For the past several years, I have been running several staff Survivor Pools. For those who are not familiar with the concept, it is pretty simple - pick a winning NFL team each week. The catch is that you cannot use a team more than once all season. Lose and you are out. Hence - "Survivor", or "Eliminator" pools.
I've done some prep work each year in getting ready for the coming NFL season. I have outlined in the past my strategy, and I will be revamping it once again this year with new ideas. I like to read plenty of other people's thoughts on football and strategy, but one article caught my eye and sparked an idea for this year. Dave Larkin (right here at Footballguys) wrote an interesting article about the win totals that are published each year for NFL teams, and that gave me a few thoughts. What if I took those numbers and tried to forecast the best matchups throughout the season? Could I find the easy games to pick, forecast the land mine weeks and maybe find a few diamonds in the rough? I think so, so this is my first attempt at doing just that. Stick with me as I go through this, because I think the chart at the end of the article could be worth the price of the Insider Pro membership all by itself (yes, I'm boasting, but I think it is really, really valuable).
So here was my plan - break down the entire NFL schedule and use Las Vegas to help me out. We do this all the time in fantasy, daily or season long. The guys that run the sportsbooks in Las Vegas are sharpest of the sharps, so why not use their numbers to start our analysis? I assigned every NFL team a number equal to their Over/Under line for wins for the coming season, and then I just compared each matchup for all 256 games. Now, there are a few wrinkles, mostly due to suspensions and changes since the numbers came out, but this is a reasonable start of a baseline to figuring out a plan for the Survivor season.