Week 5 Picks for NFL Survivor Contests

Oct 02, 2019
Week 5 Picks for NFL Survivor Contests

This article was written by TeamRankings

We finally had a week with some big survivor defeats. The Los Angeles Rams were the biggest loss of the year so far, taking out 28% of public survivor entries in Week 4. Baltimore and Indianapolis also lost among the teams that were top-five in pick popularity, while Kansas City needed a late drive to avoid defeat. The net result was a week where nearly 50% of all still-surviving entries were wiped out, with those taking the highly popular Chargers getting the last laugh.

Our NFL Survivor Picks product was even higher on the Chargers than the public was (we recommended them to our subscribers on 49% of entries, versus 44% for the public), and also largely avoided the popular Rams (and the Colts). While the strategy of avoiding the Rams and Colts worked like a charm, it came at the expense of our subscriber recommendations also leaning more heavily on the Ravens and Texans than the public, and both those teams also lost. When the dust settled, just over 50% of our Week 4 subscriber picks survived as well.

Overall, our subscriber pick recommendations have made it to Week 5 at about a 42% rate, compared to an estimated 38% for the public. (If you're new to TeamRankings, you can get a free three-day premium trial to check out our survivor picks product.)

Now let's get to the NFL Week 5 survivor pick analysis.

Week 5 NFL Survivor Pick Analysis

Our free analysis of weekly NFL survivor picks focuses on three factors that 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).

Just remember that varying rules and 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 5 Picks

When it comes to win odds, higher is obviously better. All else being equal, you want to pick the team with the best likelihood of surviving.

Here are the five safest teams for NFL Week 5, according to the betting markets, as measured by their money line odds, which we translate into win odds (in parentheses):

  1. New England Patriots (88%, 15-point favorite) at Washington
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (86%, 13-point favorite) vs. New York Jets
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (83%, 11-point favorite) vs. Indianapolis
  4. Los Angeles Chargers (73%, 6.5-point favorite) vs. Denver
  5. Minnesota Vikings (68%, 5.5-point favorite) at New York Giants

Win Odds Analysis

The league doesn’t have Miami to beat up on this week, as the Dolphins are on a bye. However, there are still three matchups where a team is favored by double digits, as the Patriots and Eagles draw winless teams in Washington and New York, respectively, while Kansas City gets to play their second home game of the year on Sunday night against the Colts.

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 5 2019:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (45%) vs. New York Jets
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (24%) vs. Indianapolis
  3. New England Patriots (16%) at Washington
  4. Los Angeles Chargers (3%) vs. Denver
  5. Minnesota Vikings (3%) at New York Giants

Pick Popularity Analysis

Not surprisingly, the Eagles, Chiefs and Patriots make up the vast majority of selections so far heading into Week 5, with 85% of the public selecting one of those three teams. Safety is at a premium in a week where three different teams have win odds of 83% or more.

Of that group, Philadelphia is nearly twice as popular as any other survivor pick this week, and where that popularity ends up can impact just how valuable they are as a play this week.

The Patriots are the least popular of the three most popular picks, while having the highest win odds, which is usually a pretty good formula for being a top survivor pick. However, those considering the Patriots have to weigh the next category: future value.

Future Value

The final element to consider when making a Week 5 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 (plus ties) in future value entering this week for a 100-entry standard rules pool:

  1. New England Patriots (4.4)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (3.1)
  3. Buffalo Bills (2.9)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (1.5)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (1.3)
  6. Philadelphia Eagles (1.3)
  7. San Francisco 49ers (1.3)
  8. Cleveland Browns (1.3)

(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.)

Future Value Analysis

New England continues to have the highest future value in the NFL, so it’s once again a question of when you want to use them. The Patriots get the Giants in Week 6 at home and play the Jets for a second time in Week 7 in New York, though Sam Darnold could be back by then at quarterback for the Jets. After that, New England's schedule does get relatively tougher, so this isn’t a terrible spot to consider New England.

Kansas City could be a great option in Week 13 (Oakland) and Week 15 (Denver), both spots where they may not be hugely popular and be a counter to the entries playing against the Dolphins those weeks.

Philadelphia’s future value is lower than both the Chiefs and Patriots, which explains their popularity among those three options. If you stay away from Philadelphia this week, the next likely survivor spot for them is in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins.

Several other teams also show up on this list because they catch Miami, Arizona, Washington or Cincinnati in future weeks.

Get Our Week 5 Survivor Pick Recommendation

It's easy to just make a broad claim that "Team X is the best survivor pick of Week 5." In reality, it's nowhere near that simple, because the best pick for your survivor pool depends on factors such as its size and rule and which teams you've already picked.

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 5 with our free trial offer.

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