[sc name=”Author Seth I Finkelstein”]
Week 3 was the week of the dogs. Eight of nine underdogs in the early games covered the spread and six of those teams won outright (not including Vikes because it went off as pick ’em). In total, the underdogs went 11-4. That’s absurd. Vegas probably made a killing.
The public’s two favorite teams did not cover, the Packers, won in overtime against the Bengals as touchdown favorites, while the Patriots almost lost at home to the Texans as two-touchdown favorites. That would have knocked out about 75-80% of survivor pools and we haven’t even made it through a quarter of the season.
Like I’ve constantly been saying, do not overreact just yet. Continue to have an open mind. The Broncos looked great after two weeks, but now what do you make of them after a decisive loss to the Bills? The first four weeks are training camp for a lot of these players. Some teams haven’t hit their stride yet like the Seahawks. This past week proves any NFL team can win on any given Sunday.
[sc name=”Google Inline Ad”]
Observations from Last Week
Here are my observations from Week 3 with some facts.
- Was there any ever doubt that Tom Brady was not going to drive the Pats down the field on Sunday for the win?
- I think I watched the Golden Tate
game-winningtouchdown about 50 times on First Take because they kept replaying it. I don’t see how you overturn that. It is so so close. And then to end the game on a run-off. Terrible.
- The Ravens flew to London and back. It’s like they never played a football game.
- There is something really wrong with the Panthers offense. It looks like Cam Newton is injured. If there was one defense to rebuild confidence against, it’s the Saints. Their defense is atrocious, yet the Panthers scored 13 points. Newton threw for 167 yards and three picks.
- Chuck Pagano saved his job for another week. Although it’s very possible he gets fired if the Colts lose to Seattle 49-0 on Sunday Night football.
- The Browns are the only team to have not led in any game.
- The Raiders- Skins game Sunday night was weird. The Raiders were playing at half-speed and felt like they were sleepwalking. Which leads me to my…
Rant of the Week
Amari Cooper, are you alive? It’s not that he’s been a complete bust through the the first three weeks of fantasy, but if he doesn’t turn it around soon, the Raiders offense will be in trouble. He had one catch for six yards Sunday night against the very good Josh Norman. But this has been an ongoing issue. Cooper has not had a 100-yard receiving game since Week 8 of last season. That’s 11 games now. Additionally, Cooper leads the league with six drops. For perspective, he had three all of last year. If the Raiders want to go up against the class of the AFC, they will need Cooper to step up and play like the wide receiver he was expected to be when drafted. You can’t play the Patriots, Steelers, or Chiefs with Michael Crabtree as your top weapon. It won’t work.
Survivor League Strategy
For those of you unfamiliar with survivor pools it’s very simple; pick a team to win each week, if they win you move on to the next week. But you cannot use that team ever again. There is no point spread involved.
These rules only apply for several weeks.
- Try to save the top teams for the end of the season. You do not want to be alive in Week 10 choosing between the Browns and the Jets. Try and pick teams you won’t use later. For example, the Rams got the Luckless Colts in Week 1.
- Try to avoid divisional rivalry games also. Anything can happen with a rivalry game. Some weeks it will be really hard to not pick a divisional game, because there is no better option.
- Never pick an underdog.
- Rarely, if ever, pick a Thursday night game. Anyone can beat anyone off four days rest. You’re better off trying to figure out Johnny Drama’s next move.
Before making any picks, look at the point spreads. Vegas has the best minds, smarter than any of us, use them to get a glimpse at how each team is projected to fare that week. There will be a game or two a week where the line makes NO SENSE, like the Bears and Steelers this past week, but that means Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they’re mostly always right.
The biggest favorites in Week 3 per sportsbook (home team in caps);
- SEAHAWKS -13 vs. Colts
- PATRIOTS -9 vs. Panthers
- FALCONS -8.5 vs. Bills
- PACKERS -7.5 vs. Bears
- COWBOYS -7.5 vs. Rams
I usually guess the lines and I was way way off on the Dolphins Saints game. I’m usually at most three points off, but I was a full seven off. More below.
If you’re reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines were from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.
Last week I gave out the Ravens, Pats, and and Packers for my three survivor picks. My top avoid was the Bears over the Steelers. Chicago won outright as touchdown underdogs.
