Read The Athletic’s NFL Survivor Pool picks for Week 11.
Most of the remaining players sailed through Week 9 when the Browns handily defeated the Cardinals and the Saints took care of the Bears. 90% of the people alive have chosen one of the two teams in week 9. Things are getting tougher this week as many of our favorite teams are bye and others we love to use are out early. The Ravens, Bengals, Seahawks, Cowboys and Bills are the only teams with at least a five-point lead this week, and as noted below, most of them are off the table for us.
These were the teams with the highest percentage in Week 9: Baltimore, Buffalo, Kansas City, San Francisco, Miami, Buffalo, Seattle, Los Angeles Chargers and Cleveland. We won’t write off these great teams anymore, but if you save them, the Cowboys, Bills or Seahawks will make strong plays in Week 10.
The rest of the week 10 strategy
Adam Gretz: This was probably the hardest week I’ve ever had. The top teams are mostly used up, and you have three contenders (Kansas City, Miami and Philadelphia) all in bye weeks.
Given the matchup against Arizona, using the pick against Atlanta could be interesting. But I’m hesitant to take that bet because Kyler Murray has the potential to give the Cardinals an NFL-caliber quarterback (as opposed to Clayton Tune’s experience a week ago). You also can’t ignore the fact that we watched Atlanta lose because the quarterback joined the team four days ago with a team that didn’t even know the game.
The Cowboys might be the safest bet of the week with their matchup against the Giants, but they won’t be here to take advantage this week.
It’s time to start rolling the dice. So I’m hoping that I can lean in there and take advantage of some of the worst quarterback situations around the NFL with my picks.
Renee Miller: We’re not seeing as much variation in pool selections because the available teams are smaller and smaller in number. I expect that to be the case this week as well, so knowing who your opponents can exploit is more important than ever. This season, you should be able to predict the behavior of others pretty well, even if some wackos are taking unnecessary risks in your pool!
For example, if there are only a handful of teams left and they all have Dallas, you can imagine them going this way. Game theory would have the Cowboys blitzed by another strong option, which would put you ahead of the Giants if they were able to top Texas.
The strong option this week is the same as always – at home, it is preferable to face a team with a weak defense or a weak offense, which is not a division. And that’s really the key to a game theory game – you can’t dim the clear popularity if all you have left to use is someone like Jacksonville, Detroit or Minnesota. Don’t set yourself up to roll with the game’s most dangerous team to go against the grain.
The 10th week of lime selection
All odds from BetMGM. Select a percentage from SurvivorGrid.
vs. NY Giant
with Green Bay
Adam Gretz: Colts against veterans in Germany
After meeting two of the NFL’s best teams (Kansas City and Miami) a week ago, soccer fans in Germany are about to be treated to a quarterfinal matchup with Gardner Minshew and Mack Jones. Not exactly appealing and probably not the best way to sell the game to a foreign audience. But while this matchup might be underwhelming for new fans, it’s even worse for veteran fans, and I think this is an under-the-radar matchup.
Simply put, the Patriots stink, and it doesn’t do them any good.
They are 31st in points, 26th in points and have scored more than 20 points just once this year.
While the Colts defense isn’t great, I don’t believe Jones or this Patriots wide receiver will do anything serious. The Colts have also quietly put together a good offense. They’ve scored at least 20 points in their first nine games and Minshew played a respectable game filling in for Anthony Richardson. The Colts are a slight favorite in this game, but given the matchup, I’m pretty confident in this pick.
Rene Miller: Texans over Bengals
After a shaky start to the season, the Bengals are hitting their stride. Taking down the Bills and 49ers in a row is an impressive feat. I think CJ Stroud’s big day against the Bucs in week 9 is more impressive. Houston’s defense has improved this season, especially in the secondary, but they just gave up 37 points to the Bucs.
Houston has sputtered with dual-threat running backs this year, so expect a serious Joe Micco size to dominate the game plan. With Jay Marr Chase questionable with a back injury, I’ve noticed the Bengals have plenty of depth at receiver, with Tee Higgins good and tight ends Irv Smith Jr. and Drew Sample needed (especially in the end zone). This week is one of the best matchups for opposing Houston tight ends to play a big role in the game plan.
Overall, the Bengals are a 7.5-point home favorite because they run a balanced offense and effective defense. Give me a superior team that my survivor can tie it all together whenever he chooses. I can’t compare the Texans to the Patriots, unfortunately – Adam picked one of the teams in the league, if not more. Stroud, Tank Dell and Co. They’re a fun team to watch this season, but they’re still overmatched against the Bengals on the road.
Week 10 opposite choices
Adam Gretz: Jets over Raider
If there is a week to choose the planes, this is probably it. I know the Raiders are coming off a great first game win under Antonio Pierce, and I know Josh McDaniel isn’t going to screw things up in games, but this looks like the type of game where the Jets defense will force a couple. The changes will make life hell for a starting quarterback and give a bad Jets offense some short fields.
The Raiders’ only wins this season have come against Denver, Green Bay, New England and the Giants. Combined record of those four teams: 10-24. Other than the Giants game, none of them were very convincing wins.
Even if Aaron Rodgers makes a miraculous return before the end of the season, the Jets have limited value going forward, so this is a good week to consider them from a matchup perspective.
Rene Miller: Bears over Panthers
One consistent thing he’s done this season (even though I’m still cursing Dallas) is against the Cardinals and Panthers. With Kyler Murray almost certainly back this week, that may not be the case for the Cardinals, but the Panthers have been hopeless on both sides of the ball. Giving up the most points in the league but scoring the seventh-fewest points per game is the formula.
The Bears have had their ups and downs, but they have a good shot at getting a few starters back this week, starting with Justin Fields. Fields was running back when a dislocated thumb derailed him in Week 6. If Fields starts, this pick feels good because his ability to scramble with his feet and get big gains is a good matchup against the Panthers team. He also has the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in the league. Fields may not be the most efficient passer either, but he boasts the second-highest touchdown rate (6.8 percent).
Most weeks with the Bears, my concern is their defense, or should I say lack of defense. When you’re playing against a team that often can’t get out of its own way, that’s a very small concern. Look for the Fields and Bears to celebrate the triumphant return of prime-time Thursday Night Football.
(Photo by Jonathan Taylor: Michael Hickey/Getty Images)