NFL survivor pools are becoming more and more popular every season. If you aren’t familiar with survivor pools, they also go by the names of suicide pools, eliminators, or knockout pools.

They basically work like this: Each week you pick one team that you think will win their game outright. The catch is that you are only able to use each team one time.

As easy as this might sound, it’s a lot harder than you think. The parity in the NFL makes it tough to consistently pick outright winners. Especially once you’ve used up some of the best teams in the league.  The last man (or woman) standing wins the pool and the pot.

Each week I’m going to post the teams that I feel are your best bets for the week, those that are on the bubble, and those that I think you should avoid (that you might be tempted to take) if at all possible.

The strongest tool I use is the NFL lines.  The bigger the favorite the more likely they are to win the game.  But, I also use the same logic as I do when handicapping the point spreads.  For more great free content this week check out my teaser of the week.

Week 17 NFL Last Man Standing Pool Picks

My Best Survivor Pick – Week 17

I like to give out what I think is the best value play on the board. What I’m referring to as value, is a team that has a high percentage chance of winning this week, who doesn’t figure to a strong play in upcoming weeks. This allows you to save a lot of the elite teams for later when others have already used them up. 

  1. New York Giants (vs Dallas Cowboys) – I have to think anyone who has made it this far hasn’t used the Giants, making them my favorite play for Week 17. New York’s been out of the playoff race for a while now, but have continued to play extremely hard. I think there’s going to be a little extra motivation this week with it being potentially the last game for Eli Manning in a Giants’ uniform. At the same time, Dallas is going to treat this like a preseason game, as they got the No. 4 seed locked up and all of their focus is on Wild Card weekend. 

Top Teams This to Back This Week

  1. Green Bay Packers (vs Detroit Lions) – There’s a ton of massive favorites on the board. If you got any of those, go ahead and take them. I’m trying to dig a little deeper and find some games with teams you might still have available. Green Bay could be one of them and while the Packers are out of the playoff picture, I really like their chances of closing out the season with a win at home over the Lions. I think Green Bay is playing here for interim head coach Joe Philbin, while Detroit is ready for the offseason.
  2. Buffalo Bills (vs Miami Dolphins) – This is for those that are really desperate. Buffalo should be able to win at home over the Dolphins. Miami had a glimmer of hope going into Week 16, but they had already thrown in the towel, as they laid a massive egg in a 17-7 home loss to the Jaguars. I just think the Dolphins are going to want nothing to do with playing in Buffalo this weekend.

Suicide Teams to Avoid This Week

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (@ Denver Broncos)  – The Chargers have to be kicking themselves. Just one week after their epic come-from-behind win at Kansas City to pull even with the Chiefs in the AFC West, they lost at home to the Ravens. Even though KC also lost at Seattle, the Chiefs still hold the tiebreaker. If Kansas City beats the Raiders at home, they win the division and secure the No. 1 seed. Chargers have to decide if they want to lay it all on the line and hope for a miracle upset by Oakland or rest some guys up for Wild Card weekend.
  2. Chicago Bears (@ Minnesota Vikings) – The Bears are in a very similar scenario, expect they are actually playing against a team that needs to win to make the playoffs in Minnesota. In theory, Chicago is still alive for the No. 2 seed and a first round bye. However, in order for that to happen the Rams would have to lose at home to the 49ers. If I was the Bears, I think you have to assume LA will win and strongly consider resting some of your starters to make sure you are 100% ready for Wild Card weekend.
  3. New Orleans Saints (vs Carolina Panthers)  – Chances are you don’t have the Saints tucked away in your back pocket, but I would be extremely cautious about playing them if you do. New Orleans has absolutely nothing to play for, as they have the No. 1 seed locked up. Even if the Saints play their starters, I can’t see them playing more than a few series.