The month of December can be foreign territory to many survivor league participants. If you managed to pick a winning team for 12 consecutive weeks, then allow me to be the first to congratulate you!
However, if you are still reading this article, then that means another one of your league mates has also managed to accomplish the same feat, which means the job isn’t complete yet.
It’s time to dig in and take a look at my picks and strategies for your survivor league heading into Week 13.
NFL Survivor Picks Strategy for Week 13
If making it to the month of December in your survivor league wasn’t already tough enough, then can I interest you in removing six teams from this week’s slate to help make it a tougher challenge? In all seriousness, someone should start a petition to the NFL about putting six teams on a bye week heading into Week 13. I’ll gladly sign it.
Unfortunately for the 22.2% of survivor league participants who picked the Minnesota Vikings, QB Joshua Dobbs threw four interceptions in the midst of an upset loss at the hands of the Chicago Bears in a primetime game to finish up Week 12 and vanquish their chances at a survivor league championship. Ouch.
The Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Los Angeles Chargers have been the most popular picks through the first 12 weeks of the season and will make selecting a winner over the final six weeks of the 2023 NFL season an even tougher challenge.
As mentioned in previous entries, I don’t have any concrete rules when selecting games, but I do have some general guidelines to follow:
- Avoid divisional games
- Avoid picking road teams
- Avoid games with bad weather in the forecast
As we move into the month of December, winter weather could start playing a much bigger role in which direction we would like to go for our weekly selection.
As previously mentioned, some of the biggest favorites over the last 12 weeks have been the Ravens, Bills, Chiefs, 49ers, Dolphins, Rams, Seahawks, Chargers, Browns, Titans, and Cowboys. This means we can’t turn to the likes of Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Matthew Stafford, Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, or a stacked 49ers roster when we get into a pinch later in the season.
Since these were the most selected teams each week by survivor league players (according to survivorgrid.com data), I will be excluding them from my selection process in the strategy section of this weekly article moving forward in an attempt to best simulate your survivor scenario situation each week.
If you have any additional survivor questions specific to your league, don’t hesitate to follow me on Twitter @DerekTateNFL to send me a message, or join our Discord channel so we can talk on that platform.
Teams No Longer Available To Select
Week 1: Baltimore Ravens (Selected by 32% of survivor league teams)
Week 2: Buffalo Bills (Selected by 26% of teams)
Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs (Selected by 21% of teams)
Week 4: San Francisco 49ers (Selected by 31% of teams)
Week 5: Miami Dolphins (Selected by 39% of teams)
Week 6: Los Angeles Rams (Selected by 17% of teams)
Week 7: Seattle Seahawks (Selected by 55% of teams)
Week 8: Los Angeles Chargers (Selected by 35% of teams)
Week 9: Cleveland Browns (Selected by 54% of teams)
Week 10: Dallas Cowboys (Selected by 42% of teams)
Week 11: Detroit Lions (Selected by 17% of teams)
Week 12: Tennessee Titans (Selected by 24% of teams)
This is where identifying teams who aren’t necessarily the biggest favorite of the week can strongly benefit you as we move into the holiday season … especially on a week in December when six teams will be on a bye.
For now, though, we still have the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars available, who could be crucial to rely on over the final month of the 2023 NFL season.
Week 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CAR)
Week 14: Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. NE)
Week 15: New Orleans Saints (vs. NYG)
Week 16: Jacksonville Jaguars (@ TB)
Top teams still available: PHI, HOU, MIN
Week 13: Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CIN)
Week 14: Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. NE)
Week 15: Houston Texans (@ TEN)
Week 16: Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG)
Top teams still available: MIN
It’s always important to keep updating your strategy once we get new information. For example, if you like to simply trail a bad team to play against every week, I suggest pivoting to the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, and New England Patriots.
Through the first 12 weeks of the NFL season, I’ve gone 20-4 with my chalk selections, with the Dolphins and Chiefs both winning by multiple scores last Sunday.
Let’s take a look at my favorite chalk selections heading into Week 13.
Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CIN)
On one hand, my heart goes out to the Cincinnati Bengals fanbase. The loss of QB Joe Burrow turned them from a Super Bowl-contending squad starting to pick up momentum to a team that is tough to watch on the offensive side of the football.
No offense to QB Jake Browning — who I actually thought had some decent moments in his first NFL start — but this team didn’t give us very much to be optimistic about from in Week 12 performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Browning threw for 227 yards with a score and an interception, Joe Mixon gave the Bengals close to nothing on the ground with 16 yards on eight carries, and Ja’Marr Chase was mostly bottled up against an average secondary.
All of those concerns represent a big reason why I am picking the Jaguars as one of my locks of the week. It also helps that QB Trevor Lawrence has finally started to vibe with WR Calvin Ridley, which has this offensive unit looking like the one we expected heading into the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CAR)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won the same amount of games as the Panthers over their last seven contests. However, the Panthers decided after just 11 games with Frank Reich as their head coach that they wanted to go in a different direction.
The Panthers’ offense has failed to score more than 15 points in a game for five straight weeks. Rookie QB Bryce Young has failed to throw for over 200 yards in four straight contests.
The removal of Reich isn’t likely to fix the Panthers’ offense against the Bucs, who desperately need a win to stay in the NFC South divisional race. The Panthers’ defense ranks 30th in the league, allowing an average of 26.5 points per game.
Look for a big day from Bucs RB Rachaad White, who is aiming to build off of his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season against a Panthers defense that has allowed 18 rushing touchdowns through its first 11 games.
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. ARI)
The Steelers continue to be one of the most confusing teams in the league this season. They currently sit 7-4 on the year but have a -23 point differential on the season. However, the firing of Matt Canada seems to have rejuvenated a dormant offensive unit, with the team producing 421 total yards in their win over the Bengals.
Najee Harris had his best rushing day of the season with 99 yards and a score against Cincinnati, which could continue against the Arizona Cardinals this week.
Los Angeles Rams RB Kyren Williams produced 204 total yards and two scores against Arizona in his first game back from injured reserve. If the Steelers continue the team’s recent success on the ground and get some pressure on QB Kyler Murray, then Pittsburgh should be able to handle their business against the Cardinals.
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