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Week 5 NFL Survivor pool strategy and picks

We’re through the quarter point of the 2020 NFL season. Week 5 is here and it’s time to get your Survivor picks in. We are here to provide some tips to stay alive all season.

The Arizona Cardinals offensive line isn’t entirely to blame for the high number of sacks on Kyler Murray this season. Michael Chow/The Republic, Arizona Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Sunday Titans update: Tennessee as had a staff member test positive Sunday morning, with Adam Schefter reporting it is a coach. The team has shut down the facility while it speaks to the league about next steps.

Sunday Patriots update: The Patriots have had another positive Covid-19 test and the facility has been shut down, per reports. Their game with the Broncos could still happen on Monday, but it would seem to be seriously in question.

Friday update: The Bears edged out the Bucs on Thursday Night Football with a late field goal and it cost a few people in one of my two contests. The bigger question now is the recently rescheduled games due to Covid-19. Broncos-Patriots has been moved to 5 p.m. ET on Monday and Bills-Titans has been moved to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Both games remain in question, so you will likely want to avoid them in your pools.

We’re back for Week 5 of the 2020 NFL regular season. A week after the NFL postponed Steelers-Titans, we could see Bills-Titans get postponed this weekend. Add in the Patriots and Raiders each with a positive test, and things are getting dicey for the league.

The most notable upset of Week 4 might have been the Panthers beating the Cardinals at home. Arizona is scuffling after a strong start, and while they are only facing the Jets in Week 5, they have to travel for it and face a new QB with Joe Flacco replacing an injured Sam Darnold. It will be interesting to see how many people jump on the Cardinals this weekend in their 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, Week 3 with the Patriots, and Week 4 with the Rams. In my single elimination pool, my first four weeks included the Bills, Titans, Browns, and Buccaneers.

DK Nation is back this week to help with a look at safe choices, value choices, and potential traps. Bucs-Chargers almost cost participants, but they came back to get the victory. I picked them and the Rams with my two entries and live to fight another week.

On to Week 5!

Covid questions

Steelers-Titans was postponed last week, and now it looks like Bills-Titans will probably be postponed this week. Broncos-Patriots is also in question, but seems a better bet to play. Raiders-Chiefs is even lower on the concern list, but is on track to play for now.

Safest picks

Ravens over Bengals
Saints over Chargers

Baltimore will be a safe play most of the year that is worth holding off on for a bit. They’re a strong Week 15 or 16 pick, although if your pool doesn’t look like it will last that long, feel free to pull the trigger.

Justin Herbert is impressing through the quarter mark of the season, but I don’t think they can hang with a Saints team getting healthier by the day. The Saints have some value down the road, but this isn’t a bad spot.

Best value picks

49ers over Dolphins*
Patriots over Broncos*
Cowboys vs. Giants

UPDATE: Garoppolo is playing. If Jimmy Garoppolo plays this week, the 49ers are worth grabbing. They don’t have another great spot until they face Washington in Week 14. Garoppolo was limited in practice to start the week, so we’ll see how the rest of the week shakes out. If Garoppolo sits, pass on the 49ers.

Likewise, Patriots over Broncos is predicated on Cam Newton returning from the COVID/IR list. If he plays, the Patriots should be able to take care of business. If Cam sits, stay away.

Dallas is scuffling and this is a divisional game, but I don’t think the Giants can hang with this offense. Dallas doesn’t have a particularly good spot until home against Washington in Week 12, so this could be a good time to use them. Stay away from the Cowboys this week. The more I think about it, the more I see it as a potential trap.

Trap pick

Chiefs over Raiders
Cardinals over Jets

For Chiefs-Raiders, aside from the one Las Vegas positive Covid-19 test, this is just an interesting spot. The Chiefs are huge favorites, but they hold better value later. Moreover, divisional games, particularly those involving the AFC West can be a bit unpredictable. Better safe than sorry.

Arizona is sitting as a 7.5-point favorite against the Jets, with New York starting Joe Flacco due to Sam Darnold’s shoulder injury. I have zero interest betting the Jets, but I’m not remotely interested in picking against them in this spot with Arizona scuffling a bit.