Week 2 Survivor Pool Rankings: Ram Tough
The Week 2 slate looks like a veritable minefield to me, with quite a few games that feel like traps. Even the obvious picks go against some of my self-imposed “rules”, so it will be interesting to see how things play out. Let’s take a look at my Week 2 Survivor Pool rankings.
Week 2 Survivor Pool Rankings
Best Bet: Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals
This game is super obvious for several reasons. First and foremost, the Rams are really good and the Cardinals, well, aren’t. However, I am a tad more cautious about picking the Rams here than I normally am when looking at a 13-point favorite. First, this is a divisional game, which I really try to stay away from. I also worry a bit about a letdown from the Rams after a big Monday night road win. Los Angeles is on a short week and could be looking ahead to a crosstown matchup in Week 3 against the Chargers. But at the end of the day, the Rams make the most sense here, so they are my number-one pick in Week 2 survivor pools.
Next Best Thing: Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills
Methinks the Buffalo Bills are going to be targeted quite often in survivor pools this season. That figures to be the case throughout September at least, with games against the Chargers, Vikings, and Packers on the upcoming schedule. Buffalo looked dreadful in a 47-3 loss in Baltimore last week. It took Nathan Peterman less than one game to lose his starting gig to rookie Josh Allen, who will make his first career start on Sunday. The Chargers are coming off a demoralizing loss against the rival Chiefs and will be looking to bounce back in Week 2. I suspect their defense will have more success against Allen and Zay Jones than they did against Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. I am not a fan of taking road teams in survivor pools, but the Chargers make a ton of sense here.
Best of the Rest
Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders
Another divisional game. Ugh. I could have gone New Orleans here, but I’ll get to them in a minute. Denver has the benefit of not only having consecutive home games to start the season but gets to welcome an Oakland Raiders squad traveling into the thin air of Denver on a short week.
It is also entirely possible that Oakland really stinks. They are not the first team the Rams have made look inept over the past twelve months, but things can get ugly fast in a hurry if Oakland doesn’t turn it around soon. That could make them a desperate team, which is always dangerous. But I still think there is too much in Denver’s favor to go against them here. I am not expecting a blowout, but I believe Denver wins this matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
And another road team. Double ugh. Despite Buccaneers’ head coach Dirk Koetter’s sweeping declaration that FitzMagic is alive and well, I remain skeptical. Especially when the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles loom with the benefit of some extra rest on their side. I just do not see Tampa Bay’s offense having anywhere near the level of success this week that they enjoyed in the season opener. The Eagles are a solid Week 2 survivor pool pick in my estimation.
Favorites I Expect To Win
New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns
In my Survivor Pool preview, I warned against the practice of planning ahead. Case in point – the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. There are many teams who are already knocked out of survivor pool contention following the Saints’ shocking home loss to a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Tampa Bay team. But there are also a lot of people playing in survivor pools who chose to “save” New Orleans for this game. I would imagine those folks are not feeling quite as confident in that strategy as they did a week ago. Now, I do think the Saints will hold off the Browns here, but it is hard to be overly confident backing a team who just allowed 48 points at home to Fitzpatrick and company.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers
The line on this game (Atlanta -6) seems awfully high to me. This figures to be a hotly contested battle among rivals in the always competitive NFC South. I do believe that the Falcons will benefit both from the home field crowd and the extra rest after opening the season on Thursday night last week. These teams split last season’s series with each home team gaining the victory. I would definitely not suggest laying the points, and I would try to find a better option for my Week 2 survivor pool, but I do think that Atlanta emerges victorious in this game.
Chicago Bears vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Bears will be chomping at the bit to avenge their Week 1 loss when they host Russell Wilson and the Seahawks on Monday night. It may be difficult to trust Chicago here, especially after seeing that picture of Trey Burton standing uncovered in the end zone while Mitchell Trubisky seemingly ignores him, but Chicago’s stout defense should set the tone here. The Bears’ front seven should get the best of Seattle’s suspect offensive line and weakened receiving corps. Russell Wilson is always a threat to do it all himself, but I believe the loss of mainstay wideout Doug Baldwin will be too much for Seattle to overcome in this one.
Washington Redskins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Washington is a six-point favorite in this game after dominating the Arizona Cardinals last week. That may have more to do with Arizona than Washington, but Washington seems to be an early favorite among the betting public so far this week. Adrian Peterson looked spry and Chris Thompson looked healthy last week. If that remains the case in Week 2, Washington should escape Week 2 with a victory against a Colts team that struggles against the run.
