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Top Tips On Winning Your Football Survior Pool

Updated on February 22, 2014


A Survior pool, also known as suicide pool or eliminator, is a competition where the players attempt to pick a winning football team each week of the NFL season. If the team you picked wins you remain active in the game, if the team you picked loses (or ties) you are eliminated from the competition. The winner of the competion is that last player remaining.

One caveat of the Survior Pool rules is that you cannot pick the same team every week. You cannot even pick he same team twice. Each week you must pick a different team and cannot re-pick a team that you used in a previous week. For example, if in week 3 I pick the NY Giants over the Carolina Panthers to advance. I cannot then pick the NY Giants again in week 5 (assuming I survive week 4) to beat the Cleveland Browns.

If more then one player lasts to the end of the 17 week NFL season then surviving players will continue to play during the play-offs. Meaning each week you have to pick to the winner of one play-off game to advance. Teams you used during the regular season are once again available to be picked.

What is the longest you ever lasted before being eliminated from a survior pool?

See results

Early Season Strategy

The important thing to remember is that this is not an ordinary competition where you can defeat another player to advance yourself. In fact you have no control what-so-ever over anything another player does. The main strategy is to keep yourself alive by picking a winning team each week. Sounds simple right?

The early going Survior Pool Strategy is to maximize your chances of surviving into the following week, while watching & waiting for your opponents to make the mistake of eliminating themselves. The best way to to do this is pick the very best teams in the NFL that are favorites to win.

Although this sounds like common sense, that is not always the case. Many people will over think this and try to save some very good teams for an end of season run. Unfortunately those people end up getting eliminated very early and never make it to week 16 to pick the Green Bay Packers over the Tennessee Titans.

To recap my advice - don't try to save "good" teams for late season match ups. Pick the very best teams with the very best match ups and bide your time while the competition eliminates its self.

Mid Season Strategy

So if you made it past the first few weeks and you have run though the top 5 or 6 teams in the NFL and now are faced with picking teams that are not quite as dominating.

Follow these tips to get a mid-season edge:

  • Plan ahead - look for the the best matchups a team will have in the next 3-4 weeks and plan a road map of your next few picks.. Make sure to update your road map each week.
  • Pick against a very bad team rather than trying to selecting a good team. Last year I was able to get through 3 weeks in a row mid season by simply picking whatever team was playing against the Colts. The Colts were having a very bad year and finally ended up 1-15.
  • Watch for teams with injuries to key players - especially at quarterback. Picking agianst these teamscan provide a decent edge.
  • Avoid picking a team coming off a bye. Unless it's a very favorable match up (e.g. playing a 0-6 or 1-5 or similar)
  • Like wise avoid picking a team the Sunday after they played on Monday Night Football in the previous week. Unless of course it is a very favorable match up (see above)
  • Avoid in division games. These in division rilvaries tend to end in upsets quite a bit. Even if one team is very good and the other very bad, the fact that these teams play each other so much will level the playing field much more then in cross-division or cross-conference games.

Late Season Strategy

This is where it really gets tough to find an edge. You probably have used up the top 10 or 12 best teams on your previous survivor picks and now face the prospects of picking an average or worse teams to survive. The good news that the crowd has thinned considerably at this point with just a handful of survivors left and any week you pick right, there is the possibility you could see everyone else eliminated.

Now you should focus on:

  • Home teams over road teams still. Better yet any team playing against a dome team on the road outdoors. This also works for a team playing against a team from a warm climate on the road in cold weather. Think Buffalo at home in the snow, over Miami.
  • Any team that has gained momentum late in the season. Some teams start slow and struggle due injuries or other factors then suddenly start winning late in the season. Look for these teams that are getting "hot"
  • An average team playing vs a very bad team. if you can find a match up where a 8-8 team that still has a small chance at the playoffs is playing against a 6-10 or 4-12 team this will give you a higher percentage to pick right.
  • Average team playing against a good team the had clinched a playoff berth. We see this every year - a really good team rests its starter near the end of the regular season then loses versus an under 500 team.

There is a lot of luck involved at this stage but if you play smart and look for a statistical edge for your pool picks, it may just be enough keep you alive long enough to claim the winner's prize.

Good luck and have fun!

For tips on drafting and managing a winning fantasy football team check out my other hubs.


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