Survivor: Week 3 Strategy & Picks

Survivor: Week 3 Strategy & Picks

This article is part of our Survivor series.

Week 2 went a little more smoothly than Week 1. Five of the top-7 picks won, with the Ohio teams the biggest losers. In my Survivor pool, 54 people were eliminated last week, 44 on the Browns or Bengals. Of the original 410 entries, 177 remain (43.2 percent).

Browns backers have the biggest beef. The Jets became the first team since 2001 to overcome a 13-point deficit in the final two minutes when they beat Cleveland. Teams trailing by 13-plus points in the final two minutes had lost the previous 2,229 games. 

If that's not enough, there's this:

We'll pour one out for you, Browns fans. On to Week 3!

As usual, you are encouraged to read here and here for the methodology behind this Survivor strategy.

Ownership percentages below come from Officefootballpools.com. The Vegas Moneyline is the average of the matchup's two moneylines. Vegas odds are the percentage chance a team has at winning. Expected Loss is a team's percent-taken multiplied by its chance of losing. Home teams in CAPS.

TEAMOPPONENT%TAKENVEGAS MLVEGAS ODDSEXPECTED LOSS
CHARGERSJaguars31.6%29574.68%8.00
ChiefsCOLTS27.3%271.5

Week 2 went a little more smoothly than Week 1. Five of the top-7 picks won, with the Ohio teams the biggest losers. In my Survivor pool, 54 people were eliminated last week, 44 on the Browns or Bengals. Of the original 410 entries, 177 remain (43.2 percent).

Browns backers have the biggest beef. The Jets became the first team since 2001 to overcome a 13-point deficit in the final two minutes when they beat Cleveland. Teams trailing by 13-plus points in the final two minutes had lost the previous 2,229 games. 

If that's not enough, there's this:

We'll pour one out for you, Browns fans. On to Week 3!

As usual, you are encouraged to read here and here for the methodology behind this Survivor strategy.

Ownership percentages below come from Officefootballpools.com. The Vegas Moneyline is the average of the matchup's two moneylines. Vegas odds are the percentage chance a team has at winning. Expected Loss is a team's percent-taken multiplied by its chance of losing. Home teams in CAPS.

TEAMOPPONENT%TAKENVEGAS MLVEGAS ODDSEXPECTED LOSS
CHARGERSJaguars31.6%29574.68%8.00
ChiefsCOLTS27.3%271.573.08%7.35
VIKINGSLions9.3%22569.23%2.86
EaglesCOMMANDERS9.1%251.571.55%2.59
BengalsJETS8.4%20166.78%2.79
BROWNSSteelers3.1%182.564.60%1.10
BillsDOLPHINS2.4%20166.78%0.80
BEARSTexans1.9%132.556.99%0.82
RavensPATRIOTS1.4%149.559.92%0.56
RamsCARDINALS0.9%17263.24%0.33
SEAHAWKSFalcons0.8%11553.49%0.37
GIANTSCowboys0.7%131.556.80%0.30
RaidersTITANS0.5%12755.95%0.22
SaintsPANTHERS0.5%144.559.10%0.20
BUCCANEERSPackers0.4%12054.55%0.18
49ersBRONCOS0.4%11052.38%0.19

The Chargers and Chiefs account for more than half of the picks this week, and there does not appear to be a pot-odds play. At first glance, some seemingly easy favorites jump out, but this is actually a tricky slate. 

Picks below are listed in order of preference (as usual), but they are pretty even — if I end up changing my pick, I'll note it in the comments. The only team among the top picks above I'm definitely out on is the Chargers (see below).

My Picks

Kansas City Chiefs

The Colts are a mess. Michael Pittman could be out again this week, leaving a paper thin receiving corps even if rookie Alec Pierce returns from a concussion. With or without Pittman (and/or Pierce), the Colts likely will lean on Jonathan Taylor a whole lot more than last week (nine carries), if for nothing else than to keep the clock moving and, hopefully, keep Patrick Mahomes off the field. That's fine, but the Indy defense has three sacks and one takeaway (a fumble) this season — if it can't get pressure on Mahomes, he'll go nuts. And then how does the Indy offense keep up? Shaquille Leonard, who missed the first two games, needs to return and dominate for the Colts defense. The only hesitation is the Chiefs are on the road in the Colts' home opener, and Indy is desperate. But maybe the Colts are just that bad.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings didn't look great last week, but the loss came on the road in front of a MNF-fueled Philly crowd. The Vikings are better than they showed. The Lions have shown they can score (3rd in the league with 35.5 points per game) but also that they can't stop anyone from scoring (2nd in points allowed, 32.5). What's  more, after two home games, the Lions have yet to be tested in a hostile environment.

Cincinnati Bengals

Think for a moment how this game would look if Nick Chubb had taken a knee at the 1-yard line last week and the Jets never stormed back to beat the Browns. The Bengals have lost two winnable games, each on field goals with zeroes on the clock, and simply have to win this week. They are by far the more desperate team. Joe Burrow was sacked seven times by the Steelers and six times by the Cowboys. But the Jets don't have a comparable pass rush — just three sacks this season. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington had trouble with two of the league's expected bottom feeders in the Jaguars and Lions. The Eagles look like the class of the NFC East. I'm not keen on staking a Survivor pick on the road team in a division game, but Eagles are clearly the better team.

Notable Omission:

Los Angeles Chargers

This would be the top pick if Justin Herbert wasn't injured. Chargers at home against an inferior opponent that is probably still pretty happy with itself after a shutout victory (against the Colts, of course) last week. But, Herbert has a rib injury. On one hand, he showed last week he can gut it out and still be effective, and he'll, of course, visit Dr. Feelgood before the game. But it's still uncertain if he'll play, and even if he does, what if he gets rocked in the ribs again and can't continue? I don't want to leave my Survivor pick in the hands of Chase Daniel.

For picks against the spread, check out our NFL Week 3 Picks.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Thornbury
Thornbury is a senior editor at RotoWire. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he has also worked in sports television and radio, including co-hosting RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM.
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