Your prize for navigating your way through the 2017 NFL season is a clusterf*$% of options for Week 17.  Injuries have players dropping like flies.  Some teams are taking their chances with rest over rust and sitting a majority of their studs this week.  Other teams have zero motivation to win but still are apparently playing everyone!  Sorting through all of the player news can be exhausting but keep your eyes peeled on Sunday to see if any teams throw any last minute wrenches into your plans.

If you are a frequent reader of this article, this is usually the part where I show the percentages for each team to win this upcoming week.  If every team was full strength and playing to win, this would make sense but we don’t have that luxury this week.  Teams like the Jaguars, Chiefs, and Rams are all big favorites according to the model but the betting market has made all of them underdogs for various reasons.

Let’s start with the teams that my model and the market agree upon.  These teams are largely going to have the same players and game plan in place as they have throughout the season and need a win to improve their playoff (or championship) odds.  These teams include:

Patriots
Vikings
Ravens
Chargers
Seahawks
Saints

Then we have a group of teams that are clearly resting players that have dramatically affected their odds of winning.  These teams include:

Steelers
Rams
Chiefs

The Steelers won’t have any of the Killer B’s in their arsenal but are still touchdown favorites against the winless Browns.  The Rams opened as 6.5-point favorites at Pinnacle but have since become 3-point home dogs with the news that they’ll be resting players and not trying to secure the 3-seed in the playoffs.  The Chiefs will give Patrick Mahomes his first start in Denver and they are now 3.5-point road dogs and can’t really be trusted this week either.

The third group of teams are teams that have no playoff shot whatsoever, but are playing teams that also have no shot or are playoff teams that are resting.  These teams include:

Lions
Colts
49ers

Detroit is nearly a touchdown favorite over the Packers whose receiving corps will be virtually unrecognizable on Sunday.  The Colts are a 5.5-point favorites after Houston lost the only player keeping them interesting these last few weeks in DeAndre Hopkins.  The 49ers are the beneficiaries of the Rams resting all of their players as Jimmy Garoppolo attempts to become the first quarterback to never lose a game ever.

As far as being contrarian this week, here are the top picks at Yahoo:

Redskins 32.6%
Seahawks 16.7%
Patriots 13.9%
Rams 13%
Steelers 12.7%
Colts 12.0%

I don’t think you should worry too much about fading the public although I don’t really get the infatuation with taking the Redskins this week.  They are only 3-point favorites this week against the Giants and while I know options are thin, I find it hard to believe that many teams have already used all of the options above.  It also appears that 13% of pickers haven’t heard the news about the Rams resting their starters yet.

Now we have to talk about a game that is really just driving me crazy: Jacksonville at Tennessee.  The Jaguars haven’t publicly stated they plan on resting anyone even though they are locked into the 3-seed in the AFC.  In fact, it would behoove them to lose this week to avoid facing a tough Chargers team in the wildcard round.  But given that they are seemingly planning to play everyone, I can’t figure out why they are 3-point dogs to the Titans. Tennessee is 17th in our latest power rankings and even though they are in a must-win spot, I can’t trust them in Survivor this week against a team that is vastly superior in talent.

Week 17 Survivor Picks

Here are my picks for this week.  Whichever team is ranked higher is the team that I would go with.

1. Patriots
2. Vikings
3. Ravens
4. Chargers
5. Seahawks
6. Saints
7. Steelers
8. Lions
9. Colts
10. 49ers

Photo Courtesy of Jim Brown – USA Today Sports