Week 6 Survivor Pool Rankings: Go Pack Go!
It is time for my Week 6 survivor pool rankings! I believe there are several teams that warrant consideration for the top spot this week. After that, things get ugly real quick. Eleven of the 15 games on this week’s slate have a Vegas point spread of fewer than four points. Six of those eleven involve road favorites. Giddy up.
With so many games expected to come down to the wire, there is likely to be a relatively thin distribution among Week 6 survivor pool entries. Below are my Week 6 survivor pool picks, broken down into tiers for your viewing pleasure. Choose wisely.
Week 6 Survivor Pool Rankings
Best Bet: Green Bay Packers v. San Francisco 49ers
The Green Bay Packers will host the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night in what feels like an early must-win. Green Bay is in a dogfight in the NFC North and has road games with the Rams and Patriots looming following this week’s game. The Packers cannot afford a letdown versus the 49ers. Green Bay should have enough advantages on both sides of the ball to pull out a victory.
You will not see many quarterback matchups in 2018 that are as one-sided as this one, which pits all-time great Aaron Rodgers against C.J. Beathard. Beathard’s career 1-6 record as a starter does not figure to improve against a Green Bay defense which ranks second in passing yards allowed per game and third in adjusted sack rate. Rodgers, meanwhile, should feast against one of the league’s worst defenses. San Francisco is the only team in the NFL to allow at least 24 points in each game this season. Green Bay should be able to make relatively easy work of San Francisco in this matchup. The Packers are my top Week 6 Survivor pool pick.
Next Best Things
Minnesota Vikings v. Arizona Cardinals
The Minnesota Vikings look to post consecutive victories for the first time this season when they host the 1-4 Arizona Cardinals. The Vikings stand at a very respectable 2-2-1 after a brutal schedule which has included road games at Green Bay, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Week 6 should offer Minnesota a bit of a reprieve. Then again, the Vikings were in this exact spot several weeks ago and promptly screwed the pooch in an embarrassing home loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Like Buffalo in the aforementioned matchup, Arizona will be trotting out a rookie first-round draft pick at quarterback. The Cardinals have started to resemble a functional NFL offense after making the switch from Sam Bradford to Josh Rosen. Arizona has averaged 22.5 points per game in Rosen’s starts, a far cry from the 6.7 points they averaged with Bradford at the helm. In my view, the Cardinals have shown enough life recently to at least make me consider the possibility of an upset. Ultimately, I think the Vikings hold serve, but they find themselves in my second tier of Week 6 survivor pool picks.
Houston Texans v. Buffalo Bills
The Houston Texans have finally won consecutive games and seem to be hitting their stride. Houston actually has a slight edge over Green Bay in terms of their Vegas point spread. The Texans are favored by ten points in this game, as most expect them to pick up another victory. While I do think they will defeat the Buffalo Bills, there are several factors that are causing me to list Houston a notch below Green Bay this week.
First and foremost is the chest injury that quarterback Deshaun Watson is dealing with. Watson figures to play, but he was in a lot of pain toward the end of last week’s game. If he suffers any sort of in-game setback, Houston could be in for a long day. Buffalo has started to hit their stride defensively as of late. The Bills have allowed just 40 points over their last three games posting a 2-1 record in the process. I also believe the Texans could be in for a bit of a letdown this week. The Texans earned back-to-back overtime victories and are likely to enter Week 6 a bit fatigued. They also have next week’s game in Jacksonville circled on their calendars. Like Minnesota, Houston is a solid pick, but a notch below Green Bay for me.
Favorites Who Should Win
Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins
The Chicago Bears are one of the most underrated teams in the NFL. They are tied for third in the league with a +46 point differential and are a Week 1 Aaron Rodgers comeback away from entering Week 6 undefeated. The Bears head to Miami fresh off an early bye week and look to maintain their slight lead in the NFC North.
The Dolphins head home with their tail between their legs following losses in New England and Cincinnati that likely exposed them as pretenders in the AFC rather than contenders. Miami was outscored 65-24 in those two games and their three-game winning streak to open the season is already a distant memory. I do not think they will be able to generate much offense against an elite Bears’ defense. I expect the Bears to stay hot and win their fourth consecutive game.
Atlanta Falcons v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Things are unraveling quickly for the Atlanta Falcons. Losers of three straight, no team in the entire NFL has a worse record than the 1-4 Falcons. They will look to salvage their season in Week 6 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what should be another shootout in the NFC South. Atlanta has already suffered home losses to Carolina and New Orleans and will have already concluded the home portion of their divisional schedule following this game.
