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Week 3 NFL Survivor pool strategy and picks

The NFL had a roller-coaster Week 2 that almost went entirely off the rails in the Chargers-Chiefs game. Week 3 is here and it’s time to get your Survivor picks in. We are here to provide some tips to stay alive all season.

Trent Murphy of the Buffalo Bills sacks Sam Darnold of the New York Jets during the second half at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York.  Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

UPDATE: The Dolphins upset the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football. If you’re in a bigger pool, there’s a modest chance someone grabbed the Jaguars and have been eliminated. One note heading into Sunday’s games. The Browns might be without cornerback Denzel Ward. Cleveland still is a solid value pick, but if Ward doesn’t play, that’s a potentially significant downgrade to their secondary.

We’re back for Week 3 of the 2020 NFL regular season. The league is chugging along and we’re approaching the point where the good and bad should start to separate itself.

Week 2 did not bring a lot of upsets, but it did bring one near mammoth upset. The Chiefs beat the Chargers in overtime after Justin Herbert impressed as a last second replacement for Tyrod Taylor. I figured LA might give KC a run for its money, but that was more than I expected. It would have been a huge shake-up for Survivor pools.

If you’ve never played in a Survivor pool, it’s a pretty straightforward deal. You pick one team each week that you think will win. If your team loses in Week 1, you’re eliminated (unless it’s a double elimination pool). If your team wins in Week 1, you can make a pick in Week 2. If your team wins in Week 2, you can make a pick in Week 3, and so on. The catch is that you cannot pick the same team twice. You could use a heavy favorite in Week 1, but you would not have access to them later in the year if you’re alive in the closing weeks.

Survivor pools are usually either a single elimination contest or a double elimination contest. I am in one of each. I took a Week 1 strike in my double elimination pool thanks to the Colts, but survived Week 2 with the Cardinals. In my single elimination pool, I advanced with the Titans a week after picking the Bills.

DK Nation is back this week to help with a look at safe choices, value choices, and potential traps. We had a solid Week 2 with our advice. Our safe picks were the Cardinals and Chiefs. Arizona won with ease while KC escaped over the Chargers. A win is a win is a win in Survivor! Our value picks were Titans and Browns, and both survived, again with a little stress. Our trap picks were the Bears and the Saints. New Orleans was upset in Las Vegas, while Chicago held off a late Giants comeback.

On to Week 3!

Safest picks

Colts over Jets
Cardinals over Lions

There’s some value on both these team later in the year, but these matchups offer some good survivability potential. I’m a little hesitant to jump on the Cardinals just because I think the Lions are better than they’ve played, but Arizona is looking good. On the other hand, the Jets are awful and while the spread is a bit high, it’s reasonable to pick against them most weeks.

Best value picks

Browns over Washington

You won’t be using Cleveland much this year, but if you passed on them against the Bengals, get some value for them here. This could be the biggest remaining favored point spread for them in 2020.

Trap pick

Chargers over Panthers
Eagles over Bengals

I think the Eagles will beat the Bengals, but there are two reasons to avoid this game. The first is Philly just might be a bad football team, and a loss any given week is a real possibility. The second is the Eagles play the Giants at home in Week 7 and that offers some down the road value you might not get by using the Browns or one of the safe picks.

The Chargers are a whole touchdown favorite over the Panthers, and while Justin Herbert impressed in Week 2, he’s still a rookie quarterback. I’m not comfortable backing that in one-and-done Survivor.