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Survivor: Backing the Saints

Chris Liss

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.


Surviving Week 7

I had the Ravens last week, but it didn't matter much since virtually no one was knocked out of any survivor pools.

Let's take a look at this week's slate:

Team Opponent % Picked* Vegas ML** Vegas Odds
COWBOYS Rams 50.10% 600 86%
SAINTS Colts 31.80% 900 90%
Ravens JAGUARS 10.00% 345 78%
Packers VIKINGS 3.10% 400 80%
RAIDERS Chiefs 1.60% 190 66%
Steelers CARDINALS 0.70% 185 65%
LIONS Falcons 0.50% 170 63%

Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines

My Picks

1. New Orleans Saints (my pick)

Coming off a loss to the Bucs, the Saints should be focused at home this week, despite the weak opponent. The Colts have played better of late, getting production out of the running game and improved play from Curtis Painter. It wouldn't be the most shocking thing in the world if they hung around for a while, but New Orleans has too many weapons and is likely to make a big play or two on defense as well. I give the Saints an 87 percent chance to win this game.

2. Green Bay Packers

Going on the road against a division rival is never an easy feat, but the Packers, especially now that their defense has tightened up, are the class of the NFL, and the Vikings have a rookie QB making his first start. I give Green Bay an 80 percent chance to win this game. Given our hypothetical 10-unit, 100-person pool, if you had GB and the Saints lost, there would be 68 people left. That means your share would be 14.7 units. If you had the Saints and GB lost, your share would be 10.3. The ratio of 14.7 to 10.3 is 1.43. But the ratio of the Packers chances of losing (20 percent) to the Saints' (13 percent) is 1.54. So the reward for taking the Packers over the Saints is slightly outweighed by the risk. Thus the Saints are my top pick, and the Packers, my No 2.

3. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens defense might outscore the Jaguars offense all by itself, but this is a road game, and I could see it being ugly and low scoring, and you never want the game to be within one bad bounce of turning around. That said, the Jaguars would have to play almost mistake free to pull off the upset. I give the Ravens a 78 percent chance to win this game.

4. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are up to 50 percent now, and that's what keeps them fourth instead of first or second. They should crush the Rams, especially with Sam Bradford likely to sit, but Dallas is so Jeckyll and Hyde from one quarter to the next, it's hard to know whether you'll get a consistent effort. Moreover, A.J. Feeley has some experience, and the Rams defense could get to Tony Romo a few times, give Dallas' offensive line issues. Still, I give the Cowboys an 86 percent chance to win this game.

5. Oakland Raiders

If for some reason you've used the top four, you're really rolling the dice here. The Raiders might be able to win the game on the ground alone, but if they need to rely on Carson Palmer at all, it's hard to know how in sync he'll be with a brand new set of receivers after spending the last several months on his sofa. Kansas City has also played better of late, taking the Chargers down to the wire and beating the Vikings and Colts. I give the Raiders a 65 percent chance to win this game.

6. Detroit Lions

I went back and forth on whether to take the Raiders or Lions a few times. I think the Lions are overrated, but so are the Falcons, and Atlanta travels very poorly. If Julio Jones doesn't play, bump the Lions above Detroit, as Atlanta will have trouble stretching the field without him. I give the Lions a 64 percent chance to win this game.

7. Tennesee Titans

If you've used up the top four teams and don't like the Raiders or Lions, the Titans are a viable option. They've been better than the Texans so far, and Houston's missing arguably its two best players in Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. I give Tennessee a 62 percent chance to win this game.

Notable Omissions

Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers certainly belong in the discussion with the Raiders, Lions and Titans, but I don't like them on the road against a team coming off a bye that typically plays a lot better at home. Moreover, as bad as the Cardinals have been, some of that is probably due to adjusting to a new quarterback without a full offseason, and you don't want to be left holding the bag if and when Kevin Kolb gets in sync with his new team.