The NFL is back! The COVID-19 pandemic remains an issue, but the NFL season is starting on time and is as close to normal as it can get during a global pandemic. Rules remain in place that will impact play this year, but for the time being, the league is attempting to have some semblance of normalcy.
The regular season kicks off on Thursday night with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys. Fantasy football aficionados are getting season long and DFS line-ups together for the weekend, and don’t forget to get your picks submitted for pick ‘em pools.
However, 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. 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.
DraftKings is offering their own version of this contest, with a free pool that will pay out a prize pool of $30,000.
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.
There are no sure things in football, but the Bucs are going to win this game. Even if Dallas ends up covering, if you don’t want to think too much about your pick, the Bucs are the call. They’re a team you should save for later in the year however.
Best value picks
Road games can be tough calls, but the Lions are gonna be a baaaad team this year. The Texans are going to be a popular opponent to pick against, but taking the Jaguars over Houston this week is not going to be a popular choice. The 49ers are a tough team to figure out for the long haul, but they should be able to win this game handily while still just about fully healthy.
Zach Wilson might end up with a great career, but I’m inclined to pick against him in the early going. Sam Darnold is not a great QB, but he’s solid enough and has enough weapons around him that Carolina should handle their business against New York.
The Rams are a chic pick to make noise with the addition of Matthew Stafford while the Bears seem to be a dumpster fire. I would be wary of going anywhere near this game.