Best survivor pool picks for Week 2 of NFL season
Last week, we hit on three of our four survivor picks, nailing our risk -- the Dolphins over the Browns -- with relative ease. We also correctly called the Lions over the Vikings as a no-sweat pick. The Patriots made us hold our breath to the end, and the Steelers probably had the worst Week 1 out of any team in the league.
In retrospect, the Steelers would have been a great team to avoid based on pool equity, given that they were the fourth-most selected team in Yahoo's survivor game, the largest available source for survivor-pool data. The loss of Maurkice Pouncey to a knee injury completely inhibited their run game, but their widespread popularity, combined with the fact that they weren't nearly as safe as fellow favorites Indianapolis and New England, was reason enough to stay away.
If you survived, welcome to Week 2. Let's get to the picks.
1. Green Bay Packers (vs. Washington Redskins) -- The Packers are one of the biggest favorites on the board, laying 9.5 at home against the Redskins. Despite that, fewer than five percent of survivor players are on them in Yahoo leagues. Green Bay may have lost at San Francisco, but it was still an impressive performance, all things considered. They lost the turnover battle 2-0, and one of those, an Eddie Lacy fumble, gave the Niners the ball at the Packers' 14-yard-line. Still, they were one stop away from beating one of the best teams in the league. Expect Washington to play better this week, but Robert Griffin III simply didn't look right against the Eagles. He couldn't drive the ball down field with any authority, and, as expected, he was largely a non-factor as a runner. Green Bay is the top pick this week.
2. Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee Titans) -- The Texans are nine-point favorites at home after needing a huge second-half comeback to beat the Chargers last week. Meanwhile, the Titans are coming off an impressive showing in which they held the Steelers to 32 yards rushing. So why are the Texans a top choice this week? The money line suggests they have about an 80 percent chance to win this game, yet Yahoo's data says fewer than 10 percent of people are picking them, making them the least popular of the big favorites. Arian Foster, Ben Tate and the Houston offensive line are a bit more than slightly better than the counterparts in Pittsburgh. Back Houston with confidence.
3. Chicago Bears (vs. Minnesota Vikings) -- The Bears pulled out an impressive comeback win over a strong Bengals team, while the Vikings lost to the Lions in a game that wasn't nearly as close as its 34-24 score indicates. The Bears are 6.5-point favorites at home. Also, consider Chicago's strong second-half offensive performance in Week 1, when they opened the playbook up a bit for Jay Cutler, a better reflection of who they truly are. Outside of his 78-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, the Lions held Adrian Peterson in check the rest of the day. Expect the Bears to generally be able to do the same. And with their elite secondary, it will be a long day for Christian Ponder.
Teams to avoid
1. Oakland Raiders (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars) -- The Patriots would have been at the top of this list, but they played last night. Oakland is a trendy pick this week thanks to the way they kept pace with the Colts in Week 1 and Jacksonville's putrid showing against Kansas City. Be careful, though. This is the same Raiders team everyone hated just two weeks ago, and Chad Henne represents a massive upgrade over Blaine Gabbert. Why Gabbert was given another chance after Henne clearly outplayed him last year, I don't know. But you don't want to get too cute here.
2. New Orleans Saints (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers) -- The Saints seem like a safe pick playing in Tampa and laying 3.5 points, but these are the types of picks you want to stay away from early in survivor pools. The Buccaneers likely aren't nearly as bad offensively as they looked against the Jets last week, especially given that the Jets have an above-average defense. This is too great a risk with a minimal payoff, and you'll have plenty of better opportunities to use the Saints later in the season.
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BELLER: Best NFL survivor pool picks for Week 2
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