The Rules of Survival: Week 1

Fantasy football is just one format that fans of the pigskin can play this time of year, and other contests are just as addictive. Believe me. One of those is Survival Football, and to win at Survival Football all you need to do is pick one (1) winner each week. The trick is that you can only pick each time once, so once you’ve used them you can’t again for the rest of the season. It takes a strong gut to pick from week to week sometimes, but it can be incredibly rewarding if the season’s winding down and you’re still perfect on selections.

There are two different kinds of Survival Football.

  1. Single elimination
  2. Double elimination

Single elimination means what it says. The second you pick a team that doesn’t win you’re out, and you get to say “better luck next year,” that old refrain of the Brooklyn Dodgers of long ago. In double elimination you have better odds because you get to make one wrong choice and keep playing. You’re done only when you’ve selected a second team that also loses. In double elimination you can still only pick a team once each year, even if they lose on the week you pick them. So tread lightly.

Here is some advice to remember before you select each week:

  • Pick the team that has the biggest possibility of victory.
  • Avoid the timeless tactic of “saving teams” (not picking a team because you want to choose them later in the season). You might not get to that point if you try and save them now.
  • Do your best to pick home teams.
  • Beware “trap games” (when a matchup looks too good to be true. It often is).
  • Never wait until the last minute to make your selection.

The main point is to pick the team that has the biggest possibility of victory each week, but make sure that it’s a home team. Home teams have a higher probability of victory, no matter who the home team is, and no team is so bad this year that they couldn’t win a home game on any given Sunday. So stick to a team at home, and pick the team that has a better than even chance to win.

For week 1 I like to choose a team that went to the playoffs last year, playing against a team that didn’t, and playing at home. That narrows the selections down to:

ARIZONA (hosting New Orleans)
DALLAS (hosting NY Giants)

Then I eliminate division games because those teams know each other too well, and rivalry is very real. Whatever advantage one team might have over another one usually gets wiped out in the battle that becomes a divisional contest. That leaves us with the Cardinals to beat the Saints in Arizona. But is that the team with the biggest possibility of victory out of all the games being played this weekend? No. So let’s look at the other 2015 playoff teams playing at home and see what sticks out.

NEW ENGLAND (hosting Pittsburgh) – The Pats usually play well at home against the AFC, and they get the Steelers without Bell and Bryant.
DENVER (hosting Baltimore) – The Broncos usually start fast, and I don’t see this being any exception, given Gary Kubiak’s pedigree.

While the Steelers still have Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger, the Patriots are fully stocked and loaded for bear, and they’re angry at everything that happened with DeflateGate. I look for them to score early and often in this one, plus they generally destroy AFC opposition at home. New England is the team with the highest possibility of victory this week, even though Pittsburgh went to the playoffs last year. Go with them in every Survival League.

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