If you’re still hanging around your survivor pool after Week 9, congratulations as you’ve made it to the halfway point. According to survivorgrid.com about 85% of participants have been eliminated in most pools so far. As the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, your options of teams to choose from are getting smaller.
This week presents a unique challenge as there are five games with point spreads over 6 points, but those favorites represent a group of teams who have been very popular so far this season. Below we analyze the top options for this week and weigh some pros and cons to help you make a decision.
Bears over Panthers
A move like this isn’t recommended in smaller pools, but if you’re in a larger pool and feel the need to get cute, the Bears are probably an option for 99% of survivors out there. The temptation to notch a win on Thursday and root for carnage on Sunday is real.
Keep an eye on the inactives 90 minutes before the game because it’s looking like the Bears will have a significant injury advantage over the Panthers. For instance, Bears RB Khalil Herbert (5.3 YPC) had a full practice yesterday and is expected to make his return from IR. Meanwhile, the Panthers may be without their best pass rusher (Brian Burns) and 2nd best wide receiver (D.J. Chark Jr.) who both didn’t practice Tuesday.
The Bears, are one of the worst teams in the league, and if you can get a win with them vs. a weak opponent, it gives you a significant leg up on the rest of the competition throughout the season.
Cowboys over Giants
If you’re of the “Just win, baby” mentality and not concerning yourself with the future, then without a doubt, the Cowboys are your best option this week. Dallas is a 16-point favorite vs. the Giants and they represent the week’s only double-digit favorite.
It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Dallas loses this game, even though they lost to the Cardinals in a game with similar expectations in Week 3.
Not only is Dallas playing the same opponent they embarrassed Week 1, but the Giants will be starting QB Tommy DeVito who has obvious limitations.
I don’t recommend Dallas this week because, although they’re the most likely team on the board to win, they represent extreme future value later in the season including next week vs. the Panthers and on Thanksgiving vs. the Commanders.
Bengals over Texans
Something has clicked with Joe Burrow and he looks unstoppable at the moment. Burrow has thrown for 631 yards and 5 TDs (0 INTs) in the last two weeks and the Texans defense isn’t as good as the 49ers or Bills units he just carved up.
The Bengals do represent some sneaky late season value as they have matchups vs. the Colts (Week 14), the Vikings (Week 15), and the Steelers (Week 12).
The Texans might be a scary opponent considering how good C.J. Stroud looked last week, but their defense is really banged up. Houston just put safety M.J. Stewart on IR along with defensive lineman Hassan Ridgeway. Safety Jimmie Ward left last week’s game with an injury and didn’t return so his practice status is worth monitoring if you’re considering the Bengals in this spot.
Ravens over Browns
The Ravens have been rolling and are regarded as one of the best all-around teams in the league. The Browns have a great defense and a suspect offense and they look vulnerable.
There are two reasons I don’t advocate taking the Ravens in this spot. First, the Ravens have a nice spot Week 14 at home off the bye week vs. the Rams. Second, divisional matchups are scary in survivor because increased familiarity can often level the playing field between two seemingly unevenly matched teams.
Steelers over Packers
The Steelers have extra rest in this spot as they’ve not played since their Thursday Night Football win over the Titans last week.
An under-the-radar transaction happened last week when the Steelers got back Cameron Heyward (IR) on a defense featuring pass rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. The Steelers defense has the star power to completely overwhelm the Packers offensive line. The Steelers don’t have the firepower on offense to blow opponents out, so picking them seems like a guaranteed way to increase your blood pressure on Sunday.
I can’t blame you if you’re considering saving Pittsburgh for Week 13 (vs. Arizona) or Week 14 (vs. New England) when other options will be limited. It’s also worth noting the Steelers will be without safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who might be back for those softer games later in the year.
The Pick: Seahawks over Commanders
This is a great spot to use Seattle if you’re lucky enough to still have them available. Because the Seahawks played the lowly Panthers (Week 3), Giants (Week 4), Cardinals (Week 7) you’re in the minority if you do.
The Commanders trade of Chase Young and Montez Sweat has made this option even more appealing than it looked a few weeks ago.
Seattle remains a -6/-6.5 point favorite and at home with the 12th man excited to see them sharing first place in the NFC West, it will be a tough environment for the Washington offensive line.
After facing two tough defenses (Baltimore and Cleveland), Washington’s unit should be a breath of fresh air for Seattle’s robust cabinet of weapons.
Seattle has a tough schedule moving forward and this looks like their weakest opponent moving forward.