Best survivor pool picks for Week 6 of the NFL season

Friday October 11th, 2013

Even with Colin Kaepernick still trying to find his groove, the 49ers should easily handle the Cardinals.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Congratulations are in order for those of you who stayed away from the Falcons last week, as the odds of you winning your survivor pool no doubt increased by a significant share. We're getting deeper into the season, and that means there's a good chance you'll have already used the team that is the best pick on the board. You may have even used the top two or three. We'll provide more options in this space now as we head into the middle-third of the season. Luckily for us, there are a ton of good plays on the board this week.

1. Denver Broncos (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars) -- If you still have the Broncos, you can go with them this week and all but lock yourself into Week 7. Denver is favored by 26 points at press time, and with good reason. The Broncos scored as many points last week, 51, as the Jaguars have all season. In fact, this game opened with Denver as 28-point favorites, making this the most lopsided matchup in NFL history. The Jaguars could engineer a backdoor cover during garbage time, but that doesn't mean a whole lot to us for survivor purposes. If you want a worry-free Sunday, the Broncos are your pick.

2. San Francisco 49ers (vs. Arizona Cardinals) -- Fresh off its drubbing of Houston, San Francisco welcomes division foe Arizona to town. The Niners are laying 11 points in this game, and while the Cardinals have an underrated defense led by Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and a strong secondary, the 49ers defense will be the difference in this game.

After throwing for 327 yards and two touchdowns Week 1, Carson Palmer has completed just 57.1 percent of his passes for 858 yards, three touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Now he faces a 49ers team that ranks eighth in pass rush and sixth in pass coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. The Cardinals have begun siphoning carries away from the plodding Rashard Mendenhall and giving them to Andre Ellington, but that won't make much of a difference this week. Even with Colin Kaepernick and the offense still trying to find its way a bit, the Niners should cruise at home.

3. Seattle Seahawks (vs. Tennessee Titans) -- We all know about the great home field advantage the Seahawks have at the beautifully-named CenturyLink Field. They're undefeated in Seattle during the Russell Wilson era, a span of 10 games that includes two wins over the 49ers. While that should give us confidence in the Seahawks, who are favored by 13.5 points this week, it is but a mitigating factor. The biggest mismatch in this game will be Seattle's rushing attack versus the Tennessee run defense. The Titans are allowing 4.3 yards per carry -- 24th in the league -- and that includes a Week 1 performance in which they limited the Steelers to 31 yards on 15 carries. Since then they allowed a combined 172 yards to Arian Foster and Ben Tate, 66 yards on just 14 carries to Bilal Powell and 108 yards to Jamaal Charles. That does not bode well for their prospects against Marshawn Lynch and Wilson. And oh yeah, Ryan Fitzpatrick is still starting. Seattle wins in a rout.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Oakland Raiders) -- The Chiefs head into this divisional clash with the Raiders as one of three remaining undefeated teams in the league and 9.5-point favorites. Jamaal Charles is having a wonderful individual season, but the Chiefs have not been all that impressive on the whole offensively. Indeed, Pro Football Focus gives the offense a negative grade and ranks it 22nd in the league through five weeks. Where they have been impressive, though, is in completely shutting down opposing offenses. They surrendered just 318 yards and 16 points to the Cowboys. In their four other games this year, the Cowboys have averaged 392 yards and 36.25 points. The following week, the Chiefs grounded the previously high-flying Eagles, holding them to 16 points and 431 yards, both of which are season lows. I have serious trouble believing Terelle Pryor's first career start at Arrowhead will yield the Raiders different results. This might not be a blowout, but the Chiefs will win comfortably.

5. Houston Texans (vs. St. Louis Rams) -- If you like to buy into easy narratives, we're smack dab in the middle of a Schaubpocalpyse. Schaub has underperformed this season, and it's not because of the fluky streak of pick-sixes. Since heading to Houston in 2007, Schaub's worst yards per attempt for a season has been 7.37. Through five games this year, he's at 6.44 YPA. He's having trouble completing passes down the field, and the team isn't ripping off huge plays because of that. Still, the Rams are a reliable patsy here.

Houston is laying nine points in this game, and in other, reacreational, non-survivor activities, I'd feel good giving those points. One thing that was greatly overstated coming into the season was the downfall of Arian Foster. He may not be the dominant back he was a few years ago, but he has 390 rushing yards on 97 carries and 18 receptions for 126 yards. Ben Tate provides a reliable complement, and the Houston offensive line ranks sixth in run blocking per Pro Football Focus' metrics. Conveniently, St. Louis has the league's sixth-worst run defense. Houston wins this game with ease.

6. Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Redskins) -- Remember what Tony Romo did to the Broncos last week? OK, good. Now, think back to Washington's Week 1 game against Philly. And Week 2 against Green Bay. And Week 3 against Detroit. Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford combined to go 74-of-109 for 1,068 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. They were let off the hook in their last game, getting to face Matt Flynn instead of Terrelle Pryor, and the recently-cut Flynn still managed a somewhat respectable 7.1 YPA. On the season, the Redskins are allowing a ridiculous 9.2 YPA. I do think Robert Griffin III will have success throwing the ball, but the Cowboys are in the middle of the pack in run defense, and I simply don't think Griffin has the juice to keep the Redskins scoring with the Cowboys. It'll take 30-plus points to win this game. I think only the Cowboys can get there.

Teams to avoid

With six strong options to choose from above, I think we can skip this section this week. No matter which teams you've already used, you should be able to find a suitable pick this week.


BELLER: Stat Focus -- How your roster can benefit from Justin Blackmon
GONOS: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em -- Is it worth starting any Raiders this week?
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- A.J. Green primed for a huge game
SI STAFF: Composite Player Rankings -- Expect another strong week from Bryant
BELLER, FLOOD: Weekly Roundtable -- Is Alshon Jeffery the real deal?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Stacy stepping up as Rams' starting running back
McQUADE: Risers & Sliders -- Top players struggling to produce stats
BELLER: Fast Forward -- Quarterbacks steal the spotlight in Week 5

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