Wednesday - Sep 30, 2020

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Surviving Week 1

Football season is back as fantasy leagues, weekly pick ‘ems and survivor pools return! Each week, I will provide analysis on each game from a survivor pool perspective. You want to be very careful in selecting your games, especially in week 1, where you know the least about each team. Some general rules I like to incorporate into my selections each week include avoiding road teams and divisional matchups. I will almost never take a road team against a divisional opponent unless the week provides me no other option. Those games are where the most upsets occur.

Remember the idea of the game is to survive and advance. While it is strategic to look ahead at the future weeks, do not look too far ahead to sacrifice the current week you are in.

With that said, let’s break down the games …



Vikings @ Saints
– Since the NFL started allowing the Super Bowl champion to host the opening Thursday night game at home, they have not lost. The week 1 schedule is pretty evenly matched, but it would take some courage to take the Saints after these two teams battled in overtime for the NFC Championship.


Broncos @ Jaguars
– Here’s one of the ugly week 1 matchups.

has not won an opening day game since 2006 while

has not lost one since that same year. Will the trend continue? I’m not willing to go either way on this one …

Raiders @ Titans

has opened up as a seven-point favorite in this game, but this isn’t your typical reliable touchdown favorite. The Titans got off to a slow start last season while

seemed to play one of their better games in a loss to

San Diego
in the Monday night doubleheader. The Raiders did some damage to survivor pool hopefuls last season with three of their five wins coming against



. There are not many games to choose from this week, but I’m going to look elsewhere if possible.

Bengals @ Patriots
– Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco on the field at once? If only this was 2007. Either way, looking for some points to be scored in this game, but don’t overlook that

defense. Avoid this game.

Browns @ Buccaneers
– Next.

Colts @ Texans
– Is this finally the year for

? I can’t go against Peyton Manning in week 1, no matter where the game is being played. The Texans will be without Brian Cushing and you cannot afford to be without your best players against Manning. Stay away.

Lions @ Bears
– Anyone who plays the Lions always seems like a potential option, but three things are going against that in this one. This is a divisional game,

has improved and Jay Cutler has not looked good. However, I don’t expect the Lions to march into Soldier Field and beat the Bears on opening day. Keep

in mind.

Falcons @ Steelers
– This game is virtually a pick ‘em due to the fact that Ben Roethlisberger will not be suiting up. I still like

to win this game, but will not be using them this week.

Dolphins @ Bills
– The schedule makers took it easy on

this year allowing them to go to

in September and not in the cold months of November or December. However, it is never easy to travel into a divisional opponents’ building and come out with a win. While the Dolphins are clearly a better team, I can’t break the cardinal rule of going with a road team in a divisional matchup.

Panthers @ Giants
– ‘Big Blue’ was embarrassed last season against

to close Giants Stadium. Things have changed in

, though, and the Giants will be ready to play this time as they open their new building. Sitting as a seven-point favorite, the Giants are one of the top options for week 1.

Packers @ Eagles
– This should be a great game in

and while

Green Bay
is favored in this one, I’m staying away. A lot of hype is surrounding the Packers this season and it’s not worth taking them in a close game. Don’t overlook the Eagles, though. They’re no pushover.

Cardinals @ Rams
– What a difference a year makes. Last season,

would have looked like a solid option, but the Cardinals are a different team without Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin. If this game was in

, it’d be more clear-cut, but in

St. Louis
, I’ll pass.

49ers @ Seahawks
– The 49ers finally have everything in place to win the NFC West. They are the Houston Texans of the NFC as every year recently experts have predicted them to be a sleeper team and sneak into the playoffs. Neither


San Francisco
has done that recently, but this year they both have the best chance to do so. As for this game, I’m not in love with picking road teams in general, especially opening day. This is also a divisional game and compares to the Cardinals @ Rams game. If you flip-flop the locations in both games, I like


San Francisco
, but the way it stands now, I’ll look elsewhere.


Cowboys @ Redskins
– NFC East rivalry on Sunday night football to cap off the night. It will be interesting to see how the Redskins begin the season with all of the new faces at home against the NFC East favorites. Avoid.


Ravens @ Jets
– The Jets talk a lot. It all starts from their head coach. A lot of teams will be gunning for the Jets this season so be cautious when picking them as they could be primed for an upset with teams wanting to play their best against them. Don’t get me wrong, the Jets should have a good year, but expect an upset or two. This one is an evenly matched battle, though.

Chargers @ Chiefs
– This game sums up several of the week 1 matchups. Divisional games with the favorite being the road team. That is always dangerous and you can expect a few home underdogs to pull off wins. This is why I am avoiding all of these games.




Staying away from road teams in week 1 …




New York
Giants – new defensive coordinator, offense looks crisper with Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield and home to open up the new stadium. As long as they focus on shutting down the run, their secondary is improved to hold down Steve Smith.

’s defense got worse over the offseason and the Giants should find success on offense.
GIANTS are the Week 1 Selection.


Other teams to look out for: Titans, Bears, Saints



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