Survivor: Week 4 Strategy & Picks

Survivor: Week 4 Strategy & Picks

This article is part of our Survivor series.

At the rate we're going, Survivor contests might be over by midseason. Week 3 was another knockout week with the top-two picks — Chargers, Chiefs — both losing. In my pool, nearly half of the remaining entries were eliminated (85 of 177, 48 percent). Of the 410 original entries, just 92 are alive (22.4 percent).

As for yours truly, I bowed out on the Chiefs. It's, of course, disappointing to lose, but to lose when I had misgivings about the pick feels like a self-inflicted wound. I noted last week that I reserved the right to change my pick, but I never did. It's also annoying to lose in such a goofy way — the Chiefs missed a PAT and a field goal (but that's the risk in taking a team with a backup kicker) and Chris Jones' penalty after a third-down sack that extended the Colts' final drive was for ... abusive language. Bad language is a penalty? In such a crucial situation? Think of the absolute worst, most vile things Jones could have said, things that would make Satan himself reach for a bar of soap — no way you throw a flag there. 

Hopefully, you didn't make the mistake I did and survived (I guess you did, or else why would you be reading?). On to Week 4. 

As usual, you are encouraged to read here and here for the methodology behind this Survivor strategy.

Ownership percentages below come from Officefootballpools.com. The Vegas Moneyline is

At the rate we're going, Survivor contests might be over by midseason. Week 3 was another knockout week with the top-two picks — Chargers, Chiefs — both losing. In my pool, nearly half of the remaining entries were eliminated (85 of 177, 48 percent). Of the 410 original entries, just 92 are alive (22.4 percent).

As for yours truly, I bowed out on the Chiefs. It's, of course, disappointing to lose, but to lose when I had misgivings about the pick feels like a self-inflicted wound. I noted last week that I reserved the right to change my pick, but I never did. It's also annoying to lose in such a goofy way — the Chiefs missed a PAT and a field goal (but that's the risk in taking a team with a backup kicker) and Chris Jones' penalty after a third-down sack that extended the Colts' final drive was for ... abusive language. Bad language is a penalty? In such a crucial situation? Think of the absolute worst, most vile things Jones could have said, things that would make Satan himself reach for a bar of soap — no way you throw a flag there. 

Hopefully, you didn't make the mistake I did and survived (I guess you did, or else why would you be reading?). On to Week 4. 

As usual, you are encouraged to read here and here for the methodology behind this Survivor strategy.

Ownership percentages below come from Officefootballpools.com. The Vegas Moneyline is the average of the matchup's two moneylines. Vegas odds are the percentage chance a team has at winning. Expected Loss is a team's percent-taken multiplied by its chance of losing. Home teams in CAPS.

TEAMOPPONENT%TAKENVEGAS MLVEGAS ODDSEXPECTED LOSS
PACKERSPatriots54.50%437.581.40%10.14
EAGLESJaguars11.70%26272.38%3.23
LIONSSeahawks11.00%20166.78%3.65
ChargersTEXANS6.70%20166.78%2.23
COWBOYSCommanders3.40%153.560.55%1.34
STEELERSJets3.40%16662.41%1.28
BENGALSDolphins2.20%182.564.60%0.78
GIANTSBears1.70%16061.54%0.65
RAIDERSBroncos0.90%12755.95%0.40
VikingsSaints**0.70%12755.95%0.31
COLTSTitans0.60%16061.54%0.23
BillsRAVENS0.60%16061.54%0.23
CardinalsPANTHERS0.50%11553.49%0.23
BrownsFALCONS0.40%11553.49%0.19
ChiefsBUCCANEERS0.30%116.553.81%0.14
Rams49ERS0.20%121.554.85%0.09

**At London

This week, we have our first worthy pot-odds play of the season. The Packers are the overwhelming favorite with nearly 55 percent of the picks. The Eagles and Lions both have about 11 percent of the vote. So, let's compare the risk ratio and reward ratios of picking, say, the Eagles instead of the Packers.

A Packers win/Eagles loss is .81 (Packers' Vegas Odds of winning, rounded) multiplied by .28 (Eagles' Vegas Odds of losing, rounded), which is 22.7 percent. An Eagles win/Packers loss is .72*.19 = 13.7 percent.

That means the risk ratio is 22.7/13.7 = 1.65.

For the reward ratio, we'll again use a hypothetical $10 buy-in, 100-person pool. If the Packers win/Eagles lose, 11 people are out on the Eagles plus another 12 non-Eagles owners projected to lose, for 23 total losers. 100-23 = 77 remaining owners, $1,000/77 = $12.98.

If the Eagles win/Packers lose, it's 55 out on the Packers, plus 12 more, for 67 total. 100-67 = 33, $1,000/33 = $30.30. The ratio of $30.30/$12.98 is 2.33.

So, the risk ratio of picking the Eagles is 1.65, but the reward is 2.33. According to this method, the Eagles are the pick.

My Picks

Philadelphia Eagles

On the one hand, the Eagles haven't played a tough schedule. On the other hand, they've pretty much dominated every opponent (they led by 17 before the Lions made it close). The Jaguars went into Los Angeles and whacked the Chargers, but that was against an injured Justin Herbert and no Keenan Allen. The Eagles will prove a tougher test in Doug Pederson's return to Philadelphia.

Dallas Cowboys

Carson Wentz won't stop taking sacks. If he continues to hold the ball too long, Micah Parsons,  DeMarcus Lawrence and Dorance Armstrong could have two sacks each. Meanwhile, Cooper Rush, who does a good job managing a game and protecting the ball, faces a Washington defense that is last in the league in takeaways with one.

Detroit Lions

I'm not as sure of the Lions as the oddsmakers are, but they should run over an incredibly weak Seahawks defense. And then how does the Seattle offense keep up?

Cincinnati Bengals

The Dolphins are undefeated but advanced metrics say they are overrated. Tua Tagovailoa might be out and Jaylen Waddle has a groin injury — short rest for a Thursday game does them no favors. The Bengals are at home and are the more desperate team at 1-2.

Green Bay Packers

If you want to merely survive, then pick the Packers. The Packers are tough at home, the GB defense has allowed two touchdowns in the last 10 quarters and the Patriots likely will be without Mac Jones. If you want to win your pool, fade the Packers and hope their lack of big-play ability bites them.

Minnesota Vikings

The Saints needed an incredible comeback to beat the Falcons in Week 1 and haven't looked good since. Jameis Winston is playing with a back injury and is throwing picks again. The game is in London, which adds a wrinkle, but the Vikings are the better team.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have 10 days to get ready for a visiting Jets team that is not good and deserves to be 0-3.

Notable Omission:

Los Angeles Chargers

For the second week in a row, we're avoiding the Chargers. LAC is beat up, Herbert's still not healthy and they're on the road. Granted, at Houston doesn't inspire a lot of fear, but the Texans are better on defense than expected. This is not a basket into which I want to put my eggs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Thornbury
Thornbury is a senior editor at RotoWire. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he has also worked in sports television and radio, including co-hosting RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM.
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