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Week 18 NFL Survivor pool strategy with safe, value, trap picks

If you’ve made it this far in your survivor pool, congrats. We’re going to go over strategy for survivor pools for the final week of the regular season.

Quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys scrambles with the football against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on December 30, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

If you’re reading this, you’ve made it to the final week of the NFL regular season in your survivor pool. If this is the last week and you need to hold on to win your pool, we’re going to go over how to approach picking this week.

If you’ve never played in a Survivor pool, it’s a fun alternative to traditional pick ‘em contests. 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.

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 Network is here to help with a look at safe choices, value choices, and potential traps.

Safest picks

Cowboys over Commanders

This is the easiest pick to make all week. We’ve seen the Cowboys squander these opportunities in the past but this would be surprising. Dallas is a 13-point favorite over Washington in Week 18 with the NFC East title on the line. The Cowboys can clinch the No. 2 seed and homefield advantage in at least two rounds with a win. A loss would mean the Eagles can take the division and 2-seed.

Best value picks

Chargers over Chiefs

If you have to pick a team that you haven’t used before this season, the Chargers aren’t a bad value against Kansas City. The Chiefs already locked up the No. 3 seed in the AFC and are resting most of their starters, including Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. The Chargers are favored by 3.5 points at home. Los Angeles should have a shot to win and Easton Stick now has a handful of starts under his belt.

Trap pick

Seahawks over Cardinals

Arizona hasn’t been all that bad and we don’t generally see teams tank for draft position (at least not on purpose). The Cardinals are coming off a win on the road against the Eagles. That’s nothing to scoff over since Philly had everything to play for in that game. The Seahawks need a Packers loss in order to get into the postseason. If there’s some scoreboard watching, a scenario could arise in which Seattle gives up a bit. The Cardinals could surprise the Seahawks this week at home.