The Buccaneers are coming off a bye week and will sport a different look on offense. Jameis Winston will make his first start of the year, and rookie running back Ronald Jones is likely to take over for the ineffective Peyton Barber. This will be an interesting dynamic considering Tampa Bay is averaging 28 points per game. It is not as if this has been an inept offense. I think the Buccaneers will still be able to put up points against a beleaguered Falcons’ defense, but Tampa’s defense is a mess and does not have the manpower to hold Atlanta’s high-powered offense in check. The Falcons cannot afford another divisional loss, especially at home. This is a game Atlanta simply must have. I would not risk my survivor pool on the Falcons, but I do think they find a way to get a win here.
Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos
The Los Angeles Rams are one of two unbeaten teams entering Week 6. They have scored at least 33 points in each game this season and are seemingly unstoppable on offense. Their offensive line is one of the very best in football and should be chomping at the bit to match up with a Denver defense which was eviscerated for an almost unheard of 323 rushing yards in an embarrassing loss to the New York Jets last week. Wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp are likely to suit up following Week 5 concussion scares. If the Rams are indeed at full strength, they should emerge victorious in this game. But I do think it is fair to wonder if Los Angeles will match Denver’s intensity this week.
The Broncos are already behind the 8-ball in the AFC West, trailing Kansas City by three games. They are desperate to stop a three-game skid and remain competitive for a playoff spot in the AFC. The Rams, meanwhile, already have more wins this season than the rest of their division combined. Barring a catastrophic injury or two, Los Angeles is highly likely to be playing football in January. They are also in the middle of a three-game road trip and facing a non-conference opponent. I expect the Rams to take care of business, but I think it will be a little more difficult than most expect.
It’s a Trap!
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are flying high entering Week 6. They come into this week’s game leading the AFC North with a 4-1 record. Cincinnati is fourth in the league in total scoring, averaging over 30 points per game. The Bengals are facing a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed the third-most points in the AFC. Pittsburgh has had a turbulent beginning to their season, complete with holdouts and backbiting. And yet I have no faith that Cincinnati will be able to win this game.
For all of the drama that has surrounded Pittsburgh dating back to the preseason, a win here would put them at 3-2-1 entering a Week 7 bye. Star running Le’veon Bell is returning following the bye week, and the Steelers could be in for a big second half. I believe they will pull out all the stops to get a jump on that second half this week in Cincinnati. Call it nothing more than a hunch, but I think that somehow, someway, Pittsburgh will do just enough to upset the Bengals in this game.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
These NFC East rivals come into Week 6 each sporting two-game losing streaks. Luckily for them, they play in what has been the worst division top to bottom in football this season. The entire division has combined to win just seven games through five weeks. No other division has won less than nine. Each team in the NFC East has a negative point differential. No other division has more than two teams with a negative point differential.
I think Philadelphia is more likely than New York to figure out what ails them first, which is why I’m going with them here. Carson Wentz is still rounding into form and Doug Pederson is one of the best coaches in all of football. Philadelphia’s weakness in pass protection is unlikely to bite them against a Giants team which has struggled to rush the passer. New York will have Olivier Vernon available for the first time this year, but he too will need to round into shape. Eli Manning does not figure to be able to capitalize on the Eagles’ deficiencies in the secondary. I believe the Eagles do just enough to squeak by with a Week 6 victory on Thursday night.
Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins
Washington is an early betting favorite in this game, albeit by the slimmest of margins. I think by the time Sunday rolls around, Washington will be at best a pick’em among the betting public. The Redskins were thoroughly dismantled by New Orleans in all phases Monday night. Washington has yet to play a close game so far this season. All four of their games have been decided by at least 12 points.
Carolina enters this game with a 3-1 record, but they are about to play just their second game away from home. They lost their lone road tilt, a Week 2 game against the 1-4 Atlanta Falcons. It remains to be seen whether the Panthers can prove themselves in a hostile environment. I think Carolina has enough talent to beat Washington, but this game is a stay away for me in survivor pools.
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans
Both Baltimore and Tennessee are coming off uninspiring losses in Cleveland and Buffalo, respectively. The teams scored nary a touchdown in their Week 5 defeats. They will look to get back in the win column in a game which could ultimately have great importance in the AFC. It will be interesting to see how this game shakes out, as both teams (Tennessee in particular) tend to play to the level of their competition.
