorites and are going to take a majority of the ownership in each survivor pool. Rolling the dice elsewhere with a team like Denver could be a massive payoff if any of the bigger favorites go down.
The Broncos opened the season with a dominant win over a struggling Giants team, but it is never bad to start 1-0. Teddy Bridgewater is a reliable quarterback who has a ton of weapons around him, even with the loss of Jerry Jeudy. They draw a road game with the Jaguars, who were on the short list of worst performances of Week 1. Jacksonville looked completely lost against a Texans team that many expect to be the worst in the league. The combination of the rookie head coach and rookie quarterback makes it seem like the Jaguars could again be in the hunt for the No. 1 overall pick in 2022.
Week 2 NFL Survivor Pool Pick: Cleveland Browns
Teams Already Used: San Francisco 49ers (W)
Although it is going to be popular, there is no reason to get away from one of the three double-digit favorites on the board. If there was one massive favorite, there would be merit in pivoting due to extreme ownership, but with three, selections will be more spread out. The Browns are the safest on the board, with a home game against the Texans. Vegas agrees, as the spread sits at -12.5, which is tied for the largest on the slate. There will be times to mix it up to try to thin out the pool, but Week 2 requires a keep-it-simple mentality, and the Browns accomplish that goal.
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