(Image credit Stan Szeto/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
One of my favorite parts about the NFL season is when the Survivor pool starts back up. A survivor pool is a weekly contest where people select one team straight up per week to win their game. If a team that they choose wins they advance to the next week but can't choose that same team again for the rest of the season. But if the team they chose lost then they are eliminated from the pool.
Now that we know the rules, what I will be doing is for every week in the NFL Regular Season I will give my Top 5 options, A trap survivor pick, and give my Survivor pick for the week.
Top 5 Survivor Options
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Dallas Cowboys)
The Cowboys are a complete mess right now and I doubt Dak Prescott is 100% coming into this game. Not with his ankle but with a shoulder injury that he is dealing with as well. To make it worse for both Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offense, Zack Martin their best offensive lineman won’t be available vs the Buccaneers as he tested positive for Covid-19. The Cowboys terrible offensive line just lost the best player on their o-line. Dak Prescott is going to be pressured a lot by this stacked Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. The Cowboys' defense is also not good as well and it will be extremely tough to go against the Buccaneers' loaded offense. I would be shocked if Tampa Bay lost to the Cowboys in their home opener.
2. San Francisco 49ers (at Detroit Lions)
It is amazing with the number of injuries last season that the San Francisco 49ers won six games. It looks like Jimmy Garoppollo will start after Trey Lance has suffered a finger injury. Garoppolo will be the starter and face the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Excluding Detroit's offensive line I don't think that the Lions are good at all. They acquired Jared Goff and two 1st round picks from the Rams in exchange for Matthew Stafford which is a downgrade at QB. Except for TJ Hockenson and maybe rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown, the Lions don’t have too many targets for Goff to throw the ball to. To make it worse, Detroit might not have both Tyrell Williams and D'Andre Swift for the game as both are dealing with a groin injury. Detroit's defense is a complete trainwreck and I see San Francisco completely destroying the Lions with the amount of talent they have on offense. Plus the 49ers have a better coach in Kyle Shanahan than the Lions do with Dan Campbell. I would have given San Francisco the top survivor pick option but they are not the home team in this game.
3. Los Angeles Rams (vs Chicago Bears)
I love what the Los Angeles Rams did during the offseason trading for Matthew Stafford. Even though they had to trade two 1st round picks to get rid of Goff’s contract. Matthew Stafford is a gigantic upgrade over Jared Goff and it made their offense a lot better. They are going to have a challenge when playing against the Chicago Bears Defense.
But the main reason why they are a top survivor pick is due to how bad the Bears' offense currently is. Especially with this terrible offensive line which is easily one of the worst in the league. This Rams defense is going to steamroll this o-line. I like Andy Dalton but I don't think he has the best footwork moving around the pocket with this garbage o-line. Especially with how stacked the Los Angeles Rams defensive line is. Plus Allen Robinson will mainly be shadowed by Jalen Ramsey. The Rams will for the first time have fans watch their game live in Sofi Stadium which will be a site to see and a huge advantage for the Los Angeles Rams.
4. Carolina Panthers (vs New York Jets)
This is the risk survivor pick of the week. The Jets' defense is going to be a total disaster this year as the Jets have a ton of injuries on defense that they suffered during the preseason. The Jets could potentially lose wide receiver Jamison Crowder Week 1 after he tested positive for Covid-19. Sam Darnold should be better this season as he now has a solid o-line and has consistent receivers in DJ Moore, Terrance Marshall, Christian McCaffery, and Robby Anderson (Who again should be a New York Jet). Darnold also has a more competent coach in Matt Rhule. This can be a revenge game for Sam Darnold after the New York Jets completely ruined him during his time with the team. Hopefully, Darnold can reconstruct his career by starting off hot week 1. But the risk here is that Carolina’s defense is still a work in progress. I am a bit perplexed with how the Panthers are handling their special teams this season. This could be your only opportunity to use Carolina as they do not have a lot of future value in survivor excluding their game against the Houston Texans Week 3.
5. Baltimore Ravens (at Las Vegas Raiders)
Baltimore’s offense is completely stacked with franchise QB Lamar Jackson and TE Mark Andrews. Mark Andrews also recently signed an extension with the Ravens. Their offensive line has also done a solid job but could hurt after trading Orlando Brown Jr. Now Baltimore did lose two running backs both JK Dobbins (ACL) and Justice Hill (Achilles) due to injuries. Which could hurt the offense, but Las Vegas has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Especially when the offense is running the football. Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards both are must starts in fantasy this week. The Raiders also made a ton of questionable decisions with their offensive line that Baltimore should take advantage of. Keep in mind as well that this will be the first game in Las Vegas where there is full attendance in Allegiant Stadium. But it would be a big surprise if Baltimore lost this game.
Trap Survivor Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (at Houston Texans)
The Houston Texans are going to be a team that lots of people in survivor will choose against as they are clearly the worst team in football. Week 1 should not be one of those weeks to do that strategy. Especially with a team that is in the Texans division and a Jaguars team that I am not confident about yet. Especially as this will be the first game for both rookie QB Trevor Lawrence and Head Coach Urban Meyer who I am not high on as the head coach for the team. Another issue is that the Jaguars' defense is not good at all and Tyrod Taylor is a serviceable quarterback. Another problem is that this game will be played in Houston, so the Houston Texans will have home-field advantage. It is important to note that the Jaguars do have decent future value in survivor against the Atlanta Falcons Week 12, New York Jets Week 16, and they face Houston again in Jacksonville week 15 where the Texans will be in full tank mode and the Jaguars will be the Home team. I would stay far from this game as possible in survivor.
My Survivor Pick for Week 1: San Francisco 49ers
Week 1 is one of the hardest weeks to choose your survivor pick as you don’t truly know how a team will perform throughout the season. I don’t want to take the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, or Tampa Bay Buccaneers yet as they have future value in survivor. So it was really down to the Carolina Panthers or the San Francisco 49ers to me. I am not confident with Carolina as I don’t truly know what to think of them. If this was the Adam Gase-led Jets team I would be all in on Carolina, but the Jets hired a better coach in Robert Saleh and I think this game will be close. I am looking to survive and advance. So I will go with the San Francisco 49ers as my week 1 survivor pick