2016 NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Identifying the Strongest Fade Teams

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While many NFL Survivor Pool players pick the best teams in order to advance each week, I do things differently. I fade bad teams in order to move ahead in my Survivor Pool. And it has worked for me in the past as I am a former Survivor Pool winner and plan on getting to the winner’s circle yet again this season.

Fading teams is much better than trying to pick a good team each week. Why is that? You can use a good team only once. But you can fade a bad team almost every week. If you are ahead of the curve and can find a great team to fade all season then you have a great chance on winning your pool. Of course, you can’t use these teams every single week. Teams play other clubs in their division twice each season, so you will only be able to fade them once in those divisional games. These fade teams will also play other lousy clubs throughout the season, and they will also play half their games at home (it’s best to use fade teams in road games). However, if you can get a group of three or four of the worst teams in the league and are diligent in your research then you can have a lot of Survivor Pool success by fading bad teams.

Last season there weren’t too many great fade teams. The Browns and Titans were the best, winning three games each. The Chargers and Cowboys each won four games. Three other teams won only five contests. There weren’t any really good one- or two-win teams. Some teams that wound up with six or seven wins were a lucky bounce or two away from playoff contention.

Let’s look at some of the possible candidates for best fade teams for NFL Survivor Pools for the 2016-17 pro football season. We always trust what the bookies have to say because they have a financial stake in being right when setting their odds, so we will look at some numbers along with our predictions (all odds from BetOnline.ag):

Cleveland Browns: The Browns tied with Tennessee for the worst record in the league last season. This season they are the odds-on favorite to do so again. BetOnline has them as a +350 favorite to have the worst record in the NFL this season (meaning if you bet $100 on this prop and they did indeed finish with the worst record you would win $350). They have a season win total of 5 games, with the “under” taking a heavy lean. That means the bookies at BetOnline expect them to win five games, and bettors have been wagering on the under heavily. The last time this team made the playoffs was in 2002, and they have won more than five games just once since then! But it looks like the Browns have a good leader now in Hue Jackson. I think Robert Griffin III may have a decent season this year, and this team has some weapons on offense, but they are still a couple years away from being competitive and this team has a very good chance to win fewer games than last season unless RGIII turns into Superman and carries the team on his shoulders. This should once again be the worst team in the league. A tough division should make things even worse for them.

San Francisco 49ers: The Niners odds show they have a good chance to fight the Browns for the worst record in the league. We have two words that solidify this stance: Blaine Gabbert. This guy is not a starting NFL quarterback by any stretch of the imagination, and the fact that he is likely starting over Colin Kaepernick just shows how far Kap has fallen since he set the league on fire a few years ago (you think the Niners regret letting Alex Smith go?). In fact, it’s hard to believe that this was one of the best teams in the NFL a few years ago, and the Niners have fallen from grace hard. They have a season win total of 5.5 at BetOnline and are the +550 second-favorite to have the worst record in the league. They will be pretty bad, and they play in a tough division, which gives them an even better chance to struggle.

Tennessee Titans: This team is the third-favorite at BetOnline to have the worst record in football. They are listed at +1000 to have the worst record, and their season win total is at 5.5, like the Niners. However, the juice on the “over” is at -185, so sharp bettors obviously expect the Titans to improve on last year’s record. This team has its QB of the Future and things are looking up. There isn’t a ton of talent on this club, but Marcus Mariota looks like the real deal and he should make big strides in his sophomore season. This team will rely on the run a lot this season, and that should keep them in a lot of close games as long as they are successful at it. But the Titans are building a lot for the future, and this team is still a few years away and pretty deficient on talent overall. It’s a good bet this team will win around five games again this season.

San Diego Chargers: Even though they are tied with the Eagles and Saints at +1400 as fourth choice to have the worst record in the NFL this season, I will go with the Chargers as my final team on my fade list. They have a season win total of seven games at BetOnline, but I am thinking that is pretty optimistic. This team plays in a very tough division, with the Chiefs and Raiders looking like possible playoff contenders. And don’t sleep on the defending champion Broncos. Even though they lost Peyton Manning, he didn’t so much last season and this team won it all based on the strength of the defense, which should be excellent again. San Diego went 0-6 in the division last season and they will have a tough time getting any wins in league this year as well. This team still has Philip Rivers, and he can always win games on the strength of his arm and his smarts, but he is only getting older, and this team doesn’t have a lot of talent across the roster. If Rivers gets hurt or has a down year this team could be in real trouble. I will be looking to fade the Chargers, especially in the AFC West. And just my luck, they play on the road at the Chiefs in Week 1!