It’s a Trap!
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
Let’s begin this segment with the trappiest trap game of them all. Detroit heads to the West Coast on a short week after being dismantled by the lowly New York Jets on Monday night. After the game, rumblings came out about some veterans not being enamored with new coach Matt Patricia’s way of doing things. They now travel to visit San Francisco, who also lost, but in much more understandable fashion on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. This has all the makings of a cakewalk for Jimmy Garoppolo and the boys. But something smells fishy to me. It could be the fact that this line moved three points in San Francisco’s favor after Detroit’s embarrassing performance in front of a national television audience. Or that Patricia likely knows Jimmy GQ inside and out from their time together in New England. Call me crazy, but I would not be shocked to see Detroit escape with a Week 2 upset victory.
Kansas City at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 2 is typically Overreaction Central among NFL fans and analysts alike. And yet, Kansas City, after carving up an upper-echelon defense on the road in Los Angeles last week, is getting 4.5 points against a Pittsburgh team that couldn’t put away the Cleveland Browns over the course of 70 minutes of football. Yes, the Browns are improved, and Pittsburgh has had the Chiefs’ number over the years. But I cannot just blindly assume they get the best of Kansas City in this matchup. I would be very nervous about using Pittsburgh in Week 2 against such an explosive offense.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Dallas generated just 232 yards of total offense in a Week 1 loss in Carolina. The Panthers have a good defense, but the loss highlighted Dallas’ obvious lack of playmakers behind Ezekiel Elliott. That does not seem to be the case in New York, where Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley each posted over 100 yards against an elite Jacksonville Jaguars defense. The Giants also have very capable options in Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. I suspect Dallas gets most of the action in this game, but this feels like one to avoid in survivor pools.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
This game has many similar traits to the game in San Francisco. In both cases, you have two teams seeking their first victory. And in both cases, the favorite is the team whose Week 1 loss is more easily justifiable. Houston lost on the road at the Patriots, which nearly everyone expected. Tennessee lost to Miami, which most people did not expect. Tennessee also lost Delanie Walker to a season-ending injury, and the health of quarterback Marcus Mariota is in question. However, reports on Mariota suggest he is good to go, and I still believe the Titans are very much capable of winning this game. I certainly would not waste a survivor pool pick on Houston in Week 2.
New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars
This feels like Jacksonville’s Super Bowl to me. After losing last year’s AFC Championship Game in New England, I’m sure that everyone in the organization circled this game on their calendars once the NFL schedule was released. Jacksonville will be fired up for this one, but I have learned the hard way throughout the years never to bet against New England. I think the Patriots win a hard-fought contest on the road in this one. Having said that, I would still stay away from this game in survivor pools.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Both of these AFC North squads get Week 2 started on Thursday night after impressive victories to start the season. This game is too close to call in Vegas, and I think this will be a hard-fought affair. There are not a ton of games I love on this week’s slate, but I would find somewhere else to go with my Week 2 survivor pool entry. These squads are division rivals playing on a short week. There are too many variables in this game to confidently pick a side.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets both entered Week 1 as underdogs and both left with outright victories. Miami defeated Tennessee in a game that few saw to completion. The game took over seven hours to complete due to multiple weather-related delays. The Jets, meanwhile, went on the road and defeated the heavily-favored Lions on a national stage. As is the case with Detroit, this line has moved three points in New York’s favor since Tuesday morning. It reeks of recency bias. I am still not convinced that either of these teams is very good. I would find another team to hang my hat on in Week 2.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
There is currently no line on this game, as Aaron Rodgers is still dealing with the effects of a knee injury suffered on Sunday night. He was able to return and provide enough heroics to lead Green Bay to victory, but he is no sure thing to lead the Packers out of the tunnel in Week 2. Regardless of Rodgers’ status, I think this game ends up in the “Favorites I Expect to Win” category. If Rodgers plays, Green Bay will be favored, and I would expect them to hold serve on their home field. If he sits, I believe Minnesota would be favored and would win. Either way, I am not in love with the idea of using either team as my Week 2 survivor pool pick.
Mick Ciallela has been writing for FantraxHQ since July 2017. He has also written for Bleacher Report. He is a lifelong sports fan and has been an avid fantasy sports player for many years. Mick was the Overall Champion of both the 2016 Football Challenge – Roto and 2017 Play 3 Football contests hosted by CDM Sports. MIck was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York and currently resides in New London, Connecticut.
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