Week 16 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2023)

Week 16 brings us some holiday cheer for those still going for wins in survivor pools, but the options thin out pretty quickly.

Jalen Hurts will try to have a festive survivor Christmas (Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

Week 16 gets us just three weeks from the end of the regular season, and brings us the Christmas games.  We’ve got a couple of big favorites in Kansas City and Philadelphia on Christmas Day, but before that, there are a lot of risky options.

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 16 arrives. Here’s what’s available now:

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Five Most Popular Week 16 Survivor Picks

Here are the most popular teams early on for Week 15 of the 2023 NFL season.

  • Philadelphia Eagles (32%) vs. New York Giants
  • Denver Broncos (18%) vs. New England Patriots
  • Green Bay Packers (13%) at Carolina Panthers
  • Kansas City Chiefs (7%) vs. Las Vegas Raiders
  • Buffalo Bills (7%) at LA Chargers

Kansas City and Buffalo

Kansas City and Buffalo are both favored by double digits, and their pick rates are low enough they have really high EV this week. The decision here may come down to what you have next two weeks versus the other options this week. Buffalo plays New England next week and will be a similar top option, and will definitely be playing all out to make the playoffs. Kansas City gets the Herbert-less Chargers in Week 18, but could potentially have clinched the AFC West and be lock into a seed by then, so they are a good option to use.


The Eagles are at similarly high win odds against the Giants, but are far more available and popular, lowering their EV. They are still a preferred choice if they are the best win odds options, but it’s probably best to use one of the other two now if you have them, and save Philadelphia for one of the next two weeks, when they should not be quite as popular (Arizona, at NY Giants).

Denver and Green Bay

These are two popular low future value/high availability options at higher risk. Of the two, Denver is currently the bigger favorite (-6.5 vs. -5) and thus has the better EV.

Tuesday 12/19

Week 15 Survivor Recap

We started the week with four close matchups on Thursday and Saturday, at least by the betting odds. All four favorites won, with the Raiders winning by 63-21, and the Bengals completing a comeback to keep some entries alive. The riskier picks were not as fortunate on Sunday, as Atlanta, Green Bay, and Tennessee all lost.

Here is a full summary of the most popular picks for Week 15, and the results:

LA RamsWashington34%W 28-20
AtlantaCarolina12%L 9-7
Kansas CityNew England9%W 27-17
San FranciscoArizona8%W 45-29
CincinnatiMinnesota7%W 27-24
New OrleansNY Giants6%W 24-6
Green BayTampa Bay4%L 34-20
PhiladelphiaSeattle4%L 20-17
TennesseeHouston3%L 19-16
ClevelandChicago3%W 20-17
MiamiNY Jets2%W 30-0
Las VegasLA Chargers2%W 63-21

The public lost 23% of entries, led by the Atlanta result. For our pick recommendations, 91% survived, with some entries going out on those Atlanta, Green Bay, and Tennessee results.


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.

As a result, you will see Jacksonville’s EV dropping a bit, and might see their grade lower as well.

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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