Week 3 was another that saw about 20% of the Circa field go bust. The biggest culprits were AFC West favorites Chiefs and Chargers, each of which fell as sizable favorites to an AFC South squad. In ESPN’s survivor-style Eliminator Challenge, less than 15% of the original 500,000+ entries remain. Many may have pivoted off the Chargers due to uncertainty around Justin Herbert, but the week lacked many good options. On now to NFL survivor Week 4.
If you are still alive, our congratulations. Moving forward, remember that you must plan for the long term, and you must take into account the size of your pool. The larger the NFL survivor pool, the more contrarian a path you should plan. It’s not as simple as clicking the biggest favorite every week.
Reaching the end and splitting the pool 50 ways kills much of your expected value. Plus, avoiding the top pick of the week gives you a chance of seeing the biggest chunk of your rivals knocked out.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom to compare NFL Week 4 moneylines and bonus offers across sportsbooks in your state.Editor’s Note
NFL Survivor Week 4: The Obvious Chalk
One team sits head and shoulders above the rest in terms of attractiveness as a NFL survivor Week 4 selection — in a vacuum, that is. Because the Packers have a such clear implied win probability edge over everyone else, that will create a potential bottleneck in many survivor leagues. Again, going down with 50% of the field is the worst-case scenario because it gives you zero upside.
An injury has turned this game from a likely Packers win into a layup. Preseason markets had the Packers -5 here. But, Mac Jones has sustained a reportedly “severe” high ankle sprain. Those types of injuries usually knock players out for several weeks. It seems certain that either Brian Hoyer or Bailey Zappe will start this week for the Patriots, with Hoyer listed second on the depth chart. Rookie fourth-rounders (Zappe) are usually not ready to step in and make even spot starts at this point.
Green Bay has several other large favorite spots. If you can pivot off them, you probably should, even though it does look like a free space. In leagues where you can only fade each team once, though, there probably won’t be a better spot to pick against the Pats.
Less Clear But Still Strong Favorites
A bunch of medium favorites this week carry varying levels of risk and attractiveness.
Start with the Chargers. Yes, they get to play the Texans. But, it’s on the road and Herbert is playing at some fraction of his full ability. The injuries are getting absurd. Rashawn Slater has been lost for the season. Joey Bosa may be out for a bit. Who knows if Keenan Allen will return this week. At minimum, we probably want to play the Chargers in survivor when Herbert is looking better. His 6.7 average depth of target stands out as a clear indicator this offense is a shell of itself. Last season, he had a 7.6 aDOT.
That leaves two pretty interesting options. Both the Steelers and the Lions stand out for their lack of future value. Both could go off as underdogs in every game the rest of the season, save for the Lions hosting Chicago. But that’s not until Week 17.
Pittsburgh has a particularly tough schedule and gets some extra time to prepare here after playing on Thursday Night Football. The Jets should get Zach Wilson back but it’s unclear if he makes a material difference over Joe Flacco.
If you think most of your leaguemates are going Packers, these looks like the two prime spots to try to gain an edge.
One Sneaky, Contrarian Options For NFL Survivor Week 4
Chicago may be the most unimpressive 2-1 team in NFL history. Here are Justin Fields’ passing stats in the teams two wins:
- Week 1 vs. 49ers: 8-for-17 for 121 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks taken
- Week 3 vs. Texans: 8-for-17 for 106 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 5 sacks taken
There’s simply no way to sustain winning football with a passing game this anemic.
Unfortunately, the Giants do have to play on a short week here. It would be a dream situation for them if Leonard Williams were healthy, as the strength of this defense does profile to be up front between he and Dexter Lawrence. They could control the line of scrimmage against a Chicago offense that relies almost totally on the run. He’ll likely remain out, however, which makes this a bit riskier of a punt pick.
Good luck in NFL Survivor Week 4.