NFL Survivor pool picks Week 1

By Adam Burke  ( Managing Editor) 

September 5, 2023 10:16 PM

NFL Survivor picks for Week 1

Week 1 of the NFL season has arrived and that means the start of fantasy football leagues and betting contests. Everybody wants to start the season on a high note, but that takes on even greater importance when it comes to Survivor because you have no choice but to pick a winner.

There are several options for this week and they all look pretty good, but it is hard to be fully confident when it comes to the start of a season. We think we know what we’re going to get, but it doesn’t always work out that way, as everybody is shaking off some degree of rust and uncertainty.

I wrote about contest strategies, including Survivor, in our Updated 2023 NFL Betting Guide. Those aren’t the only strategies to employ, but they are at least some different things to think about for this season, especially if you are new to this type of contest.

Regarding the format of this article, I will “play” Survivor with the picks until picking a loser, at which point, I will just reset all of the available teams. Each week, I’ll look at the contenders and the team that ultimately gets the nod for me, but I’ll play it for real until I have no reason to do so anymore. I’ll also be playing with traditional “straight up” rules of just picking the winner of the game.

Best of luck to everybody in Survivor pools this season.

NFL Survivor Picks to Consider

Minnesota Vikings over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Vikings open up the season against the Tampa Bay Shermans. Or maybe the Tampa Bay Abrams. Or the Tampa Bay T-90s. Or the Tampa Bay T-54s. Even if you don’t know what those are, you were probably able to deduce that they were types of tanks. The Buccaneers are tanking and not being all that covert about it.

Baker Mayfield will get the start and he’s resembled an NFL starting quarterback at times, but the Bucs are on a crash course for Caleb Wiliams, or at least that’s the hope. Dave Canales is the first-time offensive coordinator replacing Byron Leftwich, which may be an upgrade, but the Vikings are still sizable favorites to start 1-0 and should do so.

You’ve got a healthy Justin Jefferson. You’ve got Kirk Cousins not in primetime. You’ve got what I believe is a pretty good coach in Kevin O’Connell. Todd Bowles is a great defensive coordinator, but not a great head coach. All signs point to Minnesota getting the win here and the next best spot to take them may not be until Week 12 against the Bears based on the schedule. Honestly, beyond this week, there may not be another really good spot to take them.

Baltimore Ravens over Houston Texans

This is a pretty obvious pick and one that a lot of people are likely to deploy. C.J. Stroud makes his NFL debut against a Ravens team that has been a model organization in the NFL for a while now. The Ravens are the biggest favorite on the board and understandably so. Lamar Jackson is back in the fold and has some new weapons to enjoy at wide receiver, plus Baltimore moved on from Greg Roman and hired Todd Monken, whose reputation is quite a bit higher.

The Texans are going with rookie head coach DeMeco Ryans and his first assignment is to go head-to-head with John Harbaugh, who has 147 wins to his name over 242 regular season games, plus another 11 dubs in the postseason.

It’s hard not to take Baltimore, but Week 3 could feature the Ravens as a good option at home against the Colts in a week where there are potentially fewer choices. The Chiefs do play the Bears in Week 3, so that may be the one (or the Bengals vs. the Rams on MNF), but the Ravens could be an option down the line, whereas I’m not sure Minnesota is a good one later in the season.

Seattle Seahawks over Los Angeles Rams

Matthew Stafford said in the preseason that he is having a hard time connecting with his new wide receivers, which would seem to be an issue for a team that can’t run the ball and will be missing Cooper Kupp. Kupp hasn’t officially been ruled out, but chancing it in Week 1 seems ill-advised and he’s been getting additional medical opinions on his hamstring.

That being said, this is something of a “due diligence” inclusion given the spread and the circumstances. Those that make it to Week 7 will be loaded up on Seattle against Arizona. Week 3 against Carolina could be popular as well, depending on how Bryce Young looks in his first two games. The moral of the story is that there are safer (on paper) spots to use the Seahawks.

NFL Survivor Pick for Week 1

Washington Commanders over Arizona Cardinals

Despite the world-class gamesmanship from Jonathan Gannon about not naming a starting quarterback, I am not scared of fading the Cardinals in Week 1. Washington may be missing Terry McLaurin, which is not ideal, but it shouldn’t matter against the Cardinals. While it could be viewed as something of a risk to roll with Sam Howell and the Commanders in Week 1, I don’t really see another great spot to use them. In order to win this thing, you need to use at least 18 of the 32 teams, if not 20, depending on how the holidays are handled in your particular pool. That means picking spots to take some non-elite teams.

Perhaps I could take Washington in Week 5 at home against the Bears on Thursday Night Football, but I don’t love taking Thursday games and I don’t see another good spot to take this team. DraftKings has Washington -1.5 on the lookahead lines for that game against the Bears. In fact, that is the only other game that they are favored in. Hopefully I can steal a winner with a mediocre team in a good spot against Josh Dobbs or Clayton Tune.

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