One of our most popular posts from last season is back this year.  I’ll dive into all the options for each week of your Survivor Pool and give you my pick for who I think offers the most value for that week.  Let’s start with the grid for this week:

For those new to the blog, or if you just need a reminder from last season, the grid above shows each team’s chance to win the game according to our model.  For simplicity, I have highlighted each instance where a team has at least a 65% chance to win that game.  I’ll also provide the percentage associated with the moneyline at Pinnacle to give another perspective on what the current betting market thinks.

Another thing that is important to consider is looking at the percentage of picks in your pool.  Now some pools may not show this information prior to the week but two of the biggest ones do.  Both ESPN and Yahoo! provide current player picks for their survivor pool games and I’ll use that information when making the pick each week.

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Let’s break down the options for this week.  After each team, I’ll show my model’s win percentage, the Pinnacle moneyline percentage, and ESPN’s and Yahoo’s current pick percentage.

Steelers – Model 78.6%  Pinnacle 77.5%  ESPN 32%  Yahoo 32%

The most likely team to win according to my model is also the most popular pick at both sites currently.  This isn’t surprising as teams are likely to fade the Browns quite often this season.  Pittsburgh currently is projected to have seven more games where they are 65% or better to win.

Patriots – Model 78.4%  Pinnacle 78.1%  ESPN 9%  Yahoo 7%

New England is the biggest favorite to win according to current moneylines at Pinnacle but they aren’t nearly as popular of a pick as Pittsburgh.  The reason for that is that players clearly know they will have plenty of options to use the Pats later on in the season.  I project the Patriots to have every game except one (at Pittsburgh) where they are >65% to win.

Bills – Model 67.1%  Pinnacle 77.3%  ESPN 15%  Yahoo 22%

I am not as high on the Bills as the current betting market as I believe the hate on the New York Jets has gone a little too far.  That being said, Buffalo is clearly an option because I don’t foresee another week later on in the season where they will be a viable pick.

Panthers – Model 66.9%  Pinnacle 67.1%  ESPN 7%  Yahoo 6%

Carolina represents the most contrarian of the highlighted choices this week.  My model and the current betting market agree on their chances to take care of the 49ers on the road.  If you are looking to fade the rest of your  pool, the Panthers are your best option.

Falcons – Model 65.8%  Pinnacle 71.6%  ESPN 15%  Yahoo 15%

I am lower on Atlanta’s chances this week than the current betting market.  Combining that fact with the projection of six more games where the Falcons are an option make them a poor pick this week in my opinion.

The Pick – Buffalo Bills

With almost zero future value, I believe the best play this week is Buffalo.  There is no way I am taking the Steelers when they are the most popular selection getting nearly a third of all picks.  Even if the Steelers take care of the Browns as expected, nearly a third of your pool won’t be able to use them later on when they could be a higher value play.  The Patriots are offering the most value in a vacuum but they have so much future value, I don’t think it’s wise to burn them this early in the season.  Even though I’m lower on the Bills than the current market, I still think they offer the most value to get through your Survivor pools in Week 1.