The 2016 football season is upon us, and that means all sorts of options for exercising our skill as football prognosticators. People will take part in fantasy football and pick ‘em contests, but Survivor pools are growing in popularity. For those new to the contest, a Survivor pool involves picking one team each week that you think will win. If your team wins in Week 1, you can make a pick in Week 2. If your team wins in Week 2, you can make a pick in Week 3, and so on. The catch is that you cannot pick a team twice. You could use a heavy favorite in Week 1, but that precludes you from using them later in the season.
There is plenty of strategy in determining which team you will take each week, and SB Nation is here to help. We have experts providing rankings for each week, and then some thoughts on weekly strategy. First up, we have a consensus ranking of all 32 teams, and which is most likely to win this week. That is followed by each writer making a pick, some reasoning for the pick, and then some alternatives to consider.
Editor's update: The Broncos were upset on Thursday Night Football. Ideally you held out for someone else, rather than taking a road team in a divisional matchup.
|2||New England||vs. CIN||5||2||1||1|
|8||Green Bay||vs. DAL||9||9||15||7|
|13||NY Giants||vs. BAL||12||11||19||12|
|15||Kansas City||@ OAK||13||19||11||16|
|19||Los Angeles||@ DET||17||14||26||21|
|24||New Orleans||vs. CAR||21||25||18||23|
|26||NY Jets||@ ARI||25||26||25||29|
|29||San Francisco||@ BUF||29||28||28||28|
Pittsburgh Steelers over Miami Dolphins: New England kept me alive last week and I’ll be going with another top notch offense in Week 6 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I normally don’t like to pick teams on the road, but the Steelers are playing the woeful Dolphins who just reshuffled their offensive line. They should be able to build a lead and put enough pressure on the Dolphins to leave with the win.
Other teams I like this week are the Buffalo Bills at home against the San Francisco 49ers. If the Bills were a bit more consistent I would have selected them, but I fear Kaepernick gets off to a hot start and makes things less predictable. Tennessee also looks like they may have turned a corner on offense. I like their chances to carry the momentum over to a home game versus the Cleveland Browns.
Tennessee Titans over Cleveland Browns: If you're reading this article for Survivor advice, congrats to you for making it to Week 6. Survivor pools are starting to thin out and making good choices is starting to become a bit more complicated, as chalky teams are no longer available to you and other teams are being saved for future value. In some larger pools, it's time to start looking at "riskier" one-off picks that go against the grain and can provide an edge should a heavy favorite fall.
This week, that risky value play is Tennessee. The Titans are not a team you ever want to bank on, but this week they get the lowly Browns, with a marginal quarterback playing hurt. With DeMarco Murray enjoying a bounce-back season and Delainie Walker back from injury, the Titans offense should have enough to keep the Browns winless. And if something crazy happens to prohibitive favorite Pittsburgh against the Dolphins, or if this week's sexy pick Buffalo delivers a clunker and Colin Kaepernick does his best kneeling in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, having used the Titans could be a game-changer going forward.
New England Patriots over Cincinnati Bengals: I have to go with New England in Week 6. Tom Brady looked fresh and dominant in his return in Week 5. The Patriots will be playing at home and Cincinnati hasn't beaten them there since the last millennium. New England has to be thinking ahead towards playoff positioning and home field advantage. The Bengals skill position players are still not a hundred percent healthy and that will cost them. I like Arizona and Buffalo as secondary picks. Arizona faces the New York Jets at home. The Cardinals can get after the quarterback and their secondary will create turnovers. Buffalo is on a roll and faces San Francisco. I like that San Francisco made a change at quarterback but don't think it'll be enough to win on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Miami Dolphins: Since the return of Le'Veon Bell in Week 4, the Steelers have scored 74 points over the last two games while allowing only 14 points per game. The Dolphins lone win came in a game they should have lost to the lowly Cleveland Browns. They also lost to the Titans at home last week after having ten days to prepare. Miami does not have a cornerback on their roster talented enough to guard Antonio Brown nor the team defense to stop the Steelers running game. Give me the Steelers in Week 6.
Alternatives: New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills