Week 5 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks
Week 4 was a wild one with two teams on an unplanned bye due to COVID concerns, plus a few scares along the way. As we head into Week 5, it could be dicey once again, but let’s hope for a smooth week so we can bet with confidence.
With the help of TeamRankings' customizable tools and data, I’ll go over the best value picks for Week 5, along with the top suggestions for survivor pools. With this info, you should be able to make smart decisions in order to get back on track or keep you going if you’ve had a strong start to the season thus far.
Editor’s Note: Try TeamRankings with a Week 5 free trial.
Week 4 Recap
My picks went 4-1 on the week, with the Ravens, Rams, Bills and Colts all hitting paydirt. Sadly, Dallas suffered a brutal loss where Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns and over 500 yards, yet the Cowboys defense managed to surrender 49 points to the Browns.
Overall through three weeks, my picks in this column are 13-5, with three of those losses coming the first week.
Pick'em Pool Breakdown
Before I get into the picks, note I’m not suggesting you should make all of the picks listed below. The best Week 5 picks for your NFL pool depend on strategy factors such as your pool’s size, rules and prize structure, plus situational factors like your current place in the standings and number of weeks remaining.
As usual, these picks are sorted according to where they sit on the risk/reward spectrum. I try to provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 5 picks from your pool opponents, by taking on only a modest amount of risk, or no additional risk at all.
New Orleans Saints vs. Chargers
It appears Drew Brees just needed some time to warm up his 41-year-old arm due to lack of preseason—the panic about his decline can subside, at least for now. New Orleans should be back to its usual dominating October form, especially at home. The Chargers are not at full strength and despite the excitement of watching rookie Justin Herbert go to work, it won’t be enough this week.
The public is on the Saints at 95%, so you’ll win or lose with most people in your pool.
Indianapolis Colts @ Browns
For the second straight week and the third time in four weeks, the Colts are my top value favorite. Once again the public is picking Indy at a lower rate than Vegas or TeamRankings, most likely due to Cleveland’s win over the Cowboys in Week 4.
However, based on the season thus far, I see this game going like so: The Colts defense shuts down Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense, in comes place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship to score all the points.
Fun special teams fact: Rodrigo Blankenship has outscored the Colts' opponent in every game Indy has won this year.
Week 2: Rodrigo 14-11 over Vikings (28-11 final)
Week 3: Rodrigo 10-7 over Jets (36-7)
Week 4: Rodrigo 13-11 over Bears (19-11)#Colts #ForTheBrand @RodTheKicker3 pic.twitter.com/NMujYQzTnN
— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 5, 2020
The Colts are listed as two-point favorites with 55% win odds, and only 39% of the public is backing them this week, presenting some nice value to differentiate in pick'em contests.
Buffalo Bills @ Titans
Yes, the Titans have had a week off to rest, but they also haven’t been practicing or preparing to stop Josh Allen in Week 5. Buffalo is currently at 80% odds to win, according to the TeamRankings model, yet only 56% of public pickers are rolling with the white-hot Bills.
I do think Tennessee will be in this contest, but won’t be able to keep up with Buffalo in a shootout.
This pick is definitely not appropriate for all pools. If you’re in a smaller, season-long pool, it’s probably not worth the risk. However, if you’re involved in a single-week contest or your pool has weekly prizes, it could be a contrarian way to go.
Miami Dolphins @ 49ers
Sure, the 49ers boast 75% Vegas odds of winning this one, with 90% of the public on board, but hear me out. San Francisco is banged up, like really banged up. They’ve lost several key defensive players for the season and now Dee Ford is on IR, plus they could also be without three corners for Week 5. On the other side of the ball, their quarterback is still not officially cleared to play, with another question mark at backup, plus Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are still out.
Miami is healthy and possibly holds the title of the most productive bad team in the NFL in 2020. Like I said above, this is definitely not a lock or a pick for the faint of heart, but the Dolphins have just enough talent to pull off an upset here and it could be a difference-maker in a pool.
Survivor Picks for Week 5
Win Odds: Top 5 Week 5 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):
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. Raiders (87%, 13-point favorites)
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Bengals (87%, 13-point favorites)
- New England Patriots vs. Broncos (83%, 11-point favorites)
- Dallas Cowboys vs. Giants (80%, 10-point favorites)
- San Francisco 49ers vs. Dolphins (77%, 8-point favorites)
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 5 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):
- Dallas Cowboys vs. Giants (28%)
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Bengals (16%)
- Arizona Cardinals @ Jets (12%)
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. Raiders (9%)
- New England Patriots vs. Broncos (8%)
The last piece of the survivor pool puzzle is future value. If you fire off a powerful team in Week 5, 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 (8.8)
- Baltimore Ravens (6.9)
- Seattle Seahawks (3.0)
- New England Patriots (2.5)
- Indianapolis Colts (2.4)
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.