Friday, October 8, 2010

Surviving in a Suicide League

We have a new contributor in Chris Alan who is offering his thoughts about how to play a survivor league. Chris plans on contributing on a weekly basis.

How to Pick in an Elimination Pool (a.k.a. Survivor, Knock Out or Suicide.) Week 5 Edition.

These are my favorite leagues to get into, and unfortunately the one I had so much success with over the past few years folded in the off season, and I didn't find another in time. However, I still feel like analyzing the season, and will post weekly breakdowns of games.

My analysis will follow the same rules I used for my previous league. You get two losses before you're out for the season. Tiebreaker adds up the spread points, the person with the lowest number of spread points wins. A tie is not a loss, thank you Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles against Kansas City two years ago for not loosing. Unfortunately K.C. came back to haunt me last year in beating the Pittsburg Steelers in week 11 as the Steelers went on to loose to the worst teams on their schedule.

But, this year it looks like K.C. will be a good team to pick. Just not against the Colts this week.

Rules are meant to be broken, especially later in the year when your pickings are slimmer. With that in mind, here are two basic tenants:

1) Always pick a home team.

2) Never pick a division game.

I've gleefully watched my competitors go down by breaking these rules. I also won second place in week 17 of 2008 by breaking both of these rules, leapfrogging the guy ahead of me with my underdog away pick of the Miami Dolphins over the New York Jets. Honestly, I was going to pick the underdog of that game regardless of who it was because I knew it would be a close game and I had to pick an underdog to win the spread point tie-breaker. The elimination pool winner that year had by far the highest spread point total, but had zero loses, so there's also something said for playing it safe.

Which is the perfect transition into Week 5 of the NFL. The trick for an elimination pool for the first four weeks is to play it safe. Ignore the spread points as much as you can, and just pick winners. Regardless of how much time the pundants spend trying to convince you how much they know going into the season, in reality it takes about 4 weeks to get a firm idea of what direction teams are going.

Each week I will make 4 picks, Pick of the Week, Safe Pick, Spread Pick, and finally, Underdog Pick. I will follow league rules for my Pick of the Week. Obviously not making picks the first 4 weeks will help me out here, but regardless, for the next 13 weeks I will not pick the same team twice in my Pick of the Week. The Safe Pick is good if you've already lost a game and just want to hold on. The Spread Pick is important if you're in a close race and know your best competitors will be monitoring the spread carefully. The Underdog Pick is a longshot, desperate move best made late in the season. But, I'll be tallying up my track record for these 4 categories over the course of the season, so I'll start making Underdog Picks now.

Pick of the Week: Houston Texans -3.5 hosting New York Giants
The Giants are going to have a tough time against the AFC South this year. They've already been dismantled by Tennessee. Their defensive front is solid, but not as good as Chicago's offensive line is horrible. Giants will be lucky to have 2 sacks this game. The Texans have a rough home schedule this year, they host Kansas City next week whom I'm giving a better shot to beat the Colts than most, but regardless of K.C. winning or loosing this week, I still would never pick Houston to beat them next week. Houston's other home games are against San Diego, Tennessee, Baltimore and Jacksonville. This is my pick of the week, based on the spread being low and Houston's tough home schedule. There is no better week to pick Houston coming up, if you still have them, play them. Confidence level: 4 out of 5.

Safe Pick: Baltimore Ravens -7.5 hosting Denver Broncos
Ok, safest pick, this one is definitely not in the bag. The Broncos have been impressive in the air, but less than stellar on the ground or protecting the quarterback. If the Ravens can shake Kyle Orton early they can easily control this game. Other Baltimore games to consider will be hosting Buffalo in week 7 and Tampa Bay in week 12, though the spread points in those weeks will be killer. If you‚'ve already played Houston, or want to play it a little safer, this is a solid pick. Confidence level: 4 out of 5.

Spread Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars -1.5 at Buffalo Bills
If you're already worried about your spread points, this is a tempting game to pick. The Jaguars played a good football game last week against the Colts, and should be able to easily handle a Bills team without their top rusher. Looks like the spread lines have changed to the Bills being favorites over the past few days, so this might be an underdog pick if your league updates the spread points. I also think this is what people consider a trap game, they just beat Indy and next week host Tennessee. However, if Jacksonville wants to keep their hopes alive this is the type of game they need to be sure to win. Be weary that it's an away game, I'd recommend holding on to Jacksonville until week 11 hosting Cleveland or week 14 hosting Oakland. Confidence level: 3 out of 5.

Underdog Pick: Washington Redskins +2.5 hosting Green Bay Packers
It's week 5. You shouldn't be playing an underdog, it's not worth the risk. However, I'm also curious how I do picking an underdog each week. Of all the home teams who are underdogs, this is the game I like the most. I'm pulling for St. Louis to "upset" the Lions, but Detroit has been playing hard all year and I think they want this win more than St. Louis. But this paragraph should be about Washington. If the Redskins play the way they did first quarter against the Eagles or all game against the Cowboys, this game could easily tip in their favor. But, seriously, don't pick this game. Confidence level: 1 out of 5.

Side Notes:
Picking New Orleans over Arizona is a solid pick, but keep in mind its an away game. The Cardinals will be playing the greenest quarterback in the NFL, and with New Orleans track record I foresee them winning the turnover battle by 2. If you've already played the Texans and Ravens in your league then pick the Saints, otherwise I recommend holding New Orleans for week 11 when they host Seattle. They will be fresh off their bye week, and the spread shouldn't be more than 10.5. Confidence level: 3.5 out of 5.


Anonymous said...

PICK of the week: FAIL!

Anonymous said...

You consistently misspelled "losing".

Anonymous said...

what the hell is a pundant

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