Week 1 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks

Sep 09, 2020
Week 1 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks

After what feels like the longest offseason in the history of offseasons, we are finally within hours of NFL football. Pick'em and Survivor pools are an integral part of the fantasy football landscape and this weekly article will give you the info and resources to dominate any pool, whether it’s your office fun-pool or a massive entry high-stakes contest.

With the help of TeamRankings customizable tools and data, I’ll go over the best value picks for Week 1, along with the top suggestions for Survivor pools. Try TeamRankings with a free trial for Week 1.

Value Picks for Week 1 Pick'em Pools

Using a combination of Vegas odds and data from TeamRankings—which provides objective contest predictions along with pick popularity data and trends—we’ve identified the best value picks of the week. Their product customizes recommended weekly picks for you based on all those factors.

Reasonably Priced Favorite

Most favorites are overrated by the public, but things seem more fairly valued this week. You should maybe reconsider before picking against it, not because we think they’re a total lock to win, but because there are better opportunities for upsets elsewhere.

Indianapolis Colts @ Jaguars

On the surface, these two teams appear to be evenly matched based on last year’s output, but they are heading in opposite directions in 2020. The Colts upgraded at quarterback by signing long-time Charger Philip Rivers, while the Jaguars have had a fire sale of talent this offseason and currently boast the lowest predicted over/under total in the league at just 4.5 wins.

Indianapolis is a favorite (7.5 points) in this contest with the second-highest Week 1 win odds (77%) of any team, according to TeamRankings projections. So far, 78% of public pick'em entries are siding with the Colts, meaning 22% of pickers are going with what is considered an upset.

Value Favorites

The season opener offers a few favorites the public is picking at a lower rate than their chance to win. These are popular because you can select the expected winner, yet still be somewhat contrarian at the same time.

Detroit Lions vs. Bears

The Lions had a rough 2019, ending the season with a dismal 3-12-1 record. Matthew Stafford’s back injury was a huge factor in their poor play, but he’s now healthy and loaded with pass-catching weapons. Despite being favored by three points in this tilt, only 63.6% of the public is taking the Lions.

Throw in a mediocre quarterback battle in Chicago, along with a banged-up backfield, and it looks pretty smart to take Detroit while nearly half the contest goes the other way.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Panthers

This one may not be for the faint of heart, but it still is a value pick. The Raiders are 3-point road favorites over Carolina’s new-look offense with a team implied total of 25.25 points. The TeamRankings model gives the Raiders a 59% chance of winning this contest, while the public is only 54.9% on board.

Las Vegas loaded up on offensive power this offseason and could surprise bettors right out of the gate this season.


This pick may not be right for all pools, but if you’re in a single-week pool or going after weekly prizes in a season-long contest this could be for you.

Denver Broncos vs. Titans

The Broncos were not great in 2019, and have a quarterback who’s only played in five career NFL games. Tennessee is coming off a great season led by revived signal-caller Ryan Tannehill, and not surprisingly, they are projected to win this game by 2.5 points.

Denver added a slew of talented offensive pieces both via free agency and the NFL Draft. They will also be playing 5,280 feet above sea level, where they are the most comfortable.

TeamRankings gives the Broncos a 42% chance to upset Tennessee, while the public is close to 37% on that victory. While it’s a tough ask, it can certainly happen and you’d come out ahead of nearly 60% of your pool-mates.

Survivor Picks for Week 1

Win Odds: Top 5 Week 1 Picks

Stating the obvious here, but higher is better when it comes to win odds. Everything else being equal, you want to pick the team with the best likelihood of making it through.

Here are the five safest teams this week, according to the TeamRankings Data Grid model (chances to win in parentheses):

Pick Popularity

Diversifying your survivor picks from the crowd is an advantageous strategy, as the pool winnings can increase significantly if your pick hits and another popular pick loses.

Here are the five most popular survivor picks for Week 1 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):

Future Value

The last piece of the survivor pool puzzle is future value. If you fire off a powerful team in Week 1, you won’t be able to use them later.

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

  • Kansas City Chiefs (7.6)
  • Baltimore (6.7)
  • New Orleans (4.7)
  • Dallas (4.0)
  • San Francisco (3.8)

Note: The numbers in parentheses are a proprietary rating of future value found in the TeamRankings Data Grid, which is also impacted by factors such as pool size.

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