Week 6 features four teams who are favored by at least a touchdown, and then there’s a big drop in win odds for other potential NFL survivor pool pick options. And, in the surest sign yet of how crazy this season has been, the two most popular choices for this week were not even on the Week 6 schedule a week ago!
We’ve broken down all the NFL schedule shifts and how they might impact survivor pools, and that impact starts this week when the suddenly surging Dolphins get the dysfunctional Jets after the game was moved up from Week 10. The Patriots also had their matchup with Denver moved back a week because of multiple positive coronavirus tests.
Last week, the popular Cowboys lost Dak Prescott for the year and narrowly survived an upset bid with a late field goal, while Kansas City and San Francisco both lost. Can Miami survive as the new kid on the survivor block this week?
As usual, let’s dive in and analyze the five most popular survivor pool picks of NFL Week 5 using the “Holy Trinity” of survivor pick strategy data: Win odds, pick popularity, future value.
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Week 6 NFL Survivor Pool Advice: Tips, strategy for picks
To be clear, we are not saying that the first team listed below, Miami, is the best Week 6 survivor pick for your specific pool(s). We’re telling you that the Dolphins are the most popular Week 6 pick in survivor pools nationwide. We then break down the major pros and cons of potentially picking them and the next more most popular teams.
To get our specific Week 6 survivor pick recommendations, check out our NFL Survivor Picks product. Using the unique My Pool Picks feature, you first tell us some details about your pool(s) and the teams you’ve picked so far, and the product shows you the best Week 6 picks for all of your survivor pool entries.
Note: Data referenced below was current as of Wednesday, and could change between posting time and kickoff time. Our product updates multiple times per day with the latest information.
Miami Dolphins (vs. NY Jets)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 41% (most popular pick)
Point Spread: -10
The transformation is complete. Miami has gone from one of the most frequent teams to pick against in survivor pools to suddenly the most popular pick in Week 6. (That’s also a reflection of how poorly the Jets have been playing in 2020, of course.)
Miami is coming off a blowout win in San Francisco while the Jets lost yet again by double digits to drop to 0-5. Perhaps the single most impressive thing about the Jets season so far is that head coach Adam Gase has lasted longer in his job than two other NFL head coaches, Bill O’Brien of Houston and Dan Quinn of Atlanta.
Miami is part of a group of four teams who have similar safety profiles based on objective win odds. The Dolphins are by far the most popular choice this week because (a) compared to the other options, they have not been used yet by almost anybody, and (b) they currently have little future value after this week unless they end up proving to be a top-tier team this year.
So, a decision on Miami likely comes down to your other options and whether it makes sense to stay with the crowd or play for the upset and a big chunk of your pool taking the loss if the Dolphins lose. With 41-percent Miami pick popularity and other similarly safe teams this week, it deserves careful consideration.
New England Patriots (vs. Denver)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 21%
Point Spread: -10
The New England-Denver game was pushed back from Week 5. Last week, the Patriots were getting about eight percent of early picks in survivor pools, but now they are the second-most popular choice.That spike in pick popularity is likely due to two factors. Week 6 has far fewer survivor pick options with decent safety profiles, and further, QB Cam Newton is more likely to play than he was a week ago.
The Patriots have decent future value and have risen to fifth in our future value estimates. Deciding on New England may depend on which teams you have available in future weeks, as the Patriots are a particularly attractive option in a sparse Week 9 when they play the Jets.
Indianapolis Colts (vs. Cincinnati)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 13%
Point Spread: -8
Getting Cincinnati at home, Indianapolis is currently a slightly riskier pick than New England or Miami, but the Colts have much lower pick popularity. The Colts also have less future value than the Patriots, and after this week, we do not project Indy to have win odds above 60 percent until Week 15.
Of course, the reason why Indianapolis is being used less frequently is because of availability. The Colts were the most popular survivor pick in Week 3 when they played the Jets, in a week where a good chunk of survivor entries were eliminated. So, a majority of still-alive entries have already used Indianapolis.
Baltimore Ravens (at Philadelphia)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 8%
Point Spread: -8
As is often the case with Baltimore this year, deciding when to use them is a matter of choosing their present value over their future value. With similar win odds to the other three options above them in popularity this week, the Ravens have good expected value. That means they can serve as a decent contrarian option to Miami at no greater risk.
The optimal decision on Baltimore, as a result, may come down to how many entries are left in your pool and how deep you expect to have to go to win it. Baltimore faces the toughest part of their schedule over the next six weeks and may be attractive to use in smaller pools now if your pool is not likely to last past Week 12.
In larger pools, Baltimore has a lot of future value in later weeks when we project it with 85-plus-percent win odds in several weeks starting at Week 13.
Minnesota Vikings (vs. Atlanta)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 4%
Point Spread: -3.5
After the top four safest options, there is a sizable (10 percent or more) drop-off in win odds according to the betting market. So, if you are considering a longer-shot type team this week, you want to try to find one with very low pick popularity and no future value. Minnesota mostly fits the bill when it hosts Atlanta.
The 1-4 Vikings do have modest future value. Their highest remaining win odds projection comes in Week 13 against Jacksonville at home, but that’s also a week in which we project six other teams with a similar or higher chance of winning, so there should be options.
For Minnesota, it just comes down to whether a big step up in risk is worth the potential reward this week.
Get our Week 6 survivor pick for your pool!
Every possible NFL Week 6 survivor pick has an expected value and future value associated with it, and those values can vary significantly based on the characteristics of your survivor pool.
It takes a lot of data and math to figure out which pick (or combination of picks, if you’re playing multiple entries) gives the biggest boost to your expected survivor pool winnings. That’s exactly why we spent years building our NFL Survivor Picks product.
We invite you to try it out, and good luck in your survivor pools this week!
If you want to dig deeper into some specific topics, you can also check out our full survivor pool strategy guide, where you can learn about things like expected value, future value, different survivor pool rules variations, and how to play multiple entries.