NFL Survivor Picks Week 5: Are the Dolphins, Lions, and Cardinals Good Options This Week?

Making it to October in your survivor league is an accomplishment, but the job isn't done. Here are my NFL survivor picks for Week 5.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to formally introduce you to the true start of your survivor league season… because bye weeks have officially started across the NFL.

The weekly selection of teams is about to be much thinner moving forward, which means it’s time to lock in and formulate our strategy with my survivor picks for Week 5.

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NFL Survivor Picks Strategy for Week 5

I’ve always felt like a survivor league doesn’t truly begin until the bye weeks.

The first four weeks of a new season can always be tricky because of the consistent year-over-year change that takes place for NFL teams, but you still have a full slate of games to choose from for the first month of NFL action.

While some savvy survivor league players go against the chalk every week — which allows you to keep many of the top-tier teams available to select into October and November — the vast majority of competitors tend to play it safe to start the season.

This is evident by the four teams who were selected by the majority of survivor league players to start the 2023 season.

The Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Francisco 49ers have been the most popular picks through the first four weeks of the NFL season.

It is no coincidence that these four teams were among the biggest favorites of the last four weeks.

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.

Sometimes, things like bad weather can’t be avoided if half of the Sunday slate is dealing with terrible playing conditions, but it could help make things a bit less unpredictable when trying to make your weekly selection.

As previously mentioned, the biggest favorites over the last four weeks have been the Ravens, Bills, Chiefs, and 49ers. This means we can’t turn to the likes of Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, or a stacked 49ers roster when we get into a pinch later in the season.

MORE: Rams Only Unbeaten Team Against the Spread and More

Since these were the most selected teams in each week by survivor league players – according to 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 for the week.

If you have any additional survivor questions specific to your league, please 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 survivor league teams)
Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs (Selected by 21% of survivor league teams)
Week 4: San Francisco 49ers (Selected by 31% of survivor league teams)

This is where identifying teams who aren’t necessarily the biggest favorite of the week can strongly benefit you as the season progresses. After all, bye weeks start now!

NFL Survivor Picks Week 5: Are the Dolphins, Lions, and Cardinals Good Options This Week?
Oct 1, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) and offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) celebrate after a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The fact that we have four of the biggest Super Bowl contenders in the league unavailable for the rest of the season is going to start presenting some big challenges once we get to the back half of the season.

For now, though, we still have the Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, and Miami Dolphins available, who have plenty of future value to rely on in the next month of NFL action.

Strategy 1

Week 5: Washington Commanders (vs. CHI)
Week 6: Miami Dolphins (vs. CAR)
Week 7: Las Vegas Raiders (@ CHI)
Week 8: Detroit Lions (vs. LV)

Top teams still available: PHI, DAL, JAX, LAC, CLE, TB, SEA

Strategy 2

Week 5: Detroit Lions (vs. CAR)
Week 6: Philadelphia Eagles (@ NYJ)
Week 7: Las Vegas Raiders (@ CHI)
Week 8: Los Angeles Chargers (vs. CHI)

Top teams still available: MIA, DAL, JAX, CLE, TB, SEA

It is always very important to keep updating your strategy once we get new information. For example, the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals don’t exactly feel like teams you want to pick on every week.

MORE: Early NFL Week 5 Predictions and Picks

If you like to simply trail a bad team to play against every week, I suggest pivoting to the Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, or New York Giants if that is the strategy you prefer to go with every week.

Chalk Picks

Through the first four weeks of the NFL season, I have gone 7-1 with my chalk selections, which included a 2-0 record last week with the Chiefs and Jaguars managing to handle their business in Week 4.

Here’s a look at some of the chalkiest picks for Week 5, according to

NFL Survivor Picks Week 5: Are the Dolphins, Lions, and Cardinals Good Options This Week?

Here are some of the chalk selections I like heading into Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season.

Miami Dolphins (vs. NYG)

Only one week after nearly setting the NFL record for points in a single game, the Dolphins got blown off the field by a division rival in an eye-opening fashion.

The Bills managed to throw off the timing of the red-hot Miami offense, which made the speedy Dolphins look human less than seven after looking unstoppable.

Miami receiver Tyreek Hill caught 3 passes for 58 -yards against the Bills defense.
Miami receiver Tyreek Hill caught 3 passes for 58 -yards against the Bills defense.

Do you know what the cure is for a disappointing loss in the NFL? Playing the Giants.

This Giants offense has looked completely inept on all fronts through the first four games of the NFL season.

The offensive line has been struggling, which was evident by allowing the Seahawks defense – who entered Week 4 with just five sacks on the season – to sack Daniel Jones 10 times on Monday Night Football.

Speaking of struggling, Jones looks nothing like the quarterback we saw last season. Through the first four games, Jones has five times as many interceptions and fumbles as he does touchdown passes.

Sure, getting Saquon Barkley back could help the Giants look competent on the offensive side of the ball, but I don’t see a scenario where they have any sort of chance to keep up with the high-powered Dolphins offense.

Detroit Lions (vs. CAR)

The Lions’ 3-1 start to the season looks pretty legitimate, considering their lone loss on the season came in an overtime loss at the hands of the 3-1 Seahawks.

Jared Goff has continued to play good football, and the running game is back at full strength after David Montgomery produced 121 yards and three scores in his first game back from a quad injury.

While the offense has been as good as advertised, it has been the defensive unit that has stepped up in a big way.

The Lions have held three of their opponents this season to fewer than 21 points, and one of those opponents happens to be the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, led by the reigning league MVP.

Well, that defense could continue that trend of holding opponents to less than 21 points in Week 5. The Panthers have failed to score more than 17 points in a game where Bryce Young is the starting quarterback.

If the Lions offense continues to put up points at home, I don’t see Young being able to keep pace on the road in this contest.

Contrarian Pick

Arizona Cardinals (vs. CIN)

You won’t find me picking against MVP-caliber quarterbacks very often, but Joe Burrow hasn’t looked right all season.

After managing to grind out a win against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, many expected Burrow to carve up a suspect Tennessee Titans secondary with an opportunity to get the team back to .500 on the season.

Unfortunately, Burrow’s struggles continued by throwing for just 165 yards with no scores against the Titans.

On the flip side, the Cardinals have been very competitive in every single game this season. Their schedule has featured three playoff teams from a season ago, which means the start of this season has been impressive, to say the least.

One part of this matchup that shouldn’t be overlooked is the Arizona rushing attack against the Bengals rushing defense.

MORE: NFL Week 5 Betting Lines

The Bengals currently give up 157 rushing yards a game, which ranks 31st in the NFL. The Cardinals are currently 6th in the league, with 143 yards on the ground per game.

Let’s also give some credit where credit is due… Joshua Dobbs has been playing pretty good football this season.

Over the last three games, he’s averaged 227 passing yards and 48 rushing yards to go with five total touchdowns and no turnovers. Keep in mind, he’s played against the stout Cowboy and 49er defensive units over that three-game stretch.

While most NFL pundits likely expect the Cardinals to eventually turn back into a pumpkin, the recent trends of these two teams are hard to ignore.

If you are feeling frisky and want to go with a completely off-the-radar selection this week, then you may want to consider the underdog Cardinals at home against hobbled Burrow.

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