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NFL Survivor pool, Week 1: Strategy and safe, value, trap picks

The NFL season is back and that means Survivor pools once again. We are here to provide tips to stay alive all season.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Football is back! The 2022 NFL season gets underway Thursday evening when the Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills in a matchup of last year’s Super Bowl champ and this year’s Super Bowl favorite.

The start of the season means it’s time to get your wagers in and your fantasy lineups settled. In addition to that, it’s also time to get ready for your NFL Survivor pools. If you’ve never played in a Survivor pool, it’s a fun alternative to traditional pick ‘em contests.

The pool requires that 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 big favorite in Week 1, but you would not be able to select them later in the season if you’re alive in the closing weeks.

You’re welcome to just take the team favored by the most points this weekend, but there is strategy to consider if you want to survive to the end. DK Nation is here to help with a look at safe choices, value choices, and potential traps.

Safest picks

Colts over Texans

This first weekend is a tough one with a lot of road favorites in action. Add in tough “narratives” and there are not many truly safe picks. The Texans are going to win some games this year, but it’s hard to see them being good enough to beat this Texans squad led by Matt Ryan. Maybe you save the Colts, but I’m comfortable using them and moving on.

Bengals over Steelers

I’m not a fan of divisional games, but I also think the Steelers enter the season ready to be a significant disappointment.

Best value picks

Titans over Giants

Another road game, but I have little faith in Daniel Jones and this Giants team. The Titans are going to be a contender for a playoff spot, but I’m comfortable using them early and moving on.

Trap pick

Ravens over Jets

A “Joe Flacco revenge game” might seem amusing, but this has trap written all over it in my mind. Robert Saleh’s defense will show up ready to play and with JK Dobbins a question mark, I’d stay away from the Ravens for now.

49ers over Bears

I think the 49ers win this game and Trey Lance has a strong season. But it’s tricky to roll with a rookie quarterback at this early juncture, particularly on the road. Kyle Shanahan has had all offseason to game-plan this one, but I say stay away until we know more about Lance.