Tennessee’s offense has not lived up to preseason expectations, and I can’t imagine them suddenly discovering the formula to success against the Ravens. Baltimore’s defense has allowed a league-low 71.8 passer rating and 5.9 yards per attempt. Marcus Mariota has struggled mightily through an elbow injury and is unlikely to be effective in this matchup. I am going with the Ravens here, but this is not a team I would go out of my way to take in a survivor pool.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Two AFC powerhouses collide when the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs head to New England to take on the Patriots. This Sunday night showdown is likely to be an entertaining affair featuring two of the game’s best signal callers. Patrick Mahomes has gotten off to an incredible start and looks to keep it going against a Patriots’ defense which struggles to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. New England has mustered just seven sacks so far this season. With their unique formations and pre-snap movement, I think Kansas City’s offense should perform well under the bright lights.
As for Tom Brady and the Patriots, their suddenly-full pass catcher cupboard should thrive against a Chiefs team which allows an NFL-high 44.68 yards per drive. That number is more than five yards worse than the next worst team. Kansas City has the dubious distinction of allowing the most passing yards and the most yards per rushing attempt this season. With each team having such potent offenses and sketchy defenses, this is a game to avoid in survivor pools. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the air show.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys
This game figures to be the bizarro Chiefs-Patriots game. Jacksonville allows a league-best 191 passing yards per game. Not to be outdone, Dallas averages just 172 yards of passing offense per game. The Cowboys arguably sport the league’s weakest wide receiver corps and now must face Jacksonville’s elite secondary. Expect to see a healthy dose of Ezekiel Elliott in this game for America’s Team.
On the other side, last week’s game was a case of fantasy clashing with reality for quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles finished as a QB1 in fantasy leagues but was undoubtedly awful, throwing four interceptions. He has been far too inconsistent to get a bead on how he will perform in this matchup. This is likely to be a low-scoring slugfest, which is not the kind of game to target. Look elsewhere for your Week 6 survivor pool pick.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets
The Colts head into their Week 6 game against the New York Jets as losers of three straight. Andrew Luck is dinking and dunking all over the place, but the results have not been there for the Colts in the win column. Indianapolis is once again unlikely to have top wideout T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle available for this game. Lacking consistency in the run game, this is a game which should see the Colts attacking New York with short passes, especially crossing routes underneath.
New York has been a tough nut to crack so far. They became the first team to lose to the Cleveland Browns since 2016 three weeks ago but have also looked dominant in wins over Detroit and Denver. The Jets have averaged 246 rushing yards in the two games they have won this season. That number is drastically reduced to just 61 yards per game in their three losses. Riding an inconsistent team like the Jets is not advised. I believe that the Colts’ lack of offensive weapons will be their downfall in this game, but the Jets are far too inconsistent to put any faith in them in a survivor pool.
Seattle Seahawks v. Oakland Raiders (London)
The year’s first international game will take place on Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders do battle in London. Both teams have struggled early on, combining for a 3-7 record. Seattle lost a tough game against the Rams on Sunday following consecutive victories. Seattle’s rushing attack has been impressive in recent weeks, which should benefit them against Oakland. The Raiders rank near the bottom of the league in nearly every rush defense metric. They have also yielded an AFC-high 149 points.
The only reason I am hesitant to fully endorse Seattle here is the Marshawn Lynch revenge factor. This will likely be the veteran’s one and only chance to face his former team, and he will do everything imaginable to stick it to the Seahawks. Particularly with a bye week on the horizon, I would not be surprised to see Lynch approach 30 touches in this game and possibly will his team to an upset victory.
Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are officially not a joke. We knew heading into the season that their talent level had improved, and the results are finally starting to show. Cleveland is now 2-2-1 on the year after defeating Baltimore in overtime last week. The Browns’ record could (and arguably should) be much better. Cleveland is one of three teams who has led each game into the final minute of regulation. The others are the Chiefs and Rams, both of whom are 5-0.
Los Angeles has won back-to-back games, but both were at home against inferior competition. The Chargers have defeated Buffalo, San Francisco, and Oakland so far this season. They have lost to Kansas City and the Rams. There is certainly no shame in those losses, but there is also not much chest-pounding given those relatively weak victories. It remains to be seen whether the Chargers are true contenders in the AFC. They are another team that seems to play to the level of their opponent. I can totally see a scenario where this game ends in a tie after both teams’ awful kickers miss potential game-winning kicks. I would stay far away from this contest in survivor pools.
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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