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Survivor: Fade the Cowboys

Chris Liss

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

Surviving Week 9

Last week, all nine teams on the list got through, so unless someone took the Eagles, most pools are just as they were heading into Week 8. Let's take a look at this week's slate:

Team Opponent %Taken Vegas ML** Vegas Odds
COWBOYS Vikings 60.40% 525 84.00
SEAHAWKS Buccaneers 15.50% 1500 93.75
PACKERS Bears 7.00% 525 84.00
PANTHERS Falcons 5.40% 320 76.19
PATRIOTS Steelers 4.60% 270 72.97
Saints JETS 2.90% 240 70.59
Bengals DOLPHINS 1.50% 145 59.18
Home team in CAPS
** Average of the two moneylines

The first thing that jumps out is the huge number of people on the Cowboys. If there are any decent teams available to you, you should fade them given the massive opporunity to gain pool equity should Dallas lose.

Looking at the rest of the slate, the Seahawks are the easy call given their overwhelming favorite status and only 15.5 percent use in your pools. Assuming you've used them, the Packers are a clear No. 2 at 84 percent to win and only seven percent use. And the Panthers are third, easily worth using over Dallas given the relative payouts. If you've used all those teams, is it better to take the Pats or Saints than Cowboys?

The odds that the Saints win and Cowboys lose is 11.4 percent. The odds that the Cowboys win and Saints lose is 24.4 percent. That ratio is 2.14 to 1.

What about the relative payouts? Give our hypothetical 100-person, $10 pool, if the Saints win and Cowboys lose, 60 people are out with Dallas, and another five on other teams, leaving 35 left and turning your $10 stake into $28.57.

If the Cowboys win and Saints lose, three are out with the Saints and another five from other teams, leaving 92 left and turning your $10 stake into $10.87. The ratio of $28.57 to $10.87 = 2.63 to 1. So the Saints (and the Pats whose numbers are similar) both trump the Cowboys - at least according to Vegas.

My Picks

1. Seattle Seahawks

There's no real need to explain why Seattle at home against the Bucs is the top pick. I give the Seahawks a 94-percent chance to win this game.

2. Green Bay Packers

The Bears with Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs would have a better chance, but the Packers are now averaging more yards per play than the Broncos, are at home and facing one of the worst defenses in the league. Moreover, Josh McCown is starting at quarterback. I give the Packers an 86 percent chance to win this game.

3. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have been on a roll, while the Falcons' loss of Julio Jones (and likely Roddy White) have gutten the efficiency of the offense. Last week, Matt Ryan needed 60 passes to reach 300 yards and threw four picks in the process. And the defense is terrible. I give the Panthers an 80 percent chance to win this game.

Notable Omissions:

New Orleans Saints - The math likes them better than the Cowboys, but I think this is a bad spot for them on the road against a team capable of stout defense with their top weapon, Jimmy Graham, at less than 100 percent. I give them a 70 percent chance to win.

New England Patriots - Like the Saints, I'd take them over the Cowboys just for the payout, but I don't like their setup, either with Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola banged up and Tom Brady yet to find his rhythm. The Steelers outplayed the Raiders last week and are at least a league average team with some upside. I give the Patriots a 69 percent chance to win this game.

Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys are far more likely to win than the Pats or Saints, and maybe even the Panthers. But the payout in fading them is so big, it's worth taking a chance on a riskier team. I give the Cowboys an 84-percent chance to win this game.