Top Week 1 NFL survivor pool picks

By Adam Burke  ( 


More than 3,000 people have signed up for Circa Survivor and thousands more have signed up for the DraftKings Survivor Contest. Millions around the world will be participating in other NFL survivor pools during the 2021 season.

The rules of a survivor contest are about as cut-and-dried as it gets: Pick one team to win each week. You can only use that team once. Some survivor pools likely have mild rule variances or will force that team to cover the spread as well. While your rules may vary, the majority of NFL survivor pools are going to be pretty boilerplate.

Planning and strategy are the two most important factors when it comes to a survivor contest. You have to win each week to keep playing, but you also want to try to forecast the weeks that you want to take certain teams.

For example, nobody will laugh at you for taking Los Angeles Rams against the Fightin’ Andy Daltons this week as the Chicago Bears head west for “Sunday Night Football,” but it may be in your best interest to hold off on the Rams until Week 7 when they host the Detroit Lions in a bigger favorite role than this week’s 7.5-point spread. It doesn’t always go according to plan, but the bigger the spread, the higher the probability of an outright win.

While picking a winner is the most important thing so that you survive, there is added equity in being able to pick a winner that isn’t the most popular pick of the week. If that team loses, it can amount to a two-game swing. We don’t often see major upsets in the NFL, but if a team like the Lions were to beat the 49ers this week, that would knock out a pretty big percentage of entrants before the season even really gets going.

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