Week 17 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2023)

Week 17 in survivor pools means a team like Jacksonville, despite poor form recently, may be a survivor pick option out of necessity.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been sliding, and need a win over Carolina (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Just two weeks remain in the NFL regular season as we head toward 2024. That means for those still alive, the end is in sight, but with plenty of danger lurking.

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

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Five Most Popular Week 17 Survivor Picks

Here are the most popular teams early on for Week 17 of the 2023 NFL season.

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (20%) vs. Carolina Panthers
  • Philadelphia Eagles (16%) vs. Arizona Cardinals
  • Buffalo Bills (11%) vs. New England Patriots
  • LA Rams (8%) at New York Giants
  • Denver Broncos (7%) vs. LA Chargers

We are down to just two weeks remaining, so the decisions should largely be driven by what you have available and how many picks are left to make.

Philadelphia and Buffalo

The Bills and Eagles are the two biggest favorites of the popular options, as two of the three teams favored by more than eight points this week (San Francisco is the other). If you actually have a choice between the two, Philadelphia is more likely to be usable next week. Buffalo closes against Miami while the Eagles get the Giants again in the season finale. Philadelphia will need to win in Week 18 as long as Dallas beats Detroit this week, in order to win NFC East, and could also still get the No. 1 seed after San Francisco’s loss to Baltimore.

Jacksonville, LA Rams, Denver

These three have similar win odds. Jacksonville is most popular in national data, but that could be highly pool specific as well. None of them project to be particularly useful next week, though Jacksonville (at Tennessee) is most likely to be favored of the three, in Week 18.


Tuesday 12/26

Week 16 Survivor Recap

It was a nervy weekend in survivor, as the top four popular options were involved in one-score games with an average margin of four points, with most decided late.

Here is a full summary of the most popular picks for Week 16, and the results:

PhiladelphiaNY Giants31%W 33-25
DenverNew England27%L 26-23
Green BayCarolina13%W 33-30
BuffaloLA Chargers11%W 24-22
Kansas CityLas Vegas4%L 20-14
ChicagoArizona4%W 27-16
LA RamsNew Orleans2%W 30-22

Buffalo and Green Bay were both on the ropes but won, while Denver was the big loss for the public. In the Circa Survivor contest, for example, six of the remaining 10 entries went out with Denver’s Christmas Eve loss.

We lost the most entries on Kansas City’s poor performance on Christmas Day, where they lost to Las Vegas by allowing two defensive touchdowns, as the Raiders had zero passing yards or completions in the last three quarters of the game.

The public lost about 33% of entries, while our recommendations lost about 37%, thanks to Kansas City and some on Denver.


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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