I’m going to wait another week before I begin using DVOA and in-depth stats. I need a larger sample size than two games.
Top Survivor Picks for Week 4
This week features four home touchdown favorites in non-conference games. There are also several divisional games which should be avoided. The Jets, who Colin Cowherd predicted would finish 0-16, beat their rival Miami as a touchdown underdog on Sunday. You never know with divisional games.
SEAHAWKS -13 vs. Colts
Seattle is going to destroy Indy on national television. They’re off a tough hard fought loss to the Titans and return home with a 1-2 record. The Colts got their win against the Browns so they’re not as desperate as the Seahawks are. I’ve been saying it all along, but Andrew Luck will not play this year so get ready for a whole lot of Jacoby Brissett. This is a primetime game on Sunday Night Football and the Hawks will want to remind the nation they’re still an elite team. I really really think Seattle can win this game 49-0 or something like that and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has a chance of getting fired. I’ve seen it several times before where a losing team gets embarrassed on national television and the owner throws his hands up and says that’s it. I recall it happening several times, like in 2010 when the Packers humiliated the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football 45-7 prompting Jerry Jones to fire Wade Phillips the next day. Lane Kiffin was memorably fired on the tarmac after losing 62-41. And wow, we are coming up on the four year anniversary of his USC firing. When you have an owner that’s crazy like Jim Irsay, anything can happen.
I’ve looked at these games countless times already and I am having trouble finding more teams I like. It is so hard again this week. The Seahawks game is a gimme, but if you want other options, I only am confident in the Cowboys at home against the Rams. I am scared the Rams had 10 days to prepare for this game and the Cowboys are on a short week, but Dallas finally proved it can play from behind. The were outplayed in the first half in Arizona, but battled and won. The Cardinals had the ball for 36 minutes in the game and controlled that first half. The Rams look to be clicking, but I’ll go with the superior team and the better offensive line.
You can also go with the Pats against the Panthers if you haven’t already taken New England already.
Top Survivor Picks to Avoid
CARDINALS -7 vs. 49ers
How in the world are the Cardinals a touchdown favorite over the Niners? The Niners played a great game last Thursday night. They were down early, but kept clawing back. Their first two weeks were brutal to watch, but maybe they’ve turned it around. As for the Cardinals, they have shown me NOTHING that says they should be seven-point favorites over anybody, let alone a division rival. They could easily be 0-3. They deserved to lose to the lowly Luckless Colts. This line should be around four. It always feels like the Cardinals are a sucker play for survivor pools and I will not be sucked in this week.
Now let’s whip around the rest of the games:
- Chicago at Green Bay Thursday night scares me (rule two and four). I can’t rid my memory of the Packers losing two years ago on Thanksgiving night to the Bears as heavy favorites.
- I thought the Dolphins would be four to five point favorites, but the Saints are favored by three in London. I don’t understand how the Saints get this respect from Vegas. They won the Super Bowl 7 years ago.
- Tennessee (-1.5) at Houston in a divisional matchup. This game is such a toss-up. I think Houston will win, but it will come down to the wire in an ugly low-scoring affair.
- The Jags are three-point favorites at the Jets. Jacksonville just played in London and are not taking a bye. Both teams are off huge wins, but the Jags can only be favorites against this Jets team. Blake Bortles vs. Josh McCown. You tell me who you’d rather go with in survivor? I’d pass.
- Bengals at Browns and Ravens at Steelers are both divisional games. I can’t figure any of those teams yet.
- I really like the Bills getting eight points in Atlanta. The Bills can very well be 3-0 if Zay Jones caught the pass against Carolina while Atlanta can be 1-2. If Jordan Howard caught that touchdown or the refs hadn’t messed up the ending of Sunday’s game, this game would have a different narrative. I think Buffalo can win outright.
- Tampa (-3.5) against the Giants. You know never which Eli face you’ll get especially in a must-win game. The Bucs are off a loss and I don’t trust either of these teams.
- Eagles (-1) in
San DiegoL.A. Philly should win, but I wouldn’t be able to take them on the road against a desperate team. This game has shootout written all over it.
- And finally, the Skins are getting seven in Kansas City on Monday Night Football. I really like Washington this year and if Kirk Cousins can play like he did last week, look out.
[sc name=”Google Matched Content Ad”]