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Thirty-five percent of survivor pool entries were eliminated last week when the Titans and Saints both lost in overtime. An extra 21% would have been knocked out had the Bengals not completed their comeback against the Jaguars.
Week 5 could see an equal amount of destruction with 79% of entries on the top four picks and nearly 50% riding on the Cowboys and double-digit favorite Buccaneers.
Before we dive into our pool picks, let's take a look at how we did last week:
Week 4 picks
Best Bets: 2-1 (YTD: 8-2)
Leans: 1-0 (YTD: 4-1)
Traps to avoid: 1 elimination avoided (YTD: 5)
On to the Week 5 picks!
Minnesota Vikings (-9) vs. Detroit Lions
Before Vikings QB Kirk Cousins ran into Cleveland's buzzsaw defense, he had completed 73.9% of his passes and thrown for nine touchdowns with zero interceptions. This week, he'll get to bounce back against a Lions defense giving up a league-worst 10.6 yards per passing attempt.
Minnesota is 1-3 and doesn't have the luxury of taking any team lightly. This is a must-win game if they want to have a chance at the playoffs this season. Luckily for them, they're catching the winless Lions at the perfect time. Detroit just placed Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow on injured reserve with a turf toe injury and lost their best pass-rusher for the season when linebacker Romeo Okwara tore his Achilles in last week's loss to the Bears.
The Vikings are the fourth-most popular pick this week at 13%. Their future value is a Week 13 game at Detroit.
New England Patriots (-9.5) at Houston Texans
In the 10 quarters since rookie Davis Mills replaced injured QB Tyrod Taylor, the Texans have scored two touchdowns and Mills has thrown five interceptions. That's the kind of ratio that makes people delete their Twitter accounts.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a 22-6 record against rookie quarterbacks and his defense is starting to come together, as we saw in Sunday night's game versus Tom Brady and the Bucs.
One concern for New England is the status of their offensive line. Four of their starters missed practice on Wednesday. Two of those linemen, Isaiah Wynn and Michael Onwenu, were placed on the COVID-19/reserve list. If they're vaccinated, they could still play on Sunday as long as they're asymptomatic and can produce a pair of negative tests 24 hours apart. If they can't, I would lay off this game and move my entries to the Vikings faster than a Belichick hug.
New England has future value in home games against the Jets in Week 7 and the Jaguars in Week 17. Nearly 18% of entries are on them this week.
TRAPS TO AVOID
Las Vegas Raiders (-5.5) vs. Chicago Bears
It's easy to watch a team get demolished like the Bears did in Week 3 and write them off as a horrible team. The truth is, a lot has already changed for Chicago since then. First of all, they stopped playing the Browns. Secondly, Bears coach Matt Nagy finally handed play-calling duties off to Bill Lazor and we got to see an offense tailored to rookie quarterback Justin Fields' skill set. Running back David Montgomery is out with a knee injury, but backup Damien Williams, who should have won Super Bowl MVP two years ago, isn't much of a drop-off.
The Bears are absolutely a live dog in this game. Their defense has the most sacks in the NFL, while the Raiders have given up the fifth-most sacks. Las Vegas isn't the punching bag most people expected them to be this year, but they're also not as good as their 3-1 record.
Close to 3% of entries have picked the Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10) vs. Miami Dolphins
Is the fact that the Bucs are coming off an emotional game enough for the Dolphins to pull off an upset? Probably not, but nearly the entire starting secondary for the Bucs is injured and there's too much future value in Tampa Bay to burn them before they're back to full strength.
Twenty-two percent of survivor entries are taking the Bucs, making them this week's second-most popular pick.
Atlanta Falcons (-3) vs. New York Jets
A lot of people will look at the schedule and think, "Wow, the Falcons are at home versus the Jets, that's an easy pick." Yes, Atlanta is technically the home team in this matchup, but it's being played in London.
The Falcons secondary has surrendered the most touchdowns in the NFL and will now be without cornerback Isaiah Oliver, who just landed on season-ending IR. Atlanta may also have to play Sunday's game without starting safety Erik Harris.
This game is a pure toss-up, with just over 2% of entries flipping on the Falcons.
Stats provided by Pro Football Reference and nfl.com.