Week 5 in the NFL was certainly not immune to big upsets. While the Patriots and Eagles rolled as big favorites, many survivor pool contestants likely did not have these teams at their disposal. Outside of these teams, three of the next four biggest favorites all lost SU. Favorites in total went 9-6 SU for the week. Among the losers were the Kansas City Chiefs (-550), Los Angeles Chargers (-290), Chicago Bears (-230), Dallas Cowboys (-186), Cincinnati Bengals (-166), and Tennessee Titans (-162). The Chargers, Bears, and Titans were all identified as risky plays in last week’s article, which hopefully helped avoid some landmines. If you are still alive in your survivor pools entering Week 6, great job and good luck moving forward!
Like always, my selections for this week will be broken down by the following categories, Safest Picks, Riskier Plays That Will Be Popular, and Contrarian Plays to Beat a Large Pool. Even though survivor pool rules say you cannot pick the same team twice, I will outline multiple scenarios in case bettors wish to navigate their own path, or have already used the teams I will suggest.
Here is a list of odds for all the favorites to win their matchups in Week 6 (odds courtesy of FanDuel).
|New England Patriots||-950|
|Los Angeles Chargers||-290|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-235|
|Green Bay Packers||-210|
|Los Angeles Rams||-184|
New England Patriots (-950), Baltimore Ravens (-470), Dallas Cowboys (-400), Los Angeles Chargers (-290)
If you are still alive in your survivor pool yet and have not picked the Patriots, good for you. Those that have not used New England may have some master plan to save them for later in the season when the pickings are really slim. The Patriots are a team that can win anywhere, but I am a big proponent of picking home teams. New England’s home schedule the rest of the season features the Browns, Cowboys, Chiefs, Bills, and Dolphins (in Week 17). Even though it is a short week, there is not a better time to use New England if you have not already done so.
The Baltimore Ravens have been a popular selection thus far as they have faced the Dolphins and Cardinals. The Ravens have not looked great lately, as they lost to the Chiefs and Browns before narrowly edging the Steelers in overtime. This is a week for Baltimore to “get right” against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals enter with the 31st-ranked run defense and worst overall defense in terms of total yards allowed per game. Look for Lamar Jackson and company to move up and down the field at will in what could quickly become a laugher.
The Dallas Cowboys are suddenly wondering how good they are after back-to-back losses to the Saints and Packers. However, if there is one thing Dallas has done well this year, it is taking care of business against teams they should beat. Their three wins have come against the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins. While I usually prefer to pick home teams, keep an eye on the status of Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throughout the week. If his mononucleosis keeps him out yet again, the Cowboys are an automatic pick against a Luke Falk-led Jets’ team.
The Los Angeles Chargers are coming off a disappointing 20-13 loss to their division-rival Denver Broncos. In fact, the Chargers have now lost three of their last four games. Normally, this would be a stay-away spot against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but you have to love the Chargers’ chances given Pittsburgh’s quarterback situation. The Steelers are down to their third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges after Mason Rudolph got knocked out last week with a concussion. Los Angeles should be able to win this game even if their offense doesn’t produce much.
Riskier Plays That Will Be Popular
Green Bay Packers (-210), Washington Redskins (-184)
The Green Bay Packers righted the ship in a big way after their first loss with a dominating win over the Cowboys. They overcame the injury to Davante Adams with a punishing ground game, as Aaron Jones finished with 107 yards rushing and four touchdowns. However, this is a risky play considering they are playing a division rival in Detroit who is rested off a bye week. The NFC North is so balanced this year, so the time to use Green Bay would not be against any divisional opponents. Next week at home against the Raiders or later in the year when they welcome Washington are more ideal spots.
There will be many people that are going to use Washington this week, given that they are playing the Miami Dolphins. The Redskins may not have been losing by the scoring margins that the Dolphins have, but the fact remains this is a winless team who just fired their head coach. It is a complete mystery how Washington will respond under interim coach Bill Callahan. Washington’s offense has scored a total of 10 points in their last two contests. Ask yourself, do you really want to risk being knocked out of your survivor pool picking the winless Redskins?
Contrarian Play to Beat a Large Pool
Denver Broncos (-132)
Just like the Bengals pick in this section last week, this selection is given to you with the least amount of confidence. This strategy should only be considered if your survivor pools still have hundreds of contestants left. The Denver Broncos are coming off their first win of the season as they upset the Chargers on the road. Hopefully, that win can build some momentum as they return home to face the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee’s offense has looked anemic lately as they have scored just seven points in two of their last three games. The Titans have the 27th ranked total offense in the league. The Broncos should be able to win a defensive struggle with their great home-field advantage in the altitude.