Last week gave us a wildly popular favorite, the Colts, plus a wide variety of opinions on what team to use as your NFL survivor pool pick if you wanted to go another direction. In addition to some Colts picks, we recommended the Browns and Patriots heavily to our TeamRankings premium subscribers. Meanwhile, the public loaded up on the Cardinals and Chargers, meaning more of our subscribers made it to Week 4 than those in the general public.
How many more? The public’s elimination rate in Week 3 was about 28 percent compared to just 11 percent for our subscriber picks. For the season, about 42 percent of public entries have survived to Week 4 compared to a 52-percent survival rate for TR subscriber picks — a nice plus-25-percent difference in survival rate so far.
MORE TEAMRANKINGS: Pick ’em pool advice
This week presents a somewhat similar scenario with one popular favorite, the Rams, drawing a huge percentage of the public’s survivor picks. As usual, in this post we will analyze the five most popular survivor pool picks of Week 4 using the “Holy Trinity” of survivor pick strategy data: Win odds, pick popularity, future value.
This analysis is brought to you by TeamRankings, the only site that provides customized picks that maximize your edge in football pools. Check out their NFL Survivor Pool Picks, Football Pick ’em Picks, and NFL Betting Picks.
Week 4 NFL Survivor Pool Advice: Tips, strategy for picks
The pick analysis below should cover at least some of the picks that you are most likely considering making in your NFL survivor or knockout pool this week.
Just to be clear, though, we are not saying that the first team listed, the Rams, is the best Week 4 survivor pick for your specific pool(s). We’re telling you that the Rams are the most popular Week 4 pick in survivor pools nationwide. From there, we break down the major pros and cons of potentially picking them.
To get our specific Week 4 survivor pick recommendations, check out our NFL Survivor Picks product. Using the 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 4 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.
Los Angeles Rams (vs. NY Giants)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 52% (most popular pick)
Point Spread: -13
In the first clear spot to use the Rams in 2020, the public is going in on Los Angeles in a heavy way. The Rams have 52-percent pick popularity so far and are tied with the Ravens for the largest point spread of the week (and the season so far).
Those going with the Rams instead of Baltimore are likely seeking to preserve Baltimore’s much greater future value while still staying with a team that is much safer than all other options this week.
The Rams, though, have seen their future value increase in recent weeks — not only through their own good play but also because of some future opponents’ poor play. They now look like a viable value option (especially with so many players picking them this week) in Week 5 when they travel to Washington. For those in bigger pools where later weeks likely will matter, the Rams also draws the Jets at home in Week 15.
The choice with the Rams comes down to this: Do you want to follow the crowd, opting for immediate term safety while still saving Baltimore for later? Or do you want to go elsewhere in the event that the Rams get upset and knock out around half of your pool (assuming your pool reflects national survivor picking trends)?
Baltimore Ravens (at Washington)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 21%
Point Spread: -13
Baltimore has the highest expected value this week based on their high win odds combined with only moderate popularity for a team favored by a whopping 13 points.
That high expected value, though, will be the case with the Ravens in several weeks going forward this season. About 20 percent of the surviving public has already used Baltimore as a survivor pick in a past week, and after this week, provided the Ravens win and depending on other eliminations, that number could be close to or exceed 50 percent.
What that means is that Baltimore’s future value should only continue to climb after Week 4, as fewer and fewer of your opponents’ entries will be able to use them. There are five other weeks where we currently project the Ravens with win odds of 80 percent or higher, including next week.
On balance, Baltimore looks like a reasonable choice this week, but whether they are the best choice depends on your specific situation, rules, and number of other remaining entries.
Seattle Seahawks (at Miami)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 9%
Point Spread: -6.5
Seattle, traveling to Miami, is part of the next tier of safety behind Baltimore and the Rams this week — though it must be noted that dropping from a 13-point favorite to a 6.5-point favorite gives them 13-14 percent lower win odds, which is a big difference.
The Seahawks have more future value than most of the non-Rams/non-Ravens choices, though, and that future value also depends on how large your pool is and how deep into the season you expect it to go.
Seattle’s Week 5 home matchup against the 0-3 Vikings suddenly looks like a much better option than anticipated before the season. Then toward the end of the season, in Weeks 13-15, Seattle gets the Giants, Jets, and Washington in three straight weeks. Those matchups look even better than they did when the season began, as the two New York teams have been among the worst in the NFL so far.
So, the choice on Seattle comes down in large part to whether their potential contrarian value later in the schedule could be a big plus in your pool.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. LA Chargers)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 5%
Point Spread: -7
Tampa Bay returns home to face the Chargers, and the Bucs’ defense has turned in a couple of top performances in recent weeks. The Bucs also are in the same safety tier as Seattle behind the two most popular choices.
Tampa Bay does come at a relative popularity discount to Seattle, as it’s being picked only about half as often. The Bucs also have a little lower future value. Currently, Tampa Bay does not project as a clear top value survivor pick in any future week, although it does have several future weeks where it should be the betting favorite.
Take note that the Bucs’ best remaining matchup in terms of projected win odds is on the road in Week 8 when they play at the Giants. That’s a fairly important week, especially if you have already used Kansas City, who play the Jets in Week 8 and could be favored by over 20 points.
Dallas Cowboys (vs. Cleveland)
Survivor Pick Popularity: 3%
Point Spread: -4
We are going to just give it to you straight on this one: Dallas is not a great survivor option in Week 4. While three percent isn’t a high popularity figure for one of the five most popular picks of the week, it’s still too high relative to their win odds, especially given the dynamics of Week 4.
The two most popular choices this week are favored by 13 points, and dropping down to Dallas (favored by just four points) is a very big risk to take when the average expected survival rate for Week 4, based on public picking trends and team win odds, is over 80 percent.
If you want to play contrarian and avoid the two most popular teams or if you want to round out a portfolio of survivor picks with some contrarian choices after putting some entries on the Rams and/or Ravens, there are other options that make more sense from a relative safety and/or popularity perspective.
Get our Week 4 survivor pick for your pool!
Every possible NFL Week 4 survivor pick has an expected value and future value associated with it, and those values can vary significantly based on the characteristics of your 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, which is 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.