Week 4 Picks for NFL Survivor Contests

Sep 25, 2019
Week 4 Picks for NFL Survivor Contests

This article was written by TeamRankings

Miami is having a big impact on survivor pools so far, and survivor pool entries are surviving at historically high rates entering Week 4. As it turned out, none of the five most popular picks lost last week, making it 14 of 15 survivals for the five most popular weekly picks through Week 3.

Compared to the public, our NFL Survivor Picks product was high on New England last week, thanks to a unique combination of extremely high safety and relatively low popularity. It also recommended a good chunk of Cowboys picks to subscribers. Through three weeks, our subscriber pick recommendations have survived at an 81% rate, compared to 70% for the public. (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 4 survivor pick analysis.

Week 4 NFL Survivor Pick Analysis

Our free analysis of weekly NFL survivor picks focuses on three factors you always need to consider in order to maximize your edge in survivor pools: win odds (how likely a team is to survive), pick popularity (what percentage of your pool you'd expect to pick a team), and future value (how valuable it is to save a team for use in a future week).

If you're making survivor picks on your own, the data below should serve as the foundation of your decision-making process for your Week 4 picks.

Just remember that varying rules or tiebreakers in survivor pools can have a big impact on your optimal picking strategy. For purposes of this article, we assume a 100-entry "standard rules" pool (one loss and you're out, you can only pick each team once) with no other rule tweaks like allowing strikes or buy-backs, forcing double picks late in the season, etc.

Data referenced below was current as of Wednesday morning and could change between posting time and kickoff time. Our product updates multiple times per day with the latest information.

Win Odds: Top Five Week 4 Picks

When it comes to win odds, higher is obviously better. All else being equal (granted, it pretty much never is), you want to pick the team with the best likelihood of surviving.

Here are the five safest teams for NFL Week 4, according to the betting markets, as measured by their money line odds, which we translate into win odds (in parentheses):

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (89%, 16.5-point favorite) at Miami
  2. Los Angeles Rams (80%, 10-point favorite) vs. Tampa Bay
  3. Baltimore Ravens (74%, 7-point favorite) vs. Cleveland
  4. New England Patriots (74%, 7-point favorite) at Buffalo
  5. Indianapolis Colts (73%, 7-point favorite) vs. Oakland

Win Odds Analysis

The Chargers win this week’s scheduling lottery as the team that gets to face Miami. Even with the game being on the road, the Chargers are still a large favorite compared to the rest of the week’s options.

The Rams come in as the second option, getting Tampa Bay at home. After the Rams, you get a whole host of Week 4 teams with roughly similar chances of victory. Baltimore, New England and Indianapolis lead a group of nine games where the favorite is expected to win between 66% and 74% of the time.

Pick Popularity

If you ignore win odds and future value, it's almost always better to pick a less popular team in a survivor pool. Diversifying your picks from the crowd sets up a scenario where your expected pool winnings can increase significantly if your pick wins and another popular pick loses.

Here are the five most popular survivor picks of Week 4 in 2019:

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (46%) at Miami
  2. Los Angeles Rams (28%) vs. Tampa Bay
  3. Indianapolis Colts (7%) vs. Oakland
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (5%) at Detroit
  5. Baltimore Ravens (3%) vs. Cleveland

Pick Popularity Analysis

The Chargers, for good reason, are a very popular choice that week, although that pick popularity is currently checking in at less than 50%—not quite as high as we've seen in the past for teams in a similar situation, like the Vikings in Week 3 of last year. The Rams are also popular, but once you get past those two, no other team is drawing more than 7% of picks so far.

The Patriots were in the top five in win odds but not in popularity, but there are many other weeks where using the Patriots makes more sense (like last week when they were a near-lock against the Jets). Given New England's huge future value, burning the Pats when they are not a very top option in terms of safety is not a good call.

Future Value

The final element to consider when making a Week 4 survivor pick is future value. If you burn a great team this week, you don’t have that team for the future, and even smaller survivor pools have a realistic chance of lasting deep into the season.

(Of course, the teams with high future value also tend to be the better teams, at least until later in the season when even great teams may not have many juicy matchups left.)

According to our numbers, here are the top five ranked teams in future value entering this week for a 100-entry standard rules pool:

  1. New England Patriots (5.5)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (3.6)
  3. Buffalo Bills (2.4)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (1.9)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (1.7)

(Note: The numbers in parentheses are a proprietary rating of future value that we created, which is also impacted by factors such as pool size. Comparing future value ratings will give you a good idea of the tiers of teams—for example, how the Patriots and Chiefs have much higher future value than even the other top-rated teams below them on the list.)

Future Value Analysis

New England continues to have the highest future value in the NFL, so it’s a matter of picking your best spot with the Patriots if you haven't used them yet. The Chiefs also have great future value, and there will be at least five other weeks where Kansas City is a better option than using them on the road at Detroit this week.

Last week, we highlighted Buffalo as a sneaky future value consideration, and they rise further up the list this week. Needless to say, using them against the Patriots this week is obviously not the best option. However, the Bills still play Miami twice, the Jets at home and Washington at home.

Baltimore re-enters the future value leaders list and looks like one of the best plays in Week 6 against Cincinnati at home. The two popular Los Angeles teams, on the other hand, just miss the list. The Chargers’ next best spot is in Week 16 against Oakland. The Rams are a good option in several future weeks, but there are other potential options just as good or better in all the weeks where they have their best matchups.

Get Our Week 4 Survivor Pick Recommendation

It's easy to just make a broad claim that "Team X is the best survivor pick of Week 4." In reality, it's nowhere near that simple, because the best pick for your survivor pool depends on factors such as its size and rules, which teams you've already picked, and how many entries you're playing.

We built our NFL Survivor Picks product to do all of the number-crunching required to give you the best chance to win your survivor pool. You answer a few questions about your pool, and it provides customized pick recommendations using the latest matchup data, betting market odds and public picking trends from national survivor pool sites. It even generates an optimal survivor pick "portfolio" for you, if you're playing multiple entries in one or more pools.

Since 2017, subscribers to the product have reported nearly $1.5 million in survivor pool winnings, and we invite you to check it out free for NFL Week 4 with our free trial offer.

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