Week 10 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2023)

Week 10 means the Bengals are back in survivor pick relevance, the Cowboys get the Giants again as a big favorite, and more.

The Cincinnati Bengals are the most popular Week 10 survivor pick (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

Week 10 in survivor pools means the Bengals are back, after a slow start to the season, as they host Houston. Dallas, meanwhile, gets the imploding Giants, a team they destroyed in Week 1. And we get a first overall pick matchup between the Bears and Panthers that will have survivor relevance in a Thursday Night “thriller.”

In these weekly columns, we explore strategies to maximize your edge in NFL survivor pools, also known as knockout pools or eliminator pools. We also provide some of the rationale behind picks potentially recommended by our product.

We plan to periodically update this post until Sunday of Week 10 arrives. Here’s what’s available now:

Five Most Popular Week 10 Survivor Picks

Here are the most popular teams early on for Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season.

  • Dallas Cowboys (39%) vs. New York Giants
  • Cincinnati Bengals (35%) vs. Houston Texans
  • Buffalo Bills (6%) vs. Denver Broncos (MON)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (4%) vs. Green Bay Packers
  • Chicago Bears (3%) vs. Carolina Panthers (THU)

Let’s go through these options.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are the biggest favorite of the year so far (-16) and are the first team with over 90% market win odds in a game this season. They get a Giants team in disarray, after Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor are both out at QB with injuries.

So from a safety perspective, and a safety drop off, there’s a pretty big one this week, even to otherwise reasonable options.

As a result, Dallas has high Expected Value. That EV will come down as their popularity rises, but it would have to go up quite a bit to close the gap to where another team has a higher EV.

Dallas does have really good future value, and it comes up in each of the next three weeks, so they are very useful soon if you can get through this week without them.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati’s season outlook has changed quite a bit over the last month, after a rough start with Joe Burrow struggling with a calf injury. The Bengals (-7) are just behind Buffalo for the second-highest spread of the week. Another factor they have going for them? They are largely available. But with high popularity, and the other highly popular team having win odds at 90%+, they have a relatively low EV.

The Bengals do have more future value now, with Week 12 (vs. Pittsburgh), Week 14 (vs. Indianapolis) and Week 15 (vs. Minnesota) also showing up as viable survivor spots to consider.

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo has been heavily used so far this year, including being the most popular advancing team in both Week 2 and Week 6. That usage is limiting their popularity now in many pools.

Buffalo has similar (but slightly better) win odds than Cincinnati this week, but at a fraction of the popularity, thus providing a relatively better EV.

Buffalo’s future value has gone down, both with recent form, and also a difficult upcoming schedule. They in consideration this week and next (against the Jets), and after that, probably only late in the year (vs. New England).

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been THAT team so far this year, you know, the one that wins while looking bad for large swaths of a game. They are 5-3 because they are 5-0 in games decided by one score, including getting a late TD against Tennessee and then holding off the Titans in the final seconds.

Those picking them need to hope for similar magic here, as they are a smaller favorite than the other options.

What they do have going for them is the low future value, though not non-existent. They get Arizona and New England at home in upcoming weeks.

Chicago Bears

Now, if you want another team with no future value, it’s the Bears, who play on Thursday Night against Carolina, in a matchup for the true sickos.

Chicago is currently favored by 3.5 points, and it’s a substantial win odds safety drop from picking Dallas or Cincinnati or Buffalo, but they do use up a team that you will probably not be tempted to take later in the year.


Wednesday 11/7

Week 9 Survivor Recap

For the second week in a row, advancement rates were really high in survivor pools. The public was heavily concentrated on Cleveland and New Orleans, and even though the Saints were in a game against Chicago for most of Sunday afternoon, they did pull it out.

Here is a full summary of the most popular picks for Week 9, and the results:

ClevelandArizona53%W 27-0
New OrleansChicago35%W 24-17
PittsburghTennessee2%W 20-16
AtlantaMinnesota2%L 31-28
BaltimoreSeattle2%W 37-3

Atlanta lost a late lead to Minnesota, who had Josh Dobbs at QB after just trading for him, after he started on the bench behind rookie Jaren Hall. They were the only team drawing more than 1% of public picks to lose in Week 9.

For the public, around 96% of all entries advanced out of Week 9. For PoolGenius, about 88% of our pick recommendations advanced, due to the Atlanta loss. By Sunday, Atlanta had fallen down our pick rankings, with Green Bay, Cleveland, and Baltimore rising, but a lot of those recommendations came earlier in the week, before significant line moves in the other games.


About Our Survivor Pool Advice

We break down the pros and cons of various survivor pick options in this column, but none of our advice is ever absolute.

Why can’t we just tell you the “best” survivor pick of the week? Because there is no universal “best pick” for all NFL survivor pools.

The best weekly pick for your pool depends on a variety of factors, including the number of entries still alive and your pool’s rules. For example:

  • Bigger survivor pools reward more risk-taking.
    The more entries in your pool, the lower the chance you have to win it. In addition, you have a fixed number of weeks to send hundreds (or even thousands, in really big pools) of opponents to slaughter while you survive unscathed. As a result, your best strategy for bigger pools generally demands more of a focus on avoiding the most popular picks.
  • Non-standard rules change optimal pick strategy.
    If your pool requires double picks late in the season, or if it’s a strike pool (i.e. your first incorrect pick doesn’t eliminate you), you don’t want to use the exact same pick strategy that you’d use in a standard-rules survivor pool. Those rule variations significantly influence decision factors, such as whether you should be more inclined to save a good team for later vs. use it now.

And then there’s all this stuff:

  • What if you’ve already picked the team (or teams) that some article says is the best pick this week?
  • What if the point spread for that “best pick” has gotten several points worse since the article was published?
  • How should you spread your picks across multiple teams if you’re playing more than one entry?

Technology to the rescue

As far as we know, we’re the only site that has built algorithms that evaluate all of the strategy factors that matter in survivor pools and provide you with customized survivor pick recommendations based on the data updated multiple times a day.

The result? Since 2017, our subscribers have reported over $5.7 million in survivor pool winnings using our data-driven picks and tools.

If you want to see all the picks we recommend for your pool, use our NFL Survivor Picks product.

Why we write this column

At the same time, we know our subscribers like to understand the rationale behind picks the product may recommend, especially when those picks go against the grain. So, over the years, we’ve started to write more about the “whys” behind our approach.

This column can also help educate our readers about survivor pool strategy. We highlight tactics proven to result in more survivor pool wins over the long term and point out common pitfalls to avoid.

We hope you enjoy reading, and we encourage you to check out more of our survivor pool strategy articles.

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