Week 7 Survivor Pick Strategy & Advice (2023)

The Seattle Seahawks are going to be a really popular survivor pick for Week 7 of the 2023 NFL season, as options are limited.

Seattle Seahawks and DK Metcalf will try to shove Arizona around (Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)

We have a really popular team (Seattle) in Week 7, thanks to a combination of heavy usage of the other options, and very limited options among teams favored by more than a few points.

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 7 arrives, and we will also be posting video updates throughout the week as well, so check our articles section for those. Here’s what’s available now:


Five Most Popular Week 7 Survivor Picks

Here are the most popular teams early on for Week 7 of the 2023 NFL season:

  • Seattle Seahawks (54%) vs. Arizona Cardinals
  • Buffalo Bills (16%) at New England Patriots
  • Los Angeles Rams (6%) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
  • San Francisco 49ers (5%) at Minnesota Vikings
  • Cleveland Browns (4%) at Indianapolis Colts

Let’s quickly go through these options.

Seattle Seahawks

In a week where the options are limited, Seattle is Mr. Right Now. They have very little future value after this week, they are almost entirely available, and the three other teams favored by more than a field goal this week have been heavily used.

The extremely high popularity, though, for a team favored by only 8 points makes for a pretty low EV. You advance with more than half of a pool, and there’s a decent-sized chance at an upset.

So the decision on Seattle comes down to saving future value and minimizing your own risk as much by doing so, or playing against a really popular team.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are, right now, the biggest favorite of the week, narrowly, over Seattle. But at 16% pick rate, less than a third of the Seattle pick rate, that makes for high EV.

Of course, Buffalo has high future value, and will be in consideration in a lot of future weeks. You save teams, though, to use them in high value spots, and the value drop here is pretty big in a lot of cases.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are only favored by a field goal over Pittsburgh. They also have low future value, and a higher EV than Seattle because of the extreme popularity differences. Of course, the chances for elimination are also higher. So whether that risk/reward is worth it compared to taking the bigger favorite could depend on pool size.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers travel to Minnesota for Monday Night Football. There are still plenty of injury uncertainty questions to be answered (Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams) that could shift the odds a bit.

As of right now, at the current market odds, San Francisco would have an extremely high EV because of how popular Seattle is, and because San Francisco’s odds are close to Seattle’s. San Francisco does have really high future value, but this is an interesting spot to consider using them in a tough week.

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland is only favored by two points and actually has a fair amount of future value, projecting as one of the top options in Week 9 and Week 15. One thing that isn’t lacking this week, if you want to pick someone besides Seattle: teams favored by a field goal or less. And most of them have less future value and lower popularity than the Browns.

 


Tuesday 10/17

Week 6 Survivor Recap

The two undefeated teams, San Francisco and Philadelphia, both fell in road upsets, going against quarterbacks who were backups when the season began. The most popular pick, Buffalo, though, survived a close call that could have provided another big upset.

Here is a full summary of the most popular picks for Week 6, and the results:

TeamOpponentPopularityResult
BuffaloNY Giants29%W 14-9
MiamiCarolina25%W 42-21
LA RamsArizona17%W 26-9
Kansas CityDenver13%W 19-8
PhiladelphiaNY Jets8%L 20-14
San FranciscoCleveland3%L 19-17
JacksonvilleIndianapolis2%W 37-20

Our recommendations mirrored the most popular public picks, all of whom advanced, though Buffalo was recommended at a lower rate than the public. We had a very small number of recommendations (0.3%) on the Eagles, but the public was heavier on Philadelphia. We were also just under the public rate on San Francisco.

As a result, about 97% of PoolGenius recommendations advanced, while the public came in at about 88% mainly due to the Philadelphia loss.


Tuesday 10/17

Subscriber Testimonial (and Balancing Improvement)

Subscriber “Steven B.,” who has been a long-time subscriber and always has good questions in our forum, dropped this note last week, and we thought we would share. His comments in italics, a few brief notes at the end.

1. I’ve been a paying member (years ago this was free…) since you started charging for your services. I’ve won enough to pay for your services for the rest of my life, and probably my descendants’ lives. I think a lot of newer members are finding you now, due to your increased presence on all of the pool sites, and that’s good for you. However, I think their expectations need to be continually adjusted a little.

For instance, I know that when we set up a pool, after we confirm all of the info, you pop up a page that mentions what the expectations should be, and that’s good. I think it should be restated, and I’ll do so here…

Fellow Pool Genius customers, if we enter one entry in a pool with 1000 entries, we should expect to win that pool about once every 1000 years, all things being even. If we enter 10 entries in that pool, we should expect to win about every 100 years. If we consider “winning” to be getting to the final 10, and chopping the pot, then we could expect to “win” about once every 10 years. So, even with all that, we’re not gonna win every year.

And, it’s gonna be ugly the years that we don’t win, because we’re not going with the biggest favorites each week. We’re using more advanced tactics, like saving future value, and creating diversified portfolios. When all the big favorites win, as they have been this year, the public does better. It just takes one of those big favorites to lose, which happens every once in a while, and our chances take a HUGE jump. When one of the less popular favorites that we are choosing lose, it doesn’t really help the general public that much, because only a few of us go out. So they still have their work cut out for them. It’s actually harder for them to win, even though they are picking the bigger favorites. Just wanted to get that in writing here, as others have before me. And, maybe put it in a little different words, so it reaches a broader audience. It warrants repeating…

2. That said, I’m hoping that you Pool Geniuses (not customers) can stick to the basics of the system that you’ve created. I understand that it’s a work in progress, and constant tweaks and re-thinking is going on. But, please resist the urge to go a little more mainstream, to appease the new customers, and look better in the short term. I understand that in seasons like this Pool Genius doesn’t look so good. We’ve had a ridiculous number of big favorites win, and a ridiculous number of our contrarian, high EV, low popularity picks lose (excruciatingly). But, please don’t change to try to look better in these tough times. You are doing something that’s not really available anywhere else, and I just wanted to give you a pat on the back, and tell you to keep it up, and the hits will start to fall in…
Thanks for years of success…

Thanks, Steven. This is a good reminder also, that our subscriber base is not a monolith, it’s full of different perspectives and individuals. Some are new; others have been with us for a long time. In the Sunday chats, we have heard both from those who question if we are being too risky or contrarian with specific picks, and others questioning if we are being contrarian enough. Some of you just want to be told who to pick and take all the pressure off yourselves for the decision-making; others want to use our tools but also make determinations and changes to their entries.

This has been a rough contrarian stretch that we haven’t seen in recent years. Prior to the Week 6 results, we had 12 total teams that we were recommending to at least 15% of entries in a given week, and at a higher rate than the public was taking them. Those teams went 6-6 overall, those with win odds under 80% went 3-6. The most common recommendation in the first five weeks went 1-4. Even acknowledging that we were often rejecting the most popular, higher win odds team to take a little more risk, that was a bad run that is atypical when you are taking teams with 70% win odds.

We will always look at our process on the edges, but we do want to assure long-time customers that we are not going to change the overall strategy outlook. We might explore if we are handling our estimates correctly, if we can improve our future value measures, but we aren’t going to start recommending teams in line with public thinking.

We do want to think about meeting our subscribers where they are, whether new or long-time subscribers, and whether there are ways to do that without compromising the overall advice and app

 


FYI

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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